For many businesses, exhibiting at a trade show means a flurry of activity for the couple of weeks leading up to the event, followed by a crazy 2 or 3 days of intense networking, selling and brand pushing to as many people as possible in a very short space of time. All this followed by a huge sigh of relief when it’s all over!
However for those with a ‘Grand Plan’ it’s really only the beginning of the process. Now is where the real work starts; in evaluating the event, tracking and nurturing leads and converting prospective buyers.
Methodologies for measuring the event’s success can include evaluation techniques as simple as observations and feedback (from both your own staff and your visitors) or more calculated results based on ROI and ROO. But one of the most important factors in being able to evaluate your trade show success is having very defined goals and event objectives at the outset.
Your event targets could be anything from generating new leads, launching a new product, testing a product’s feasibility in the market, making direct sales or just creating brand awareness and showing support for your industry.
Once you have determined your business objectives you will need to set specific and quantifiable metrics by which to measure success. For example, it’s not enough to say you just want to generate new leads. You need to define objectives; such as a setting a goal of 100 new prospects, followed up with a lead nurturing campaign aiming to narrow down “hot” leads with an ultimate plan of a 5% final sales conversion rate.
Even before the event you should be focusing on these set goals by stating your specific intentions within invites to your prospective visitors such as; ‘We would like to introduce our new product’ or, if direct sales are your intention then offer a special price to buy on a specific day. If it’s just market visibility and brand awareness you want then offer incentives to stop by the stand.
As well as being specific with your goals, you need to set structured timelines. For example, make it your target to follow up your initial leads within 1 week of the show, then a secondary phone call or email within 1 month, with an ultimate outlook to finalise sales within 6 months. Make sure your staff track and record all responses, whether positive or negative (negative results can be just as useful in evaluation processes as positive) and note any income eventuating from an initial show contact. This way you can define revenue against your costs and calculate your (ROI) return on investment.
Your (ROO) return on objectives is just as important to evaluate. For instance if your main objective was to raise brand awareness in your industry or to gauge perception about your business from your industry peers then you can still set prescribed targets. This might involve asking potential customers to fill out surveys both at the show and after it. Then perhaps another 6 months on to see if perception has changed. Creating charts based on answers will help you track your results and create a quantifiable measurement.
You should also evaluate your exhibition stand itself. Find out if there are any improvements to be made. Ask your staff and visitors about their experience. Was the stand the right size? Was the location good? Were you losing prospective visitors to another stand – if so, why? Was there a particular feature which was a talking point? Seemingly minor things such as what time of day was the busiest and which way did pedestrian traffic flow can all provide invaluable data when planning for your next event.
Measuring and evaluating results against specific goals will enable you and your team to make key strategic and tactical decisions moving forward towards your next event.
Call one of our experienced Account Managers here at Exhibitionco on 02 9972 1900 to find out how you can get better results from your trade show investment.