The Role of Metrics in an Exhibition Success Strategy

Measuring and analyzing data after investing the time and resources to participate in a trade show event is critical to any exhibition success strategy from both ROI and knowledge building perspectives. Using metrics will help you evolve your approach, create team accountability, optimize event selection and execution, and ensure that you continue to get more and more out of trade shows and events over time.

What do event metrics look like? First, they should be aligned with your growth goals. Additionally, if you are reporting to someone else, as may be the case between exhibitors and pavilion hosts, these metrics should be aligned with their goals as well. (See our recent post: Trade Show Strategy ROI for the Greater Good for more on the function of post-event reporting.)

Sample metrics may include:

  • Number of leads (the number of customers, partners, channels or distributors)

Sales cycles may be long. Twelve to eighteen months wouldn’t be unusual for a B2B sale and possibly two to three years if you are recruiting companies to your region. As a result, it may be difficult to employ revenue per lead for decision-making in the immediate aftermath of the event. Your exhibition success strategy should recognize that while earlier decisions, those you make immediately following the event, will be based on the number of leads, appointment, and proposals generated, over time as you start to build sales and conversion history, additional metrics will serve to better inform your decisions.

The best way to collect event metrics is to engage your stakeholders — the various participants in the booth and pavilion — in a post-event survey. Question topics may include:

  • Quality of contacts

Your goal is to get a 360° view of the exhibitors or pavilion performance.

From a knowledge building perspective, metrics are particularly useful for comparing production capacity across various events. As you begin to plan which events to participate in, you may use this data to approach event organizers, specifically those whose events you would like to attend but demonstrate below average results in your matrix. The beauty of a data-driven approach is that you can relay this information matter-of-factly. From there, you can engage organizers as partners to explore what can be done collectively to improve your metrics. Whether it’s moving your location or lowering the cost of entry, there are a number of ways that organizers can help to improve your results. And again, all of this is measurable.

In the B2B world, we invest in all these types of marketing to get in front of a target customer. The cool thing about trade shows and events is that they do just that — put you right in front of customers. The challenge, however, is that your target customers are mixed amongst a sea of other customers that all look the same as they walk by. The right offer will lead them to jump out and identify themselves. Bringing in event hosts as partners will help to ensure that nothing stands between your offer and your target customers.

If event hosts are not willing to jump on board with your exhibition success strategy, that should tell you something. In our experience, if you approach event organizers with good information, i.e. clear metrics that they can respond to, it is likely that they will work with you to help achieve your goals. Event hosts have a great deal of flexibility as far as how they can enhance the experience of each exhibitor and pavilion host. The key is to leverage that.

Seeking continuous improvement, negotiating concessions, adjusting strategy and being flexible as you go, these are the fundamental components of an exhibition success strategy. Measuring your results makes them possible.

( helps B2B growth companies and pavilion hosts effectively leverage at trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment or +1 (860) 573–4821.



Helps international B2B companies exhibit at US trade shows.

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