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Delivering results: How to maximize your trade-show ROIemployee

Delivering results: How to maximize your trade-show ROINow more than ever, you’re probably feeling the pressure: How do you show the value of a trade show? More importantly, how can you confidently assure that your participation will yield an impressive return on investment (ROI)?
That’s where we hope to help. In the first of our two-part series, we’ll divulge a few ways that you can maximize your trade show ROI, from an exhibitor’s point of view. Next month, we’ll wrap it up with how to get the biggest return from trade show attendance, even without a company booth in tow.
So, let’s get started! Here are our Top 6 ways to make the most of exhibiting at an industry tradeshow:

  1. Integrate marketing –  A well-defined pre- and post-event marketing campaign will raise awareness of your company and its presence at the trade show. If your company attendees are speaking at the conference, publicize it. Prepare a press kit for distribution, place advertisements in industry publications or pitch editorial columns. Be sure your marketing message is clear and singular. Similarly, eye-catching booth graphics, exhibitor wear for men and women, along with thoughtful promotional products, will heighten the campaign’s impact.
  2. Add training – Before attending the trade show, consider holding a series of trade show training sessions with all teammates who will be exhibiting or have a hand elsewhere in the planning or follow-up process. Your trade show team should understand their role in the trade show process, and how they are to handle prospects, visitors and leads. Try compiling all information by involvement level, then load it onto USB Drives for easy, on-the-go access, no matter where they are!
  3. Reduce expenses One easy way to increase ROI is to reduce trade show expenses. Some ideas we found include buying a smaller space, share a booth with partners or use local resellers to help staff your booth.
  4. Qualify leads – With trained staff, qualifying leads becomes easier. Your floor team will know what questions to ask in order to determine the potential of the lead. Also look to your marketing team to help before and after the show with targeted promotional pieces.
  5. Track data – Keep track of how many people visit your booth, times, what products/services they were interested in, buying intent and any redemption of pre-show promotional materials. While it may be difficult to capture all of this information, it is essential to measure your lead-to-conversion results. There are several online tools and software applications available to help streamline this process.
  6. Follow up – According to “The Tradeshow Coach” Susan Friedmann, CSP, research shows that more than 80 percent of leads gathered at tradeshows are never followed up due to little or no substance for contact (i.e. a business card or basic info scribbled on a piece of paper). Other experts say that number is high, too. But despite of this statistic, your true leads will increase if you follow up by sending “thank you’s”, calling or jotting off an e-mail.

No matter your industry, positive trade show ROI for exhibitors depends on getting the right message into the right hands, at the right time. Ultimately, according to Friedmann, it also depends on an effective lead-management process:

”It starts with knowing what you want to achieve, then continues through establishing a strategy that is user-friendly, and finally the actual follow-up operation leads to bottom-line profitability. With a little preparation and planning, the results will speak for themselves.”

Stay tuned next month for Part Two of our two-part series – it will detail how to get the most out of a tradeshow, from an attendee’s point of view!


Epstein, Charles. “How to Maximize Your Trade Show ROI: Turning Three Day Into a Year’s Worth of Sales.” Managesmarter. 2008. 01 Feb. 2008.

Ervine, Jame. Dynamic Network Factory. “5 Ways You Can Improve Trade Show ROI.” CustomerThink. 2008. 1 Feb. 2009.

Friedmann, Susan. “Show Me the Money: Maximizing Tradeshow ROI.” MarcommWise. 2006. 28 Jan. 2009.

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