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Pillar Section 8: The Importance of Metrics in Your Trade Show Strategy Plan

The Importance of Metrics in Your Trade Show Strategy Plan

The entire purpose of your trade show strategy plan is to maximize return on investment (ROI). Trade shows require an incredible investment of time and resources and yet, in a B2B world where most marketing dollars are spent with the hope of someday getting face-to-face with the target prospect, trade shows continue to deliver the most efficient way to this objective.

Trade Show Strategy PlanApplying metrics to your trade show strategy plan is critical from both a ROI and knowledge building perspective. Using metrics will help you evolve your exhibition success strategy, create team accountability, optimize event selection and execution, and ensure that you continue to get more and more out of trade shows and events over time.
On a more micro level, metrics allow you to see how various techniques or hypotheses are working, and answer vital questions such as:

  • Have we identified the right buyer persona?
  • Is our messaging attracting these buyer personas into the booth?
  • Which offer is most compelling?
  • Which value proposition is most relevant?
  • Does our offer actually get them to opt-in and give us their contact information?

For more on how to use metrics to inform your trade show marketing plan, check out our webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics, and ROI: Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results.

Applying Metrics to Your Trade Show Strategy Plan

MEET helps international B2B growth companies measure and analyze their success at trade shows for the purpose of improving results. We do this through a number of different tools and strategies, which include matrices to evaluate trade show success and inform future strategy.
For a quick primer on how to inform your annual trade show plan with metrics, check out this post.

Here are six metrics of trade show success that you can easily apply today:

Cards Collected

We notice that more than half of exhibitors today offer giveaways that have nothing to do with their product or service. As a result, the contacts generated through these giveaways more than likely have very little need or urgency for their product or service.

Depending on the extent to which you have selected an offer that speaks directly to the unique needs and desires of your buyer personas, cards collected will be a useful measure of prospects engaged versus contacts who may or may not be prospects.

Number of Quality Prospects Identified

Assuming you’ve come to a trade show with pre-identified buyer personas, this is a measurement of how many of these target prospects enter your booth and opt-in.

Cost per Lead

This is a calculation of your display costs over how many target prospects are generated in the booth and through the event as a whole.

Media Traffic

A measurement of your exposure, this is especially useful for younger companies that are scaling and investing in marketing to build brand identity as well as generate sales. Younger companies may see a more direct line between marketing and revenue generated, making this a more valuable measurement.

Revenue Generated

While highly informative, one of the challenges to using revenue generated as a metric for marketing success is the amount of time it can take, particularly for big ticket items, to complete the sales process. With sales cycles of anywhere from 3 months to 3 years, it can be difficult to link unique sales to specific trade show investments and use that information to inform your marketing strategy.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand how each trade show event delivers from a revenue generating perspective as this will inform future event selection and modes of participation.

Appointment Generated

The number of appointments generated within the first 30 or 60-days of an event is likely the best measure for most companies as it gives you a consistent high value measure of sales impact. Appointments generated could be overlayed with event costs or number of attendees to benchmark year-over-year or event-to-event.

The setting of an appointment is the normal transition point from which a prospect moves from the marketing lead nurturing funnel to the sales funnel. Once the appointment is set, the sales team track progress from proposal, to agreement, to first order. With each sales process it is statistically easy to calculate how many first appointments it takes to generate a proposal, and how many proposals it takes to generate and agreement, and finally how many agreements it takes to generate a first order.

As you understand the drivers in creating sales for your business, the measurement of trade show and in-person event ROI becomes much easier.

For more on how to calculate ROI and define trade show gains, check out this post.

For more information on how to collect metrics before, during and after your event, contact us today.

To learn more about MEET’s most popular tool for measuring event success: the Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook, check out this post.

Using Metrics to Build Knowledge and Partnerships

In addition to measures of success, metrics can help you build knowledge and partnerships, as well as make more strategic decisions that will strengthen the position of your business in long-term.

From a knowledge building perspective, metrics are particularly useful for comparing production capacity across various events. As you begin to plan which events to participate in, you may use this data to approach event organizers, specifically those whose events you would like to attend but demonstrate below average results in your matrix.

The beauty of a data-driven approach is that you can relay this information matter-of-factly. From there, you can engage organizers as partners to explore what can be done collectively to improve your metrics. Whether it’s moving your location within the event or lowering the cost of entry, there are a number of ways that organizers can help to improve your results. And again, all of this is measurable.

We hope we’ve provided a good introduction to trade show strategy plans and their importance to your company’s success. At MEET, we understand that expanding into a new and foreign market is a daunting process, and that seeing the rewards through the risks can be difficult. Our services are aimed at easing that process and helping our clients see the value of their investment through systems and processes that yield knowledge and results.

To explore how MEET can help your company, contact us today.

Click here to download the full report: How to Maximize ROI with a Trade Show Strategy Plan 


MEET ( helps international B2B growth companies soft land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a free, no-obligation consultation or +1 (860) 573-4821.