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Table of Contents
Do you struggle to convey the ROI of trade show participation? The struggle exists because there’s a lack of knowledge regarding the right ways and approaches to measure the effectiveness of trade show participation efforts.
“The best way to measure the effectiveness of a trade show is by defining your KPIs and incorporating them into a certain set of SOPs to help you set the clear grounds and gauge the success of your efforts.”
Yes, our Co-founder feels that your trade show participation can be a total waste of time and resources without gauging the ROI potential and even if you just look at the immediate results like closed deals and leads generated. You should consider long-term benefits, too, like network expansion, brand positioning, online visibility and mentions from publications and social media users.
That’s why we recommend having a handy list of metrics that help you calculate the impact of such marketing activities.
This guide will not only help you measure the effectiveness of trade show participation but will empower you with practical tips that you can apply while exhibiting.
Let’s get started.
Go through this comprehensive list of metrics to assess the payoffs of your trade show marketing activities. Following these metrics and practical tips will guide your efforts for the next event in the right direction.
The first factor you need to consider while measuring the effectiveness of your trade show booth is the number of attendees that have come into your branded environment (booth).
According to the report, the average attendance at US conventions and exhibitions was around 5,000, and it is increasing every year.
Paying close attention to the people who engage more with your booth and sales representatives helps you filter the qualified visits to your booth.
You can use multiple ways to assess the booth visits. Some ways include:
There are many ways to attract visitors to your booth, including using holographic displays, a 360-degree aroma experience, and a roaming interactive mascot. You can also carry out before-event activities like digital ads and content marketing to encourage attendees to visit your booth.
Lead generation is the highest and biggest priority of many marketers exhibiting at trade shows, and there’s a good reason for it!
According to Genny Nelson, research project coordinator, Center for Exhibition Industry Research, Dallas,
“Meeting a prospect at an exhibition is cost-effective, with an initial face-to-face meeting expense of $96, compared to $1,039 for identifying and meeting a prospect in the field. This results in a substantial saving of $943 per prospect.”
Some common ways to capture leads include,
The leads generated through these activities support your follow-up activities and close more deals and sales. Moreover, establishing a Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool or lead tracking system is recommended.
Using these tools will help you get an idea of how many leads you have generated and measure the effectiveness of the trade show.
Some trade shows also provide the list of attendees who have attended the expo, and if that’s the case with the expo you are participating in, you should definitely get it to charge up your sales funnel with more data.
Other than the two metrics mentioned above to measure the effectiveness of a trade show, network expansion is a good way to judge how well you have done. Network expansion examines the number of people you have connected with on LinkedIn or other social media platforms through an exhibition.
Let’s suppose you are participating in the IT trade shows happening in Las Vegas in 2024 to represent your new innovation in the field. Now, a sales representative from your company meets the Chief of Technology (CTO) from another company that offers complementary services/solutions to what you are offering. You can exchange your contacts, and LinkedIn handles with the decision-makers of these organizations for potential future business partnerships.
Similarly, you can network with like-minded people to exchange knowledge, discuss business trends and common challenges, and grow together.
Sometimes, trade show websites also display other organizations exhibiting at their event so you can connect with relevant companies’ decision-makers beforehand on socials to strike up better and more engaging conversations when you meet them at the expo.
To get a better return on investment (ROI) on your trade show marketing budget, it’s recommended to count the number of qualified meetings you have booked from the leads you have captured.
Your team needs to strategically follow up with the leads based on their quality and priority to book quality meetings faster.
You can use this primary set of questions to qualify a lead:
Please note that you can modify this list based on your organization’s specific policies and sales cycles.
A survey indicates that it takes around three or fewer calls to close deals when the lead is initiated from a trade show.
Another big reason organizations participate in exhibitions is to generate on-site sales if that suits their business model.
However, businesses in IT and healthcare may not generate sales on-site due to many factors, including complex and unique client requirements, bigger sales cycles, and bigger deal packages.
If that’s the case with you, you can try the below-mentioned creative ways to generate sales at the trade show.
For IT companies:
For healthcare companies:
You can measure the effectiveness of these offerings at trade show exhibitions by monitoring the discount redemption, lead conversion rates, number of sign-ups, and post-event surveys.
While exhibiting at an expo, there will be two scenarios:
To measure the effectiveness of your trade show marketing efforts, it’s super important to track records of new closed deals and monitor how your organization is benefiting from them.
Here are some useful ways to track new deals done through the expo:
The next metric you need to consider while measuring the effectiveness of your trade show is the average deal size. You may close more clients than expected, but if they are low-ticket, you will not reach the revenue goals you set for the exhibition.
Remember, it’s never about the amount of deals you close but the value you get per deal. And that’s why it’s important to set your revenue goals clearly before participating in the exhibition.
To get a better average deal size, set the sales output you are expecting from the trade show and get an average arrangement size based on it. This exercise can help you determine if you are on the right track during the event. You will know whether you need to maintain that rhythm or push it to the next level during the remainder of the show.
Here is the formula to get the average deal size:
Average deal size = Number of Deals Closed/Total Revenue Generated
The win rate is another important metric to measure the effectiveness of trade show marketing. To calculate the win rate, you need to divide the number of successfully closed deals by the total number of opportunities you have gathered at the expo.
So, the formula would be:
Win Rate = Numbers of Successfully Closed Opportunities/Total Number of Opportunities
For example, if you had ten sales opportunities at the expo and closed two deals, your win rate would be 20%.
Another way to define the win rate is by comparing the number of closed opportunities with the total number of sales-qualified leads. Sales-qualified leads are customers who have expressed interest in your products/services. Calculating the win rate by dividing it by the sales-qualified leads provides a more focused view of success.
The formula for calculating the win rate based on sales-qualified leads is:
Win Rate = Number of Successfully Closed Opportunities/Total Number of Sales-Qualified Leads
You can also assess the win rate based on the deal value. It involves dividing the total quantity of closed opportunities by the total value in the pipeline. This approach considers that a single significant deal could greatly contribute to achieving your goals.
The formula for calculating the win rate based on deal value is:
Win Rate = Total Value in the Pipeline/Total Value of Closed Opportunities
Counting meetings per closed deal is another way of measuring the effectiveness of your trade show. All exhibitors try to schedule as many meetings as possible, but they must also be effective and beneficial for your business.
Analyzing meetings per deal closed helps you gauge the effectiveness of your meetings. With this metric, you can assess the capabilities of your sales team. You can either count meetings per deal closer per sales team member of an entire team. Measuring both ways will give you a better understanding of the strong and weak points of your sales team.
Calculating meetings per deal closed per salesperson can give you a better idea about where to position each team member to get the maximum sales results.
Measuring cost per lead is an amazing way to judge the success of your trade show marketing efforts while comparing its effectiveness with other marketing activities.
To calculate the cost per lead, you need to divide the total cost of the trade show by the number of leads you have captured. The number you get determines the cost per lead.
If you have participated in a trade show before, you can compare the cost of that with this new cost and see if it has improved over time. You can also compare the cost per lead with other marketing activities to see which marketing channel is more effective for your business.
The formula to calculate cost per lead is:
Cost per lead = Number of Leads Captured/Total Cost of Trade Show
When you participate in a trade show booth, the attendees are more likely to visit your website to learn more about your business. Looking at the traffic you get on your website during and a few days after the trade show can determine the effectiveness of your trade show exhibition.
You can access Google Search Console (GSC) or other third-party tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to get an idea about the website traffic during the trade show. Analyzing your website traffic data of that particular timeline can give you a better understanding of the people who have visited the website.
Like website traffic, trade show attendees visit your social media profiles to check your presence before they make a purchase decision. To measure if your trade show marketing impacted attendees, you can check the interactions on your socials during that time.
Here are the important metrics to consider for social media:
Analyze all your social media and see which platform has got you more traction. Be more active on that platform to boost it even further.
Another way to measure the effectiveness of your trade show is to conduct surveys that give you an idea of the direction of your effort.
The survey can include questions about overall satisfaction, booth engagement, brand interactions, new discoveries, purchase intent, network opportunities, follow-up interest, and improvement suggestions.
Here is the list of questions to understand the impact of your trade show marketing effectiveness:
Once you have collected feedback from attendees, it’s time to monitor the feedback and evaluate if your efforts have paid off the way you wanted. You can modify your future trade show marketing strategies based on the responses you have got.
For example, if many attendees have suggested improving your booth experience, you can hire experts like Pure Exhibits, who can guide you throughout the journey and build you a booth that attracts more visitors.
Last but not least, a way to measure the effectiveness of your trade show is by calculating the ROI. To calculate the ROI of your trade show booth, use the below-mentioned formula:
Return on Investment (ROI) = Net Return/Cost of Investment
Factors such as direct and indirect sales, leads, value of brand exposure, media coverage, and referrals are considered in revenue.
On the other hand, factors like the cost of the trade show booth, staff, travel, marketing, promotional materials, and other related items are considered expenses.
Using the formula above for calculating ROI, you can determine if your trade show participation was worth it.
Regardless of how well you have done in your trade show marketing, there’s always scope for improvement. Here are the four most important tips that will help you maximize the effectiveness of your trade show booth.
Having realistic goals is the foundation of any successful exhibition. Setting goals that are too high or too low will hamper the potential you can get from the exhibition.
Plus, be specific about your goals - is it brand awareness, launching and promoting new products/services, boosting sales of existing services, or all of them?
Knowing what you are expecting will help you plan your trade show booth better.
While setting up your trade show marketing plan, set targets that align with your organization’s long-term vision and mission. Define your target audience and brand message to make a better impact. Have actionable plans on hand that can help you achieve your goals faster at the trade show.
When an attendee is interested in buying your product or service, they will have a lot of questions. Engage interested attendees by answering their questions and empowering them with the right knowledge to buy your products/services.
Lastly, the real power lies in technology. It’s an essential asset that can make or break your game at the trade show. Use Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), interactive touchscreens, Live product demonstration, badge scanning devices, video and social media walls, RFID, QR codes for digital brochures, gamification, analytics and data capture tools, 360-degree product views, and artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to power pack your booth with next-gen experience.
As they say, “whatever that can be measured, can be improved,” and so that’s the case with trade show marketing efforts. With this guide, you have all the important metrics needed to evaluate the success of your trade show booth’s effectiveness. Now, all you need is to apply the tips and techniques shared in the blog in real life.
Consider not only short-term but long-term benefits with the right metrics mentioned above in the blog post to make the most of your trade show marketing.
Moreover, there’s no doubt about the impact of having an attractive and eye-catching booth that increases footfall to the booth and generates more business. Pure Exhibits has helped many organizations with their rental booth requirements in Las Vegas while bringing them amazing results.
If you are looking to build an amazing exhibit for your next event, Pure Exhibits is the best choice in Las Vegas! We have worked for companies exhibiting at CES, HLTH, HR Tech, MWC, and Adobe Summit.
Have a look at our extensive booth portfolio and contact our sales team at email@example.com or +1 800-379-8451 to discuss your unique requirements.
To determine qualified leads, implement lead capture methods like QR codes, badge scans, and interactive demos coupled with targeted questions to distinguish qualified leads showing genuine interest from casual booth visitors.
You can leverage social media to amplify the impact of your trade show by using event-specific hashtags and pre-event teasers. Measure the impact by analyzing insights of social media platforms.
Some pitfalls to avoid when measuring the trade show success include focusing only on short-term focus and lack of data accuracy. You can overcome these pitfalls by having clear objectives and integrating the right technologies into your trade show event.
There are many tools and technologies that can help you track trade show metrics, including CRM systems, lead capture apps, RFID technology, and analytics tools.
Activities like surveys, website traffic monitoring, and social media interaction tracking can help you improve your post-event evaluation and analysis.
Some critical factors that make your exhibition successful include clear goal-setting, engaging booth design, effective pre-event promotion, quality lead generation, strategic networking, and post-event follow-ups.
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