MEET helps international B2B companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections
Email Us

The Less Obvious Benefits to Measuring Trade Show ROI

February 12, 2020

There are many reasons for measuring trade show ROI. The most obvious: to improve marketing performance. After all, without baseline metrics of your returned value, it’s impossible to know where and how to make improvements to maximize the results of your in-person event strategy.

Trade Show ROIAt MEET, we’ve identified a number of benefits to measuring trade show ROI for our clients, some of which are less obvious. In this post, we’d like to share two rarely considered benefits to measuring trade show ROI and nailing a performance-based strategy for growing your company.

The ROI calculation

Calculating ROI is a critical measurement for any marketing strategy. On the surface, it’s a fairly easy equation with two variables.

ROI = Gains – Costs / Cost

In other words:

ROI = Delta / Costs

Efforts to maximize trade show ROI boil down to decreasing costs and/or increasing gains or both.

(For more on the intricacies of calculating ROI, including the multiple ways to understand gains, check out this post. )

ROI as a relative performance tool

Once you understand ROI as a set of variables, it becomes easier to see how this data can be used as a relative performance tool.

In the beginning, all trade show ROI data will be abstract measurements of an individual event’s performance. Overtime and year-to-year, period-to-period, or event-to-event, this data can be used to evaluate ROI comparatively, informing how your marketing strategy is progressing (or failing to progress).

For more on how to develop a metrics toolkit that works for you, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics and ROI, Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results.  

Use data to empower your team

A rarely considered benefit to calculating trade show ROI is how this data can be used to empower your event team.

Performance without goals is like a race without a finish line, i.e. impossible to measure success. Optimizing your event team’s results requires clear expectations and benchmarks that both guide and inform their unique function within a broader marketing strategy.

We recommend using trade show ROI data as part of your pre-event training activities. You’ll be surprised by how motivating and affirming these metrics can be, particularly at trade show events that require sustained focus and physical stamina.

Help event hosts improve your trade show ROI

Once you’ve developed a comparative trade show ROI database:

  1. Note which events are at the bottom of your performance ranking
  2. Make some assumptions about why this might be the case.

At MEET, we do this assessment on a quarterly basis for our clients. We then take this data and approach the hosts of these events as partners.

Trade Show ROIAfter all, trade show success is a win-win for exhibitors and hosts, making trade show ROI a shared goal.

On behalf of our clients, we ask hosts how we can improve our performance at their event. Assuming you’ve done your event selection research and determined the most effective booth strategy to attract your target prospects in attendance, improved performance may only require a few simple adjustments.

Back to our ROI formula, these adjustments will either reduce costs or create higher gains. Whether it’s by discounting exhibiting fees or moving your booth to a location with higher floor traffic, there are a variety of ways that event hosts can, and are willing to, work together to improve your trade show ROI.

In our experience, event hosts are extremely open to making these adjustments when met with an exhibitor who is approaching their participation strategy from an analytical versus emotional perspective.

Measuring trade show ROI removes the elements of chance and surprise that many assume are part and parcel to any marketing strategy. The truth is, there’s more to know than you might think.

To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.


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 no-obligation conversation: or +1 (860) 573-4821.