Step 10 – Follow-up analysis

Follow-up analysis

A follow-up analysis is essential for monitoring one’s level of success at the fair. This is a critical juncture of events. The promises a company has made must now be transformed into reality and it must confront fulfilling orders and commitments. Participation in a trade fair may only just be the beginning of a close business relationship. In many industry sectors a company has to approach a customer six to eight times before doing business with him.

A thorough follow-up analysis helps to determine whether a company has achieved its pre-set trade fair objectives.

A company must select employees at an early date to implement measures over a specified a period of time, for example as its sales force and representatives, in order to build on its leads from the fair. By systematically evaluating the visitor data filed on forms a company can follow up events at the fair and monitor its level of success.

Evaluating visitor data

Evaluating visitor data

A centralised evaluation procedure used by trade fair organisers helps companies to monitor their level of success, which is of fundamental importance.

This centralised evaluation procedure, which takes place at the trade fair entrance or when collecting visitor data during online registration, can consider a variety of aspects. Not many exhibitors are able to list how many visitors attended their stand along with their job positions. Information can be obtained by collecting and entering data oneself using data sheets and conversation.

Contents of a conversation are evaluated according to:

  • product

  • area of use

  • method

  • new customer requests

 

Follow-up activities

Follow-up activities differ for visitors who actually came to the stand and those who were invited but did not come:

  • customers
  • visitors
  • journalists

How reliably and quickly an exhibitor replies to his trade fair inquiries, as well as the manner in which he does so, shows a visitor how his prospective business partner operates.

After initial contact has been made the company must demonstrate that it is qualified for the job and that it is able to perform.

Monitoring one’s success with the Trade Fair Benefit Check

Monitoring one’s success with the Trade Fair Benefit Check

Monitoring the activities of your enterprise is a vital element of the modern-day running of a company. Trade fairs achieve a direct response from target audiences and immediate market assessments in a way that differs from any other medium. A trade fair is clearly defined in terms of where and when it takes place, so how successful you are is easy to measure and evaluate. The point is to establish as comprehensive a picture as possible of the visitors to your stand, of their aims and their interest in your products, and to compare it with your company’s objectives.

Monitoring one’s level of success serves as a basis for making decisions on future participation. A critical analysis of every item enables a company to eliminate organisational mistakes. The results can be taken into account for future stand concepts. Anything that is superfluous or with little demand can be left out and anything that is missing can be included.

The results also have an influence on a company’s choice of employees and number of personnel (technical / commercial knowledge, foreign language skills).They will also let you draw conclusions as to how effective your advertising and invitations were. A comparison can be made of the number of invitations and the number of visitors who subsequently visited the stand. The same applies to visitors who were attracted by other PR measures, e.g. advertising and catalogue entries.

Cost-benefit balance

A cost-benefit balance must cover a medium-range period of time. Its aim is to establish whether the economic rationality for investing in trade fairs is justified. Whether or not that succeeds depends on whether the individual elements determining costs and benefits can be sufficiently quantified. At trade fairs where orders are placed this can be calculated by the number of orders taken. However, a cost-benefit balance is only of use to companies who do not expect follow-up business, where additional information plays no further part.

An easy way to monitor one’s level of success and the benefits achieved is to assess the amount of technical information the company distributed, although a certain amount of losses should be taken into consideration. Issuing cards or forms for requesting such information produces more exact data. Experience shows that visitors continue to reference this information long after the fair.

The number of sales employees on the stand in relation to the number of serious leads obtained produces valuable information in particular when comparing several different events over a period of one or more years. This point can also be assessed after conversations with existing and prospective customers. The number of leads obtained should be in appropriate relation to the database containing invitations and the overall number of visitors to the fair.

The cost of a lead per visitor is calculated by counting the number of serious discussions held in relation to the overall cost of participation. After a number of years or several events an analysis of this item provides useful information for prospective trade fairs. The cost of establishing leads at trade fairs can be set against the cost of distributing information incurred through advertising, direct communications and visits by sales representatives.

However, an isolated calculation of the cost of trade fair leads ignores the fact that taking part in an event also serves other purposes. They include the promotional impact, determining the company’s competitive and market standing and setting up joint ventures etc. In these cases finding indicators that determine one’s level of success is far more difficult. Alternatively, one can ask whether it would have been possible to accomplish one’s objectives using other instruments and how much that would have cost.

Trade fair benefits versus the cost of alternative marketing instruments

Basically, exhibitors must first of all be clear about what and how much they want to achieve and about how they want to measure the degree to which they have accomplished their aims. Calculating the benefits of quantifiable aims is done by determining the cost of the theoretical use of alternative marketing instruments. Thus, if a company wants to obtain a substantial number of new customer leads other than by taking part in a trade fair then the often costly and time-consuming sales force will come into play. The benefits of individual trade fair objectives are calculated thus and afterwards added together to determine the quantitative benefits of participation.

In addition, an exhibitor assesses how much achieving his qualitative trade fair objectives is worth, for example his actually taking part in a main industry event. The value of these goals is formulated as a percentage of overall costs.

Finally, the trade fair check calculates the cost of participation, taking into account the benefits the company set out to achieve. AUMA’s original online trade fair cost calculator is part of the new Trade Fair Benefit Check.

These costs are then compared with the overall benefits based on quantitative and qualitative aims

With the Trade Fair Benefit Check it is relatively easy to calculate and evaluate your participation in future or past trade fairs. Accordingly, this is a useful tool for small and medium-sized companies. The Trade Fair Benefit Check helps companies to examine all the options for formulating trade fair objectives, thus enabling them to evaluate their success at the fair.

The AUMA Trade Fair Benefit Check is part of this toolbox or can be downloaded free of charge at www.auma.de.

Use the AUMA TradeFairBenefitCheck!