As an exhibitor there are no shortage of trade shows for you to pick from. So once you set up an exhibit schedule, how do you keep from second-guessing yourself? How do you know if the trade shows you are attending are the best ones for your company? And once the show is over, how do you know if it was a success or not?
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we encourage exhibitors to create a nine-step exhibit strategy that will help you narrow down the options, prioritize and organize your trade show calendar. But even after all the planning, you still need go back to measure and compare final results to your original expectations. In this blog post and in several upcoming posts, we will consider four post-show evaluation criteria to continuously refine and improve your trade show marketing results.
Measuring the Trade Show ROI
There are many ways to calculate the ROI of a trade show. Some are hard measures while others are more subjective. What were your strategic goals and objectives in attending this show? Where those goals met? How many leads did the show generate? What was the quality of those leads? Did you meet your sales goals? What was the average value of those sales? What is the estimated revenue that will generated from this trade show?
However calculating trade show ROI doesn’t stop with sales. What impact did exhibiting at this trade show have on your brand? How many branding impressions were generated? How many people in total visited your booth? How many attendees were exposed to your company and its message, even if they didn’t come to the booth? Of all the people who were exposed to your brand, what percentage of them fit your target profile? What is the value of that exposure? How much would it have cost to generate the same exposure using traditional marketing channels such as print advertising or TV commercials? How does the engagement generated through exhibiting compare to the typical level of engagement you have in other marketing channels? What is the value of that engagements? In other words, what would it have cost to generate the same level of engagement in other channels?
Were you a show sponsor? Did you use pre-show marketing? If you sent out direct mail or digital messages that invited attendees to attend your booth in exchange for a special offer or gift, how much response did that marketing generate? What was the quality of that booth traffic? Did you promote your booth on social or other marketing channels during the show? What was the impact and effectiveness of those efforts? Of the different promotions and marketing channels you used, which was the most effective? What implications do these findings have for future marketing efforts?
What was the level of press coverage at the show? Did your company receive any mentions or have interaction with the press? What is the value of that publicity? Your marketing or public relations department should be able to give you some benchmark guidelines for these calculations.
Not all of these calculations are possible for every trade show or every exhibitor. Nor is it necessary for you to measure every variable in order to determine if this particular trade show or event should remain on your calendar or not. The key is to determine in advance what metrics are most appropriate for your company and your needs. The more measurements you have, the stronger your business case will be to continue attending this trade show in the future or whether you need to research alternatives.
If you would like help with any element of your trade show strategy, our experienced team would be happy to provide you with a free, custom consultation. Contact us today.