What Are You Doing to Get the Most Out of Trade Shows?

We’ve been doing a lot recently with clients for trade shows. There’s been a renewed interest it seems in them. Most of you participate in various trade shows from time to time.

If you do, you know that they can be very expensive and management is always looking for a ROI. That’s why it’s important for sales and marketing to work together to make sure they get the best bang for the buck.

I ran across a guest post from Vince Tricomi, VP, New Business Development at PFI Displays on ways you can maximize your efforts that I thought was worth repeating. Enjoy.

Except for a lucky few who still write orders at trade shows, most exhibitors can’t tie a specific revenue-generation figure to their trade shows.

That’s OK though. Consider how marketers tie sales figures to a magazine ad:  They can’t, and that’s why they measure things like impressions, reach and awareness.

Trade shows offer plenty of measurement opportunities for the savvy event marketer. Some of these metrics are firm, others are calculated estimates, but they can be combined to create clarity into the effectiveness of any trade show program, large or small.

Here are a few of our suggestions:

1. Leads:  a. Let’s get this easy one of out of the way i. Don’t mess around with collecting business cards ii. Renting a lead retrieval machine that loads your lead data on a flash drive is money well spent b. SAVVY TIP: Break these leads down into A, B, and C categories for better insight into the show’s quality.

2. Cost Per Lead: a. Take the total cost of your exhibit investment and divide it by the total amount of leads collected b. Compare this to other marketing efforts to see how your show stacks up c. SAVVY TIP: If you exhibit at multiple shows, this metric also shines light on the comparative effectiveness of each show.

3. Demonstrations: a. If you’re launching a new product, consider giving one-on-one or group demonstrations b. Count how many demonstrations you give and how many audience members listen or interact c. If you’re doing multiple presentations each hour, you’re having a great show d. SAVVY TIP: Find out from the VP of Sales an average cost of a trip for a sales person to give a demo at a prospect’s office. Compare that with the show’s average cost per demo, and suddenly trade shows look like a bargain!

4. Website Traffic: a. Know the average visitors to your website before the show, and compare that to the visitors during and immediately after b. Pay special attention to the pages for the products and offers you featured at the show c. SAVVY TIP: Don’t forget that trade shows are about face-to-face interactions. Generating web traffic is a great metric, but for most exhibitors it shouldn’t be the main goal.

5. Press Mentions: a. These hold special appeal, and therefore more “weight” as a viable metric, for all classically trained marketers b. SAVVY TIP: With the abundance of trade magazines, writers, and bloggers at every show, if you’re not getting mentioned, something is wrong; try setting up interviews and press walk-throughs well before the show.

6. Post Show Appointments: a. In today’s hectic, time-starved business world, one of the hardest challenges faced by every salesperson is securing a face-to-face appointment b. Commit the sales team to informing you of every show lead that generates a follow-up appointment c. SAVVY TIP: You’ll have friends for life if your shows facilitate setting post-show meetings. Think creatively about a space in your booth dedicated solely to this endeavor.

As you can tell, these suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg.  Please share some of your favorite, and most effective, metrics with us.

In closing, leading full service exhibit companies, like PFI Displays, offer innovative, easy to use software tools that will help you measure your shows—and do a lot more, too.

I’m sure you can add to the list and I’d like to hear ways your company is measuring the effectiveness of trade shows.

If you like this post you might like:

5 Ways to Improve Your Trade Show ROI

New Study Shows Best Way of Reaching Manufacturing Professionals

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0 Comments. Leave a comment

  1. Tim A. Schultz

    Good points all! You missed one though John! Considering the investment required to exhibit at a show, exhibitors needs an integrated pre-show marketing communications strategy to support that show, with advertising, direct marketing, etc. Plus, you’ll find that the trades supporting the shows typically provide plenty of value-added options to maximize your investment. One more reason to work with a marketing communications professional who can provide help!

  2. Alan Sipe

    John…any ideas on how to better market our attendance at regional shows? For instance this week we are showing at the regional electrical show in Minneapolis. How do we get the word out to just hat regional area that we are attending the event and showing cool tools?

    • tradesmeninsights

      There are several things you can do.
      1-work with a local distributor and use his list to promote the show.
      2- Rent a regional list of a trade publication and send them a postcard with show info and some sort of incentive to stop buy-change to win something.
      3- use social media to promote event.

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