Trade Show Return on Investment: Reading Between the Lines
Trade shows play a large role in the marketing game, but you would be surprised by the number of companies who outwardly admit they are not tracking their return on investment from their shows. We often find it easier to track ROI from our digital marketing efforts due to the simplicity of the calculation, but what happens when our marketing efforts produce non-sales related value?
If you are truly entering your trade show leads into a database that can cross reference sales dollars with your lead source, you should be right on track in understanding the value of your shows over time. However, not all sales cycles are alike and sometimes it can take years of reporting to gain an accurate view of your return.
Here are a couple of ways you can prove your shows are valuable without using a standard ROI calculation:
Forecasting Trade Show Return on Investment
If you’re doing it right, you should already be categorizing your leads into A, B, & C leads. Count your A and B leads and multiply that number by your average or expected closure rate, times your average or expected revenue per sale, divided by the cost of exhibiting at that particular show.
Number of A&B leads x closure rate x revenue / cost of exhibiting = Forecasted Revenue
Calculating Your Entire Payback:
Calculating your entire payback for a tradeshow involves gathering the information you might not have considered as a benefit in the past, for example:
Face to face communication is still the most accurate and effective form, so calculate the value of the revenue retained by getting to meet even your most distanced clients face to face.
Trade shows bring businesses together face to face in one location. You might find cost savings in meeting multiple points of contacts in one place instead of traveling to different locations to meet the needs of your clients, especially when working with international clients.
You might find yourself getting additional exposure at your show by winning an award, by being featured in the press, or by the number of social media views received due to attendance. Imagine if you were paying a company to get you this kind of exposure, how much would it cost?
By assigning a value to overlooked trade show benefits and adding those values to sales dollars on new leads, you can calculate your entire payback and uncover much more than your simple return on investment.