If your strategy heading into an event is just networking and brand awareness, you’re missing out on the massive sales potential that trade shows present. Yes, companies attend trade shows looking to track industry trends and make relevant connections. However, many attendees are looking for solutions and are ready to pay for them. You should always enter a trade show with a well developed sales and marketing strategy.
By not being intimidated by the sticker shock of attending a trade show and understanding both immediate and long-term event ROI, you give your company the best chance to optimize your overall event marketing strategies.
What was your true cost?
As cost is two thirds of the ROI equation, it’s critical to get it right. Many companies underestimate (or completely ignore) their actual investment, which can seriously influence what they perceive to be their real ROI. This can perpetuate poor spending habits and leave companies wondering why they’re not seeing better results from their trade shows. Here’s a list of the major expenses that go into attending a trade show:
- Travel expenses (flights, hotels, rentals/taxis, food, special accommodations)
- Registration fees
- Booth fees
- Promotional material
- Booth tech/extras
- Wages/lost production
- Sales collateral
- Misc - Any other surprise expenses or fees that can come from business travel or attending a trade show.
Establish a baseline
Analyzing the overall impact of your trade show attendance requires an understanding of pre-show data sets that are dynamic such as website traffic and social engagement. Knowing your per post engagement or average monthly site traffic will help you track whether or not you boosted your brand awareness while at the event. You can also take previous event performance in terms of booth engagement into account.
This may not show up in your immediate event ROI calculations, but still should be key insights that you track in order to optimize your next trade show.
Return on objective
Aside from event sales, there is an immense amount of Return that a company can yield from attending a trade show that may not actualize until days, weeks or months after the event. Of course your main objective is to bring in income, but don’t let that keep you from establishing a holistic approach towards event marketing. In this way, even if your trade show sales numbers falter, you can still achieve a net positive investment.
Generate tactics to promote these other objectives:
- New leads generated
- Brand awareness - web traffic, social engagement, number of booth visitors
- Product launch/demo
- Educating your audience
- Media exposure
- Email opens
Maximizing event ROI with follow-up and follow-through
Measuring true event ROI should take place a few weeks or months after a trade show. This is because the event itself is often just half of the battle. There are a number of closing techniques that your sales team should implement immediately after the event to keep the conversation going with existing and newly generated leads from the trade show.
There are also ways to maximize your overall ROI before and during the event by operating with efficiency and clarity. To keep your team organized while on the road, consider a platform like WorkTrip that can house all of your travel details and event communications in one convenient location. Contact our team to find out more.