Tip of the Day: Conference ROI

Conference season is coming up quick so it’s time to look at all the events you or your company will be attending in 2017.

Whether you attend a small number of shows or are known as a trade show regular, it’s a good idea to measure the impact of each conference for your company. Determining a show’s ROI (or Return On Investment) will help set your schedule for the following year. You may find you are spending unnecessary money on shows that aren’t benefiting your brand.

What should you look for to build positive ROI?

There is no hard and fast answer to this question mainly because no two conferences are created equal and each conference should be evaluated independently so that you can consider all of the specifics with a clean slate: the cost of travel, session topics, speaker qualifications, networking opportunities, and of course, who the other attendees are. It is also important to realize that not every company’s ROI is going to look the same because each puts a different importance on specific aspects to a conference.

If your company attends a show and has a booth, you may want to consider keeping track of the sheer number of people who are coming by. You can do so by having them to sign up for an email subscription list, using lead retrieval scanners to grab their information from their badge, host a product giveaway, or even provide a short survey if you are showcasing a product to gauge potential customer reaction.

For some, a positive ROI from a show is not about quantity, but about quality. While all that contact information is great, many are more concerned about networking and relationship building during a show. For these people, conferences allow time for meetings; they find the most value in investing and growing their existing relationships. Some companies would rather have their conference attendees come back with few quality connections rather than hundreds of business cards.

Conferences are a great place to network and build relationships!

Set ROI Goals

To determine if a show is worth attending or not, sit down and set up some specific goals.

  • Why are you attending the show? Reputation? Education? Networking?
  • Do you hope to set up lots of meetings? How many per day?
  • Is educating the attendees about your company important to your success? How can you get a speaking opportunity?
  • Do demos have more impact to attendees? Will you have a booth/table setup showcasing your products?

Then based on your goals for the show, come up with a way to measure the success!

The new year is upon us – challenge yourself to take the time to think about your ROI strategy for conferences. By the end of the year, you may find better (hopefully not worse) results in your connections, new partnerships, stronger networking skills and relationship building. A little organization beforehand can go a long way in your future endeavors!