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Using trade show metrics to gauge success

Did you know only 50 percent of marketers measure the return they get on their investment in trade show activities? Survey data shows 89 percent feel events provide value to their organization, yet 45 percent struggle proving just how much.

Legendary writer, professor and management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets improved.” These key metrics and methods of collecting data can help you do just that—measure and improve your trade show efforts.

  • Cost per opportunity: Lead generation is one of the top three goals for trade show exhibitors. To calculate this metric, you simply divide the amount you invested in your trade show activities by the number of leads or opportunities it generated.There are several ways to determine how many leads your efforts generated. For example, include a quick response (QR) code on all promotional materials and booth signage. Those who scan your QR code should be taken to a dedicated website landing page for lead capture. You can extend this metric to virtual attendees by requiring those who are remote to register online. Include virtual attendees in a drawing for a prize, perhaps for a Bluetooth® speaker or set of headphones.
  • Attendee engagement: On average, 81 percent of trade show attendees remember visiting a company’s booth, yet only 52 percent report being meaningfully engaged while there. Measuring engagement can be tricky, but consider gauging this metric by tracking the number of demonstrations you give or how many people participate in a game or experience. You can even conduct a survey. Encourage participation and increase the chance you’ll be remembered by offering rewards, such as ear bud/phone stand combos or Retractable Charging Cables; or enter participants in a prize drawing for a power bank.
  • Social media reach: Measuring the number of Facebook® fans, Twitter® followers, blog subscribers and more—both before and after the show—can help you determine how your trade show impacts your social media reach. Further your insight by looking at the number of people engaging with you at the show and after. Knowing which channels generate the most engagement helps you determine where to invest your time and money next time around.

To improve on your performance, you must measure your trade show metrics. Try one or all of these ideas at your next trade show. Good luck!

Symonds, Peter. “How to Track Your Tradeshow ROI.” MarketingProfs. N.p., 31 Mar. 2015. Web. Retrieved 08 Oct. 2015.

Alderton, Matt. “Marketers Struggle to Prove Trade Show ROI, Study Shows.” Successful Meetings. N.p., 26 Apr. 2013. Web. Retrieved 08 Oct. 2015.

Shore, Jeff. “These 10 Peter Drucker Quotes May Change Your World.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 16 Sept. 2014. Web. Retrieved 08 Oct. 2015.

Thimmesch, Mike. “16 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows.” TSNN Trade Show News. N.p., 17 Aug. 2013. Web. Retrieved 14 Oct. 2015.

Michael Stone “Calculate Your Cost Per Lead.” Construction Programs and Results, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 14 Oct. 2015.

Sprung, Rachel. “The 4 Most Important Metrics for Measuring Your Trade Show Marketing ROI.” Search Engine People Blog. N.p., 16 Mar. 2012. Web. Retrieved 14 Oct. 2015.

“Tradeshow Benchmarks and Trends.” Exhibit Surveys, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 22 Sept. 2015.

Campanella, Stephanie. “6 Key Metrics to Measure Trade Show ROI.” Tradies, We Build Websites For Tradesmen. N.p., 27 May 2014. Web. Retrieved 14 Oct. 2015.

Popp, Jason. “How Data Can Extend the Life of Your Event.” TSNN Trade Show News. N.p., 18 July 2015. Web. Retrieved 14 Oct. 2015.

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