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ROO to the rescue

Hello class! Yes, it’s June so I guess we can call this Tradeshow Teacher summer school. Unlike the summer school some of you may remember from your youth, this is a great summer school because it’s packed with ideas that will not only help strengthen your trade show program, but help you professionally by teaching you how to showcase your results to management.

Everyone has heard their boss say that they want to improve ROI. They want to see an improved return on investment not only for the company overall, but for your tradeshow program. Of course you understand why an increased ROI is a good thing, and you are certainly working yourself to the bone to see those numbers increase, but it’s not always so easy. Your business may be one of many that have a relatively slow sales cycle, which may mean that your tradeshow did cause sales to occur, but they may take place a year later. This makes it hard for you to show your boss improved ROI, especially when the boss wants to see those numbers go up relatively quickly after the show.

ROO (Return on Objective) enables you and your team to prove a tradeshow’s impact when it’s not possible or feasible to tie it immediately to sales.

When it comes to tradeshows, the best way to show that you’re getting your best possible return on objective is to make plans to meet with the right attendees while you’re there. This could include new prospects, existing customers, assorted media as well as anyone else that could help to further your business. As long as you’ve chosen the right show, you’ll have the ability to meet with more people in just three days than your sales team can meet with in months. This information is 100 percent traceable before, during and after the show.

Here are my top three places to find show attendee info:

Attendee lists – Some shows will offer this to exhibitors as part of the exhibit package, and other shows may offer this list as a sponsorship. Even if you need to pay for access to this list, having the ability to reach attendees pre-show is vital in many ways, but it’s absolutely crucial for setting up meetings before you get there.

Social media – Some shows offer the ability for the attendees/exhibitors to interact via their social media outlets. If this option is open to you, use it. Be active and post relevant show/industry-related content. The repetition of your profile/posts appearing on the show’s newsfeed will make attendees more likely to respond to you if you reach out to them, and it also raises the odds of being contacted by attendees that are interested in speaking with you.

Specialized tradeshow communication portals – By now, if you’ve been working with tradeshows for any length of time, you’ve probably come across MapYourShow and/or Zerista. These two portals have given tradeshow producers the ability to “raise the bar” even higher by allowing attendees and exhibitors to interact in a more targeted manner. Take some time and check out whether the shows you are exhibiting at offer one of these portals or something similar. Take full advantage of the offerings; you’ll certainly be able to maximize connections and at-show meeting opportunities by using these powerful tools. They allow you to showcase your company profile, brand, collateral and videos. They also give you the option to research whether particular companies and/or people you want to meet with will be at the show. Through these portals, you can also contact and interact with key prospects, customers and media even before you meet with them at the show. Lastly, they allow you to generate leads, even before you step foot on the tradeshow floor.

Be sure to add ROO Data to your post show report for each and every show. Provide your show results to management and optimize usage of this information as a reference tool when the show participation level needs to be reevaluated in the coming years. For a show you will be exhibiting at again, this ROO Data should be analyzed and used to guide you in creating an even more strategic, targeted plan than the year before.

Understanding the value that can be extracted from ROO data and the ways to best use this information is a whole other lesson, which will be covered in our July Tradeshow Teacher Summer School class.

Homework:
Who exactly are the key prospects, existing customers and media you want to meet with at your next tradeshow? Figure out how you’re going to be able to find them, contact them and set up meetings with them before you next show.

Review each show’s website for social media outlets, communication portals and attendee contact lists. Make use of them whenever you attend or exhibit at a show. When searching, keep in mind that the info may not always be on the show site home page.

About Linda Musgrove, the Tradeshow Teacher
Linda Musgrove is President of the Trade Show Training firm, Tradeshow Teacher. She focuses on teaching companies to significantly improve Trade Show Results through strategic, customized Tradeshow Training for individuals, departments or entire teams. Musgrove also presents customized training programs for Trade Show Producers to offer exhibitors. Most recently she authored “The Complete Idiots Guide to Trade Shows”, published by Alpha Books/Penguin Publishing. Learn more at http://www.tsteacher.com and sign up for the FREE monthly Trade Show Tactics newsletter. Follow on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/tsteacher. Send an invite to connect on LinkedIn (email is: linda@tsteacher.com )

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