Over those who are possibly interested in

Over the
past years, there were countless research with regards to the effectiveness of
trade shows.  Different frameworks were
used but still a great way to measure the effectiveness.

The
literature review will cover three critical areas: 1) exhibitor-oriented trade
show evaluation studies 2) visitor-oriented trade show evaluation studies 3)
organizer-oriented trade show evaluation studies

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I.       
Exhibitor-oriented
evaluation

One study by
Gopalakrishna and Lilien (1995) developed a three stage model for trade show
performance. Starting point of their framework is the number of attendees in
the trade show. Gopalakrishna and Lilien divided the attendees into two groups:
those who are possibly interested in the product and those who are not. The
researchers categorized the possibly interested attendees as Target Audience.
Now the target audience will move on the first stage, just like the on the
starting point, only a percentage of the target audience will be attracted to
the booth. The number of attracted target audience will depend on the
techniques that the exhibitor will use. Hence, the attraction efficiency is
measured in this case and the formula is computed by dividing the number of
attracted target audience by the number of target audience. And so the
attracted audience will now move on the second stage, this stage is where the
audience will have contact to the sales personnel. The skill of sales personnel
is very important on this stage, so exhibitors should assign their well-trained
staff. One of the salesperson skill set should be their ability to identify the
“lookers” from the “buyers” to maximize their time. Because audience will only
stay in the booth for only 3-5 minutes. Contact efficiency is also measured in
this stage, it is calculated dividing the number of attendees who were
contacted by the number of audience who visited the booth. Now the contacted
audience will proceed to the next stage, sales lead. In this stage is where the
sales person will converse with the contacted audience. The ability of turning
the contacted audience into sales lead is also measured here as the fraction of
sales leaded by the number of contacted audience. In summary, the 3 stages that
the researchers made are booth attraction, contact, and conversion. This is all
based on the traffic flow of the exhibit.

 

In the study
made by Kerin and Cron (1987), performance of trade show has three influences
namely; Industry influence, Company Influence, Trade Show Strategy influences.
In industry influence, it is important to know the number of total competitors.
Also, the number of new competitors has a great effect in this influence. While
in the company influences, it is focused on the exhibitor itself. One variable
in this influence is the technical complexity of the product. Annual sales
volume and number of new customers are also measured. The last influence is
trade show strategy and it has six variables. Not only the number of national
shows attended is measured in their study, but also the number of regional
shows attended. There are two types of trade show that is also measured,
horizontal trade shows are the exhibits that attracts different users and the
other one is vertical trade show, it is where the exhibit is design for a
specific target market or customers. 
Number of products has a great impact in trade show strategy. The higher
the number of products are exhibited, the higher the number of customer will
attend the show. The trade shows must have an objective, based on their
discussion, and must have it prepared in written form. Because the objectives
provide appropriate evaluation and measures. Additionally, the exhibitors must
know that kind of trade show to participate, especially the type of attendee or
customers. There is also a cross-national comparison study made by the authors
Dekimpe, et al. according to them, there are two types of attendees in the
trade show. First type of attendee have unclear objective in visiting the trade
show. They could only identify their need when they have gathered enough ideas
in the trade show. Usually, this type of visitors tend to have a look on all
the exhibitors in the trade show. One the other hand, the second type of
attendee have a clear objective in visiting the trade show. They already know
what they want and will make the purchase immediately. This kind of attendee
will only visit few exhibits, particularly the booth that has the product in
their objective. In relating to nations, attendees in the United States are
first type. Exhibors use gimmicks to attract customers. While the European
exhibits are less focused in attraction strategies since their attendees are
second type, they have a definite objective in their regardless of the physical
attributes of booths. Their framework consists of seven independent variables.
First variable is the preshow promotion. Some of the exhibitors inform their
customer about their participation prior to trade show event. There are
different strategies in promotion, and whichever strategy were used, there will
always be a corresponding expense. The researchers categorized the spending
volume in to three; high, medium, and low spenders. Another variable in their
research is booth size, researchers believe that customer attraction is
affected by the size of exhibitor’s booth. For this reason, they hypothesized
that booth size has a positive effect on attraction effectiveness. The number
of salespeople in exhibitor’s booth is also one of the variables, because it has
an effect on the number of contacted attendees in the trade show. While other
companies are not well known in their respective industries, firm prominence is
still an important variable in Dekimpe’s research. Firm prominence is affected
by the sales volume and customer database, according to Kerin and Cron (1987),
and companies with great number of these elements is perceived to be effective
in trade shows. Dekimpe also included the characteristic of trade show as
variables, whether it is a horizontal or a vertical trade show. Their
hypotheses on this is that firm who join the horizontal trade shows has lower
effectiveness than those who joined the vertical trade shows. And of course,
the industry class of trade show is included in their framework since they have
reviewed that exhibits of fast moving, high technology products perform better.
High technology products such as telecommunications and computer technologies
are said to be in the fast moving industry. After Dekimpe have gathered data
and analyzed it, they have concluded that even though the marketing strategies
and attendees’ objective were different in United States and in United Kingdom,
other effects of other variables did not actually affect the effectiveness of
trade shows for both nations.

 

II.
Visitor-oriented evaluation

Pre-show
evaluation has been majority used in previous literatures as to help visitors
decide which show is more suitable to attend. However, this is different from
the studies on exhibitor-oriented trade show evaluation of which focuses on
post-show performance evaluation. Some of the reasons

why visitors
not attending the exhibit 1) visitors do not spend as much money and effort in
the trade shows as the exhibitors do. 2) Unattractive incentive or promotion
for the visitor to justify the cost of attending the exhibit. On the other
hand, reasons of visitors attending the exhibit are 1) gathering information
about market access 2) new products 3) search for potential suppliers (Munuera
& Ruiz, 1999) 4) alternative purchases (Godar & O’Connor, 2001).

In a study
conducted by Berne and García-Uceda (2008), three major criteria were
identified as the main determinants of trade show performance to visitors
namely 1) perception or information about the basic features of trade show, 2)
marketing objectives to be attained by visitors at and after a trade show 3)
perceived costs relative to trade show attendance planning and budgeting.

Visitors’
perception is important because the evaluation is conducted before the trade
show of which the visitors rely heavily on the information obtained from the
tradeshow (online, newspaper, etc…) or the previously conducted tradeshow.  Marketing plays a big role towards why
visitors participate in a tradeshow. There is a study confirming that the
visitor attends a trade show not only having an intent to purchase, but for a
variety of reasons (Blythe, 2002). One is the opportunity to network, which
involves creating and maintaining relationships in the specific field. Another
reason is to gather information on products and services, market industry and
competition, and technology. Since the pre-show evaluation is conducted prior
to the participation of the tradeshow, the perceived costs is considered rather
than the actual costs. Perceived costs could help potential visitors check
whether or not the trade show is worthwhile attending. However due to a lack of
post-tradeshow evaluation in terms of performance costs, it continues to serve
as a barrier in attendance and have been identified as one of the criteria in
the evaluation and selection of trade shows (Kijewski et al., 1993).

Munuera and
Ruiz (1999) has a different point of view. They viewed trade shows as services
offered by trade show organizations, and visitors as the clients. Trade show
organizers offer services, such as accommodation, entertainment, and business
services. While the visitors are the potential buyers of those services. The
intent of their study was to analyze the objectives of small and medium-sized
companies who visit trade shows. A survey of 158 representative companies was
conducted to identify the visitors’ objective. Munuera and Ruiz (1999) used a
checklist of nine items to assess the goals of attending a trade shows in
particular. The top revealed result were 1) gathering information about the
market and new products 2) contacting potential suppliers. The least important
factor was purchasing exhibited products. The reason for that was most
transactions can often be negotiated in future contacts.

III.
Organizer-oriented evaluation

Knight
(2008) discussed a problem between organizers and exhibitors in the event of attendance
audits which serves as an access to the proprietary attendance data. After
collecting the in-house data of the post-show evaluation, trade show organizers
keep it private.

Knight
(2008) claimed that less than 1 percent of the trade shows give exhibitors a third-party
audit. On the other hand, exhibitors want the data be verified independently
via a third part for the reason that some organizers intentionally exaggerate
the attendance numbers to increase the appeal of the trade show.

Also, the
two main customer groups of the organizers, which are visitors and exhibitors
are the target of the organizer-oriented evaluation. The satisfaction levels of
the visitors and exhibitors are vital to the organizers. In practice, the
post-show evaluation is conducted by two main factors. 1) marketing-related
questions 2) performance-related questions. Under marketing related questions
are a) exhibitors and visitors which attended the trade show b) the rank and
purchase power of the attendees c) demographic information of the attendees. On
the other hand, under performance-related questions are perceptions of the
visitors and exhibitors on the service and environment provided before, during
and after the show.