Even before getting your badge for the event, the first question you have to ask is: "What is your company's goal for participating in the trade show?". Is it marketing? Sales? Generating leads? The launch of a new product? Market research for a new product, or getting feedback from the industry on a product in development? You must be clear and specific. The more you are, better the results will be. Word. This step is key to calculate your ROI.
Once you have that question answered, you can figure out what defines success, and use a system to track your ROI.
In fact, exhibiting at a trade show is always pretty expensive, even if some solutions are now on the market to reduce costs. You have to budget your booth space and design, the registration, the givaways, the travel expenses and all the extra costs. If you don’t measure anything, you won’t be able to know if your trade show investments pay off. Of course, planning a trip to a trade show has some uncertainty about costs and benefits, but it is always better to keep this in mind.
1/ Set clear goals
Sadly, most exhibitors don’t take enough time to organize properly their trade show. In fact, many businesses don’t collect enough information before exhibiting. They just spend their marketing budget for a booth and hope for the best.
The most important thing to do before going to a trade show is setting goals. This goal has to be measurable, if not it’s too vague and won’t be appropriate. At this step, you should set your target ROI.
As said earlier, the more prepared you are the more you will get from your trade show. You should consider checking the exhibitors' information on the event’s website, and list the one you have to get in touch with. You should also clean and update your CRM in order to track everything properly. Once the show is over, you need to track the leads you got from the trade show, and even tag them.
Then, you will be able to see which leads produce sales. If 20%+ of your sales goals are made by leads provided through this event, then your ROI must be excellent and start booking for next year!
3/ Calculate CLV and measure
The lifetime value of your customer, it the total amount of money you get from this customer.
It is just the most important thing in marketing. As a manager, you need to know which acquisition channel works best, and if it brings a high lifetime value per customer.
When you track everything from start, you will be able to see if trade show is an effective channel for your company.
Example of ROI calculation:
You are going to trade show that has 20,000 attendees. From your data, the conversion rate (attendees to leads) is 2% and the conversion rate from lead to customer is 20%. Your average lifetime value of customer is 5,000.
The total sale score from this trade show will be $400,000. Now, if your total expenses for this show is $100,000, it sounds like a great deal for your business. Your ROI is 3 times, definitely worths the shot.
Of course, this example is not 100% accurate, but it show you the way to prepare your goals before attending a trade show.