How to prove your exhibition ROI

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Industry exhibitions are an incredible way to discover new business. They provide you with a room full of like-minded people and the opportunity to generate highly-targeted business leads. They can also increase and strengthen your brand awareness and open up opportunities to meet valuable industry contacts.

But, did you know about 32% of marketers said they were dissatisfied with their ability to prove their ROI from an exhibition? Proving exhibitions are worthy of using a decent chunk of your marketing budget means showing a significant ROI. Let’s take a look at how you can prove your ROI from an event to secure a bigger budget for next year.

What exactly is ROI?

Return on investment is a measure. It measures the ratio of what you get to what you’ve spent. 

Often ROI and metrics get confused. Determining brand awareness, how many SQLs you secured and key audience exposure are examples of soft metrics, and not a ROI measurement.

Many of your marketing metrics contribute to making a difference to your bottom line — but in it’s simplest form ROI only looks at the ratio of what you got to what you spent.

Why measure event ROI?

Every business needs to measure their ROI, otherwise they won’t know what and where they should be focusing their efforts to generate sales. Event ROI is no different; if you don’t know the worth of being at the event, why be there at all?

Understanding your event ROI on the other hand, allows you to speak about your event participation in business terms, making it easier to prove to the C-Suite that your efforts are worthy of spending more money on in the future.

How to calculate your event ROI?

For every dollar you spend on an event, how many dollars are you getting back? ($4 for every $1 spent is earmarked as an ROI ratio to aim for).

To come out on top and effectively measure your ROI you need to work out:

(Sales growth - Marketing event cost) / Marketing event cost - Average organic sales growth = ROI

  • How much did the event cost?
  • What is the average value of your sale ?
  • What is the life-time value of a customer?
  • What’s your average lead to sales conversion rate? While this does not appear in the equation above it’s extremely relevant, find out why in the create an ROI report section below.
Reporting on your ROI

Creating a report for your C-Suite is the next important step, and to create an accurate report of your event you need to consider average time required for a lead to convert to sales. For example, if your product is high-priced and has a more complex sales process, it’s unlikely the event lead will convert into a customer straight after the event - it could take up to 6-months. Creating a report that doesn’t take into account your sales cycle  would produce an inaccurate ROI and possibly hinder your chance of securing a bigger budget for next year.

You need to create the report at the right time to show an accurate ROI.

CeBIT Australia: The ultimate guide to converting event leads to sales