Prove ROI to Yourself Before You Take Anything Upstream
Proving return on investment on your exhibit program is essential. Something you should be doing all the time. Every decision you make – from which shows you attend to those terrific LED graphics for your exhibit – must show value to the higher-ups. You'll want to present some cold, hard facts to prove you understand that every dollar counts towards the bottom line.
While it is important to prove value to upper management, you'll need to prove it to yourself first.
“How Does This Help Me Accomplish My Goal?”
Break down your presentation down into a series of smaller questions and answer them honestly. ROI in general matters very little if you're not weighing it against something. Saying that you want to budget for a USB charging station because you read online that it's a great attractor has no merit if your goal was to increase the engagement of each attendee.
With your plans for each show laid out in front of you, ask yourself “how does this actually accomplish what I'm supposed to be doing?” Look at it from all angles. Does exhibiting at a particular show that you've never been to before get you closer to your goal? Does it put you within striking distance? Or is it just a popular show that ultimately doesn't align with your long-term strategy?
“Why Is This the Best Way to Accomplish My Goal?”
Next, try to find the flaws in what you're proposing – because this is exactly what your company leadership is going to do. Why is this the best way to accomplish a particular goal? Are there other options that are cheaper? Are those options less effective, but they accomplish roughly the same thing? Why do those changes matter?
In essence, ask yourself the types of questions you'll be asked when proving ROI to leadership. Answer honestly and remember, “We really want to do this” is never a good answer.
Passion Makes Perfect
If you're able to first prove return on investment to yourself, what you've really done is create a solid foundation for your next step—proving ROI to your leadership. You're no longer in a room with decision makers and saying things like “this is one of the latest trends and we're a forward-thinking organization and we need to adopt it.” You will have real, tangible proof that your proposal doesn't just matter, but it matters to your company and its bottom line.
Essentially, you give yourself the most powerful weapon of all when you make your pitch—passion. You've justified your decision to your harshest critic – yourself. And that is a terrific position to be in.