A new whitepaper offered by Redbank, NJ-based Exhibit Surveys, Inc. titled, “Exhibitions Must Deliver (Even More) Value to Exhibitors in the Post-Recession World,” does a thorough job of detailing the challenges ahead for exhibition organizers. It also highlights the specific needs of exhibitors to prove ROI and other metrics in order to make qualified decisions about which shows to participate in, what products to offer, how much exhibit space to contract, etc. Some important findings of the whitepaper include:
- Event managers of major exhibitors and their CMOs are increasingly becoming data driven in their event decision-making. In addition to proving ROI, “they are looking for more detailed and better data about attendee needs, expectations, interests, and demographic/psychographic profiles…”
- Major exhibitors are being much more discriminating in their show selection decisions and participation in future shows will be more strategically aligned to their business priorities and marketing focus even after the economy improves. Exhibitors will likely choose to exhibit in major industry exhibitions, however, vertical shows that don’t align with their business objectives in a particular year may be eliminated from the rotation.
- Even strong industry sectors such as healthcare reflect the focus on metrics. “In a recent survey of Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA) members, the findings for 2010 showed that 40 percent of healthcare exhibitors plan to reduce the number of events they participate in by an average of 7.5 conventions.”
Exhibit Surveys’ findings prove that data collection and analysis in a post-recession world is as critical as ever. When designing a program to gauge exhibit performance, take the following into consideration:
- Follow the “attendee journey” from the time they enter the booth until the time they leave. Track visitor behaviors such as the products they view, information they request, or length of time they spend in your booth to make decisions about what products to show, how much space to contract and the likelihood of conversions to sales.
- Design a data collection process that aligns to your corporate objectives, i.e. make sure that booth staff ask the questions, collect the information and track the behavior that maps to pre-defined goals
- Use tools that qualify and categorize leads. Not all leads are opportunities. Establish the criteria for “qualified” leads in advance in order to speed data collection post-show lead processing.
- Compare data across shows. Stay with a consistent solution for data collection and analysis so that direct comparisons about program performance can be made from year to year.
- Compare information collected in the booth with other data points such as pre-show profiles, post-show surveys, and RFID data collection. More data from more sources provides a more robust snapshot of exhibit program performance.
How are you measuring exhibit performance in the post-recessionary world?