Monday, May 8, 2017

Goals Lead to Tactics

I recently had an interesting conversation with my staff that helped reinforce the importance of choosing the right goals.

We were talking about the best ways to measure the success of our association's trade show. Among the many possibilities was the number of potential customers our members could engage with by exhibiting at the show.

For a long time, our way of tracking this was based on counting the number of attendees who registered for the show. Sorting all those registrants by the customer markets and job titles they self-selected on their registration forms gave us the ability to count how many potential buyers we had attending the show.

But we realized something important. Setting a goal associated with increasing the number of buyers attending the show would lead to a set of strategies and tactics focused on pre-show promotions. Given that our show is co-located with another, larger show means that promoting the show to attendees during the show is also important. But a goal focused only on growing pre-show registrations would bias resources against that second objective.

So we needed a second goal. Not only do we want to grow the number of buyers who attend the show, we also want to increase the number of those attendees who spend time in our hall visiting with our exhibitors. Only by adding this second goal would we be likely to focus the time and resources needed to create the necessary promotions during the show.

It was a great example of how important choosing the right goal is. Choose wrong and you may inadvertently focus your tactics in the wrong areas.

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This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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