It’s time to change the conversation about trade shows. Stop thinking about monetary ROI from trade shows and move on to more urgent and practical matters.
What do you want to get from trade show spend?
There is a simple answer: Leads and sales.
Exhibit marketing isn’t like the other popular B2B marketing tactics. B2B marketing needs personal selling.
Websites, Webinars, SEO, paid search, e-mail, PR, print advertising, direct mail and social media are all one or more steps removed from personal selling.
Executives demand need evidence of ROI in the above, because they can readily suck up time and money without clearly driving sales.
But exhibit marketing is different.
It’s so closely tied to personal selling that you shouldn’t demand elaborate proof of ROI in it. You can’t demand that sales people prove their ROI with charts and graphs of phone calls, travel, hospitality and gifts.
Judge a trade show, like a salesperson is judged.
In assessing trade show performance, this is what executives want to know:
- Does the show help our company communicate effectively?
- Does it help us establish industry leadership?
- Does it let us identify promising accounts?
- Does it help us educate and develop buyers?
- Does it create valuable relationships?
- And does it, when all’s said and done, produce sales?