Commentary

Proving Trade Show ROI With Data-Quality Best Practices

It’s no secret participating in trade shows is costly. Years ago, marketers could take a vague stance on ROI for such an investment. 

There were classic assumptions that booth size, presentation slots, and hospitality suites demonstrated enough value. But today, those assumptions are being challenged, as data-driven businesses expect proof of ROI.

So, how do you plan for and deliver on collecting the best data on the most leads possible at a trade show or event?

Aim for clean data from the get-go in your pre-show marketing plan. Perhaps you’ve selected a targeted group of attendees you’d like to reach ahead of the show, so you’ve researched these individuals on LinkedIn and Google, tailored your messaging to their pain points, and created a plan for marketing tactics. To ensure the information you’re leveraging pre-show is accurate, you’ll need to implement data-quality best practices. 

For example, if you’re marketing to your high-value targets via a digital campaign pre-show, use an email verification solution to ensure you’re reaching valid emails or apply data cleansing tools to check contact information. 

If you’re collecting RSVPs for your presentations, hospitality suite, or cocktail event, apply an email API to your lead form so you know the information you’re collecting is accurate and that you can confidently send reminders to bolster attendance. 

It’s important to realize that even something as simple as an incorrect email address can skew your expected ROI. 

Our surveys show over 15% of emails on marketing lists are invalid, and the value of an email across all industries is reported to be at least $10 per email. In this scenario, where the spend for a trade show is so high, an email’s value may be worth even more.

Ensure email accuracy to help protect projected ROI.

Continue amassing clean data at the show, even when your booth is at its busiest. If the trade show you attend allows for scanning contact data of attendees, via a wristband or badge, take advantage of the opportunity. This is the fastest, easiest, and most accurate way to collect attendee data.

Consider adding an email verification API to the iPad you use to scan the data. This will allow you to validate email addresses in real time, and will work to achieve accurate data whether you’re collecting it via scanning or using manual input. 

A key tip for at-show capture of data for proper post-show follow up is to know the data you want your team to collect. Be sure to properly identify and track the origin of specific lead sources so sales can follow up appropriately. 

Celebrate the minimal data clean-up you’ll have to do post-show. If you focused on data quality and strong management of data collection in your marketing and execution plan for the tradeshow, then you’ll have minimal work to do when you get back. Should you find yourself facing incomplete or inaccurate data, there are third-party data quality tools that will work with the CRM to allow for mass imports of lead information, deduplicating data, updating existing records and easily adding attendees to appropriate campaigns for follow up.

At the end of the day, campaign reporting for evaluating events by looking at costs per lead is enabled by clean data. It is hard to know if a show is valuable to your organization if the lack of ROI is actually due to poor data capture and data quality. 

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