The calm before the storm. An empty exhibition venue

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How to measure success at a congress

Emily Lee  •  3 min read

So, you’ve spent months planning every last detail of an exhibition; the booth layout and structure, the content and messaging, even the flavours of biscuit you’ll be handing out to delegates! But once the dust settles and the hall closes, how can you be sure your exhibition was a success? We interviewed OSP Healthcare’s Account Director Lydia Owen, who has over 10 years of experience planning exhibitions for clients within and outside of the healthcare sector.

So what is success at a congress?

Success differs from exhibition to exhibition, and from client to client. Every client wants something different from their congress attendance so it’s important to identify objectives before you even start planning a booth or booking space in an exhibition hall. During and after the event, it's important to look back to these agreed objectives and assess whether they have been met and exactly how successfully. If you judge there to be room for improvement when it comes to meeting KPIs, try to identify ways in which you can hit targets in the future.

How do I know what my objectives are?

This question again depends on the client and the reason for exhibiting at an event. For example, if the aim of the event was to showcase a new product, the objective could be to receive 30 enquiries about the product one week after the exhibition, for example. By identifying this objective, you could then work backwards and come up with ways in which delegates would be able to get in touch, for example via social media, traffic to the website, etc. In this instance, you’d want to ensure a call to action was clearly displayed on the booth e.g. on the booth:’To find out more, visit our website at xxxx.’ This would then help you to measure success. It is important when thinking about objectives, to ensure that your goals are SMART— are they Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timebound.

 Would a booth help you to meet objectives?

Not always. Whilst exhibitions are a great way to network and showcase new products and research, there may be other ways in which you can meet your objectives without setting up an exhibition booth. Have you considered the following campaigns?

  • Social media campaign
  • Journal advertising
  • Direct mailing
  • E-mailing campaigns

Ok, I have identified my goals now and still want to do an event. What next?

Once you have established your goals, the next step is knowing whether you want to measure your success in a qualitative or quantitative way, or a combination of both. Whilst quantitative success is easier to define, as it involves numbers and has a direct correlation with success (for example, the higher the number of registrations, the higher the interest and the more successful the event),  qualitative success is more subjective and equates to perceived success. This could be through surveys given to delegates on what they thought about the brand, the company, or the exhibition. The happier the delegates were, the more successful the event.

Thank you Lydia. Do you have any concluding remarks?

To summarise, before starting to plan your event, ensure that you come up with objectives that are SMART, then work backwards to strategise how you will be able to measure these objectives and incorporate call to actions within the booth itself so that delegates will be able to find your website or receive the correct contact details to get in touch for more information. Find a digital team who will be able to add tags into your webpages, app or other platform which are required for the metrics, and also create a dashboard which will enable you to analyse your metrics post-exhibition so that you can find out what worked really well, how successful the event was and also what you could do better at the next event.

If you are planning an event, be sure to contact OSP Healthcare for more information on how to maximise success at any exhibitions. Our range of services include:

  • Planning exhibitions
  • Content design
  • Metrics
  • App design
  • Website design
  • Booth design