If the answer to any of the following questions is true, the tool below might be for you.
- Have you ever wondered if trade shows are more of a drain on your organization than a benefit?
- Do you start to sweat when the business leaders in your organization begin asking about the return on trade shows you attend?
- Are you routinely asked to attend trade shows that you do not believe will add value?
- Do you have people in your organization that are emotionally charged about attending a show?
Deciding which trade shows to attend can be a difficult decision when emotions enter the decision process. It seems that every show has a strong advocate trying to convince the organization to attend.
Statements such as, “all our customers will be there”, “the market will think we have disappeared if we don’t attend”, “the trade publications won’t think we are a serious player”, and “this is the largest show in our biggest market segment” are a reflection of feeling, not fact.
Conversely, with very tight budgets and demand to show ROI, deciding which show to attend can prove to be just as difficult.
While establishing better goals and metrics is a usual course of action to prove marketing return, trade shows can be particularly challenging.
To ensure the show success it is important to set up quantitative and qualitative metrics prior to deciding to exhibit. If you establish goals such as the number leads, number of customer meetings, and the number of brand impressions you can mitigate emotional decision making.
Driving to Trade Show ROI
To measure ROI it is important to fully capture the costs and benefits of a show. Below I propose some metrics that can be used to demonstrate the benefit of a show. Three metrics in particular are the calculation of Advertising Equivalence, cost savings from customer meetings, and monetizing brand impressions with speaking engagements.
I would recommend the development of a standard template that includes the elements listed below. It is also important to consider the timing of when you validate the results. I have found that it is important to check at least three times: Immediately, within a month or so and then again when deciding to attend the show again.
Trade Show Costs
- Exhibit costs
- Speaker costs
- Individual registrations
- Booth / Equipment Shipping costs
- Other Transportation
- Number of attendees x the average cost per day x the number of days
- Promotional gifts
- Printer materials
- Other promotional items (pre-show mailers, etc.)
- Graphics /Banners / Signs
Resource Costs (Time x salary)
- Creative services costs (agency, writers, designers, etc.)
- Show planner
- Marketing manager
- Product manager
- Meeting room
- Food and beverage
- Marketing materials
Show Benefits (Included both quantitative and qualitative measures):
- Number of leads
- Total revenue resulting from closed leads
- Increased Brand Awareness and Reputation
- Estimate impressions (total attendees at show that see sponsorship of a general session)
- Booth traffic impressions (Track for a period of time and then extrapolate)
- Brand survey results (taken at the booth)
- Press Release Coverage (Number picked up by trade publications)
- Speaking engagements (Number and survey results showing interest)
- Ad Equivalency (Cost for a full page advertisement / the amount of coverage space in an article)
- Press meetings/ new relationships developed
Customer Relationship Development and Savings
- Number of customer meetings
- Savings from travel to individual customers (number of meetings x number of staff x travel costs – total cost of travel to individual meetings)
Market Research Insight
- Number of research surveys completed
- Document and key learning from customers at the show
- Competitive information gathered
When using criteria such as the above, you should be able to add the total costs and the total benefits and ultimately be able to calculate the shows ROI (benefits-expenses/expense).
Hopefully, this provides some additional insight into the measurement of trade shows.
Do you see anything that is missing from this list?