A recent survey by UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry revealed that exhibition organisers are facing a significant challenge from low advocacy amongst exhibitors (  Their research suggested that trade show exhibitors have a global net promoter score of -17%.  A Net Promoter Score can be used as an indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction with scores ranging between -100 (everyone is a detractor) to + 100 (everyone is a promoter).  Ideally, organisations would seek to achieve a NPS of over 0, with anything above +50 being considered excellent.  As the report highlights, there are a number of variables which will impact on the NPS which each individual show will generate from exhibitors, and 25% of shows are scoring positive results, securing enhanced loyalty and re-book rates with clients.

These stats are easy to believe when we so often hear from exhibitors who only re-book a show ‘because they always have’ but wouldn’t necessarily recommend exhibiting to another business or who feel as though they have wasted time and money by attending, with very little to show for their hard work. But it can’t all be fault of the organisers – can it?


It’s no coincidence that those exhibitors who invest the most time, money and thought into their trade show campaign tend to have the highest levels of return.  Thinking through how a trade show fits into an aligned marketing campaign, setting SMART objectives, fully maximising pre-show marketing tactics, selecting the best squad for the stand, understating how to filter visitors and creating a robust follow-up plan all have a huge role to play in determining success. Planning for a trade show can start up to twelve months out from the actual event itself and sales rarely happen until 9-12 months after the show when trust and relationships have been built. Yet, for so many exhibitors, the focus is almost exclusively on how the stand looks so that visitors are attracted to it on the day with little consideration for the pre- or post-management.



However, for most exhibitors we work with the lack of planning and preparation has little to do with a lack motivation or laziness – it is much more a lack of knowledge and confidence of how to plan effectively for events.  We continue to be surprised by the number of clients who heave a sigh of relief when they realise they aren’t the only ones who don’t really understand how to do it well.  There seems to be an assumption that anyone can ‘do a trade show’ by just turning up with a couple of pop-up banners and some business cards yet to do it really well there is so much more.

Here’s why exhibitors need some help in delivering effective events:



And here’s where event organisers can have a huge role to play in working with exhibitors to offer training and support to give their clients the best possible chance of success. By offering training on elements including how a trade show contributes to an overall marketing plan, helping exhibitors engage with visitors before, during and after a show, and recognising and filtering visitors at the show, organisers are more likely to generate higher satisfaction scores. This subsequently results in stronger re-book rates, along with growing NPS which ultimately leads to greater advocacy and word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, the research revealed that shows which offered exhibitor training had on average a 23% higher NPS result than those that didn’t.

Many event organisers are recognising the need to help exhibitors build their skills and confidence and increasingly delivering training courses ahead of their shows – an investment which is delivering great returns from more satisfied clients.  Giving exhibitors 6-8 months planning time from the training to the show generates the most effective returns, but we’ve run 30 minute exhibitor bootcamps on the morning of a show opening which have inspired changes that created positive results. It’s never too late to do something which can help an exhibitor be more successful. As with anything in the exhibitions world, it’s all about working together towards a common goal of profitable sales growth.

And if you’ve booked an exhibition stand and the organisers haven’t offered you a training session – why not send them a link to this blog to inspire them to help you succeed!

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s