Written by Tammy Wood on January 20, 2023
Est. Reading: 6 minutes

Pick the best events for the year as an exhibitor - ROI matters

Attending events as an exhibitor can be expensive and time-consuming - but the payoff can be huge if you pick the right ones. So how do you know which events are going to give you the most bang for your buck? In this blog, we'll explore how to get the most out of your event attendance this year and pick the best events that are guaranteed to generate a great return on investment!

1.       Evaluating Events

With so many events and conferences, it can be difficult to select which ones will provide the best return on investment (ROI).  To maximize your ROI, the key is choosing the right events and conferences from the start.  To ensure that you are making the best decisions regarding event opportunities, it is important to consider the following criteria:

Event Size – Consider both the anticipated attendance, as well as which industries will be represented.  Find out how long the event has been taking place and consider newer shows typically take time to build a following so they might not maximize your ROI the way you envisioned. Ask the organizer about past attendance numbers and if they can share exhibitor lists from past shows.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to past exhibitors to inquire about their success and check for online attendee reviews.

Competitors – Ask to see who has signed up so far to exhibit and ask the organizer if they limit industries/categories.  If an organizer doesn’t cap like products or services that is a red flag to not ignore.  Competing, like-exhibitors at an event isn’t the only thing to check into but also research and know if there are any large, competing events within the same community on the same day(s) of the event you are considering.  This could greatly hinder potential foot traffic to the event you are participating in.

Venue – Location and accessibility are key!  Consider the location of the event and how accessible it is for prospective attendees.  Note what else there is to do in the area such as dining and shopping and make sure to research parking fees, distance from parking to the venue, restrooms, handicap parking, load-in access, set up, and take down times. If the event is outdoors, is there a plan if it rains for a rescheduled date or refund?   

Event Marketing – How will the event be advertised? Does the organizer have a budget for marketing the event beyond sharing on social media? Ask about newspapers, radio, fliers, types of social media, email campaigns, listings on area/community calendars, etc.  Will they provide event graphics/logos for use and share your participation with their networks?

Target Market - Identify your target audience: Determine who you want to reach with your exhibiting efforts, what their interests are, and where they tend to gather. This will help narrow down your list of possible events.  Ask the organizer about attendee demographics and make sure you understand your own customer’s demographics.  This will help you decide if you are a good match for the event.

By capitalizing on these tips, you should be able to choose and attend events that will generate valuable ROI for your business.

2.       Event Preparedness

Once you’ve identified the right events the next step is to ask yourself if you will be prepared for the event(s). Proper preparation is essential for successful event appearances and can make the difference between failure and success.  Before committing to any event and to ensure you maximize your ROI consider the following aspects:

Developing an event/exhibitor plan: Create an exhibitor plan outlining each step needed to prepare successfully for the event, including tasks for designing marketing materials and booth displays, and recruiting staff and the right team for set up and takedown. Make sure you have the management/team buy-in and an enthusiastic staff available for event day before committing to any event.

Creating an appealing booth design: Engage an experienced exhibition designer to ensure that your booth grabs attention from a distance and turns curious visitors into leads.  From branded table covers, backdrops, flags and much more, this is your chance to stand out.  Properly planning and budgeting for an appealing booth display will ensure your brand shines loudly!

Building comprehensive content: Create online and printed materials that provide enough product information to stimulate further inquiry from attendees at the show. Consider adding some excitement to your booth space such as giveaways/raffles, guest appearances, and activities that help create experiences/memories. Exciting experiences should vary based on the show’s theme and attendee demographics.

Establishing a follow-up process: Ensure that staff members collect contact data from interested prospects at the show so it can be entered into a lead tracking system.  This is crucial in measuring ROI and will be key in understanding if an event is a good fit for you to return to in the future! 

3.       Measuring ROI

Once you confirm you will be properly prepared for the event, you’ll want to make sure you are measuring event ROI as an essential component for any event exhibitor in order to determine the success of their marketing efforts. Generally speaking, a successful event will result in sales opportunities and return on investment (ROI). ROI can be measured by assessing the overall performance of the event, including ticket sales, booth traffic, lead generation, and follow-up sales.

Aside from general performance metrics like booth traffic and lead generation, it is also important to assess key factors such as target demographics and audience size. Associations may even have specific guidelines or data points they use to measure the success of their events. Knowing your overall objective and desired outcomes before selecting an event is critical for measuring ROI after the fact.

In terms of selecting which events to attend as an exhibitor for the year, consider events with higher visibility and positive track records for producing visible ROI. Consider the value associated with each event, such as lead acquisition versus return on investment (ROI), so that you know you are making a wise financial decision when choosing which ones make sense for your business objectives. Additionally, research which events best align with your brand values so you can reach the right target market that is best suited to be exposed to your product or service goals. By gauging expectations ahead of time from both a single-event perspective and broader company objectives, businesses can measure how successful various trade shows have been over time—and develop strategies accordingly in order to maximize profitability in their exhibiting strategies.

4.       Tips for Maximizing ROI

When it comes to marketing your business, participating in events can be one of the most cost-effective methods of showcasing your products and services. With so many possibilities available, it's important to create a plan that will maximize your return on investment (ROI) while still taking advantage of the many opportunities provided by such gatherings. Here are some tips that can help maximize ROI when attending events:

Research: Research as much as possible about potential events before making a decision about which ones to participate in. Consider factors such as audience size and demographics, expected competition, venue location and cost, required investments for space, and equipment rental fees. Make sure your target audience is well-represented at each event you attend.

Participation & Engagement: Use each event as an opportunity for meaningful engagement with participants during the event itself – from presentations, product demos, or launching contests to generate interest in your brand/products – make sure you're actively engaging with attendees. Make sure staff are on hand to answer questions from participants and take part in discussions about related topics so that perceptions of your brand’s value can be increased.

Networking & Connecting: Networking is always an important component when attending events – use them as opportunities to really connect with people in person and make lasting impressions with potential customers or business associates in order to build better relationships. Exchange information cards or promotional materials with contacts who you may not have had any previous connection with – these contacts could turn out to be useful after all!

Evaluation & Reviews: After attending an event, take the time to evaluate it properly by measuring performance metrics such as exhibitor leads obtained or budget vs expenses difference, etc., while also considering qualitative factors like brand image enhancement or how successful were meetings, etc. This helps ensure that what was spent was used effectively so future investments can be evaluated accordingly and gaps filled if needed before attending future engagements


Attending conventions and other events as an exhibitor is a great way to generate ROI for your business. When selecting the events to attend, consider the event’s past attendance, its demographics, and its geographic location. Consider all of these factors when deciding which events to go to as an exhibitor for the year. Evaluate any associated cost with exhibiting before agreeing to participate in order to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible for your budget. Additionally, determine your goals for each event beforehand so that you can have a plan in place to measure success following the conclusion of each event. By capitalizing on these tips, you should be able to choose and attend events that will generate valuable ROI for your business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts