Can I Really Measure Trade Show and Event Marketing ROI?

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This is such a loaded question, asked by many, but answered by few. 

Why? Because the formula is so much more complicated, and not nearly as easy as other marketing tactics.

This is by no means a complete how-to article, and I promise we’ll dive in deeper to each area in future articles. 

Let’s start with the basics. 

  1. Know WHY you are exhibiting, by polling as many of the event stakeholders as possible.
  1. Identify WHAT your organization values as an outcome; this should be the specific thing your attendee does (an interaction) at or after the event.
  1. ALIGN terminology. Sales and marketing teams often speak two totally different languages. As an event marketer, you can help build some bridges.

For example, let’s say you’re a technology company for medical practices. 

Why do you go to tradeshows?  “To make prospective practices aware this technology is available.” 

As the event marketing manager, you ask the sales department, what will a successful show look like to you? 

They answer something like…well, lots of good leads. You say, first, let’s define “lots” and then, let’s define “good”.

You are doing a great job and ask a couple more clarifying questions, arriving at the following definitions. 

Good means an attendee with decision making capability for the practice; you also, during that same meeting, gather a list of titles that are likely decision makers.

Lots means, of the 50,000 attendees, we figure 15,000 are practices in our “sweet spot”, let’s find 500 new practices we’ve never spoken with before. Of those, let’s do at least 200 demos at the event, and have at least 150 follow up appointments.

That’s the essential start for your strategy. Agreement on what you are looking for. Certainly tactical plans need to follow in order to deliver, but that’s for another post.

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At Exhibit Expressions, our mission is to provide innovative, yet practical, solutions for each and every client. We integrate marketing design and production of displays, graphics, and support materials that meet our clients’ goals and exceed their expectations.