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Set Goals

It may seem like common sense, but goal setting is essential when measuring your exhibition success. Once you have clearly defined goals, you have something to measure your results against.

Ask yourself: “What did I want to get out of the show? – your answer will effectively dictate your goals.

Make sure your response is specific. For example, wanting to increase your brand awareness is not a well-defined and measurable goal. On the other hand, wanting a 20% increase of audience awareness of a new product is both well-defined and can be measured.

Set Timeframes

Set a timeframe to achieve these goals, and make sure they are possible within your set timeframe  be realistic.

There will be ‘quick wins’, i.e. email all your visitors to thank them for visiting your stand, and there will be ‘slow burners’, i.e. a year or more before any action is taken, so don’t set timescales that produce false results. This could impact on your decision to return to a show.

Revenue Generated

The revenue that your company generates directly from a trade show can be difficult to estimate. It is rare for sales to be made immediately and as a result, leads can take months, even years to be converted into customers and then eventually into sales.

However, your exhibition success can be indicated by your ROI (return on investment).

Leads collected and converted into customers come from two sources:

1)         New customers

2)         Existing customers

To measure your exhibition success, track the revenue from leads to new customers and project how much business you will generate with these new customers during the year.  Next, calculate business from existing customers that can be attributed to the show. Moreover, a projection of potential customers that could develop from leads to customers may also be tracked.

Finally, add together the actual and projected revenue from new and existing customers, then compare this revenue with the costs of the show to calculate the ROI from leads.

Cost Savings

Cost savings are not all about attending the Show as cheaply as you can. Instead, consider the money you save that otherwise would have been spent elsewhere.

Appearing at trade shows can save you money and time since you’ll be meeting customers all in one place, at the same time.

Meeting with clients individually, at different times and at different places, can cost a small fortune in travel and in other expenses. If you can get your business partners, investors, existing customers and prospects to attend the same show, it can save you money.

Observation and Feedback

The simplest and most cost-effective way to measure your exhibition success is through observation and feedback. Encourage and seek feedback to keep track of what worked as well as what didn’t work, prior to and after the show.

Speak to staff members, the management team, existing customers, new prospects and even other exhibitors to find out what they thought of your stand and your exhibition presence.

Some questions you may like to consider include:

  • ‘What was the most valuable/least valuable part of the show and why?’
  • ‘Did you find our pre-show promotions effective?’
  • ‘Was our stand effective?’
  • ‘Did you find our stand overcrowded or were there not enough people?’
  • ‘Were the giveaways worthwhile?’
  • ‘What should we do again/not do again and why?’
  • ‘What could we do to be better?’


Like all successful marketing, you have to be able to gauge some level of success. Everyone will have a gut feeling as to whether a particular show has been successful or not. Arguably, if you can support this with specific data and feedback, it will make the decision of whether you go back next year much easier to make.

If you have any exhibition plans for 2018, or you need to kick-start your marketing efforts, contact us to discuss your ideas – we’re always happy to offer advice.

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