Trade Show Strategies: Combating the “Can’ts” of Measuring Events – part 1

A colleague and I were talking today about face-to-face marketing measurement and after talking for a while she said to me, “It just makes so much sense! Why don’t more people just do it?”

I listed four reasons that I’ve heard people say for why they don’t do measurement at their trade show or event;

1) I don’t have the budget for it

2) I don’t have time for it

3) I don’t know what I can measure that would be meaningful

4) What if measurement shows that the program isn’t working!

I’m going to take each of these separately – so this blog post will focus on #1: – I don’t have the budget for measurement

I would argue that if you have the budget to do a show or event, then you need to make room in the budget to make sure you understand what’s working and what isn’t working. Make measurement a part of the budget (at least 5-10% of overall budget) right in the beginning. Don’t wait until you’ve planned everything else and then see if you have any left over for measurement – you won’t. You need to make measurement a priority right along with choosing the perfect booth space, size, graphics, marketing plan, etc. because if you don’t, you’re destined to just keep doing things over and over that are costing money and not getting any results to know whether you should continue to do it or not. And if you’re not bringing in results with data to back you up, your management and especially the CFO are likely looking at your face-to-face marketing program as a black hole that they’re throwing money into. If you don’t know where the money for your program is going and what’s affecting the bottom line, you’re likely to soon get no money at all.

So, just to reiterate, make sure you budget some time and money for measurement into your face-to-face marketing programs. Remember, if you have a budget for a show, you owe it to yourself and your company to set aside some money in the budget for measurement so that you can make informed decisions on what to grow, what to change or what to toss. You’ll be making decisions from an informed place with real data, rather than guessing at what’s working and what isn’t (which BTW doesn’t hold up very well in a budget meeting).

About Susan Brauer

Susan Brauer, CME and president at Brauer Consulting Group, has more than 20 years experience in the trade show and events industry. Her experience in setting strategic, quantifiable objectives, promoting and strengthening key corporate messages and demonstrating ROI has led her to also become a sought-out speaker at national trade show events and conferences. Susan’s areas of expertise include strategic goal-setting, event measurement programs, booth staff training and hands-on, interactive workshops.

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