ROI: Trade Show Buzzword for 2014


After a falloff during the recession, trade shows are back. Attendance is up, and many brands are pulling out all the stops to engage audiences with innovative displays and exhibits. These shows though, come with a hefty price tag, and each element – from your booth design to your collateral – needs to earn its keep.

In the past, a fuzzy “a lot of people saw us” or a vague “we collected a bunch email addresses,” might be enough to convince agencies and brands that the event was a success. No more. Clients want a number; they want to know the return on their investment. The big question is: how do we measure that?

“Sign up. You could win a car!”

In the not-so-distant past, the metrics brands used to measure ROI were basic. How many pieces of branded merchandise did we give away? How many people signed up for further information or for the chance to win a prize? How many gave us their email addresses?

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t mesh with the reality of trade shows today. This is a unique environment: it’s crowded, and full of constant commotion. And through all that, you need to be seen. Brands have to ask themselves how they can be bigger, louder, and more noticeable than their competitors.

At the same time, people don’t want to be pressed into signing up or giving you their personal information, and you have to figure out ways to engage them in a way that resonates with them. That’s what your audience wants – and that is how you can measure your ROI.

Capturing Data Organically

All of those interactions – whether someone is handling a new phone or using a kiosk with an interactive display – allow you to capture data. Each time people push a button, swipe their finger on the screen, or use the products to communicate, play, or create, it’s recorded on the backend. This has a variety of benefits, but the big two:

Data capture is stealthy. You’re not bombarding people with requests for their addresses or phone numbers, a big plus with today’s consumers. The experience is the star; data capture happens naturally as people move interact with your space.

Your information is much more specific and reliable. Numbers are useless if you cannot qualify them, if you cannot say, “This is where this data came from.” With this approach, you know where your data came from, how it was obtained, and what it means. You can pinpoint areas of strength, and areas of weakness, and use this information to guide decision-making.

Technology is a powerful tool in measuring tradeshow ROI. It incorporates something people are already doing, allows them greater comfort and convenience, and provides brands with targeted information.

When you can accurately measure your ROI, you not only determine if your money was well spent, you have the information you need to make your next tradeshow even more successful. Instead of “It worked,” you can say, “It worked…here’s exactly why and how, and here’s what we can do next time.”

Find out what Boxman’s team can do for you. Get in touch today.