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December 4, 2017
3 Best Practices for Better B2B Trade Show ROI
Kelly Bradley

Think about the last time you organized a marketing and/or sales team to represent your business at a trade show. Was it worth all the time, money and effort that you and your team put into it? Most importantly, did you generate enough ROI to justify the budget allocation?

If the answer is no, or you’re uncertain, it’s time to evaluate your B2B trade show strategy.

When executed the right way, trade shows can be extremely effective for building your brand and generating leads. But roadblocks can hinder your ability to achieve the kind of ROI that will make company leaders take notice. Here are three ways to overcome common problems.

1.  Define your goals.

Only you and your company can determine what your ROI ought to be out of a show, and it can change depending on the show, your sales goals and the growth stage of your company. Is the end goal lead generation? Or driving brand awareness? Or both?

Determining measurable, attainable and relevant goals prior to the show can help you better track trade show ROI and drive strategy for future events. For instance, if your goal is lead generation, determine an average number of prospects that you’d like to acquire at the show so you can measure against that number.

2.  Have a clear strategy.

Of course, it’s not enough to just have goals – it’s crucial to have a strategy built around them. All of the marketing tactics you put in place before, during and after the show should ladder up to the goals, or you’ll be wasting time and money. If your goal is to acquire a certain number of leads, be laser-focused on strategies to increase the number of prospects coming to your booth, such as a giveaway or a product demonstration.

3.  Measure, measure, measure!

How you measure certain metrics can make all the difference. For example, 77 percent of B2B marketers say that trade shows help generate a significant quantity of leads. While that number looks good on paper, it’s important to take a closer look. Sure, you may have had a lot of booth traffic, but of those who stopped by, what percentage of them were quality leads? A quality lead will have a strong interest in your brand or product, rather than someone who may have just stopped by the booth to grab a free pen. Measuring those quality leads can result in higher ROI.

Getting the most out of a B2B trade show requires knowing what roadblocks to avoid. An airtight strategy and an organized planning process – such as the one detailed in our Trade Show Planning Guide – will help you eliminate mistakes and get you closer to achieving your marketing goals.

In the next several weeks, we’ll follow up this post with specific ideas on how to “own” three distinct trade show time periods – pre-show, during the show and post-show.