Kent Vision LIVE’s Doc Profit explains how to evaluate your return on investment from taking a stand at a B2B exhibition, with a simple ROI calculator you can use to quickly assess your chances of success or evaluate your performance after the event.
Taking an exhibition stand at key industry events is an essential component of most effective marketing strategies – but calculating the return you might expect from your investment can sometimes seem complicated to less experienced marketers.
Many of the softer benefits are obvious: raising your company’s profile, gaining face-to-face contact with potential and existing customers, getting feedback on new products or services or checking out your competition. However, quantifying the direct impact on sales revenues needs a more scientific approach and a longer-range perspective.
In the business-to-business (B2B) arena, you are very unlikely to close many sales the first time you meet a customer and your primary objective is more likely to be generating qualified leads that will feed your sales pipeline for the next 3-6 months. Hence, it would usually be a big mistake to judge the success or failure of your participation by the number of sales you make from your stand on the day.
To apply some realism to the process, you should be thinking more about quantifiable metrics such as the number of ‘good’ leads you collected, the likelihood of converting those leads into sales, the probable value of those sales and the lifetime value of a new customer to your business. You can use the simple ROI Calculator below to do this.
Once you have an estimate of the direct sales revenue that might be generated by the event, you can then calculate your likely Return on Investment (ROI) by dividing this number by the cost of your participation.
Although the total cost of exhibiting can be 2-3 times the cost of the stand itself (when you factor in building your stand, printed collateral and your staff’s time), it is often easier to use just the direct cost paid to the event organiser. Many smaller exhibitors already have pop-up stands, display graphics and printed marketing materials and their staff are already employed – so these additional elements will not add much (if any) incremental cost to their attendance.
To see your ROI as a percentage of the cost of your stand, enter that value in the final field.
Of course this basic calculation doesn’t factor in any of the many softer benefits mentioned at the start of this article – nor the high value of staying in touch with existing customers and (hopefully) preventing them from defecting to one of your competitors who may also be exhibiting at the event – but we’ll be covering those benefits in more detail in another article next month.
However, it should provide you with a useful ‘ready reckoner’ that shows why events continue to be one of the most popular and enduring forms of direct marketing, increasing in size and number every year despite (or possibly because of) the growth of less-human digital mediums.