One of the keys to running a successful trade show program is assessing your overall performance after each trade show you attend. To make sure you get the most insightful information, you need to strike while the iron is hot. Within the first day or two after a show, gather your team for an in-depth analysis of both the positive and negative aspects of your experiences on the show floor. Use the following questions as a springboard for discussion.
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Was The Trade Show You Attended Worth the Cost?
The first post-show question you need to ask yourself is if the trade show you attended was worth the time and effort it took to exhibit. To find out if the show was worth the investment, ask yourself the following questions.
Evaluating the Value of Your Show:
- How much did it cost to exhibit?
- How many qualified potential customers attended the event?
- How well did your brand, product or service stand out on the show floor?
- How important is the trade show within your industry?
To learn how to calculate ROI from theses questions (and to determine if the show is worth the cost), check out our ROI post.
What Were Your Strengths on The Trade Show Floor?
Identifying areas where your company excelled on the show floor can help you assess the strong points in your trade show marketing strategy. After the show, sit down and outline areas where you and your team shined.
Evaluating Trade Show Strengths:
- Ask your booth staff members where they felt the team succeeded and where they felt confident while exhibiting.
- Log how well-prepared and supplied your staff were on the show floor.
- Look to competitors and other exhibitors to see areas where they fell short and where your company succeeded.
What Were Your Weaknesses on The Show Floor?
Just as you identified the good, you will need to assess the areas where your team fell short. By evaluating your weak points on the show floor right after the event, you are giving yourself a head start when it comes to planning for your next event.
Evaluating Trade Show Weaknesses:
- What potential opportunities did you miss?
- Did your prospects have questions you were not prepared to answer?
- Did you effectively communicate your brand and identity to attendees? If not, how can you improve your messaging and communication to visitors?
How Did You Measure Up To Your Competitors?
When you attend a trade show, you are surrounded by competitors, giving you the opportunity to analyze and assess their products, messaging and services up close. While you are at the show, take notes on your competition and study them after the show to better gauge your position in the market.
- Did your competitors outshine your company on the show floor? Was their booth larger, better designed, more expensive or filled with more attendees than yours?
- How deep and robust were your competitor’s product offerings?
- What products and services were your competitors promoting?
- What product features and benefits are they emphasizing in their marketing messaging?
- Highlight the key differences between your competitors, especially if these differences create opportunities for your company to take advantage of in the future.
How Effective Was Your Marketing Message With Prospects?
Your trade show campaign’s success can be directly measured by how effective your marketing message was on the trade show floor. An effective trade show marketing message should connect with the requirements, considerations and pain points of attendees to make certain that your products or services are attractive and distinctive from your competitor’s offerings.
When evaluating the effectiveness of your trade show marketing message, consider the following three points.
- Insights: Did your marketing message effectually communicate the problems or needs of prospects and did your message address these issues with solutions?
- Benefit: Did your messaging articulate the appealing and distinctive benefits of your product? Did you give prospects a reason to choose you over your competition?
- Trust: Did your marketing message give prospects a reason to believe the promised benefit(s) can be delivered by your company?
How Well Did Your Staff Perform?
Your booth staff are one of the most important pieces in the trade show exhibiting puzzle. They serve as the front line in attendee and prospect engagement. Understanding how well your staff were trained and performed will provide you with better insights into how your brand was represented on the show floor.
Evaluating Your Staff:
- Did your staff maintain a friendly and welcoming environment for attendees?
- Did your staff work together as a team to make a stronger unit? Did they support each other and pick up the slack when needed?
- Ask your veteran staff members which rookies or less-experienced team members excelled at working the booth and which ones need more help or training.
How Successful Was Your Pre-Trade Show Marketing Campaign?
While planning for a trade show, pre-event marketing should always be taken into account. After the trade show has ended, it is important to evaluate the success of your pre-show marketing efforts so as to improve future campaigns and programs.
Evaluating Your Pre-show Marketing:
- How many visitors mentioned your pre-show communications?
- Did your visitors reflect the demographics you hoped to reach with your pre-show marketing campaigns?
- How many prospects engaged with your company on social media regarding your pre-show promotions and marketing efforts?
- If you hosted an event, how many people attended?
How Successful Were Your Client and Prospect Meetings?
Meeting with clients and prospects face-to-face is one of the cornerstone goals of trade show marketing. When you review your trade show performance, make sure to keep an eye on how many quality meetings your team had with prospects.
Evaluating Prospect Meetings:
- Were you prepared to answer prospect questions and concerns?
- Did you have sufficient private meeting spaces to engage your prospects?
- Did prospects seem genuinely interested in your sales pitch? How can you improve your pitch?
Determine the Quality of Your Leads and Lead Gathering Strategy.
There are many strategies an exhibitor can employ when it comes to collecting leads at a trade show. After the show, you should evaluate how effective your lead generation strategy was and how many quality leads you gathered as a result of your efforts. Collapsible
Evaluating Lead Generation:
- What strategies helped you gather the most lead, (i.e. giveaways, games, product demonstrations)?
- How many of the leads gathered where of good quality and how many were less than desirable?
- Did your team beat its lead goal? If not, what are steps you can take to improve upon lead generation for future events?
How Successful Were Your In-Booth Trade Show Presentations?
Product demonstrations and multimedia presentations are staples in trade show marketing. If you had in-booth presentations as part of your campaign, it is important to know how engaging and effective they were with your target audience.
Evaluating In-booth Presentations:
- What size audience did your presentation gather? Did you have more visitors than you could handle or were there empty seats?
- Was your audience engaged and entertained by your presentation?
- Did your presentation effectively communicate your company’s capabilities and product features?
How Can You Improve Your Trade Show Exhibit for Future Shows?
The design of your trade show booth can have a considerable impact on how many attendees you attract to your space. To make sure your trade show booth design is optimized for success on the trade show floor, ask yourself the following questions.
Evaluating Booth Design:
- Was your trade show exhibit traffic-friendly? Cluttered booths are often passed by prospects looking to make the most of their time on the show floor, so consider redesigning your exhibit if it lacked open spaces.
- Did your signage make a good first impression on your audience? If not, how can you make your signage more engaging and reflective of your marketing message?
- Which exhibit design features worked well and which ones did not? Are there any features you wish you had, like kiosks, counters or hanging structures?
There are many different exhibit types, styles and accent options from which to choose when designing a trade show exhibit. Check out our custom portfolio and find inspiration for your next exhibit!
What is Your Post Trade Show Follow-Up Plan?
The one of the most important post-show steps is to properly execute the post-event follow-up plan. After the show, make sure that both your booth staff and your sales force know exactly what is expected of them once the show concludes. Before you head into your event, make a detailed follow-up strategy to guide future correspondence to your prospects and leads.
Improving Post-Show Follow-Ups:
- Make sure leads are routed directly to sales staff so that they can follow-up promptly.
- Trade show leads may sometimes be ignored by the sale team back at the office. Train your in-house team to follow a set follow-up strategy.
- Diversify your follow-up correspondence from show to show to avoid being repetitive and getting your messages ignored by prospects.
By asking these key questions, you will be better able to pinpoint what went right, opportunities for improvement and ways you can bring even more value to your trade show program.
If you want to learn more about improving your trade show booth design, download Nimlok’s e-book, Exhibit Design to Show Floor: The Process of Creating a Killer Trade Show Exhibit, which explores the planning, prep and processes surrounding the design of a semi-custom or custom trade show exhibit.