Measuring trade show success

Measuring trade show success

Measuring Trade Show Success By The Numbers…For Starters

Is your trade show exhibit and attendance delivering a desirable return on investment? When measuring trade show success it’s tempting to only consider by the number of business cards you collect, quality must be emphasized over quantity. Sure, visitors will gladly part with their business card if it means they’re entered in a draw for a tropical vacation. But all those business cards indicate is their desire for a tropical vacation. In fact, there are many other meaningful ways of measuring trade show success.

The most obvious indicator of trade show success is the number of leads generated, and those leads that result in final sales. There are several lead-tracking and sales management software packages that can assist you with this endeavour. Although revenue generation is always foremost in your mind, consider these other important methods of measuring trade show success:

  • Meeting with existing customers, which is an excellent way to reinforce your relationship. Contact customers who plan to attend, or cannot attend, and make arrangements to meet with them before, during or after the show. Build your existing relationships through individual attention to help increase your sales.
  • Did you sell products/services, or take any orders? Leads are the key measure of success, but at-show sales and orders must also be included. The same can be said for contracts, since trade shows are an excellent place to lay the groundwork for future contracts.
  • Count the number of visitors who stopped at your booth, or attended your presentations and/or demonstrations. These numbers are an indication of raised awareness of your company and what you have to offer. How does their attendance compare to other years?
  • Use trade shows to conduct your own market research. Solicit opinions and suggestions from your booth visitors. Take advantage of this captive and well-informed audience to learn what people really want in today’s marketplace.
  • Identify strategic partners. Trade shows are an ideal opportunity to meet prospective partners, and you can even conduct preliminary interviews. And remember to give some thought to the recruiting potential of individuals you meet at the show.

  • Gain insight into industry trends, future developments, emerging technologies, and new players on the scene. Your company will gain a competitive advantage that can serve you well in the coming months if you keep your eyes and ears open.
  • Research your competitors. Take advantage of your trade show presence to conduct some competitor reconnaissance. Gather useful and relevant information that will benefit your company’s own trade show and marketing strategies.
  • Be certain to circulate the exhibition floor to note traffic patterns and busy booths. Learn from other exhibitors, and acquire new products, technologies and processes that will improve your business. Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to learn from the best and improve your marketing efforts.
  • Evaluate the success of your trade show exhibit by seeking honest feedback from your visitors. What do they think of your colours? Is your message clear? What could you do differently? Use the trade show to gather suggestions for improvement, and then fine-tune your exhibit for even greater effectiveness at future shows.

Lead generation and final sales will always be a key element to calculate your trade show return on investment. However, remember that there are many other important means of measuring trade show success. After all, a trade show isn’t just about numbers.