Joining trade shows and establishing a strong presence there requires money in addition to other resources. In that case, events are considered an investment and to justify these expenses, organisers must be able to assess the value they bring to the business.
In this chapter, we’ll delve into the seven essential metrics that will help you effectively evaluate your event’s ROI.
What is ROI?
ROI is ‘return on investment’, which is the amount of profit a company makes throughout a particular period. Specifically for events, ROI is the return on investment an event (and in our case exhibitions) will bring to a company. It also serves as valuable information for strategic decision-making.
Unlike traditional ROI, event ROI isn’t as simple as just the financial metrics. Event ROI is concerned with evaluating the outcomes of a particular event, considering both financial and non-financial factors like brand exposure, lead generation, and networking opportunities.
When understanding event success and calculating event ROI, a company must consider everything used to create a successful event. Take note that while ROI typically measures net costs, for events that consider other determining factors, ROI will provide net value.
Here is the formula for computing ROI:
Setting the Stage
Set your event goals and objectives
Setting goals and objectives provides clear direction and purpose to your participation, ensuring that you have a focused and strategic approach. Having goals and objectives also helps you measure success and ROI by providing benchmarks for evaluating the impact of your trade show efforts.
When you have goals and objectives placed, then you have a guide for resource allocation, staff training, and booth design, enabling you to make informed decisions that maximise the value you gain from trade show events.
Let’s clarify the difference between goals and objectives before providing an example. Goals are broad, overarching, and often more long-term aspirations that an individual or organisation aims to achieve. They provide a strategic direction and a sense of purpose. Objectives, on the other hand, are specific, measurable, and time-bound milestones or actions that support the attainment of goals. They break down the larger goals into smaller, achievable steps.
- Goal: Increase in sales
- Objective: Receive 1000+ new leads throughout the two-day event.
A well-planned budget is essential for ensuring a successful event. Allocate your resources strategically and consider all the needs of your event that should cover necessary expenses like booth space, design and construction, promotional materials, staffing, travel, and accommodations. Consider both fixed costs and variable costs, adjusting your budget as needed to ensure a balance between cost efficiency and the desired impact.
1. Attendance rate
The attendance rate is calculated by dividing the total number of people who came by your booth by the number of the whole trade show registrants. Measuring this is important for several reasons, with the first having valuable feedback on the trade show’s overall appeal and the effectiveness of your company’s exhibition.
2. Lead generation
Lead generation success at an event can be determined by evaluating both the quantity and quality of leads generated. Firstly, you can measure success by the number of new leads added to the database and comparing it to your predetermined benchmarks.
However, lead quality is equally important if not more. Assess the extent to which these leads are genuinely interested and fit your target audience or buyer persona. A successful event for lead generation should not only yield a substantial volume of new leads but also a high percentage of leads that have the potential to convert into customers, which can be gauged by tracking their engagement and responsiveness to your post-event follow-ups and marketing efforts.
3. Event engagement
Measuring event engagement reveals how effectively you are connecting with your target audience. A high engagement rate signifies that your booth is capturing attendees’ interest and holding their attention, which is a good sign of an increased likelihood of fruitful conversations and relationship-building.
Event engagement metrics will depend on the type of activities and call-to-actions your business will do for the event but here are common metrics that you can track:
- Number of questions asked
- Level of participation during workshops, live product demonstrations, and presentations
- Number of app downloads
- Number of contest participants
By tracking engagement, you can refine your approach, tailor your messaging, and ensure that you are making the most of your trade show participation, ultimately leading to higher chances of converting leads into valuable connections and potential customers.
4. Customer education
Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to educate potential customers about your products or services in a hands-on and interactive environment. Understanding the effectiveness of your educational efforts helps in assessing how well attendees grasp the value proposition, features, and benefits of what you offer.
Here are some metrics to consider for customer education:
- Number of demonstrations provided
- Number of samples provided
- Event survey participants
- Number of client appointments
By measuring customer education, you can tailor your presentations, demonstrations, and materials to ensure clarity and engagement, fostering a better-informed and more receptive audience. Ultimately, a well-informed customer base is more likely to convert into long-term, loyal clients, making this aspect of trade show participation vital for future business growth.
5. Sales revenue
To measure sales revenue attributable to attendance at a trade show, start by tracking all sales that occur during or shortly after the event. Use unique promotional codes, special offers, or custom landing pages for attendees to facilitate tracking. Also, take note of the number of sales made and the number of accounts closed and won from the event. This allows you to directly attribute sales to the trade show.
Additionally, survey attendees post-event to understand their purchasing decisions and gather data on what influenced their buying choices. Analyse the increase in revenue during the trade show period compared to the average revenue from a similar timeframe without the event. By isolating trade show-related sales, you can gauge the direct financial impact of the event on your company’s revenue.
6. Social media engagement
As mentioned in previous chapters, promoting the event before and during the trade show is essential for maximising your reach and impact. Here are metrics you can monitor to measure social media engagement during the event:
- Likes and shares in your event-related posts
- Replies and inquiries in your event-related posts
- New followers on social media from the event
- Number of company and hashtag mentions on social media
- Discussions around event hashtags
7. Customer satisfaction
Measuring customer satisfaction after trade show events involves post-event surveys and feedback collection. Send out surveys to attendees, exhibitors, or partners who participated in the trade show. In these surveys, ask questions related to their experience, the value they gained, and their overall satisfaction with the event.
Include both quantitative rating scales and open-ended questions to capture detailed feedback. Analyse the survey responses to identify key areas for improvement and gather insights for enhancing future trade show participation. Additionally, monitor social media and online mentions related to the event to gauge sentiment and gather unsolicited feedback. Combining these methods allows you to measure and improve customer satisfaction effectively.
These seven essential metrics provide a holistic framework for evaluating the ROI of your event. Measuring ROI is about more than financial success; it’s about understanding your event’s impact and its contribution to your organization’s goals.
By effectively assessing these metrics, you can make data-driven decisions to enhance future events and ensure that your event investments yield substantial returns.