How to Maximise Trade Show ROI

The success of trade shows, conferences and exhibitions requires more than girls and giveaways and isn't measured by how many email addresses you collect.
maximise trade show roi - How to Maximise Trade Show ROI

Events like these have only one meaningful metric – ROI. As the best software marketing agency we are providing a checklist that will show you how to plan to maximise Trade Show ROI – long before you pay a cent – so you will know for sure if it will be worth attending next time.

1. Know your objectives

Why are you attending, is it to:

  • Increase market share with existing users?
  • Introduce new b2b tech marketing products/services into existing markets ?
  • Promote new b2b tech marketing products/services into new markets?
  • Increase visibility with potential partners?
  • Or just to be seen (you feel you must be there)?

How will you measure success?

  • What will you measure?
  • Who needs a hard copy of objectives and measures?

What’s the budget?

  • How much can you spend and
  • What is your projected or acceptable ROI?

2. Collate everything

Do you have a master checklist that covers everything?

  • Event deadlines (artwork, sponsorship, equipment delivery, bump-in and bump-out, event promotion)
  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • Company attendees at the show
  • Dinner or related events
  • Flights and accommodation
  • Contact names and numbers
  • Gifts, estimates, quotes and actual costs etc? 

3. Define your Trade Show message

What’s the one key message?

  • What is new/topical/relevant to this market?
  • What is the key message this year/this event?
  • How does it support your b2b product launch strategy objectives/core messaging?
  • Can you use few words to ensure it’s clear, concise and compelling?
  • Will you be able to use it in all trade show marketing, communications, booth graphics, banners, brochures, sponsorship message?
  • Who is handling the artwork (for stand, collateral and communications) and tactical marketing plan?
  • Who is overseeing consistency and budgets? 

3. Plan your stand 

What kind of equipment do you need to support the message?

  • How much space do you need to accommodate equipment (shelves, cupboards, tables etc)
  • Are there any special requirements (security, power, lighting, laptops, big screens)?
  • Can you also ensure maximum wall/ promotional space for your message so you get the best bang for your buck?

What’s the attraction, ’wow’ factor, differentiator?

  • How will you draw people in?
  • How will you stand out from competitors?
  • Will you have an attraction (gift, raffle, game, guest, entertainment)?
  • How can yours be different, more intelligent or relevant?
  • What can you give away as a reminder (for those who don’t win)?
  • What movement/animation/interest will you use (Video, TV etc)?
BLOG TRADE SHOW ROI TICKETS - How to Maximise Trade Show ROI
No ticket, No Ride.

What materials are needed? 

  • Registration of interest forms?
  • Brochures (a few to show)?
  • Fliers (many more to give away; linked to theme, prize and brochures)?
  • Giveaways (memorable and portable)?
  • Will there be prizes? And if they are large, can they be collected later?
  • Raffle, competition forms?
  • How will you prioritise leads (to differentiate for staged follow up)?

NB: Avoid having a lot of portable material that would be useful for competitors.

How much space do you have?

  • How will you avoid congestion, barriers?
  • Can you make the booth linear or with several entry points (not just one in middle of front)?
  • Will visitors be entertained there or elsewhere?
  • How many people do you expect on the stand?
  • What furniture will be needed?
  • What space is left for key messages (take into account where your staff will sit or stand)?
  • How can booth be arranged to maximize impact yet minimise clutter? 

4. Choose Trade Show attendees

  • Who are best suited to this event (eg. saas content marketing agency, b2b internet marketing agency) and its delegates (sales, technical, customer service)?
  • At what time do your attendees need to arrive?
  • Do they all need to be there all the time?
  • Would a staff member appreciate attendance to the event as a reward?
  • How will you handle breaks, overload?
  • Has the travel been organized? If not, a person or group should be allocated this task.

What security/access is needed?

  • For the booth and equipment
  • Access for your staff?
  • Will you have passes for guests?
BLOG TRADE SHOW ROI CROWD - How to Maximise Trade Show ROI
Nobody yell “FIRE!”

6. Ensure promotion

  • Who needs to know that you’re attending?
  • How will you let them know (email, ads, social media etc)?
  • What incentives will you give attendees to visit your booth (link to wow factor)?
  • When will you launch your promotion?
  • How many times will you promote it?

7. Follow up 

  • Will you be sending items out to attendees? A great way to secure leads.
  • How quickly can you follow up?
  • How will you follow up (and avoid being in the avalanche of competing messages)?
  • Who will do it?

8. Review your Trade Show experience objectively 

  • Which 2 or 3 people will evaluate the event?
  • What are the evaluation criteria (see 1. Objectives)?
  • Were the objectives met?
  • The total event cost was (include everything)?
  • The value of genuine tech sales leads? 
  • What was the ROI?
  • Will you attend next year?

Original text written by Tracey James and Updated by Matthew Whyatt

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