As we all know, not every event is created equally and not every event provides the best results. Just because a particular event is scheduled right in your own backyard doesn’t mean it will be worth your time to be there. Just because it’s a show that you have been exhibiting at for the past 10 years, doesn’t mean you need to exhibit there another year in a row with limited return. By considering your goals and evaluating each event on your schedule, you’ll be able to determine which events are right for you and your team. Here are 3 quick tips to get you started.
1. Be an Attendee
One of the best ways to choose the right event for your company is to visit a prospective event as an attendee. Experience the event up close and personal, while free from the responsibilities of actually exhibiting there yourself. You’ll be able to see the audience, hear conversations from the aisle and lounges, and even take a workshop or two if offered. Experiencing the event first hand offers you a good look at the types of exhibitors at the show, a different perspective on your customers and true understanding of why attendees go to the event—all before planning your budget, building your strategy or spending a dime.
2. Contact People from the Past
Now, we don’t mean visit a psychic, but if you want to know the dirty details of a particular trade show, one of the best things to do is call people who have actually been at the show in previous years. Try to contact companies that are marketing to the same audience as yours or who may have provided services for companies at the show in question. Be direct. Ask what they thought or what their benefits from exhibiting/working at the event were, but (more importantly) ask what elements left them cold. After a few calls, you’ll walk away with a pretty clear idea of a yay or nay and maybe you’ll gain a few new networking buddies too!
3. Crunch Some Numbers
A few key calculations can quickly help to determine if an event is worth exhibiting at. For starters, estimate the total cost of participating by adding up your expenses—from the cost of attending, to the cost of your display, to travel and so forth. Then, take a look at the attendee profiles of previous year’s shows and find how many potential prospects might be interested in your services and capabilities. Once you know that, you’ll be able to project how many solid leads you should obtain by the end of the show. Compare the projected number of solid leads to the cost of participation, and you can arrive at estimated sales revenue, cost per lead and ultimate return on investment. If you’re comfortable with this rough estimate of your return on investment, you can proceed full steam ahead or start to look elsewhere.