Once a trade show is over, it is important to determine the return on investment (trade show ROI) of the event to discern if the show was a success, whether the trade show exhibit experience helped accomplish your objectives, or if you need to take a different approach for the next show. Without looking at the numbers, though, it can be hard to determine which trade show rental booths were worth the cost.
To begin the analysis that provides insight for future decision-making, it is important to know what to track so that final metrics are meaningful as it feeds into a continual improvement process.
Given that every company has different objectives for its face-to-face marketing program, the final metrics presented to management can differ. But the following suggests important components of analysis to consider as you determine the program’s overall contribution to corporate success.
Did Your Targets Come into the Booth?
The real value of trade shows comes from making contacts and building relationships with individuals qualified to do business with the company. Not all attendees are targets. It is marketing’s responsibility to identify the appropriate target audience, identify the shows those targets attend and then help persuade them to visit the exhibit.
Determining how to reach and identify targeted visitors should be part of pre-show planning, from pre-show marketing activities to proper booth staff training. Possible at-show solutions to further identify and segment visitors include exit intercept surveys and localized scanning techniques that provide real-time visitor identification and tracking.
How Many Leads Were Generated?
One of the most important things to measure is the number of qualified leads generated. Typically, qualified leads are determined by a prospect’s expression of interest in engaging in the sales process or an estimate of how likely the prospect is to buy, or both! Prior to attending the show, work with sales executives to determine the definition of a “qualified lead” for your event. Not everyone who walks in your booth is a lead so making sure the booth staff understands the criteria is important for proper follow-up activity.
How Many Qualified Leads Responded?
One of the biggest mistakes associated with trade shows is that leads often go untouched, or the follow-up is not timely. Develop a process for gathering information about the number of follow-up steps taken to reach a prospect, as well as the close rate associated with the number of qualified leads. Also, tracking the revenue that is generated from each lead is critical in determining a final ROI for the effort. Make sure the Sales team knows to inform your team when the sales outreach cadence has been completed and the results of those activities.
How Much Revenue Did the Show Bring in?
With Sales involvement and the information gathered about the results of each lead, you can calculate an important metric – the amount of overall revenue brought in per show. Regardless if your booth was crowded and busy the entire show, the overall event may still have a low ROI if the number of sales or contracts signed did not outweigh the marketing investment. On the other hand, if your company attends a show that results in a handful of new customers that are large accounts, it may be beneficial to add that show to your trade show program.
For products or services that require a long sales cycle, tracking the revenue can be a challenge, especially if other marketing efforts have reached the prospect. Tenacity, along with a reporting process that consistenly gathers information about deals as they close, is critical. As part of the reporting process, Marketing should develop an attribution model that assigns an impact value on each type of outreach. Then the revenue associated with the face-to-face marketing can be easily determined and used in an ROI model.
But these metrics just scratch the surface of the overall value that the trade show program brings to the company. Are you getting the value you expect from each face-to-face marketing event? Do you want to re-evaluate your approach to your trade show program and increase your trade show ROI? At Exhibitus, we offer professional metric services tailored to your industry and target audience through our Results Division, who can also take measurement beyond simple cost-per-lead. Take your trade show program to the next level and contact us today for more information.