Home B2B Marketing Strategy Marketing at Trade Shows: 3 Tactics to Stop Wasting Time and Money in 2023

Marketing at Trade Shows: 3 Tactics to Stop Wasting Time and Money in 2023

by Ravi Chalaka
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Companies attending events and marketing at trade shows tend to follow an identical blueprint each time. They send the same number of people with the same budget for logistics—because why fix what isn’t broken? Well, this might be the year to rethink your spending.

When it comes to marketing at trade shows, simply doing what you’ve always done might result in spending a hefty sum on redundant costs—especially moving into 2023. According to a report by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and CWT, a global events company, The average cost-per-attendee in 2022 is expected to be around 25% higher than 2019 levels, and is likely to rise a further 7% in 2023.

These are economically tumultuous times, and events are not exempt from inflated costs. Most businesses canceled in-person events from a few years ago, creating years’ worth of pent-up need for face-to-face engagement.

Rethinking the cost of trade shows starts with rethinking your tactics. How can you reduce your spending without missing out on the re-emergence of the event space? Let’s walk through it in three steps.

Three Actionable Tactics That Will Maximize Your Trade Show ROI

Last July, the consumer price index hit a four-decade high. The rising cost of labor, hotels, food, venues, and flights will drastically impact the potential profitability of marketing at trade shows.

marketing at trade shows
Source: Shutterstock

Coasting through events won’t cut it anymore. It’s time to tighten up your operation, streamline where you can, and discover your profit-driving practices.

Your ROI takes a hit as costs rise, meaning you need to cut costs and find a way to squeeze a bit more out of every investment. Scheduling as many personalized engagements with customers and prospects at every event is the surest way to real ROI. How do you make that happen?

1. Focus on the Right Metrics

There are endless ways to measure event performance; however, some are more valuable than others. Sticking to your KPIs is the best way to avoid a jumbled mix of metrics and get a clear picture of your profitability.

man providing presentation marketing at trade shows
Source: Shutterstock

Here are some measurements worth taking note of:

  • Sales Cycle Length: Do in-person engagements lead to a shorter sales cycle? This is important because it indicates that face-to-face meetings and hybrid events are more effective at capturing and convincing your customers. Tracking meeting outcomes will give you data that indicates the impact each meeting has on your sales pipeline.
  • Meeting Space Usage: Many companies miss this metric—but you shouldn’t. A direct calculation of the space’s rental cost versus its utilization’s profitability provides a clear snapshot of your ROI. Additionally, implementing metric tracking meeting automation software lets you quantify your engagements as actionable data.
  • Team Member Metrics: Cutting unnecessary costs is half the equation for your ROI. Tracking your individual sales rep and executive meeting data can help you identify potentially unneeded attendees and cut costs in the future. Furthermore, you’ll be able to pinpoint and reward high performers for increasing retention.

You might notice a through-line in these key metrics: engagement, primarily in the form of meetings. The quality of your meetings and how many you book per event determines your overall ROI. Scheduling meetings ahead of the event is the best way to ensure profitability.

2. Automate Meeting Scheduling

As you plan for 2023, make meetings the focal point of your event strategy. Your ROI depends on both the quality and the number of your meetings. So, how do you boost your scheduled engagements?

corporate meeting after trade show
Source: Shutterstock

There are a few tried and tested tricks to get more meetings in your books, but to use them, you must go digital. Find an advanced automated scheduling software that captures lead details and schedules engagements on the spot. Less manual input will free up time to intensify focus on lead generation and conversions.

Once you’ve integrated scheduling software, here’s what to do with it:

  1. Get ahead of the competition by pre-booking time slots before the trade show. Potential leads should be able to select times to meet with you as they prepare for the event.
  2. Your scheduling tool should allow prospects to set their own appointments through shareable links (which you can include in marketing materials). This way, you can capitalize on the immediate impact of your marketing messaging.
  3. Use your scheduling tool to instantly capture the details of interested prospects that happened to come across your booth during the event. Plus, if they want to set a meeting with you then and there, doing so will be simple.
  4. Finally, after the event, your scheduling software will have collected data—not just on meeting metrics. You will have a long list of leads; automate some branded outreach to stay in touch.

3. Report and Track Your Marketing at Trade Shows Metrics

The final step is to evaluate the data and refine your strategies. Compile and review the data from your KPIs (sale cycle length, meeting space usage, team member metrics) to detail your ROI for meetings.

team reporting metrics after marketing at trade shows
Source: Shutterstock

Here are some of the key insights the data will detail:

  • Leads Generated
  • Qualified Leads Follow-Up, Responses, and Close Rates
  • Revenue
  • Number of Meetings
  • Quality of Meetings
  • Team Performance
  • Booth Attendance

These metrics hold all the answers. If you’re seeing abnormalities or potential sticking points, review your procedure, setup, or performance to get to the root cause.

For instance, if a percentage of your meetings aren’t resulting in sales, you might ask yourself, what’s different?

Perhaps there’s not enough context, and as a result, participants are missing your message. In this case, you’d use your scheduling tool to add context with relevant documents, thereby increasing the efficacy of your engagement.

Take Your Marketing at Trade Shows to the Future

Gearing back up for in-person events after a long hiatus post-lockdown is exciting, yet it will be more challenging than ever. Expectations are different.

Many people are used to remote work and thus want you to incorporate interactive digital tools. Luckily, incorporating software solutions isn’t just for your leads—it’s the best way to maximize your ROI going into 2023.

Empower your team with Jifflenow’s eEvent to plan and execute in-person events that boost your bottom line and your business reputation—request a free demo today!

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Jifflenow is the world’s most comprehensive meeting automation platform, helping global enterprises accelerate business growth by automating the scheduling, management, and analysis of B2B in-person and virtual meetings. Jifflenow has transformed customer meeting management from an offline workflow to an automated, streamlined and online process with measurable results and actionable insights.

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