Boosting the Return on Investment of Your Trade Shows

April 21, 2016

This article explores how a strategic approach to the sourcing of Trade shows and other Marketing related events can boost your Return on Investment (ROI).

For many organizations in the business to business sector (B2B), an important part of the commercial cycle revolves around their presence in industry shows and fairs. 

Each industry has its own calendar of trade shows across the globe and many may be world renowned within its industry such that they demand mandatory attendance if an organization wants to be taken seriously. 

These events are crucial moments to showcase the organization’s capabilities, offerings and success stories, while they can also be used to generate commercial leads and strengthen the relationship with current customers. 

Investing wisely in trade shows can help to create greater awareness of your brand and close deals with new customers. Nevertheless, getting a good grasp on the total investment of a single event might be a challenge. Besides the costs of design, construction and rent of the space where the company is going to showcase, there are various other costs that add up to the total investment, namely:

Communication costs, including activities varying from the event’s strategy, to graphics development as well as copywriting, invitations, online presence and guest management solutions;

Logistics costs, including activities such as selecting the catering staff, service staff, host or hostesses, and photographers, etc;

Project management costs, focusing on the planning, execution and supervision of the activities mentioned above to guarantee the deadlines. 

With so many possible activities falling into one single event, the costs related to these events can easily go untraced and therefore be very difficult to consolidate globally or even regionally. This being said, when they are traced and summed up – especially at a regional but also global level – they can be quite significant in the budget of the marketing and communication directions.  Additionally, due to the complexity of its requirements, which are always evolving and being revised, this is a category that tends to be overlooked in terms of sourcing efforts. 

Leveraging on Elemica’s experience, conducting a well-organized sourcing project at a strategic level can lead to multiple benefits which go beyond savings. By looking strategically at the sourcing of Trade Shows, it’s possible to:

Aggregate spend at a regional or global level and consolidate current requirements – although there are important regional differences, the key requirements can be mapped and used to reflect on the future needs of the organization;
Plan for a cycle of your global Trade Show investments in order to identify synergies - these  synergies may include design options that can be reused event after event, but also the development of flexible ways of working that reuse content and materials;
Identify the best fit partner(s) to drive synergies and Return on Investment(ROI): at the end of the day in order to know if a Trade Show was successful, it is fundamental to track its Return on Investment. After being able to aggregate spend, the total investment becomes clear to the organization, making it possible to explore synergies and other sources of savings. A second step necessary to boost your ROI, might include the selection of a supplier with a “Return on Investment mentality”, meaning a partner who not only drives savings, but also proposes and recommends the right activities to maximize the generation of leads and other important commercial metrics.  

Interested in taking a strategic look at the sourcing of trade shows and fairs? We would be pleased to support you with our experience in organizing tenders in this category. Please send us an email at

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