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Should you even consider investing in exhibiting at trade-shows?

Every event organiser talks about thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors. And, while they make great business sense to them (they earn their profits from the same after all)—do these trade-shows make business sense for you?

Interesting question—but we did not find any answers to the same. So, we asked our journalists to speak to marketers and entrepreneurs on their views on this subject.

Interestingly, 67% of the respondents gave replies which we categorised as “unsure”. Another, 14% said “no, they don’t” despite the fact that they had exhibited in two-or-more trade shows in the last 12 months! But, the real gem emerged when our journalists spoke to the balance 19% and consolidated their views. Here’s what they uncovered…

NUTSHELL: Exhibitions make perfect business investment, if they’re the ‘right exhibition for your firm’, and there’s a simple formula to calculate their Return-on-Investment value.

Here’s that ‘simple’ back-of-the-envelope calculation for assessing your return-on-investments…

1. Select the ‘right exhibition for your business’.

The ‘right exhibition for your business’ is one where you are confident to generate 50 to 100 interactions with new prospects.

2. Calculate the estimated cost of meeting each of these new customers in their offices.

This is typically simple to do—estimate travel costs (per client interaction) based on your team’s past averages, and estimate man-hour cost per interaction based on your team’s past averages too. Our research estimates these costs to range from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 depending on your business profile.

3. Calculate the cost of out-station meetings.

The right exhibition will generate interactions with few out-station clients too. Each outstation client met represents a major cost-saving in terms of travel and man-hours.

4. Calculate the cost of generating the interest in them (aka lead) to meet your team.

At the ‘right exhibition’, your prospective customers come to your booth. In a typical sales cycle, your team has to do a lot of cold calling or invest in marketing tools, to generate interest of prospects to give your team an opportunity to interact.

5. Calculate the opportunity cost.

How much time will it take your team to meet 50 to 100 new customers? And how much more business will you be able to do, or save cash, if you could do the same within 3 days? This is one aspect most of us forget, but is super critical, especially when you want to accelerate the speed of your sales funnel. Our research shows that for a typical firm, 100 new clients are met in 2 to 3 man-months. You can meet that number within 3 days, at the right exhibition!

NUTSHELL: From an ‘only return-on-investment’ perspective, our research shows that an investment into an expo up-to a booth-sized 9 to 18 square meters with an additional budget of 50% to 100% over and above the booth’s cost–for stall setup, travel costs and man-hour costs of your team–should yield NET positive results for most businesses. For businesses with large value deals, even a smaller number of interactions with new customers would do.

Yes, I would like to explore options & offers for booking a booth here...