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How to Know if a Trade Show was Worth Attending

How to Know if a Trade Show was Worth Attending
How can you determine just how valuable your trade show appearances are for your company?

Exhibiting at trade shows offers a myriad of benefits for companies, but it also comes at a cost. Whether you’re a longtime business event manager or starting off for the first time, understanding and calculating your event ROI should be a top priority. How do you determine the value of your company’s trade show appearances?

First, understand your overall goals

Every business leader wants an easy way of knowing whether attending a trade show is worth the investment. But before you can get to that answer, you have to have a clear understanding of why you are attending in the first place. Only after you have outlined clear goals can you then settle on specific metrics that define success and determine the overall performance of your investment.

Why companies choose trade shows

Some of the most common trade show objectives for businesses include:

Pursuing leads and sales opportunities

Trade shows present invaluable opportunities for companies who are looking to connect with new leads or nurture relationships with prospective customers.

Boosting brand awareness

Even if you aren’t looking to make a set number of sales, showcasing your company at a trade show can help you generate brand awareness and create loyal buyers down the road.

Showcasing a specific product or service

Dedicating your booth to a specific product or service is a great way to prove value to customers and engage them in one-on-one product education initiatives.

Quantifying your objectives

Once you have outlined your show goals, it’s time to go a step further and create measurable goals. It’s important that these goals are realistic and attainable, otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

  • Collect contact information for 20 client prospects during the conference
  • Schedule 30 one-on-one product demonstrations over the course of the event
  • Increase the number of attendees at your booth by 50 percent over last year
  • Generate a 25 percent increase in website sessions within one week after the show has ended

With measurable goals established, you can utilize metrics to determine a show’s ROI. Two common formulas for measuring ROI include:

ROI = (Event-Related Sales – Event Costs)/Event Costs

ROI = (Number of Event-Related Leads x Value of a Lead) – Event-Related Costs)/Event-Related Costs

Surveys can also be distributed before and after the event to gauge changes in brand awareness levels. Regardless of the method used, it’s important to understand the data and adjust your trade show program based on the results. Compare the results year over year to know if your strategy is propelling your business in the right direction.

Trade shows can be remarkably valuable for all different kinds of companies, but to get the most out of them, you need to set realistic expectations and have a method for quantifying your return. One of the best ways to help ensure your company is set up for success is by working with a partner who will listen to your needs, and designs an exhibit that generates results. Rockway Exhibits has helped hundreds of companies maximize the value of trade show investment through the development and implementation of goal-oriented branding activations. Contact one of our consultants to learn more about how we can help you make trade shows a cornerstone of your growth strategy.

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