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Does anything change when measuring your success abroad?

If you’ve been following my column, you know that when you leave the United States border, you should always expect things to be different. However, does the same hold true when measuring the success of your program?

The answer isn’t as direct as you might expect. What you need to consider is the marketplace you are trying to impact with your exhibit program, the different variables within that marketplace and how they may compare or contrast to your overall exhibit program.

One of the biggest mistakes you could make would be comparing two completely different markets. For example, trying to compare an exhibit’s performance in an established marketplace like Europe versus its debut in a growing market like India would be difficult. In all likelihood, if you are comparing bottom-line sales, you will have two very different numbers. At the European show, you will experience a larger concentration of buyers at one event. In India, you may see your brand awareness increase with exposure to a new market, but the concentration of buyers at the show may be smaller with less initial purchases and a lengthier sales process.

When your shows’ cultures and buying/selling environments differ, focus on your overall event program goals and the ability of the program as a whole to accomplish those goals. When you look at the performance of the individual shows, set realistic goals based on their environments and measure your ability to meet those goals at each show from year-to-year. Below are a few additional key questions to ask to help truly measure your success when exhibiting abroad.

  • What were my total sales for this show last year? What are my total sales for this show this year? Did they increase or decrease and by what percentage?
  • If this is our first time exhibiting in the region or at the show, what is our baseline? How many qualified buyers visited the stand?
  • Did they express interest and/or did they buy?
  • What was the cost of exhibiting at the show?
  • Did we close enough sales to pay for our participation?
  • Did we gather information from the qualified buyers that we met at the show to assist in closing future sales?
  • Did we hit our intended goals for the show? And for the annual program?

In the end, measurement and ROI will still come down to bottom-line sales numbers, but those numbers may vary dramatically based on the region. If you walk away from a show with a qualified list of leads and product visibility, your sales team should be able to continue to build momentum in the region, close the deals and bring in the numbers you need to generate revenue success.

A bird’s eye view of your global tradeshow program helps you measure your marketing goals, but remember to appreciate each show for the unique part of the strategy it fulfills. And remember the saying, “No one part is greater than the sum of the whole.”

Posted in International
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