The trade show is over. Optimistically, the booth was packed. Lead goals were met. You visited with current customers and with dozens of prospects. You launched your new product, and are hopeful that you expanded brand reach. To complete the event and wrap it up with a big bow, it is essential that you provide your executives and other interested persons with a detailed post-show report that explains what went well and what could have been improved. As a marketing or event manager, how else can you determine if the show was successful and justify your trade show investment? Here is a suggestion of topics and other documentation you should include in your report.
Begin your report with a paragraph explaining what the show was about and who attended. You can access this information on the show’s website or from the Exhibitor Prospectus provided before the show. You may want to include attendee demographics, estimated attendance and how many companies exhibited.
Exhibiting Objectives and Goals
If you planned correctly, chances are you had clear reasons for exhibiting in the first place and what you wanted to accomplish. Add a paragraph outlining why you were there.
Include how many leads were collected. How did that number compare to last year’s tally? (If you participated the prior year). Did you ask booth visitors to answer survey questions? What were the results? This is important data that can be used to prioritize follow up, provide information about customer needs, and begin the sales cycle.
Products or Services Featured
Describe which products or services you displayed and if anything was new and improved, or if you featured a product launch.
Event Marketing Efforts
Detail what you did to attract attendees out of the aisles and into your booth. Hopefully you had a plan to engage and excite. Presentations, product demos, games or other fun and educational activities to engage visitors, including pre-and post-show campaigns, should be explained fully.
If you augmented your own staff with trade show talent, like Presenters, Product Specialists, and Brand Ambassadors, describe the advantages of hiring trade show pros and how they helped you achieve your objectives.
Highlights of the Show
Here’s the time to shine! Include a section about what and why your marketing efforts were effective, and what made the show a worthwhile investment. Don’t be shy about tooting your company’s horn.
What Needed Improvement
Exhibiting is not always just a bed of roses. It’s a learning experience that can facilitate improvements. Be honest about what didn’t work and what could have been better.
Visitor Interests and Often-Heard Comments
Ask your team what topics visitors were interested in and document it. Hopefully, you trained your staff in how to draw information out of prospects with open-ended questions. Visitor comments are important indicators of whether your products or services are meeting the needs of the marketplace.
Obtain a few testimonials from visitors about their experience in your booth. The same goes for staff members who have a wealth of knowledge and opinions based on their participation.
Accompanying the written report should be photos, and lots of them. They are the eyes for those who couldn’t be there and the memories for those who were.
For some pizzazz, create a short video that captures the fun, spirit and activity in the booth. If it’s a large and important trade show, consider hiring a professional videographer and photographer.
Data from 3rd-Party Vendors
Did you hire any outside companies to provide you with additional data?
- Exit Surveys
- Booth Traffic Analytics
- Mobile Marketing Campaigns
- Social Media Campaigns, etc
Summarize their findings or provide a link to this useful information.
Define what your competitors were up to and how your company stacked up. Take a few photos.
We’ve listed the kitchen sink of topics to include in a post-show report. You can pick and choose what would be most important to your executives and colleagues. Gauging the success of your trade show efforts and using the data you collected to determine ROI and ROO (Return on Objectives) is paramount to a successful trade show program.
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