Conference Focuses on Trade Show ROI

“IF YOU AREN’T FEELING the pressure yet of measuring [your exhibiting efforts], you will,” said Mim Goldberg, president, Marketech Inc., at the Event Measurement Conference, sponsored by the Trade Show Exhibitors Association and held in early October in Boston. “Executives don’t want to know that the booths were full. They want to know the return on objectives: What did we put in, what did we get out of it, and how does it compare to other marketing techniques?”

The one-day conference offered solutions for measuring and documenting the ROI of trade shows and proprietary events. About 50 corporate event professionals attended the program, which featured a keynote by Skip Cox, president, Exhibit Surveys Inc., Red Bank, N.J. Mim Goldberg and Marc Goldberg, founder of Marketech, Westboro, Mass., spoke about event measurement methodologies, along with executives from The George P. Johnson Co., a North Easton, Mass. event marketing firm.

Speakers emphasized that before any measurement begins, exhibitors should set objectives for the show. These could range from creating awareness of a brand to introducing a new product. Marc Goldberg explained how to translate these measurement objectives into dollars and cents, such as how to estimate the cost of attracting an attendee to the booth or generating a sales lead. “If we are generating leads for $67 per person, how does that compare to other forms of marketing?” he asked. If it compares favorably, then planners can make a strong case for the value of the event.

On average, it costs about $117 to attract an attendee to a booth, but $200 per visitor to establish personal contact, said Cox, citing research done by his company. Creating an environment that fosters personal interaction often requires additional resources, such as pre-show marketing. “Attendees want information and face-to-face interaction,” he said. “Sometimes we lose sight of those two basic principles.”

In a recent survey of marketing executives by the George P. Johnson Co., just 60 percent say they establish personal contact with attendees at shows, down from 67 percent 10 years ago.

It’s also important to draw the right people to your booth, Cox said. About one-third of attendees at the average trade show make buying decisions, and about half are charged with developing the vendor list. So exhibitors need to recognize that the quality of traffic is more important than the quantity.

Original Publication: Nov 1, 2004 12:00 PM, DAVE KOVALESKI,


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