5 Critical Questions to Maximize Trade Show ROI

2235564_ebc90c80Trade shows can be a large investment for brands including hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on trade show booths, sponsorships, marketing, special events, staff time and more. The last thing you want is to walk away from a show asking what did we accomplish?  The 5 questions below will help you prepare effectively to ensure a better ROI.

1. What are your show goals? How will you define success? Setting detailed and measurable goals will allow you to easily determine if you achieved those goals. For example, if you want to increase leads, how much and among what target audiences?

2. Who is your target audience? While this might seem like a no-brainer, consider all the different show attendees – including media and bloggers – you can be targeting. The trade show should provide a list of professionals who attend the show and potentially a breakdown by title, industry, etc. to help with your planning.

3. What are your key messages? What are you communicating at the show to help differentiate yourself from the competition? Are there different messages you should be considering for different target audiences? The key to making a lasting impression is to ensure you have a clear, concise message consistently communicated over and over from your booth, to literature, trade show staff, media communication, etc.

4. What are you doing to drive booth traffic? Certainly there is a captive audience at the show. However, everyone – including your competitors – will be vying for the attendee’s attention. How will you stand out? Are you hosting a credible, sought after industry speaker? Offering a relevant giveaway? Providing engaging product demos? Does your stand look good? Have you thought about getting a slatwall gondola to display your products on?To pack a powerful punch, tie your booth traffic driving strategies into your core communication.

5. What’s your follow-up strategy post show? Have a detailed plan prior to the show on how you will follow up with all the show leads and who is responsible for what (email blasts, one-on-one communication). This will ensure timely follow up before the window of opportunity closes.

Jennifer Manocchio


After starting her career with Edelman in Chicago, Jennifer joined Sweeney and quickly established herself as an exceptional industry innovator. In 2004, she opened Sweeney’s first full-service office outside of Cleveland and quickly rose through the ranks to become agency president. Jen leads by example and without fear. She has been critical to agency growth throughout the past decade and continues to lead the agency into the future.