Say YES to Exhibit Success in 2015

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YESin15If you gave up on making New Year’s resolutions years ago, it’s likely because they were simply vague wishes that were abandoned within a few days after the year began because it was too hard to stick with them. It was safer to not set any goals than to set them and be disappointed.

But perhaps the problem wasn’t in the goals themselves, but the mindset of the goals. You really didn’t have any “skin in the game” so to speak, so it was easy to walk away when the going got tough or it just wasn’t any fun anymore.

With the turn of the calendar page, we all see a blank slate – a chance to push the reset button and start over. So how can you beat the looming monsters of overwhelm, fear and procrastination that haunt you every year?

Find a mentor or support group to guide you forward and make yourself accountable to them. Now sometimes that may be within your own company, but often (especially if you’re a one-person department) you have to look outside to find someone who understands and empathizes with what you’ve set out to do.

First of all, take some time to reflect back over the previous year to see how far you’ve come in your strategies. Did you choose to exhibit at new shows? Design a new booth display? Ramp up your pre-show promotions? Kudos to you! You’ve already started on the path of being more strategic and can build on those successes in the new year. Record those wins and don’t forget to thank those who helped you get to where you are in your strategic plan.

In case you didn’t meet your goals this past year, now is the time to leave that behind. Don’t beat yourself up or wallow in regret. Take time to evaluate what worked well and what didn’t, then use that as a starting point. If something’s not working, there’s no better time to abandon it. There’s a blank slate ahead, remember?

As you set goals for the new year, they’re likely going to be big ones, and that’s okay. Just remember to break them down into manageable chunks with milestones along the way so you can see progress. That’s where having someone you’re accountable to comes in handy. You can both celebrate the small successes along the path to your ultimate goal. In other words, your year is the result of each day’s or week’s actions.

You don’t have to go it alone, even if you’re a lone wolf in your job as an exhibitor. I’ve created a series of tips that will only take a few minutes out of your week, yet can propel your exhibit marketing strategy forward like never before if you take action on each tip. I call it “YES in 15” because it only takes 15 minutes a week (or less) to improve Your Exhibit Success (YES).

Now in case you’re struggling on what to set as your intentions for 2015, here are some ideas to get you jumpstarted.

I pledge to become more strategic in my exhibit marketing in 2015 by:
  • Finding ways to streamline the logistics to free up more time and energy for the things that create results
  • Creating a realistic timeline for planning in order to avoid rush charges and last-minute add-ons
  • Designing a display that is both functional and attractive
  • Posting signage that is readable and to the point
  • Doing more pre-show promotions to build anticipation among attendees
  • Giving away only the items that my target audience finds useful and valuable
  • Using carefully selected and trained staff in my booth
  • Having a method in place for managing leads before the show ever begins
  • Following up on the leads gathered, or overseeing the follow-up process

We’ll delve into bite-size strategies for these topics and more in upcoming “YES in 15” tips. Each week, you’ll receive a short e-mail with a tip and suggested action. Then you’ll have the opportunity to share your frustrations and successes in our online forum. All of this is provided at no cost as my gift to you. If you’re already receiving the monthly TradeShowTips Online newsletter from me, all you need to do is send a note via the contact form to indicate you want the weekly tips too. (Otherwise, you’ll continue to receive just the monthly newsletter.) If you’re not already a subscriber, you can click here to fill out a short subscription form. Be sure to check the box that says “YES in 15”!

© 2014 Marlys K. Arnold (reprinted from the December 2014 TradeShowTips Online – To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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