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How do you know your exhibition was a success?

The 8 faces of exhibition ROI

Everyone is always saying what a great opportunity exhibitions are, but ultimately it comes down to their ROI. However, this isn’t as simple as just looking at your sales; often there is a little more to it.

What is exhibition ROI?

ROI for exhibitions isn’t simply about sales. If you look beyond this metric, there’s a lot more on offer such as:

  • Brand awareness
  • Simplified lead generation
  • Cost savings
  • Free advertising
  • Feedback Loop
  • Community marketing
  • Predicting the future
  • And Sales

Understand what each exhibition offers and how you can use this to generate a return, by asking what they are looking for? Your activity must respond to this. For example, if the exhibition has media coverage, it might be more beneficial to make a splash and get noticed. The ROI on this publicity can be more invaluable in the long run.

Once you understand the exhibition, then you can consider the types of ROI you might get from it. Then set targets to let you measure the success of your response.

Brand awareness

  • Stands make an impression on everyone walking past regardless of whether they interact or not. The next step is to get noticed.
  • It’s like an interactive advert in the most relevant trade magazine, only here you can make people pay attention.
  • How much would it cost to advertise to such a focused audience in these publications? Now you can begin to calculate where the ROI of exhibition brand awareness starts to come from.

Simplified Lead Generation

  • Exhibitions do all the hard work for you and put all the leads in one place.
  • It’s simply down to you to make sure you attract interest.
  • It removes the need for long courtships and elongated sales development
  • Letting you present yourself in a much more relaxed and less formal environment, and bring more of your brand’s personality to the fore.
  • Then simply count the number of leads you gathered to determine its success.
  • Foresee the foreseeable

Cost savings

  • Day-to-day lead generation is expensive, everything from man-hours cold calling, etc. to travel costs, hotel rooms, demo’s, hospitality and beyond. Exhibitions can remove or reduce much of this.
  • To see how, first consider your average cost per lead, then multiply that by how many leads you gathered at the exhibition.
  • Also how many leads would standard lead generation get you over the same period, often you can condense months of work into 3 or 4 days.

Free advertising

  • Business today is social, so take the time to engage with people before, during and after any exhibition.
  • Do this correctly, and they will spread the word for you, providing invaluable free advertising to exactly the right audience.
  • It’s a little harder to quantify but easy to monitor, just look to see who’s talking about you and who to.
  • Such free advertising is extraordinarily valuable.

Feedback Loop

Listen to what people are saying, good or bad:

  • Good comments tell you what you got right and help build your community of active supporters.
    • Such vocal advocates can create a buzz if you take the time to cultivate these relationships.
  • Adversely, don’t simply ignore any bad feedback if you receive it, it’s just as useful.
    • Highlighting areas for improvement at your next exhibition.
    • They’re also still possible leads, offering an opportunity to turn a negative to your advantage, and a brand convert can often be even more powerful.
  • Harder to ‘quantify’ as ROI, but if more people are speaking to you or about you after your appearance, then it’s usually a good sign.

Community marketing

  • A social audience of followers is also a powerful captive audience.
  • Promote yourself directly to these engaged prospects
  • This doesn’t guarantee ‘sales’, but it does make them a little easier.

Community marketing

  • A social audience of followers is also a powerful captive audience.
  • Promote yourself directly to these engaged prospects
  • This doesn’t guarantee ‘sales’, but it does make them a little easier.

Predicting the future

  • After exhibitions, you’ll have data, keep track of it.
  • Monitor everything, from the number of leads to how many you close and more.
  • Once you have this, you can calculate the possible ROI of exhibitions before they happen.
  • Simply by looking at customer’s worth against how many potential sales you usually expect to make, which will give you a very useful idea of each exhibition’s value to you.

And Sales

This can be determined by looking at figures for the same period after an exhibition as before, or against the previous year, and so on. But remember, 80% of sales come after the 5th contact. So, don’t think a week later that’s it’s all been a waste of money.

Sales ROI can take a little longer to present itself. But all these alternate ROI’s, if monitored, ultimately feed into your sales. So, by looking at them throughout you’ll be able to see this coming.


Do you have a project or want to find out more?

Contact Matt Briggs on +44 (0) 1484 451061 or click here to drop him an email