Why Your Exhibition Participation May Not Deliver the ROI You Expect

Trade shows and exhibitions are known for driving high-quality leads, brand awareness and building long-standing relationships with the target audience. Also, they are the best platforms to showcase a new product or service and get real-time feedback.

It is obvious that these shows demand serious investment and dedication when your firm is looking to boost brand awareness in record time.

However, participating in the leading exhibitions is not going to yield any results when you, as a B2B company, do not work on some core areas. For instance, you may dive straight into the exhibition without giving any serious consideration to the competitive environment. The result? Waste of money and time, as I have seen in many instances.

That being said, here are some of the core reasons why your exhibition participation may not deliver the expected ROI for your business:

Poor Planning

Around 30% of exhibitors start planning for their trade show 1-2 months before the show.

The first point on the list is poor planning. This includes a lot of factors, including booking the apt stand space. When you don’t book a space in advance, you may end up paying through your nose for a cramped space at some random corner. This means visitors may overlook the space and brush past you to go to other stands or exit the exhibition without even reaching that spot!

With planning in place, you can book a stand space in a corner for some additional space and get visitors coming in from two directions. Moreover, you may get some excellent deals by being an early bird. All in all, it helps when you conduct some additional research and make it a point to find out the best space for your booth.

Another big mistake is to not have your team on the same page as your business goals. This can lead to major chaos once the exhibition is on. Avoid this situation by briefing your core team in advance. Some of the key points you can raise include but are not limited to:

  • The company’s objectives and budget constraints
  • Their respective roles at each phase of the show
  • The key messages to be delivered
  • Understanding how to document the leads
  • Increasing the engagement and interactions with the audience

Lack of Resources

46% of attendees attend only one trade show per year. (Source: Exhibit Surveys, Inc. Tradeshow Benchmarks 2015)

Let’s say you got everything well-planned for an upcoming exhibition but don’t have enough supplies or resources. This can land you in a fix for sure since trade shows have specialist audiences, who are selective about attending events and that too once every year. Lose this audience, and you lose your chance at enhancing your brand awareness.

Think of it this way – if you are exhibiting gadgets but don’t have enough products for a trial, then it is not going to turn away the visitors from the stand, most of whom pay a lot of money to travel all the way just to attend state-of-the-art exhibitions on gadgets.

Likewise, if you don’t have enough marketing collaterals, giveaways, business cards and other goodies such as branded merchandise, you will end up losing several prospective customers due to lack of recall moments after the exhibition is over.

Remember, not all visitors will have the time to visit and spend an equal amount of time at each stall. And even after visiting several stalls, including yours, they will not remember which ones they visited. With ample resources, you can even go ahead and get double the sales, generate more leads and inquiries, and ensure that the visitors leave with something to remember your brand by, long after the exhibition is over.

Design Flaws

An eye-catching stand is the most effective method for attracting attendees.

Trade shows are as much about design as they are about functionality. By ignoring the design of the stand, you will end up shutting down the tremendous opportunity to attract the visitors.

A unique and customized design helps you distinguish your stands. It assists you to put your best foot forward and make your visitors understand more about your brand’s identity, deliver the message and most importantly, make a lasting impression.

Depending on your budget, you can incorporate a number of design elements that can highlight your products, services and also, the booth. Flooring, colors, lighting, interactive displays are some of the elements that can take it to the next level by making the most of the space you have. Alternatively, you can also go for different ways to create sections for various activities in the booth, including a meet and greet section and a product showcase section. Consult an expert exhibition stall designer who can guide you on all such aspects.

Low Engagement Tactics

81% of the trаdеѕhоw attendees have buуіng authority, making them potential customers for businesses. (Source: CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget)

Engagement is a crucial aspect for any exhibition you take part in. When you lack the tactics to engage visitors, they lose interest and move on quickly to the next stand, which can be that of your competitor. This way, you end up losing many potential customers.

Don’t let this opportunity slip and make it a point to include as many steps for engagement as possible.

One of the best ways to go about this is using technology. For example, you can use interactive touch screens to give visitors a walkthrough of your latest product or service. Similarly, you can use Beacon technology to notify them about some specialized service or offers they can avail by visiting your booth. Or, you can get creative and send them some “Easter Eggs” content to pique their interests.

Another useful tip is to get social even before the exhibition stands i.e., use social media platforms to spread the word about your booth and what purpose will it serve. For this, you will need to post consistently and engage with potential participants, attendees, influencers and key industry members. This can help you maximize your ROI more than what you anticipate, be it in terms of audience turnaround or qualified leads.

These are some main reasons why your exhibition participation may not help you gain the traction that you wanted. Work on these factors, and you will surely see an increase in the RoI. For more relevant and insightful write-ups on successful trade show participation, keep a tab on this space. To discuss an avant-garde design for your next exhibition, do leave a comment!