Showcasing a brand at an exhibition has proven to be one of the strongest Marketing tools to build brand awareness, qualify leads and increase sales. As of 2019 the exhibition industry is worth over $325 billion to the global economy* with such a huge amount of money being invested, it is vital to assess the return on your business’ investment (ROI) in its exhibition stand. Not just to ensure the investment was worthwhile but to look deeper into what elements worked well and what didn’t for future reference.
In the exhibition industry it’s not always as simple as measuring its financial benefits, especially if the purpose of the stand is to grow brand awareness in the industry. There are a variety of methods to track ROI and due to the unique nature of the event industry, ROI has to be tailored to each individual business and event so must be factored into the exhibition plan. The brands main aim should always be the starting point as it allows goals to be set to and compared against in order to determine success.
Technical capabilities have gone above and beyond in the event industry, from selfieccinos to AR and more. New forms of technology can be used to track an exhibitor’s ROI by allowing an insight into the delegates experience. Heatmaps consist of discreet sensors located around the stand that identify an individuals’ mobile phone signal. These track a delegate’s journey, dwell time and also total footfall on stand. There can be additional options to include facial recognition technology to capture visitor gender, age and emotion. You can then access this information both during and post event to uncover hotspots, visitor volume and cumulative time spent on the stand.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems are another option for tracking visitor interaction on an exhibition space, similar to that of Heatmaps. RFID’s are little tags that communicate with computer software when near one another, similar to that of a contactless debit card and card reader. RFID tags build a map of the delegates path through an exhibition stand and collate information from their journey, for example; whether they interacted with a screen or a game. This gives an insight into what areas of the stand were most popular and had the most interaction time as well as the number of delegates that visited your stand.
Planning to have a lot of meetings on your stand? Try a meeting app, accessible on iPads, computers and mobile devices. A meeting app will help you organise, orchestrate and track meetings with clients allowing for a smooth day of meetings, as well as post-event analysis. It will show you the number of meetings had and who with, perfect for post-show Marketing activities.
Heatmaps and RFID systems are a complex technology of effectively managing and tracking your delegates journey on an exhibition stand. However, interactive tools, like touch screens and object recognition tables have “back office” technology that allows you to look at quantitative figures as to who looked at what and how long for.
Often the easiest way to track ROI is just to calculate it, this can be possible if your event stand’s aim is product based. Allowing the exhibitor to see the financial statistics gives a grounding to the success of the stand. However, if the aim of a stand is to increase brand awareness, then calculating ROI isn’t that simple. In this instance, using social media and Google Analytics to track engagement post-event helps to see if the brand has increased its reach. Furthermore, it can be measured by the traditional techniques like surveys, feedback forms and even the number of business cards collected from delegates.
You can’t always measure success through quantitative data, sometimes it’s the qualitative data that makes the biggest difference. Meetings and conversations on the stand give more quality of feedback than data. Face to face interaction and giving a human touch to a business can have a huge impact on if the brand stays memorable. Having so many members who work in the same industry at one event is an excellent way to network and ensure the brand gains more recognition to stay in the eye of the market. The sales team can have valued conversations and reach the relevant people in the industry, this can be seen as a high ROI.
Often using a combination of all methods can give more accurate data to analyse. The most important step of tracking ROI is ensuring the data is used post event whether that be for marketing activities, brand and product analytics, customer relationships or simply learning and improving for your next exhibition stand. Seeing what worked and what didn’t can give your business an insight into what to improve for your next exhibition stand so designers can get to work straight away. Knowing how many people went to the event and then how many found their way to your stand is a good way of measuring if your stand was a success.
For more information, or if you want to know what we can do for your next exhibition stand head over to the “let’s talk” page on our website.
* according to the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry