We suggest using sales and direct ROI to compare trade shows, but there is typically trade show value beyond direct ROI that may have a positive impact to your business but can’t readily be quantified. For example, at a trade show you might make a key connection with a supplier, deepen an existing relationship (thereby preventing churn), or create additional buzz and awareness (maybe because you had a speaker at the event).
All of these circumstances provide additional trade show value for your business and may even be strong enough reasons to participate in or attend a show without additional sales validation. This, of course, is totally fine – but in the grand scheme of things, we recommend an inside-out approach to preserve your budget and reduce the risk of wasting money on an event that didn’t work on any level.
Assigning A Value Score
If you are using a list or spreadsheet to track your events, we recommend holding a meeting with leadership from sales and business development to discuss the expected value of attending specific events. What shows do they feel are “must go’s”, and what would they score these events on a sliding scale. Using a numeric system and assigning a number of 1-3 (3 being very important) can help you sort these lists; especially when you are polling multiple people. For example, if the Sales VP and the Business Development VP both rate a show as a “3” then you can quickly identify that as a top candidate. Once you have a system in place, it becomes easier to start measuring the value added by attending these events beyond sales and identifying where there is disagreement in the ranks about the importance of a show.
Needless to say, if a show works from a sales perspective it is dead-easy to justify attendance/participation, but not so much from the other way around.
Next, learn how to create a trade show budget and evaluate trade-offs >
This article is part of our ebook “Building a Better Trade Show”. Download our free ebook today.