Is the trade show or special event over when the last box is sealed, flooring packed and the truck is heading back to the shop? As the baseball legend, Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over." Part of determining the return on investment (ROI) is more than tracking the leads and new contacts made at the show. When returning to the office, make time for thoughtful evaluation of all aspects of the trade show or event when it is still fresh in your mind. This information will help determine what was effective and identify areas for improvement. Since you are evaluating several aspects of the show, consider two parts of the process for the planning and exhibit structure.

Just like planning for an event or trade show involves a list, you can develop a checklist of criteria for your post-show evaluation. Reviewing the overall strategic goals is the start, then examine the elements that support achieving the results.

Pre-Show Planning

  • Was the pre-show planning a success? For example, were there measurable results from pre-show marketing such as attendees bringing an email or mailer to the booth?
  • Was there an increase in social media engagement, specifically relating to coming by your exhibit?
  • Did the promotional material support the goals of the show?

Lead Generation

  • Was one of the primary objectives to generate new leads?
  • Were the criteria outlined before the show to determine what would be considered a quality lead, and was the expectation met or exceeded?
  • Did the lead retrieval software or badge reader meet your expectations or should you investigate alternate software packages for the next show?

Engaging the Audience

  • Was the ratio of booth staff to attendees correct?
  • While it is important to have enough team members in the exhibit, if there are too many it may overwhelm potential customers or not enough could also be detrimental.
  • Was the space selected suited to the exhibit and traffic flow?
  • Was there a live in-booth presentation and if so, did the audience engaged with the booth staff?

Successful trade show programs and events require careful planning and attention to detail. To continue to grow and develop a program, the post-show evaluation is an integral part achieving objectives for current and future projects. In the next edition, we will outline exhibit design checklist for post-show evaluation.