Counting costs/benefits of expo exhibiting - The Packer

Counting costs/benefits of expo exhibiting

10/24/2013 12:59:00 PM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstI recently posed a question about calculating “return on investment” from exhibiting at trade shows. It turns out there is actually a formula for helping one calculate ROI on trade show booths,and you can find it on this site after you register.

Introspection on ROI for big-ticket business investments makes me wonder how often we ignore the concept of return on investment in our personal lives. For example, what is the “return on investment” on eating the jelly donut,  buying a $25,000 car, going on a Christmas shopping spree on the credit card, and so on. And wouldn’t it be great if there was a ROI formula for eating broccoli compared with Twinkies? Or a formula that would put values on watching two hours of TV versus a stroll in the park with your spouse? That might give consumers a shockingly new sense of cost and benefits.

 But back to booths and return on investment. Here is the poll question I posed to the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group LinkedIn:


How do you determine/calculate “ROI” for exhibiting at a produce trade show?

Gut feeling

Actual formula based investment/results

Paying attention to what others do



The poll results don’t mean much, but I found the responses very enlightening.


From Diane:

 Unless you actually start buying from a new shipper or selling a new contact, what is there to calculate? If you acquired a new process/package/machine, you can put numbers on your investment. Its all “figurative” until something sales related can be calculated. Goals for exhibiting differ drastically based on your business--we exhibit at a Restaurant & Foodservice show in NYC each spring solely for PR--to promote buying local produce. But,many vendors are actually taking orders at this event. The PMA, in my opinion, if more of a PR/Feel good/meet your supplier in person type of event. Yes, many deals are negotiated there or over drinks/dinner, which also has to be factored into the calculation. Don’t these expenses fit into the calculation also?

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