Measurement is one of those trade show marketing requirements that some marketers love to hate. Although it’s a necessary evil for budget justification, it needn’t be the arduous task alluded to by all of the mathematical formulas that surround it—return on investment, return on objectives, and so on.
In fact, measurement can be broken down into a series of smaller processes, each one yielding a rich set of metrics. When multiple sources of data are combined and analyzed, the result is a complete profile of prospects with intent to purchase—the critical element for measuring program effectiveness.
This grouping of data sources is becoming an industry best practice. An excellent discussion on measurement took place recently between Bill Sell (industry veteran and host of The Pulse Network’s on-site studio at Exhibitor2011) and Skip Cox (CEO and President of Exhibit Surveys, Inc.). In the video, Skip talks about the value of collecting information from a number of sources as part of an aggressive measurement strategy. Jeffrey Masters of Philips Healthcare refers to his use of multiple sources of attendee data as a “measurement cocktail.”
Lead retrieval and qualification survey processes are crucial for identifying potential customers. Asking questions using BANT criteria to identify the types of products attendees are looking for, the time frame for purchasing, the manner in which they wish to be communicated with, and their role in decision-making helps to develop a profile of the prospect.
RFID yields valuable intelligence about how a customer behaves in the booth: the products they visit, the duration of the visit, and the number of times they visit a particular product station, for example. When this information is cross-referenced with lead retrieval and survey data, it acts as an indicator of purchase intent.
In-booth surveys, such as those conducted by third-party firms like Exhibit Surveys or by the exhibitors themselves, zero in on the attendee experience. Typical questions include: What kind of information or products were you looking for? Did you receive the information or help that you required? Were the sales people available when you needed them? Did the product demonstrations answer your questions? Are you inclined to purchase products from this exhibitor?
Video monitoring—the placement of cameras in the booth area—is another method for confirming the staff’s effectiveness in engaging the customer. It also provides exhibitors with insight into how the booth layout and design elements inhibit or motivate attendees to enter the booth and ultimately to purchase.
All four data sources add something different to the analyses of individual attendees and program effectiveness. In-booth surveys and lead retrieval take into account the intentions of the prospect, while RFID behavioral analysis and video monitoring are key indicators of purchase intent. When analyzed together, trends (as well as deviations) appear and the “hot” leads instantly emerge. Measurement = revenue is the outcome that trade show marketers are also looking for to gain them greater visibility with senior-level managers.