Nearly half of trade show exhibitors don’t measure ROI

Almost half of businesses who market themselves at trade shows don’t know if their exhibition activity is profitable, according to a new survey by Display Wizard.

When asked if they saw a positive ROI from their recent trade show activity, 44% said they either didn’t know or they didn’t measure the results.

In a survey of 100 business owners and marketing managers, 77% said they had exhibited at one or more conferences in the last year, but despite 45% saying they used industry events regularly (two or more in the last year) it seems most are in the dark when it comes to the profitability of this type of marketing.

Diarmuid Beary, owner of Display Wizard, expressed surprise at the findings: “It’s crucial for businesses to have a good understanding of the return on their marketing spend in order to sensibly assign budgets for the following year.

“The fact that so many companies are unable to measure the ROI of a huge opportunity like trade show marketing could lead to marketing spend being placed in the wrong areas, which directly impacts the performance of the business as a whole.”

Others were more careful about measurement. 39% of those surveyed claimed that trade shows were a profitable way to market their business.

Happy exhibitors cited reasons such as being able to reach out to many potential customers in a short space of time and giving consumers the opportunity to see the real people behind the company.

Just 17% claimed trade shows were not profitable, with arguments ranging from the cost of exhibition stands to a need to underprice products to appeal to customers. Display Wizard recently released its online guide to trade show success, which can be downloaded or viewed online at