Now the event is over. The money has been spent, and the connections have been made (we hope). How do you tell if this was a successful event? How do you continue to ensure this success?
First, keep in touch. The stuff in blue here possibly.
Now, how does one calculate the effectiveness of a trade show? You must weigh the costs of the trade show versus the actual revenue generated.
Quantifying this can be easy or difficult, depending on what measures you put in place. Remember, with a well-executed trade show plan from beginning to end, you can easily follow-up on your results post-show, which will help you determine your ROI. Danny Lambert delves into this topic in his article, Trade Show ROI – Measuring Your Return on Investment
First, you must take the tools you have already developed, including goals, social media marketing, and landing page or sales data, etc. Lambert suggests that collection of this data is crucial to understanding your ROI. He recommends using Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, to aid in this process. KPI's are defined as sets of data that measure booth traffic, leads, business cards that were handed out, purchases, and similar quantifiable factors. Measuring with KPI
KPIs can lead to future marketing strategies, according to Lambert. He suggests using email sign-ups for future email campaigns, as well as any data obtained from kiosks and other methods used during the trade show to analyze and measure leads and data.
A simple method for future calculation can be something like asking clients how they found you. If you begin to see an uptick in new traffic following the trade show, be sure you understand whether this was a direct result of the show itself or from another source. Being aware of how your customers find you is crucial to understanding what works best for your company. Measuring Leads Converted into Sales from Trade Shows and Exhibitions
Determine how to set values for your sales. Did you generate revenue from new/existing customers who saw you at the event? It is easy to quantify how much was spent, but that is not enough to understand your ROI. By setting sales revenue, you will have a number that will help you determine your ROI.
Creative Training suggests that you measure your leads converted into sales to better understand your ROI. This is where planning and necessary follow-through must be implemented. Get your team involved to quantify those results. Creating a lead form will help you compile this information during the trade show itself. With a proper form provided to salespeople, or through a kiosk at your booth, you can understand specific things about those who visited your booth and later plan and track the conversion.
Lead forms should include general information, facts about who is interested in your product, including business information, the role of the company, etc. Ask your connection how they would like to be contacted. You want to reach out to people on their desired path to achieve the best results. Quantifying Benefits from Trade Shows and Exhibitions
Quantifying a desirable ROI is different for each trade show and each company. By doing that, you can understand your trade show attendance better and also make future assessments of what will work best for your company. Remember your results will vary from show to show. You should be aware of all of the key factors that will aid in your determination of ROI. There is not a simple solution. High leads do not always mean a high ROI. So, depending on your product, it may take weeks/months to close a sale. Also press coverage, brand recognition, and market research can all be earned at trade shows and exhibitions.
While it is true that coming up with your real ROI can be difficult, put some work into it and make the best out of every penny spent.
Know your status before and after trade shows and exhibitions. Who was a new client? Who was an existing client? Keep all these things in mind to come up with a cohesive picture of how the trade show affected your ROI. Run your numbers multiple times following the event. Sometimes it can take months for sales to be made or specific benefits of the trade show come to light. For that reason, keep data compiled for several months following the event. Finally, repeat this as needed. Checklist for Data Acquisition After the Trade Shows or Exhibitions
Understand how much you've spent versus what benefits you have received at trade shows and exhibitions. Ask the following questions and record appropriate answers.
What if your ROI is Unfavorable?
- What was the most valuable part of the show? Why?
- What was the least valuable part of the show? Why?
- Were pre-show promotions effective? Why?
- Was the location good? Why?
- Were there enough (or too many) people in the booth? Why?
- Was the size of the both appropriate? Why?
- Were giveaways valuable? Why?
- Were the right products on display? Why?
- Did the signage convey the right message?
- Should we do thistrade show again? Why?
- What didn't work? Why?
- How could we make it better?
Let's say you have prepared thoroughly and done your due diligence, but you find your ROI to be unfavorable. So, is this a total loss? You can take even the most negative of outcomes and also use it for your future strategy. You can learn from what did not work out. Maybe you need to change which shows you attend or your product unveiling approach. By taking all of your data into consideration, you can now move forward with a more advanced approach to choosing your next show or deciding how and when to attend one.