One of the toughest things to do for a company which really wants to ramp up its trade show presence is to provide the kind of hard data about the benefits of such an action to the suits in the corner offices. It’s true, if you’re in business you probably need to be turning a profit. That means that trade shows need to be able to demonstrate their worth in terms of ROI or return on investment. In other words, how much are you getting back from the money that you spent promoting your business at your latest trade show or other event.
A trade show display is not the only part of exhibiting at an expo. You also have to factor in costs such as transportation, lodging, shipping/drayage, marketing and PR and more. That means that altogether you can be looking at a sizable investment in your trade show presence. So, one of the most crucial trade show ideas is to be able to quantify the benefits that you are getting from a particular trade show in order to be sure that you are getting the ‘bang for your buck’ that you are looking for.
You Can Definitely Miss What You Can’t Measure
If you can’t quantify exactly what kinds of benefits you are getting from your trade show presence then you are going to have a tough time justifying an increased presence or increased expenditure to the numbers guys.
The good news is that there are a whole lot of ways that trade shows provide serious value for your business. They bring value in terms of increased brand recognition, lead generation, increased sales, development of strategic partnerships, networking, continuing education, professional development and more. The bad news is that these things can be tough to measure if you don’t have a plan in place from the outset.
It’s All A Part Of The Bigger Plan
Your trade show display is just one piece of your larger business goals. And chances are that those include increasing revenue, profitability and sales. There are many ways that a trade show can help do that for you. In fact, we just laid them out in the previous paragraph. This section is about how exactly you quantify your ROI.
Being able to quantify your ROI from a given trade show appearance is one of the most crucial trade show ideas there is. The truth is that it’s not always possible to accurately quantify every part of the benefits of a trade show appearance. At least not immediately. Some of the items that we laid out in the previous section are much easier to quantify, however.
Things like number of leads generate can quite easily be quantified. So can the number and quality of partnerships or strategic relationships developed. The monetary benefit of things like education, networking and professional development or brand promotion are not as easy to put a dollar sign on (though they are all undoubtedly important and valuable).
Tracking Leads To Establish ROI
Leads are relatively easy to track and value as compared to some of the other items. And if you are doing a good job generating leads and sales from your trade show display, you will find that those leads have likely paid for the cost of the show on their own (without even factoring in those other aspects).
So, what are the best ways to capture and quantify the leads that you get from your exhibit? Well, there are a few ways but the key is to be able to differentiate leads that originated from your trade show exhibition from your other leads. This can be done by putting a different phone number on promotional materials that you give out at the show, for example. It can also be achieved by giving out discount cards or coupons with trackable codes or by capturing leads through business cards or info captured from promotions/contests.
Measure And Improve
Getting an estimate of your ROI for a given show is important not just to justify the expenditure, but to be able to experiment and improve your performance in this area. As noted earlier, not all of the benefits of trade shows are immediately quantifiable but the ones that are (such as lead generation) can easily be tracked which means you can easily set goals and create tactics to reach them. This is all part of getting the most out of your trade show display. And that’s what it’s all about.