Posted by

Barry Siskind

UFI’s Community Manager

A white paper written by Harvard Business School lecturer Frank Cespedes states, “Three of five marketers’ use no tools to measure event ROI and most companies plan and execute events without specific business objectives.”  This basic bit of business insight was first brought to my attention thirty years ago when I became a consultant to exhibitors.

I must admit that Cespedes’ comment does not necessarily mean all exhibitors. Some of the very large corporations have developed sophisticated methods of success measurement. However there are a great number of exhibitors of all sizes who have ignored the warnings of being ill-prepared. If the eighty – twenty rule were in play you would agree that in most cases eighty percent of exhibition revenue comes from twenty percent of your exhibitors. Conversely when you look at your overall costs, you likely do not spend eighty percent on these twenty percent. A lot of sales and marketing money is allocated to those exhibitors who take up the majority of the exhibition space.

Acknowledging that ROI is the key reason all corporations choose to exhibit, we as an industry have been somewhat negligent in helping the mid and small size exhibitors.

This same discussion applies to visitors and sponsors. They too need to be able to prove that the investment in your exhibition produced a positive ROI and yet we have been reluctant to help them do the calculation.

What all three groups need in order to calculate value is access to the right people. This is something we are exceptionally good at.

Exhibitors need to meet two groups of people: Existing customers in order to maintain relationships and new customers to help develop brand awareness and for post-exhibition sales follow-up.

Visitors attend to find new solutions, learn and network.

Sponsors get involved in order to create brand awareness to high value customers.

What if we could develop a value proposition that was placed on the home page of the exhibition’s web-site? Then each group, at the click of a button, could download and complete a form in order to justify their participation. We have the know-how and technology at our fingertips. It would be a matter of packaging it in order to answer the value question everyone has on their mind.

Would something like this work?