Guide to Measuring Your Trade Show ROI

October 26, 2023

Trade shows are an essential marketing tool for many businesses, and as a trade show organizer, your job is to ensure that the event is successful for both the exhibitors and attendees. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of a trade show is crucial to determine its effectiveness. It’s easy to fall victim to one of the 4 common trade show myths that trade shows are a waste of time and money. In this article, we will explore the steps you need to take to measure the ROI of your trade show effectively:

  1. Analyze your budget

  2. Define your goals

  3. Track and update leads

  4. Determine your LCV (lifetime customer value)

  5. Calculate your ROI

1. Analyze Your Budget

Before organizing a trade show, it's essential to set a realistic budget. Analyze all of the costs associated with the event, including venue rental, marketing expenses, staffing, and logistics costs. By understanding your budget, you can determine the minimum number of exhibitors and attendees you need to generate to break even.

2. Define Your Goals

What do you want to achieve by organizing the trade show? Is it to generate revenue, increase brand awareness, or provide a platform for networking? Defining your goals upfront will help you focus your efforts and resources to achieve them. It’s valuable to follow the SMART model when setting goals for your trade show: Make sure they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals to give you a clear picture of what success looks like.

3. Track and Update Leads

Tracking leads is crucial to measuring the ROI of your trade show. Provide exhibitors with lead capturing tools, such as badge scanners or mobile apps, to collect visitor data, such as their name, email, and phone number. This data will allow exhibitors to follow up with potential customers after the show to turn them into sales. Encourage exhibitors to track the status of each lead and update their information as they move them through their sales funnel.

4. Determine Your LCV (Lifetime Customer Value)

The lifetime customer value (LCV) is the amount of revenue a customer generates for a business over the course of their relationship with them. Calculating the LCV of your exhibitors will give you a clear picture of how much revenue you can expect them to generate from attending your trade show. This figure is important to know when assessing the profitability of your event.

5. Calculate Your ROI

Once you have collected all the data, you can calculate the ROI of your trade show. You can do this by subtracting the total costs of organizing the trade show from the total revenue generated from the event. Divide this figure by the total cost of organizing the trade show and multiply it by 100 to get your ROI percentage.

If the ROI is positive, it means that you generated more revenue than you spent on the trade show, and your investment was profitable. This information allows you to justify the investment and continue to allocate resources to trade shows in the future. On the other hand, if the ROI is negative, it means that you spent more money than you generated from the event, and you incurred a loss. This information is equally valuable because it enables you to identify the areas that need improvement to increase the ROI of future events or decide whether to allocate resources elsewhere.

Measuring the ROI of your event is essential to determine its success and identify areas for improvement. By analyzing your budget, defining your goals, tracking leads, and determining the LCV of your exhibitors, you can accurately assess the value of organizing a trade show. 

Remember to provide exhibitors with the tools they need to make the most out of the event. With these tools in hand, you can measure the ROI of your trade show effectively and make informed decisions for future events. Read more about how trade show software can help maximize your strategy.

A great tool to use is Perenso Trade Show. Perenso's all-in-one event software solution will help you streamline the trade show planning process. With the right trade show software, you'll have the tools you need to turn your next trade show into a success.