To determine marketing success, you should identify and report these exhibit metrics: 1) who visited, 2) why they came, 3) what they learned and 4) what your visitors plan to do as a result of their visit.
Although many think of an exhibition as a place to put a number of products and services on display to a large number of people, the real value comes from making contact with individuals who are qualified to do business with your company. These people may be prospects, customers, suppliers or other participants in the profit equation of your business. Therefore, in order to identify and justify the value of an event marketing activity, it is essential to know and report who visited your venue and what outcomes are expected as a result of their experience. Marketing exists to create sales opportunities and to increase the probability of sale. In order to create sales opportunities, your program must target specific individuals and persuade them to act in a manner that benefits your company.
To understand the effectiveness of your marketing program it is important to know why participants came to visit and what they learned during their stay. This informs you regarding the effectiveness of your targeting and attraction campaigns and identifies the elements of the event experience that were most successful and likely to influence a visitor’s decision to act on your behalf.
The answers to the four questions listed above can be determined in a variety of ways. A common practice is to conduct live, post-visit intercept surveys. They help you understand how well you connected with your target audience. Intercept surveys provide accurate demographic profiling of visitors to your exhibit or event. This includes targeting criteria such as industry affiliation, company type, company size, individual responsibility, job title, buying readiness, and purchase intent. Post-visit intercept surveys also identify what the participants learned (if anything) and most importantly what they intend to do as a result of their visit. This data can even provide a forecast of expected sales driven from the participant’s view.
More sophisticated measures are possible using post-event survey techniques that pull from the entire event audience which includes those who visited your exhibit or event as a subset. You can identify changes in purchase intent, brand preference, brand fit and Net Promoter* scores for example. These metrics help you understand a lot more about the effectiveness of your marketing activity in creating positive change in perceptions among your target markets that result in an increased probability of sale.
Another method is to utilize technologies such as localized scanning techniques that provide real-time visitor identification and tracking of their movement. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for example, can provide real-time activity reports on session attendance, time on the show floor, and in-booth activity by product interest and for post-event analysis.
Understanding what your visitors plan to do as a result of their visit is one of the most crucial elements. A qualified lead should be committed to take a pre-determined action that sales has defined as a step in the company’s sales cycle. A tight definition of a qualified lead will provide a strong metric regarding generation of sales opportunity.
There are many metrics that are important to exhibit and event managers. As far as ROI is concerned, determining who came, the persuasiveness of their experience and their intent to act provide the clearest measures of effectiveness.
*Net Promoter Score is a registered trademark of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld