The February installment of Exhibitor Magazine featured an article about Philips Healthcare’s exhibit marketing program. Led by event industry veteran Jeffrey Masters, the program is returning a 20-to-1 “return on opportunity” using what Masters calls a “measurement cocktail.” His “extreme measures” including RFID helped him reduce costs, shorten his company’s sales cycle, and quantify the value of his trade show program. His success paves the way for other exhibit marketers seeking new ways to measure and make the most of tight resources.
Spend 2-3 % of your show budget on measurement. Jeffrey Masters and others are learning to integrate measurement technology into the standard booth “package.” According to the article, “The cost [of RFID] tacked on no more than an estimated 2 percent to Masters’ budget while allowing him an opportunity to capture data that could almost literally be priceless.” Exhibitors that are unable to increase their exhibit program budgets may consider reallocating a small portion of funds to measurement by reducing expenditures on less profitable items. What’s the ROI on a comfy couch anyway?
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Masters blended a “measurement cocktail” by adding data from multiple sources: RFID, badge swipes, lead retrieval, pre-event surveys, interviews with booth visitors, information collected by RSNA show management, and a post-show survey of booth visitors 60 days after the event concluded. What he learned by layering and cross-referencing the data was far more revealing than looking at what each of the sources yielded individually.
Use measurement to look your own program in the eye. While using advanced measurement tools and processes helps exhibitors accelerate the sales cycle by correlating attendee behavior with purchase intent, the value doesn’t end there. By placing RFID tags on booth staff in 2008, Masters was able to “reduce the number of staff he brought to the show by 20 percent from 2007. That drop from about 1,200 to 1,000 staffers meant an estimated savings of $120,000 or more per day,” Exhibitor says. Putting the right staff in the right place is critical.
More measurement = more revenue. Depending on the company’s sales and marketing objectives, there are hundreds of different metrics that can be used to measure program effectiveness. Philips monitors 35 different variables in its booth including “minute-by-minute booth-traffic patterns throughout the day; a breakdown of visitors by institution, position, and geography, matched against where they wandered in the booth and how long they spent at each location; attendees’ intent to purchase correlated by job, product type, and areas visited; and even how attendees’ behavior in the booth correlated to Philips’ [net promoter score].” In addition, much of the information is collected in real-time—data is shared at the end of the day instead of weeks later.
Exhibitor magazine’s case study of Philips Healthcare is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the technology, process, and results of running a 21st century trade show program. Masters’ formula offers key insights for other trade show marketers looking to boost the effectiveness of their programs and move the needle on return on investment.