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February 21, 2019

Metrics that Matter: 6 Numbers that Reveal the Value of Your Trade Show Program

Jackie F. Biggs, Account Executive

It’s all about results. Your CEO, CMO, and CFO want to know if trade shows are worth the investment. What was your return on investment (ROI) for each show? Did they meet the company’s objectives?

If you don’t have quantified results, you can be sure your C-Suite will not be convinced of the value your trade show program brings to the company’s bottom line. The only way to determine your overall trade show program ROI is to track specific metrics related to your exhibiting efforts.

Let’s explore six key metrics that will show the effectiveness of your trade show program.


To calculate your ROI you need to know how much you’ve invested in an event. Seems obvious, but many exhibitors routinely overlook the importance of tracking show expenses. It's not enough to know your overall budget. You need to know how much you actually spent on the show. This includes exhibit space, travel expenses, labor, general contractor services, and of course your trade show exhibit.


Typically, a top goal of exhibiting is lead generation. You may have other objectives such as launching a product or increasing your brand exposure, but new leads are the currency of your exhibiting campaigns. Get organized so you can accurately track the number of leads your staff collects each day. The lead count is important, but the value in this metric is determining the number of qualified leads within the total. Before the show, develop key questions to qualify your leads, and train your booth staff on how to ask these questions.


Your trade show lead conversion rate will depend heavily on your follow-up process after any given show. One of the most effective and trackable follow-up tools at your disposal is email. Track the open rate for each email you send. This rate will be at its highest on your first contact. Expect it to decline as time passes. However, if the rate falls too low, you may need to consider using a different marketing method or changing your email message.


Every email you send to your prospect or booth attendee list should include a call to action. In most cases, that call to action will involve clicking a link. The link might take a prospect to a landing page that promotes a webinar or a downloadable form for your latest white paper. It might also take them to a page to schedule a call, meeting, or a special offer for attending the show. Tracking your email click-through is often the only way you will truly know whether your leads are engaged with your message, products or solutions.


This is arguably the most important metric to track and the one your C-Suite executives are most interested in. If you know the percentage of leads that turn into closed sales, you can calculate the revenue directly associated with the show and your trade show efforts. In addition, you can plan your per-show spend since your investment can be expected to yield a specific return. The formula is simple, take your closed sales dollars divided by the number of leads collected.


If you know how much you spend for each event and the number of leads collected, you can easily figure out how much you spent per lead. Divide the event spend by the number of leads collected.


If you’ve tracked the previous six metrics, you can calculate how much you're spending to acquire each new customer and your return on investment (ROI.) Track this return over the length of your typical sales cycle – three to 24 months. Your C-Suite is extremely interested in this metric because it clearly establishes the show’s impact on the bottom line. A strong ROI justifies your trade show efforts and the value of your trade show program.

When you track your exhibiting efforts, you gain valuable insight into what kind of return you are getting from your trade show program, what’s working, and what needs to be changed.

Are you ready to show your executives ROI magic of trade shows? Contact me for a free, customized assessment of your trade show program.

Jackie F. Biggs, Account Executive
jfb@ttskyline.com | 630.376.1031

Jackie Biggs is a 20-plus year veteran in the trade show industry. She started her career in marketing prior to moving into sales. Her goal is to provide any industry resource, support, and education her clients need to create a successful trade show program. Jackie prides herself on being a dedicated and reliable partner her clients can turn to for whatever they need and make it happen. She views herself as a part of her client’s team and is committed to making each show a success. Her ability to put her clients at ease and build trusted relationships comes from her core values to always be honest, open, and transparent no matter the situation.

About TradeTec:

Founded in 1999, Skyline TradeTec designs and produces trade show exhibits with turn-key services and a promise of NO POST SHOW BILLING™ for clients. As an endorsed provider of Skyline products, TradeTec offers the highest quality modular exhibits as well as custom and hybrid solutions. Headquartered just west of Chicago, TradeTec has served over 6,000 clients and completed over 35,000 projects worldwide. TradeTec’s satellite offices are located in Cincinnati and Detroit. Learn more at SkylineTradeTec.com.