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Post-show surveys can improve tradeshow marketing measurement

Participation in tradeshows and other marketing events no longer is an automatic decision for many company executives and others. Instead, a measurable, tangible outcome is necessary to convince decision-makers of the need to participate.

Evaluating objectives often means measuring results of a tradeshow experience or other marketing event. Measureable results provide tools enabling management to enhance the decision-making process while justifying participation as well as improving performance, according to Ian Sequeira, executive vice president, Exhibit Surveys.

Using attendee surveys can provide outstanding feedback on tradeshow and exhibiting performance, and “there is no magic number” for the amount of questions that should be asked on a survey, said Sequeira. “Keep it as short as possible and as soon as possible after the event.”

Too often, immeasurable objectives are used to determine the success of tradeshows throughout the year rather than specific, measureable goals that can be quantified and presented to those in charge of marketing budgets. The need for measurement comes at a time when economic uncertainty maintains a strong hold on many companies and potential exhibitors.

Some people like to conduct personal interviews or focus groups to determine tradeshow success, but that can be misleading.

“Focus groups are only projectable to the people in the room and not the larger show population,” said Sequeira.

Instead, he suggests using post-show attendee surveys to provide the most comprehensive measurement of exhibit performance and audience quality. Collecting contact information from attendees can provide business addresses, email addresses and other contact methods through which surveys can be sent to gauge the effectiveness of the tradeshow experience.

But conducting such surveys requires having a measureable objective, such as determining a change in attitude regarding a brand identity. When using scientific tools, such as post-show surveys, paired with clearly defined and measurable objectives, proving the value of the tradeshow experience becomes much easier and enables stakeholders to move forward with the decision to participate.

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