Measuring the effectiveness of your expo activity
You may be considering exhibiting for the first time. You may be an organisation that exhibits whenever possible. Just like any other marketing activity you need to determine the return on investment – and that means measuring the effectiveness of your expo activity.
Some of the expo effectiveness is the responsibility of the event organizers – in building a user-friendly, appealing, appropriate event for the target market – and your ability to evaluate whether the event delivers the target you are after.
Once you have selected the – we hope – appropriate and professional run event; you have set your objectives, designed your communication messages, designed your site, trained your staff, prepared your follow-up material and activity, worked the event, followed-up afterwards – at some point you will need to decide whether to do it again, and if so what changes you need to make for the future.
You will need to measure the effectiveness of the expo and how you worked the expo.
Ultimately the measurement tools that you use and the methodology of evaluation will depend on the objectives you have set.
For example, if you have set an objective of building awareness of your business (or of a product benefit, a special feature, a particular brand within your portfolio) you will need to measure the existing awareness in the market place of your target, and then measure again after the event. Measurement tools for brand awareness are often qualitative and entail researching (through focus group, telemarketing, online) a sample of people who are representative of your preferred customer base.
Equally, if your objective is to specifically sell widgets at the event, then your measurement tool will be sales numbers – though such an objective does not take into account the range of objectives that can be reached through strategic event marketing: promoting positive brand awareness, motivating staff, generating leads for the future, positioning your product against a competitor, conducting market research, reinforcing relationships with customers – all valid objectives for what you may want to achieve at an event.
Here are some ways that may be applicable to measure the effectiveness of your event marketing activity:
* If your organisation has multiple outlets or conducts marketing/sales in a number of geographic regions, measure sales in the event region vs sales in the non-event region.
* Use a specific code on your Call To Action material such as coupons, or code words/numbers to quote when phoning your organisation after the event, that you have only used on material distributed at the event.
* Create a specific URL that is only promoted at or via the event so that you can track visitation to your web-site that has been generated specifically as a result of the event.
* Keep a count of how many samples/brochures are distributed
* How many people provide their details to be contacted in the future
* Conduct a survey before the event and again after the event to delve into people’s perception of your product/service
* Compare the outcome of some of the above activities vs those of other marketing activity
* Track media coverage and/or where your business/product/brand has been referred to (in words, logos, images) in event publicity, event web-sites.
Keep in the mind that the timing of some of your measurements needs to be based on the usual sales cycle
for your product/service and/or call to action closing dates, and in many cases you need to have a starting
point, taken some months before the event, that you can evaluate against afterwards.
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