It’s not a secret that businesses today make strategic and operational decisions based on in-depth data analysis. This is a major shift from a decade ago, particularly for face-to-face marketing activities where only two indicators typically were used to verify the value of custom trade show exhibits at a trade show:
(1) The number of leads captured
(2) Anecdotal evidence of positive perception of a company’s brand and product offerings
Now trade show and event managers are responsible for reporting the total value for investment of these activities and how that value contributes to the company’s financial results. To do so, relevant metrics called key performance indicators, or KPIs, are tracked and reported.
For face-to-face marketing activities, establishing KPIs begins with objectives for the program based on overall corporate objectives. In a forthcoming blog series, Show Me the Value, Exhibitus’ Results Division will describe metrics that help answer the critical question of success.
To make sure we are all on the ‘same page’ before diving into the process, outlined below are important terms that will be used frequently in these discussions:
Return on Investment (ROI) – ROI is broadly used across businesses to measure the financial profitability of funds invested in a product, a project, new equipment or, in terms of a trade show program, the increase in revenue resulting from participating in an event.
ROI = (Revenue Contributed to Trade Show Activities – Amount Spent on Trade Show Activities) / Amount Spent on Trade Show Activities
ROI can be used as an evaluation tool to compare opportunities prior to commitment, or to determine the percentage increase in revenue that can be directly contributed to an event.
In future entries, we will talk about the advantages and the challenges of ROI as a measurement of performance.
Payback Ratio – This is a ratio that conveys the total value of a marketing event compared to the cost of the event. The total value includes the revenue gained, cost savings and promotion value.
Payback Ratio = Total Value of the Event ($) / Total Cost of the Event
Targeted Attendees – 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. Identifying targeted attendees begins in Marketing. Typically, it is Marketing’s responsibility to define a product’s market and then create a “buyer persona” of the ideal customer for the product. Using market research and data gathered about current customers, a profile of the ideal target will include demographic details, perceived motivations and observed patterns of behavior – all of which should be considered when deciding which trade shows or events offer the most opportunity.
Qualified Leads – The definition of a ‘qualified lead’ is unique to each business. This is a prospect who could become a customer based on information that meets pre-determined criteria. Examples of criteria include level of need, established budget and timeframe for purchase.
Sales Message – For every trade show in a face-to-face marketing program, there should be a sales message – a clear and distinctive call-to-action that will compel prospects to wake up and take notice. Determining if your message is on target is a critical step in the evaluation process.
Next Step – One way to increase the quality of leads is to ask participants to commit to a specific “next step.” Sales and Marketing should work together to define this action. Next Step strategies help deliver qualified leads futher down the sales funnel. If there is not a clear, specific step, then there will not a commitment path for a follow-up to take place.
The definition of success changes from company to company. But no matter the objective, today’s marketing teams must present results to stakeholders in terms of metrics that can be tracked, analyzed and continuously improved. Contact us and join the Exhibitus Results Division as we share ways to effectively and efficiently communicate the true success of face-to-face marketing activities in future editions of Show Me the Value.