How can you tell if a trade show is effective? A high number of leads does not always translate into additional revenue. Potential leads may take several months to close, at which point your sales and marketing teams are already moving on to the next event or promotional effort. Some relationships may be developed over several months or years, with irregular meetings at various shows. Then there are other benefits from trade shows that are even harder to measure, such as press coverage, brand awareness and market research, so how can you quantify the returns from a show to ensure you are hitting the most profitable aspects?
An article in Exhibitor Online discussed the challenges of measuring the impact that trade shows have on a firm's bottom line and offered a case study for how one company solved this problem. The source noted that a lot of companies measure the results of industry events based on the vibe of a show. Experienced salespeople know when they have made a good relationship that could be turned into a profitable long-term deal. However, this gut feeling is difficult to explain to top executives who need to make hard decisions about what programs to keep.
Having concrete metrics that highlight savings and improvements in sales as a result of trade show attendance allows you to compare those results with similar measures from other marketing strategies to make more informed decisions about how to spend your limited resources. The source noted that the first step was to accurately quantify each lead. Ranking leads based on their potential profitability and likelihood helps establish close ratios based on each classification. Knowing that a lot of high-profile individuals with purchasing powers visited your booth can contribute to additional interest in returning to that trade show next year.
Look for new ways to test metrics
PC News stated that an ROI metric was essential for any trade show app an organization uses. Noting success rates for lead retrieval allows you to make adjustments for future programs. These results should also factor the length of time required to close a deal. If information shared during demonstrations or personal meetings at industry events contributes to a shorter sale cycle, this could provide a lot of savings for businesses.
You should always look for measurable results, including how many people visited your booth. Having more visitors does not always translate to more quality leads, but it could be a strong indicator of brand awareness and marketing success. If a particular show was promoted with direct mailings, social media or other efforts and there is little interest, this could be an indication of a larger problem, which is why Skyline Trade Show Tips recommended always measuring how well you attract attention. If you're struggling to attract interest, the messaging of your promotions could be off or targeting the wrong audience. The data gathered through quantifying the success of trade shows could then be used to improve marketing efforts in other channels.
Market research is an essential part of trade show success. Having the tools to track metrics and determine success rates for lead capture strategies and other objectives can help you protect your budget and improve results of industry events.