Trade shows and exhibitions are remarkable marketing opportunities, with industry research highlighting the high degree of purchase-ready attendees and interested audiences.

However, just because other organisations have met with success at these ventures doesn't mean your enterprise will automatically see outstanding results simply by showing up. Just as you wouldn't funnel your life savings into lottery tickets simply because your next-door neighbour cashed in big, you need to know whether your specific exhibition activities will result in positive outcomes for your organisation before making a big commitment.  

Unfortunately, assessing the value of trade show participation and other efforts is quite murky for many entities. Some don't even measure their return on investment (ROI). Whether you're a business owner or a member of the marketing team looking to demonstrate exhibition value to stakeholders, having data at your disposal is the best way to make informed decisions. 

Starting off with a purpose

How do you measure the ROI of your displays and presentations? To arrive at valuable, insightful figures, you need to take an important step early on in the process: defining your objectives. 

Not only will this enable you to collect the right information so you can evaluate how successful your efforts are, knowing the reasons you're participating will ultimately help you and your design team hone in on the best strategies. 

Enterprises participate in marketing events for different purposes. They ultimately all support the bottom line but serve this final objective in various ways. For instance, some companies focus on making sales on the spot, whereas others are looking to generate leads, gain exposure or highlight an upcoming release. 

Once you define your objectives, you can tailor strategies accordingly and collect the right information so you can evaluate the ROI based on the nature of the event and your goals. 

Wrapping up with review 

In the hustle and bustle of concluding an event, it can be easy to lose sight of the need to report and follow up on leads. That's why it's also critical to have procedures in place for sales teams to chase down those interested customers while tracking that the business opportunities followed from the marketing event.

That way, organisations can gain more comprehensive insight into their results both immediately after a show and down the road when they start drawing business from those leads. This information will then prove valuable as companies seek to optimise their future exhibition strategies or make decisions about which marketing activities to pursue.