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Evolving Times – Remember the Basics

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Evolving Times – Remember the Basics

We have lived with great uncertainty since COVID-19 gripped the nation in March of 2020. Uncertainty now seems a way of life, although the facts and the concerns are constantly evolving.

Nevertheless, after more than a year of only offering virtual events, associations and other trade show organizers are opening doors of exhibition halls once again. Exhibitors and attendees are looking forward to face-to-face events, even if the required safety regulations change the familiar look of a trade show floor.

Exhibitus will continue to explore and report the changes we see and how companies might react as situations emerge. We will also continue to remind clients of the best practices that spell success for a face-to-face marketing program.

Top 4 Exhibit Metrics that Identify Marketing Success

Marketing exists to create sales opportunities and to increase the probability of top-line revenue. To do so, goals must be set for program activities that align with overall corporate objectives. The next step is to determine the appropriate metrics for demonstrating success.

Although many think that the purpose of a trade show or live event is to get a broad array of product and services in front of a large number of people in one place, the real value comes from the making contact and building relationships with individuals qualified to do business with your company. Thus, the target audience should include prospects, customers, suppliers or other participants in the profit equation of your business. And your program must be designed to reach these targets and persuade them to act for the benefit of your company.

It is therefore essential to know and report who visited your venue and what outcomes are expected as a result of their experience in order to justify the value of any experiential marketing activity.

The four metrics that are critical to this process are:

  1. Who visited
  2. Why they came
  3. What they learned
  4. What your visitors plan to do as a result of their visit

There are a number of ways to determine these four metrics. A common practice is to conduct live, post-visit intercept surveys – sometimes referred to as exit surveys. These help you understand how well you connected with your targets. Intercept surveys provide accurate demographic profiling of visitors to your custom trade show exhibit or event. This includes targeting criteria such as industry affiliation, company type, company size, individual responsibility, job title, buying readiness and purchase intent.

Post-visit intercept surveys also identify what the participants learned (if anything), whether the visit was valuable, and most importantly, what they intend to do as a result of their visit. This data can even provide a forecast of expected sales driven from the participant’s view.

More sophisticated measures are possible using post-event survey techniques that pull from the entire event audience, which includes those who visited your exhibit or event as a subset. You can identify changes in purchase intent, brand preference, brand fit, and Net Promoter* scores, for example. These metrics help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing activity in creating positive change in perception among your targets that would result in an increased probability of sale.

Another method is to utilize technologies such as localized scanning techniques that provide real-time visitor identification and tracking of their movement. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) can provide real-time activity reports on session attendance, time on the show floor and in-booth activity by product interest and for post-event analysis.

Understanding what your visitors plan to do as a result of their visit is one of the most crucial elements. A qualified lead should be committed to take a pre-determined action, oftentimes referred to as a call-to-action (CTA), that the sales team has defined as a step in the company’s sales cycle. A well-established definition of a qualified lead will provide a strong metric regarding actual sales opportunities.

There are many metrics that are important to exhibit and event managers. As far as Return on Investment (ROI) is concerned, determining who came, the persuasiveness of their experience and their intent to act provide the clearest measures of effectiveness.

Contact us to learn more about how you can implement event surveys that provide metrics you need for continuously improving your program, and your value as an exhibition professional.

*Net Promoter Score – The Net Promoter Score is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. It is used as a proxy for gauging the customer’s overall satisfaction with a company’s product or service and the customer’s loyalty to the brand.