All too often I find myself talking to a marketer and end up in a conversation on measuring ROI for a trade show. We’ve all heard, or even made the argument around “waving the corporate flag, so we’re not expected to get a return. It’s all about building brand awareness and collecting the odd lead”. Well, those days are long gone.
SMB organizations will spend tens of thousands of dollars on activities associated with their trade show booth, thousands on airfare, hotel, meals and entertainment, and most don’t even factor in the costs associated with having employees attending the show versus back in the office. Yet have no concrete plan on generating a return from the show. Most initiate a promotional giveaway at the booth in exchange for a scanned card and attend a conference networking event and exchange business cards. Having collected hundreds, maybe thousands of leads, the question becomes – now what?
Fact: Leads go stale!You are only one of the many companies that a lead will have met at the trade show. They, in turn, will probably have forgotten about you, so a quick follow-up is imperative.Industry practice recommends that you follow-up with the leads within five business days of returning from a trade show. The reality is that most leads end up going stale as organizations aren’t disciplined enough, or don’t have a process to contact all of them in a timely manner.
Another ugly fact is that some percentage of the contacts you collected were just looking for your promotional giveaway, yet you and your team will expend effort trying to contact every lead given no sense of priority or interest with the collected names. The likely scenario is that the team ends up feeling frustrated and questioning value of their time as they make their way through the list and abandon the effort with other business imperatives taking priority.The end result is a lost opportunity.
So what’s the answer? A Marketing Automation solution will give you the tools to address the lead base and prioritize those that are truly interested now, from those that are not. The remainder of the leads are put on a nurture program and when they display an appropriate buy signal, like a return visit weeks later to your pricing page, they then can be assigned to sales for follow-up. Statistics show that the majority of the leads will not be in a buy position within the first 90 days, and may need 3 to 12 months before they are ‘buy ready’. A returning prospect is seven times more likely to turn into a customer so knowing when they return to your website is extremely valuable.
The Irony: Organizations will spend tens of thousands on a single trade show, yet wrestle with investing hundreds per month into a marketing automation solution that will easily address the trade show example above and further allow for ongoing automated marketing efforts. With a Marketing Automation solution, you are able to drive an integrated marketing program across your organization, while monitoring and tracking down at the campaign level and understanding your marketing ROI.
Measure your marketing ROI and understand where the true value is for your marketing spend.
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About Dayna Cosgrove
Danya is a creative professional specializing in web design and development, with experience in marketing, advertising, and graphic design.