Preparing trade show reports shouldn’t require a three-hour scavenger hunt, frantically looking up costs and numbers. The key to pain-free post-show reporting is pre-show planning. By devising a report template up-front and deciding ahead of time which data points you’ll use to measure success, your post-show reports will practically write themselves.
The Importance of Post-show Reports for Exhibitors
Post-show reports are a necessary tool for exhibitors. Not only do they give your sales staff an opportunity to evaluate a particular trade show, but often they also provide critical insights into the effectiveness of your overall trade show marketing strategy.
In addition, for active exhibitors working within the confines of a limited budget, trade show reports can quickly shed light on which shows to include in next year’s exhibit schedule — and which to skip altogether.
Essential Elements of a Comprehensive Trade Show Report
Preparing a post-show report is a lot like preparing your taxes. The whole process goes much faster when all of your numbers are right there at your fingertips.
Before your next show, decide up-front which criteria you’ll use to measure success, and then set up a bare-bones template where you can start plugging in data as you go along.
Your report should consist of at least two main sections: (1) a simple one-page recap, and (2) a detailed post-show analysis.
This is a high-level summary for upper management that will help you demonstrate the success or failure of exhibiting at a particular show based on your particular tradeshow marketing goals.
Include in your recap:
TRADE SHOW DETAILS
- Name, date(s) and location of the show
- Number of sales staff that attended
- Booth size and booth reservation cost
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
Include in your one-page summary a short reminder of your original goals and objectives for attending the show, such as:
- Collecting “x” number of qualified sales leads and new contacts
- Maintaining existing business relations (usually via hospitality suite activities or one-on-one meetings with existing clients)
- Getting additional brand exposure (particularly in new geographic or service markets)
- Identifying potential vendors or partners (for future growth and scaleability)
- Receiving free publicity (through on-site conference speaking engagements, interviews with national trade publications, or local TV news coverage)
- Conducting competitor research (by walking the show floor)
Use short, one-sentence bullet-points or numbers and percentages to demonstrate how well you did — or didn’t — achieve your original goals and objectives above
COST PER LEAD
At the most basic level, present this as the cost of the show (booth reservation price; trade show services; exhibit shipping and labor; hotel, meal and travel expenses; event promotion costs; etc.) divided by the number of qualified leads obtained
OVERALL SUCCESS RATING
Devise a quick 1-to-10 numerical scale, a 5-star method, or even a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down graphic that will allow you to easily rank this show and eventually compare all shows against each other year over year
Detailed Post-show Analysis
Use the interior pages of your report to explore the finer points of your exhibit experience. This will be particularly helpful next year when it comes time to decide whether or not to book a booth at this same show again.
Ask your sales staff for their input on the following questions:
- How many attendees actually stepped into your booth?
- Was the booth layout and size appropriate for the crowd?
- How much time did the average attendee spend in your booth?
- What stood out most in your post-show feedback surveys?
- How many pieces of swag or marketing collateral were distributed?
- How many orders were taken or direct sales made?
- How many qualified leads were captured?
- In interacting with booth visitors, what did you do well? What not so well?
SHOW & VENUE
- What was the final trade show attendance figure?
- How responsive was show management to your needs and requests?
- Were you satisfied with your booth location?
- Any problems with booth setup or tear-down, lighting, sound/noise from neighboring booths, technical equipment, etc.?
EXPOSURE & REACH
- What level of engagement did your company receive in social media mentions, likes, shares or comments?
- How much press or media coverage took place?
- How successful was your pre-show marketing campaign in drawing traffic to your booth?
- What other events did this show offer that you participated in (networking, conference sessions, VIP parties, etc.) and how effective were they?
- What types of things did competitors do better than you?
- How were competitors’ exhibits or in-booth activities different from yours?
- Given the time, energy and cost of exhibiting at this particular show, was it worth it?
Post-show Reports Require Pre-show Planning
Knowing where you’re headed makes every journey easier. Decide ahead of time which data points to include in your post-show report and you’ll not only zoom through your report in record time, you’ll also identify ways to optimize booth staffer roles and activities to guarantee that those report details are properly gathered at every show.
Need a helping hand? While we can’t prepare your post-show reports for you, the tradeshow marketing experts at EXHIB-IT! can (and will) do everything humanly possible to ensure that your tradeshow experience goes smoothly and that your display looks amazing.