I’ve heard it many times, “Trade show measurement is impossible”, “I wouldn’t know where to start measuring” and “Trade show measurement is a waste of time.”
If these statements were true, why would there be so many stats in baseball? Why are there so many financial statements & quarterly reports? Why do sales reps have quotas?
That’s right, metrics give us information to make informed decisions. And, that’s why we need to measure trade show results.
Ok, now that we’re on the same page, let’s look at 3 things to measure at trade shows if you’re not measuring anything else:
1.) Return On Objectives (ROO)
Why are you exhibiting at your next trade show? Everyone should have at least 1, 3, or 5 objectives for exhibiting at trade shows.
The most common trade show objective is the amount of leads (make sure they’re qualified leads!). Others might be the number of customers you met with, meeting with the media, competitive intelligence gathering, etc.
You get the picture. ROO measurement should be fairly easy — Did we meet with all 10 customers? Did we get a story published in the trade magazine?
2.) Potential Return on Investment (ROI)
Many people think that you can only measure this from new leads and a sophisticated CRM (yes, the CRM helps). Do you think existing customers might buy other products or services from you? Or, more products & services? These are opportunities too. Are you looking for a new vendor or partner? You might meet them at the next trade show.
To calculate your potential ROI, subtract your total trade show expenses from the potential profit — that’s the easy way to get a general and quick sense of your Potential ROI. And, for those new vendors, well if they help to lower your costs of production or cost of doing business, you’ve just increased your ROI.
3.) Budget vs. Actual
You outlined a budget before you went to the trade show, right? Well then, all you need to do is track your expenses and find out if you spent more or less at the show. Then compare that to your ROO. If you spent more, was it worth it?
Now, get out there and at least measure these 3 things at your next trade show!