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12cover story March 2011 -EXHIBITINGspend time in this environment. Theywould not be there if they didn'tneed to be.Others will be window shopping,waiting to be inspired into a purchase.If there is one benefit from increasedpressure on the exhibition industry, itis the growth of pure purchasingvisitors to a show against timewasters that clog up the aisles.In this environment, our objectivein measurement is to make sure weare giving our products and servicesthe cut through in this busymarketplace.The transaction isn't always assimple as the marketplace analogy,as the final purchase may not comeon the day. However, the buyingchain will start through thisface-to-face activity. An exhibitionaffords other opportunities forbusinesses like driving brandawareness, as a platform for newlaunches, and often to create marketor brand statements in front of keybuyers or investors.Whatever the reason for exhibiting,the objectives should be agreed andclear, therefore so should theevaluation. Once agreement of objectives andtargets are set we should turn to themechanics by which they will beevaluated. It is these mechanics thatform the basis of an effectiveevaluation strategy. I like to followfive guidelines to define and test ourevaluation mechanics:1]Measure the right things: alignmetrics to event objectives toprovide a goal against which tomeasure2]Compare apples with apples:build consistent metrics acrosscampaigns/countries/regions 3]Level the playing field:standardise tools and processes 4]Do the homework: analyseresults and benchmarking to informfuture decisions and optimisemarketing spend 5]See the big picture: Roll upevent results in order to demonstrateimpact on marketing and businessobjectives to provide a holisticoverall view It could mean more budgetAt GPJ our mantra is 'professionalshave data'. For every project our aimis to produce factually-rich reportsthat enable our clients to makebusiness decisions.We start by ensuring we will havethe information they need to do so.This can be as simple as measuringstand footfall or the number of leadsmade. It could be moresophisticated metrics such asmeasuring the impact of the standon passing visitors.Whatever the content of yourevaluation strategy, it is vital thatdata and business learning iscollected and ready to be presentedin the future. It always astonishesme that a lot of exhibitors still do notfollow up on their activity, either as abusiness or as a client.This follow-up action allowsdecisions to be made and gives anexhibitor the chance to improve theirperformance every time. It needs tobe done soon after the event so itremains fresh and that actions canbe implemented post-show. After all,the efficacy of a show can oftengreatly increase in its follow up.We really shouldn't want to shyaway from good evaluation. Howthe activity is measured does nothave to be over-complicated. Itshould be there to show yourquality, not cover up your lack of it.Companies that do measure eventparticipation are nearly 43 per centmore likely to expect increases intheir event marketing budgets thanthose that don't.Don't block your live marketing flow by not evaluating your results effectively