Evaluating Your Exhibition Performance
Chances are, you and your company are exhibiting at events with some specific goals in mind, e.g. generating sales leads, introducing new products, or improving PR. But what are the best ways for you to evaluate these goals at the end of the event?
After the event is over you’ll likely just want to rest, however this is where the evaluation comes in, which is perhaps the most important aspect of the exhibition. Evaluating your performance allows you to understand what went well and more importantly what didn’t, from this you can decide how you can improve for your next event.
Setting the Right Goals
Before the event, you and your team need to decide on why you’re attending, and what you want to gain from attending. Clearly defined goals will help you to set up appropriate strategies, plans and to hire/select the right booth staff.
Popular event goals include:
- Generating leads
- Demonstrating/launching new products
- Recruiting new staff
- Press coverage and PR
- Improving brand awareness
- Developing international contacts
- Enhancing relationships with clients
- Generating a return on investment
These goals are a great starting point, however they need to be made S.M.A.R.T, which stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. An example of a SMART objective would be – ‘Generate £5,000 revenue in sales as a result of the event by the end of Q2 2016’
For more information about SMART objectives, please see our article ‘SMART Objectives for an Exhibition’.
Evaluating your exhibition results can be done in many different ways, from simple observation and visitor feedback to calculating the return on investment (ROI).
Return on Investment
To accurately measure your exhibition ROI, you need to know how much revenue the event generated. This is one of the most difficult measurements to track if you are not making actual sales at the exhibition. Leads will be passed on to a sales team, meaning it can take months or even years for the lead to convert into an actual sale.
However, using this simple calculation, you can make a reasonably accurate estimate of your revenue – ‘Number of hot leads x close rate x average value of sale = estimated revenue’.
Hot leads are visitors who commit to a sales contact or other specific sales-related step after the show. Close rate is a percentage figure of sales closed by your sales team. For the average value of sale, take the product lines you promoted at the show and develop a weighted average based on interest for each product.
Using the estimated revenue you can generate an approximate ROI using the following calculation – ‘(Estimated Revenue – Investment) / Investment’. For example:
(£10,000 - £7,500) / £7,500 = 0.33 or a 33% return on investment.
If you set goals for a certain return on investment you can now approximately see if those goals were met.
Visitor feedback can be recorded in a few different ways and it’s best to use a variety of methods in order to get a more accurate result.
After a visitors has had time to take in your exhibition stand and talk to your team, you can ask them to take a short interview or questionnaire in order to get information about the effectiveness of different aspects of your exhibit. A few examples of questions that may be included are:
- How would you rate your experience with stand staff? (1-10, 1-5 stars etc.)
- Where did you first hear about our company?
- Has your view of our company image changed since visiting the stand?
- What do you think could be improved?
- Comments/free question space
For larger companies that are more well known, pre and post attendee surveys are a good option for measuring your performance as they provide insight into what the visitor thinks about the company before, and after visiting your stand. The pre-show survey establishes a benchmark whilst the post-show survey allows you to compare the two e.g. has awareness of our brand improved since visiting the exhibition stand?
Questions to ask
A simple way to get feedback and evaluate your exhibition success is to ask questions. Questions can be asked to your staff, new prospects, existing customers and trade show managers. A few ideas for questions are:
- Was the stands location good? Why/why not? – use this information to decide on a more appropriate location next time.
- Were there enough staff at the stand? – Did you have too many/too little staff to handle visitors?
- Was our promotional literature effective? Why/why not? – use this to improve your literature next time
- Did our stand attract your attention? Why/why not? – use this information to improve exhibition stand design and layout
- Did you find our pre-show promotions effective? Why/why not?
- What did you feel could be improved on?
- What did you like/dislike about the products we demonstrated?
At the end of the event gather all the answers you received in order to evaluate them. You can use these answers to generate ideas for improvement at the next event. For example, if the majority of people didn’t like your stand design/layout how can you improve on that for next time?
It is important to always evaluate all of the information available to you at the end of your event in order to determine whether it was a success or not, even exhibition veterans can improve. Every exhibition you attend will provide insight on what can be done better. It is also important to do your evaluation as soon as possible after the exhibition, while the event is still fresh in your mind.
Do you have any useful tips for evaluating exhibition performance? We’d love to hear them on our Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
At XL Displays we are experts in exhibition stand design and provide everything from custom exhibition stands, to portable display solutions such as pop up stands, roller banners and promotional counters. For more information, please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.