How to boost trade show ROI

By Leigh Famigliette | March 27, 2023

Still passing out printed collateral at trade shows? Time to think again.

Trade shows and events are a key part of many organizations’ marketing strategies. Events offer a unique opportunity for companies to showcase their products and services, meet potential customers, and network with industry peers. However, in recent years, there has been a shift in how companies approach events and trade shows through the lens of ROI.

Most trade show booths are equipped with the traditional collateral setup featuring brochures, flyers, and business cards. But, in today’s digital age, tracking the ROI on these forms of collateral has become increasingly difficult — not to mention the costs of shipping, printing, and making even the slightest change. In this blog, we’ll explore the challenges of tracking ROI with the traditional approach to trade shows and events and discuss the benefits of taking a more modern, personalized, and digital approach.

Challenges of printed trade show collateral

In traditional trade show booths, you may be accustomed to seeing flyers, brochures, business cards, and other physical paper assets. But this paper collateral is expensive, cumbersome, and wasteful. It not only costs a lot to produce but there are also expenses involved with shipping to and from the event space. And let’s face it, most of the time, your flyer ends up in the waste bin (recycling bin if we’re lucky) back at the hotel.

Audiences are hit with a lot of noise at events, making it challenging for teams to maintain that level of energy and engagement. When there are hundreds of booths at trade shows, it can be hard to stand out and leave a lasting impression with traditional collateral.

One of the biggest challenges organizations face today is measuring the ROI from the events they attend. Companies invest significant dollars in events and many require financial justification for attending. Traditionally, ROI has been measured by the number of qualified leads you receive from events or the opportunities that result. But how do you decipher the quality of those interactions from the masses?

Step 1: Create an event-specific microsite with digital collateral

The first step to boosting ROI from trade shows is creating an event-specific microsite. These personalized, custom microsites called “workspaces” come equipped with rich analytics so you can easily measure the ROI from your events without breaking your budget.

What to look for when building a workspace

Building custom workspaces allows you to create impactful experiences by bringing unique, interactive content that resonates with your audience.

When building your workspace, you can leverage:

Instead of handing a booth visitor a flyer they will throw out before they reach the airport, share a custom workspace with them that they can access at any time. You can save money while being environmentally friendly because you are not wasting paper. With printing and shipping costs averaging $8,400 per show (not to mention return shipping if you don’t use them all), the savings can add up, especially if you participate in multiple events each year.

Another added benefit is the flexibility to update the content on your workspace at any time. Paper collateral doesn’t leave much room to edit once you have gone to the printer. When you have the power to make changes, personalizations, and edits at any time, you can easily keep up with the fast-paced flow of events.

Step 2: Utilize QR codes to maximize engagement

You know how to capture interactions at the booth — with the lead scanner. But what about the amazing conversations you have in the lunch line, grabbing coffee, waiting for the keynote to start, or at any other point in the event? Enter QR codes.

Once you’ve linked a QR code to your microsite, have everyone representing your team take a screenshot of the code and save it in their photos app on their mobile phone. Now, your team is ready to sell and educate at every point of the event — before, during, and after — in person and even on social media.

Not only can you create QR codes for workspaces, but for any piece of content you want to share at the event. Imagine having QR codes for CROs, sales managers, or individual reps, each leading to a different custom workspace based on their specific pain points. By doing so, you can guarantee that everyone who engages with you will receive a personalized experience that addresses their unique needs.

This gives you the opportunity to connect with potential leads at any time of the event, not just when you are in your booth. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to impress your audience with a seamless and tailored experience at your next event.

Step 3: Track engagement with rich analytics and insights

Now that you’ve ditched the paper collateral, created a microsite, and activated a QR code — what’s next? How do you decipher which interactions are most likely to lead to qualified opportunities? How do you track the ROI of the event? And most importantly, where should your team spend its time after the event wraps?

The answer rests in the data.

With rich analytics and insights, we can help you identify which contacts your sales team should invest their time with post-event. The analytics go far beyond tracking just who opened and viewed your microsite. Mediafly has capabilities that can tell you how long your lead viewed your microsite, what content they spent the most time reviewing so you know what they are interested in, and if they have shared your content with anyone else on their team (like other key decision makers!).

Understand engagement in real-time with a series of analytics, including our proprietary “Energy Score” which balances content engagement as well as CRM activities. It’s the holistic view you need to assess content performance, trends, opportunity risk, and overall account health.

A picture of Mediafly's proprietary "energy" score, connecting content to your CRM.

In addition to energy scores, you’ll also get insights into the content in your workspace so you can get a better understanding of what content is contributing to your overall ROI.

Engagement360 content impact snapshot

Your content gets “scored” based on sales and engagement. Your sales score is a measure of how much an item contributes to closed opportunities. It is computed based on the number of opportunities in which the item was shown, as well as the stage of each of those opportunities. Your engagement score is a measure of how “engaged” a recipient is with an asset. A recipient who clicks your link and has a long session duration, views multiple pages, etc. will have a higher engagement score than a recipient who clicks on the link and then closes the window soon after. Your content is organized into 4 categories:

Not only can you track what lead is most likely a qualified opportunity, you can also track what content is performing the best and put it to use at your next event.

If you’re ready to get a greater ROI on your next event, take a self-guided tour of Engagement360 or contact us today.

Leigh joined the content strategy and growth marketing team at Mediafly in January 2022 where she helps with all content marketing initiatives to drive traffic, demand, and growth. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenberg School of Management and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing.

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