How To Measure ROI At Events And Exhibitions

If you thought you can’t measure happiness, wait until you try to measure the commercial success of your exhibition stand. Blimey, there’s a tough gig.

But in today’s ROI-led world, it’s something you just have to do. Despite its cost, a good exhibition can produce a great ROI. All too often, however, this ROI is only really measurable months, sometimes years, after the event. After all, while exhibitions can generate lots of hungry leads, how many times does an impressive stand engage people who don’t reveal themselves to you until many months later?

So to help you out of this quandary, here are a few tips on how to measure the ROI of your next exhibition, and tips on how you can increase it.

Start by defining your objectives 

It’s obvious but true: without clearly defined goals, it’s impossible to measure ROI. The hard truth is you have to decide what your goal is from your next trade show before it happens. 

    • Want to generate leads to drive short-term sales?
    • Want to establish your brand as a leader in your industry?
    • Want to create buzz for an upcoming product launch?

All of these goals are different, so they all need to be tracked differently. Plan out your goals before the event and create metrics that allow you to easily track them during and after the event to determine your ROI. 

For example, if your goal is creating a buzz, your best metric for measuring your ROI might be press mentions and Twitter or LinkedIn coverage. If you want to generate leads, the best metric would be total new prospects you’ve got on-board whether that be qunatified by email addresses, or business cards exchanged.

Qualify your target audience and put a potential value on them, based on your existing customer base and spend. Schedule review meetings for two, four and six months after the event. Always make sure you have a follow-up plan in place for the leads that you get. Log all of your leads in an effective CRM system and track your follow-ups in line with your typical sales cycle.

How to maximise your ROI

Do your research to make sure you’re exhibiting at the right show to achieve your set objectives, and that attendees encompass your target audience.

Another obvious but true fact: stand location is key. If you’re tucked away in a corner, you’re not likely to generate awareness or leads, regardless of the brilliance of your stand’s design.

Similarly, you need a targeted strategy to attract the right prospects and convert them into leads, the design of your stand is crucial. Make it touchy-feely, visual, fun, loud, engaging – anything to attract interest and keep people hanging around and exposed to your well-drilled sales pitch. 

Be aware that separate objectives may conflict with each other – say brand building versus new sales leads – so use your strategy and design to make sure you use your space effectively to achieve all your objectives.

Share your targets with your team, using results to boost morale during and after the show. 

Ultimately, it comes down to planning. Set your objectives – and define how you intend to measure them – before you even book an exhibition space.

If you are still in two minds as to whether an exhibition is right for you, why not read up on The Pro’s and Con’s of Exhibitions here. Still unsure? Pop our expert Guy a call on 0115 981 6276 to discuss your options.