Research Your Way Into More Dollars

Whether you are preparing a yearly budget or deciding to enter shows for the first time, researching your industry and specific shows can help you plan and get the results you desire. Going in fully prepared and informed can only assist in maximizing your exhibiting experience! – Gary Porter


Proving the value of trade shows in your company’s marketing mix means preparation and research to ensure you are getting the most from your trade show or event marketing budget.

Trade shows are sometimes overlooked in formulating your marketing mix and upper management may not always understand their importance. It is your job to show them that exhibiting is an important part of promoting your company and building client relationships. To do this you must go with something they will understand, justifiable research and demonstrated value.
While this may seem like a tedious task, you can also use it to your advantage for choosing the right shows, targeting your main audience and measuring show success. Doing research will uncover important information that might otherwise be overlooked and will give you concrete reasons to exhibit.
Three methods of research can be used to justify your budget and add value to your trade show program: Industry Research, Show-Specific Research and Exhibit Measurement.

Industry Research is any information about the trade show industry as a whole. This can be found in trade publications, various trade show specific websites and industry surveys. It is mainly used to show the value and effectiveness of shows to the marketing mix, as well as provide information on how to properly use budget dollars for exhibiting. Industry research can also give the booth manager tips and tools for maximizing show success.
Show-Specific Research will tell you what you need to know about the shows you are interested in. Many organizers will be able to provide a profile of the show audience in respect to demographics, buying power and even characteristics. This is necessary in making an informed decision about which shows to exhibit in and give an idea of the potential size and value of your audience. Upper management will be more likely to agree if you can show them concrete numbers on the prospective business that will come from the show or the number of visitors projected to visit your booth space. Show-specific research will also aid in making decisions about the level of investment needed and will give a basis after the show for measuring success.
Exhibit Measurement is your own company research based specifically on end results from previous shows. This will probably be the most beneficial in preparing a budget for an upcoming show season. Upper management will relate to the bottom line numbers. Examples of how to achieve this are pre/post surveys, lead tracking systems or “Did You Buy” surveys. These numbers can help you uncover ways to better manage your exhibit program and maximize the return on objectives at each show.

A good research summary should include the following:

  • 1. A detailed profile of your expected audience.
  • 2. Any strategic elements of your exhibit that will show strengths and weaknesses
  • 3. Show results compared to competitors and previous years of exhibiting
  • 4. Audience and performance measurements to use as a comparison from year to year
  • 5. Performance measured against established objectives

By using a combination of the above three methods you can justify your budget and prove value for the show.  For more information or to determine your show ROI (Return On Investment), please contact us today.