Which Trade Show Performs Better - January or March?


We are on our third post exploring how the marketing campaigns by one of our clients is performing. During the first post, Marketing and Advertising Works, Right? we looked at whether or not marketing and advertising actually works. Everyone knows marketing works but we wanted to look at actual numbers to prove this.

Of course, the answer is “YES”. In the post, we showed that between 2017 and 2018 Booked Sales increased from 193 to 261; Booked Revenues increased from $1.8 million to $1.9 millions; and ROMI increased from $8 to $17. Fantastic results.

In the next post, Driving Up Revenues Between 2017 and 2018, we looked at how specific performance measures and metrics improved, year over year. We compared Investment, Booked Revenues, and Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI). We recommended that the company increase their investment in marketing by 15%. This was risky but it paid off because Booked Revenues increased by 117% and ROMI improved by 99%. Excellent results.

Customer Acquisition Funnel

In this post, we will compare the performance of 2 different trade shows - one in January and the second in March. The Customer Acquisition Funnel for this client has 6 levels:

  • Impressions

  • Sessions (not included because specific landing pages maybe next time)

  • Leads

  • Quotes

  • Booked Sales (the number of projects sold in a month)

  • Booked Revenue (the total value of the booked sale in dollars)

Key Performance Indicators

In addition, we tracked KPIs by collecting measures for each level of the funnel and calculating metrics (a ratio of 2 measures) for the following:

  • Average Cost per Impression

  • Average Cost per Lead

  • Average Cost per Quote

  • Average Cost per Booked Sale

  • Conversion Rate from Impression to Lead

  • Conversion Rate from Lead to Quote

  • Conversion Rate from Quote to Booked Sale

  • Average Booked Revenues per Booked Sale

  • Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)

The table below shows the results from the top (Investments) to the bottom (Booked Revenues) for the first 4 months of 2019, for 2 different trade shows that occurred in the beginning of 2019.

Note: The data is not complete - there are still sales closing in more recent months (May, June and July) as a result of the investments made in both trade shows. But we have enough data to make a comparison and make solid recommendations to improve results.

2019-06-23 - SISLtd - Tradeshow Comparisons - Jan to Apr 2019.png


Investment in the March trade show was double that of the trade show in January.


The trade show in March generated more than double the volume of Impressions. The average cost per Impression is very nearly the same but slightly less in March. The conversion rate from an Impression to a Lead was significantly better for the trade show in January.


The trade show in March has generated more Leads even though tracking for the show in January has been longer (4 months vs 2 months). The average cost per Lead is almost double that of the show in January ($82 vs $158). The conversion rate from Leads to Quotes is nearly the same.


The number of quotes is nearly the same (52 vs 55) even though the show in March has data for only 2 months compared to 4 months for the show in January. The average cost per Quote is nearly double for trade show in March. The conversion rate from Lead to Quote is better for the show in January compared to the show in March (19% vs 11%).

Booked Sales

So far for the year, the show in January has generated more Booked Sales (10) compared to the show in March (6) but this could change over the next few months as more Booked Sales are closed. To date, the average cost per Booked Sale is much cheaper for the show in January ($909) compared to the show in March ($3,118).

At this point, it looks like the show in January is out performing the March show. The Investment for the show in March was considerable and yet all measures and metrics are performing worse than for the show in January. As a result, the show in January is the horse to bet on. However...

Booked Revenue

Now let’s look at Booked Revenues. The show in January (tracking 4 months) has generated $176,687 in Booked Revenue. In contrast, the show in March (tracking for only 2 months) has generated $215,535 in Booked Revenue. Wow.

The reason is that the Sales Booked from the show in March are over double in amount from the sales booked from the show in January. Wonderful.

If we want to know why the average Booked Revenue per Booked Sale is higher for the trade show in March, we would need to do a quick survey comparing clients from each trade show. We could look at the characteristics of people in the target markets for each show. We could compare geographical, income, and family sized differences for each target market. Or maybe we could look at the creative and messaging that was used at the booths for each trade show.


There are lots of questions that can be asked but the bottom line is that the trade show in March looks to be performing very well and the results are excellent.


Based on these KPIs, what would you recommend for this client?

Here is what we are recommending:

  1. Continue with both trade shows since the Revenues generated and ROMI are both strong.

  2. Continue to follow-up thoroughly with all prospects (phone, email, post card, meetings)

  3. Ask clients who booked sales from both show for referrals

  4. Be sure Remarketing ads (Google) are working well

  5. Develop an automated email campaign for each trade show to nurture prospects into quotes

  6. Consider offering a discount or incentive to anyone with an outstanding quote