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How to Measure Trade Show Effectiveness: Why Trade Shows Are Good for Business

Everyone talks about the importance of attending trade shows, but how exactly do you measure the effectiveness of a trade show? How do you know if attending trade shows is helping you reach your goals? How are trade shows beneficial to your business? What are the advantages and disadvantages of attending trade shows?


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Advantages and Disadvantages of Attending a Trade Show

One of the things we learned from the pandemic is that zoom meetings and conference calls can not replace face-to-face meetings. Many clients want to meet you in person, have face-to-face meetings, and have hands-on interactions with your products. A trade show gives you the opportunity to let your clients do just that at one convenient time and place. It allows you to enhance relationships with existing clients as well as make a good face-to-face first impression with new and potential clients. The person-to-person interaction is invaluable because your customers can interact directly with your products and ask questions, while you can gauge your customers’ reactions to your products and services in real time.  


The only real disadvantage to trade shows is the time and money you have to invest in the event. In order to make sure that the trade show is beneficial to your business and worth the time and money you invest in it, it’s important to measure the effectiveness of each trade show you attend. Calculate your ROI for each trade show you attend, but most importantly, determine your goals for each trade show event ahead of time.  


Goal setting–The First Step in Measuring Effectiveness

Before you can figure out if attending a trade show is beneficial, you need to determine your trade show goals. Without specific trade show goals, it is very hard to measure the effectiveness of a trade show. When you first begin planning for a trade show event, sit down and decide your main purposes for attending the show. Are you attending the event to launch a product? To increase your number of leads? To generate brand awareness? To increase sales with existing clients? Once you have determined your main objectives for going, choose one or two specific, measurable goals that are in line with your objectives.  These specific goals will help you measure the effectiveness of the trade show for your particular objective.  


Increasing Leads Make Exhibitions Important for Businesses

Many people who attend a trade show come with the goal of getting more leads. If this is the main reason why you are attending a show, make sure to set a specific, measurable goal in regards to lead acquisitions. This specific number will help you measure the effectiveness of the trade show.  Decide how you will obtain new leads.  Will you accept all leads, or do you only want qualifying leads?  How will you collect and qualify leads?  Most shows provide lead retrieval tools for a fee.  These allow you to scan a customer’s badge and input their data into your system.  If you want specific information from a customer that can’t be found through the trade show’s lead retrieval tools, you can also offer free prizes or giveaways in exchange for customers filling out their information.

Most companies find that attending trade shows significantly lowers their cost per lead and cost per customer acquisition, but you won’t know unless you keep track of the data and do the calculations.  A post-show follow through strategy should be planned before the show even begins.  Keep track of which leads convert to new business or an increase in sales.  Use this data to help you calculate the ROI of the trade show.  Your trade show ROI as well as your number of leads, quality of leads, cost per lead, and cost per customer acquisition will help you measure the effectiveness of the trade show if lead generation is one of your main objectives.  


Building Brand Awareness Makes Trade Shows Beneficial

If your main objective in attending a trade show is to build brand awareness, once again, set a specific, measurable goal.  This will help you measure the effectiveness of the trade show once it’s over.  Some of the ways you can gauge brand awareness are through surveys, social media traffic, website traffic, and the amount of foot traffic to your booth.  Compare your numbers before and after the trade show to see if the trade show has an effect on any of your key metrics.  This will help you determine if the trade show was beneficial to your company. We’ve written some tips to help your trade show stand out during events as well.


Strengthening Relationships with Existing Customers to Maximize Trade Show ROI

If one of your main objectives is to strengthen your relationships with existing customers, make sure to do some pre-show marketing to encourage your existing customers to stop by your booth. While it’s a little harder to measure how your presence at the trade show event strengthens your relationship with existing customers, once again, set a specific measurable goal. You can measure how many face-to-face meetings you schedule with existing clients or look at increases in sales to existing customers. Once you have decided your specific, measurable goal, you will be able to measure how effective the trade show is. Make sure to include any increase in sales from your existing customers when calculating your trade show’s ROI.


Other Reasons Why Businesses Find Exhibitions So Important

Some companies find trade shows beneficial for other reasons, as well. Some plan to form new partnerships at the trade show event. Others find it useful to check out what their competitors are up to. Some companies find the educational experiences provided by the trade show invaluable. A trade show can also provide a convenient opportunity to meet with other company representatives for companies that have multiple locations. Whatever your main objectives are, just make sure to set a specific, measurable goal so that you can measure the effectiveness of the trade show event.      


Measuring the Effectiveness of a Trade Show to Determine if it is Beneficial

So, are trade shows beneficial? They provide the opportunity for face-to-face interactions with clients and potential business partners. They help your business generate more leads.  They provide invaluable educational and marketing opportunities. They allow you to build up brand awareness. In most cases, you will find that trade shows have a great ROI. They often lower your cost per lead and cost per customer acquisition. The only downside is that they can be a lot of work to plan, and trade show costs add up quickly. Setting clear objectives and creating specific, measurable goals will help you ensure that the trade shows you attend are beneficial for your company. These goals will help you measure the effectiveness of each particular trade show so you can see why the exhibition was important for your business. Contact us to learn more about planning for a trade show and measuring its effectiveness, or check out our trade show displays gallery. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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