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Exhibition Performance Analysis: From the Selection of Measurable Criteria to ROI 5. 3-Stage Model of Trade Show Performance

In this article, we discuss advanced exhibition result analyses and the relevant assessment frameworks focusing on the cases from Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), 3-stage exhibition performance assessment model suggested by American marketing researchers and Hewlett Packard (HP)’s trade show follow-up practices, where it is possible to not only quantitatively evaluate the performance of participation, but also to assess return on trade show investment (ROTSI).

It is expected that the comparison of these advanced exhibition assessment frameworks can facilitate the further discussion over the accuracy and efficiency of established exhibition assessment models, which have been required to be improved in its quantitative and economic feasibility, so that the tens of billions of won government aids on hundreds of foreign exhibition events could have more fruitful results.

5. 3-Stage Model of Trade Show Performance
: Assessing Booth Visits, Contacts and Lead Generation Efficiency

3-Stage Model: The Textbook for Trade Show Performance Assessment

3-stage model can’t be missing in any discussion of trade show performance. The model was established by suggested by Srinath Gopalakrishna and Lilien, Gary, L while they collaborated in the Smeal College of Business of Penn State University. This model suggests a trade show performance assessment framework with various visitors-driven factors reflected and is widely utilized as the basic tool in the research field and industry practices. The 3-stage model is introduced in a thesis titled ‘A three-stage model of industrial trade show performance’ in 1995 in an issue of Marketing Science, which is the high profile journal in the field of econometrics and marketing.
Establishing Accurate Objectives and Analyzing Factors Affecting the Performance

The authors of the research believed trade shows had become an important marketing tool for companies, and compared a trade show to a huge shopping mall, where participating companies play the sellers’ role, while visitors do the customers, trying to achieve their own purposes. Through all the processes, a huge investment is made to generate various advertisements and promotional activities.
However the authors pointed out that only few researches accurately measure and assess the performance or benefit of those trade shows, while the industrial and social expectations of the shows were running high. Many companies at the time of publication, tend to participate in those events just to help improve the awareness or to keep up with competitors. Also, the companies were not able to clarify their objectives accurately, and few efforts were made to figure out factors affecting the performance. So the researchers suggested the 3-stage assessment model to help companies better manage their trade show performances. In the following sections, we will discuss this model in detail.
3-Stage Performance Criteria Reflecting Visitors Traffic

The 3-stage model considers a series of visitor-oriented processes ? from booth visit, and communication with booth operators to sales lead conversion. The followings describes the indicators assessed or considered in each stage.

Stage 1. Attraction Efficiency Index
The first index measured in this model is attraction efficiency index. The attraction efficiency is determined by calculating the ratio of actual booth visits to target audience, implying how effectively the exhibition booth attracts visitors attention. In other words, the attraction efficiency works when the audiences find the exhibition attractive and make a visit.

Stage 2. Contract Efficiency Index
The second stage is about contact efficiency. The contact efficiency is determined through calculating the ratio of the number of audience contacting the booth staffs to the target audience, implying that how effectively the booth operators communicated with visitors.

Stage 3. Conversion Efficiency Index
The last stage is to calculate the conversion efficiency, which refers to the ratio of booth visitors opted to be a sales lead to the total booth visitors. In this stage, the booth visitors opt to be a sales lead as a result of an effective communication with the booth operators.
Factors Affecting the 3-Stage Performance Indices
So, what are the factors affecting the indices discussed above? The researchers selected variables affecting the performances through a comprehensive literature study, and then investigated the effects of the variables on the 3-stage indices.

Impersonal and Personal Promotional Variables
Based on the literature study, the researchers brought up with impersonal and personal promotional variables, which are assumed to reflect all the physical and human-driven factors that can affect the indices. First of all, impersonal promotional variables consist of attention-getting techniques such as samples, give-away, product demonstration, preshow promotion, competition, booth space, cumulative points. These variables are environmental factors that should be established or prepared before visitors come to the booth. Personal promotional variables consist of number of booth personnel and booth personnel training. Personal promotional variables recognize the booth personnel who represent their company and handle and communicate with visitors, as an important factor in addition to the environmental factors.

Results of Analysis of Factors Affecting 3 Indices

Analysis of Factors Affecting the Attraction Efficiency
According to the factor analysis results, the factors significantly affecting the attraction efficiency were attention-getting technique, booth space and cumulative points. Since, these variables are all impersonal promotional variables, the results implies that these environmental variables must be satisfied to attract visitors to the booth.

Analysis of Factors Affecting the Contact Efficiency
The number of booth personnel and booth personnel training were found as significant actors affecting the contact efficiency. This implies that the contact efficiency depends on how many booth personnel is well-trained to communicate with visitors.

Implications of 3-Stage Model and Importance of Follow-up Activities

Through this paper, we discussed the importance of considering visitors’ behaviors and traffics as well as the factors affecting them. The 3-stage model is meaningful in that it suggested how the three indices ? attraction efficiency, contact efficiency and conversion efficiency ? should be assessed specifically. However this model is only considering stages until the visitor opt to be a sales lead, so does not help assess any other stages or additional follow-up activities after the lead conversion. The conversion efficiency, which is the last stage of the 3-stage model is determined by the ratio of visitors opting to be a sales lead to total visitors contacting booth operators. However, opt-in sales lead does not always mean the visitor became a customer. Figuring out and considering the ratio of actual contracts to all lead conversions can further improve the assessment model.


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