What’s Your Trade Show ROI? How to Measure and Improve Yours

    What’s Your Trade Show ROI? How to Measure and Improve Yours

    Chances are that you know the effectiveness of your print or online advertising campaigns. Determining the return on investment (ROI) of ad campaigns is vital when determining success.

    But are you applying the same standards to your trade show strategy? Trade show marketing works, not many people would dispute that. But gone are the days when you can justify a large show expense by saying you can’t measure brand awareness or engagement. Data matters, metrics matter, and it’s so much easier to compile this information in today’s world than it’s ever been before. If you want your company or job to matter, then it’s time to treat your trade show marketing like your other marketing efforts and find a way to measure your results.

    ROI is simply:

    Revenue – Costs/Total Investment

    Example: $50,000 – $25,000/$25,000 = 1, which makes the ROI 100%

    Define Metrics

    The best time to determine the metrics you’ll use to calculate your ROI is six to nine months before the target show when you define specific goals as we laid out in our trade show checklist. This way you’ll be prepared to compile the right data so you can properly measure your results after the show.

    Not only should you track sales made or contracts signed at the show, but plan on tracking leads such as email signups, scanned IDs, and even business cards collected at one of the mixers after.

    Tag Leads

    Once you know what leads you should track, you then need to figure out the best way to track the leads. The easiest way is to enter all of your leads into your Contact Relationship Management (CRM) software and tag them appropriately so you can determine which sales or clients developed from where. This can be helpful if you have a long sales lead-time where it might be months before a lead converts into a sale. Remember, the key to conversions is consistent lead follow-up.

    Know the Value of Your Clients

    It is also helpful when determining your ROI to know the true value of all your clients. We’re not talking about the value of one sale, but rather the client’s potential lifetime value. Similar to how a property management company manages their client’s properties and measures ROI over the lifetime amount brought in from that client; by tagging each client correctly in your CRM, you can go back and measure whether the lifetime value of clients generating from your trade show were better than other sources. Obviously, this will take some time to get a clear picture, but the more data you enter, the more accurate the results.

    You Can’t Manage if You Don’t Measure

    All that work will pay dividends in the end. You will now be able to not only compare which trade shows provide the best results, but also how those trade shows compare to your other marketing efforts.


    Is your brand ready to rock?

    Take our SHOW READINESS QUIZ and see if you’re ready for the spotlight.