Using Dashboards to Analyze Exhibit Program Performance

A digital dashboard is one of the most effective ways to present business intelligence. With so much data collected from a variety of sources, dashboards provide mid- and senior-level managers with a “bird’s eye view” of the company’s performance in specific areas or as a whole. The challenges lie in deciding which information to include and designing a solution that is user-friendly and relevant.

A dashboard is a type of user interface that pulls information from one or more sources and presents it in a simple, easy-to-use graphic format. The name comes from an automobile dashboard where panels, gauges, and dials are all visible to the driver in one place. Some digital dashboards allow users to view high-level data and drill down for more detailed information. The three main types of digital dashboards include stand-alone software applications, web-browser based applications, and desktop applications also known as “widgets.”

Dashboards provide managers with a means to monitor, analyze, and compare business information. Some specific benefits of dashboards include:

  • Displaying, analyzing, and comparing historical data
  • Analyzing financial budgets and forecasts
  • Monitoring and sharing of strategies across business units
  • Reviewing resource allocation in various programs and projects

Dashboards offer exhibit managers a way to aggregate information from a number of sources including lead retrieval systems, surveys, RFID, internal databases, registration, and press and social media outlets. The dashboard should pull information from a database designed to house key metrics and results from trade show participation. It should be scalable, flexible, and practical to use for both large and small events. The most effective dashboards are designed to display the key performance indicators that are most relevant to the different levels of internal stakeholders that will use the information.

A typical dashboard for monitoring trade show performance would include numbers and graphs depicting:

  1. Qualified leads obtained by product or organization division
  2. Visitors to the booth, average duration, and demographic breakout
  3. NPS (Net Promoter Score) from exit surveys
  4. Number of “buyers” who visited the booth and average duration of visit
  5. Approximate dollar volume of revenue opportunities generated by product/organization/ division (based on both RFID, survey and lead data)

A solid trade show strategy that includes measurement goals will dictate the types of metrics for the dashboard. The best dashboards are those that offer alternative views of information under different scenarios (view by product vs. view by division, for example).

What are the numbers and graphs you would like to see on your dashboard of exhibit program performance?