Ravi Chalaka’s Guide to Calculating Trade Show ROI

By Ravi Chalaka, June 18, 2019

Trade shows are an important spend in any marketer’s budget. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research found the average company puts more than 30% of their total marketing budget into events and exhibiting. This results in more than $24 billion in spending on trade shows each year in the U.S. Finding a way to measure the success of a trade show is key, but only 30% of exhibitors actually have established goals for their events. The first step in setting goals for trade shows is determining what metrics to measure.

Metrics are a clear indication of the direction in which a company is moving. They give a more structured approach toward creating actionable insights that can be used to align strategy with sales objectives and maximize event ROI. The two types of metrics to look at are hard metrics and soft metrics. Hard metrics are often quantitative, provide strong indicators, and lead to action. Soft metrics are more qualitative, focusing on engagement and awareness. Hard metrics are typically a better gauge of performance.

A Meeting Automation Platform can aid you in your attempt to measure the ROI of an event. A MAP will allow you to track several metrics in order to calculate the ROI. Most importantly, it gives you a platform to store all the data of your event. Determining the ROI of a trade show starts by measuring the right things in your MAP. Below are a few of the key metrics to keep an eye out for at your next trade show.

Frequency of B2B Meetings

More and more strategic B2B meetings at events are being pre-scheduled because a trade show can be full of attendees that are not target customers. The sales team needs to schedule a certain number of customer meetings at events in order for them to advance their sales deals. The number of meetings accepted versus those rejected can share how effective the strategy is in targeting prospects. The number of quality meetings scheduled determines the number of engagements that are brought in and ultimately converted to business outcomes. In addition to customers, meetings with partners, press and analysts are other examples of strategic meetings with the potential to make a business impact.

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