With the crazy schedules of marketing and event managers, it is difficult to find the time to do a thorough post show review for all of your trade shows. Many times, as soon as a show ends, it is time to start thinking about the next show, designing a new booth, updating literature, or thinking about new promotions. While the responsibilities of event and marketing managers seems to be growing with no end in sight, it is still critical to complete a thorough post show review to ensure you are achieving the desired results on a show to show basis.

Along with measuring your objectives, it is just as important to provide your stakeholders with strategic feedback and results. While data on ROI, brand impressions, and leads are heavily sought after, the below categories will allow you and your management to better understand the success and suggested improvements of the program.

I. Overview

The first section of your post-show report should be an overview of the entire show. It is important to keep this brief and to the point as many times this may be the only section that is read. The overview should include the corresponding results of the show; leads, quality of leads, press coverage, booth traffic, impression of the show, and suggested improvements for next year.

II. Objectives

What were your objectives for this and why did you choose to exhibit in the way you did? What were the goals set for this show specifically, and were they met? Make sure to compare this show to other shows, as well as the same show year to year, so that you can better understand what you are doing well and what needs to improve.

III. Sales Report

Most often, one of the main reasons for exhibiting is to gather leads and show ROI. It is always helpful to review the total amount of leads as well as the quality of leads. It is not always beneficial to double your leads at the sacrifice of quality. For example, you may be able to double your leads by adding a bar and serving alcohol in your booth, but your total ROI decreased because most of the booth traffic was attendees looking for a free beer. You can break down your leads in to tiers based on their quality. Provide the total number of tier 1, 2, and 3 leads. Tier 1 being the most likely to buy in the current quarter, and tier 3 the least likely to buy. It is critical to also implement a post-show follow up plan with all of your leads.

IV. Press/Media Coverage 

Report any articles that may have been written up about your booth, services, products, announcements, etc.

V. Exhibit Effectiveness

Include a brief description and evaluation of your exhibit, including any available photographs or renderings and a statement on each of the following components:

  • Exhibit properties. Was the design functional to reach your objectives, and was the condition of your exhibit properties consistent with the image your company wants to portray?
  • Engagement and Product/Service displays. What products/service did you feature, and how were they displayed? Could visitors identify your separate products/services from a distance? How did visitors engage with the products?
  • Graphics. Did your graphics draw attendees into your booth? Were your messages clear and compelling?
  • Booth location, layout, and traffic flow. How did the location of the exhibit affect traffic flow? Did the size and layout of your exhibit invite visitors to enter and remain long enough to engage with your staff?

VI. Promotions and Exhibit Activities

If you completed any pre-show marketing, such as mailers or email blast of a coupon to receive a gift at the booth, make sure to report the effectiveness of the campaigns. Report on any ancillary events, such as hospitality suites, customer dinners, co-sponsored events with partners, customer or dealer training, sponsored conference sessions, or happy hours.

VII. Booth Staff

Evaluate the effectiveness of your booth staff and analyze the following details:

  • Number of staff members. Did you have enough or too many staff members working during setup and teardown and during show hours?
  • Staff performance. Evaluate the productivity and effectiveness of your staff, being sure to mention your most competent members. Record problems with your staff, such as low productivity, tardiness or absences, or incidents with customers.

VIII. Competitive Analysis

Include a brief summary about your competitions presence at the show. Take note of their exhibit, in-booth activities, sponsored events, booth location, and overall booth traffic. What made your booth better/worse than your competitions? 

IX. Conclusion

This section should put the show into context in your overall trade show program, considering both the past and the future. If applicable, provide a year-over-year comparison of results from the same show. Indicate how this year’s show was stronger or weaker, and why. Rank the show among other shows at which you exhibit based on ROI and overall impact on corporate objectives. Discuss what you want to continue doing and what you hope to improve for future shows to advance your exhibit program. And even though it’s much easier to highlight your successes at a show, don’t be afraid to point out your program’s shortcomings as well. Finally, recommend the next steps on continual improvement of the overall trade show program.

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