How to select an effective exhibition?

What should be the algorithm to select an exhibition from the professional’s perspective?

What tools for it exist in Russia?

There are many ways to make a decision on participation in exhibitions. Some look up to their competitors, some participate in an event out of habit, some follow other people’s recommendations, some succumb to persuasive advertising or follow the instructions of the administrative authorities. In order to answer the question, “How to choose the correct marketing tool?”, first another question should be asked, “What is this tool for?”, or “Why do you need this exhibition?”

The key requirement of exhibitors is the attendance of their targeted clients. In other words, exhibitors are ready to pay their money not for the stand say of 50 sq.m., but for the opportunity to communicate with the companies they are interested in. The larger the number of effective contacts, the higher the ROI from the exhibition. Ideally, it should be higher than the ROI from all other alternative marketing tools. If this condition is met, the exhibition will be selected immediately.

What tools will show you the real picture and will help to make a decision on exhibition participation?

1. Exhibition Audit

There are many ways to determine the success rate of an exhibition. According to the research, an unbiased comparative analysis of its statistical parameters is one of the most professional ways.

Let us take an example. Picture that there are two exhibitions with similar space prices, but one of them had 3,000 specialists last year, and the other – 10,000 specialists. If you were an exhibitor, which exhibition would appeal to you? The choice is obvious, and the exhibition organizers realize it, that is why they often overstate their statistical parameters.

To obtain reliable information about an exhibition’s statistical parameters – use the exhibition audit data.

You can find out accurate exhibition parameters, such as exhibition space, the number of foreign and domestic exhibitors, the number of specialist visitors on our web-site in Exhibition Audit Reports. The exhibition audit data will allow you to evaluate the scale of the event, the representation of foreign and domestic exhibitors, visitors’ interest from both foreign and domestic specialists, and see the dynamics of its statistical parameters, if the exhibition took place more than once.

2. Russian National Exhibition Rating

In 2013 the Russian National Exhibition Rating of 2011-2012 was launched in Russia. It is another tool for selecting an exhibition on the subject of your interest.

The rating participants have passed the exhibition statistics audit, and thus have obtained statistical parameters confirmed by the auditor: net space, the number of visitors, exhibitors, and participating countries. The credibility of this data is guaranteed by an audit in accordance with the UFI rules.

The events are ranked in the following nominations according to their statistics:

The rating is compiled in the beginning of each calendar year, and it includes all exhibitions audited last year and/or the year before the last year. For example, Russian National Exhibition Rating of 2011-2012 comprised exhibitions that passed the audit in 2011 and 2012. All in all it has 144 exhibitions divided into 48 categories according to their subjects.

The exhibition rating offers you a simple and handy tool for finding the most effective event for you among the exhibitions of your subject area.

3. Audit of Visitors Purchasing Power

Audit of Visitors Purchasing Power is a tool that allows evaluating the quantity and quality of buyers who visited a given exhibition, namely, the sums of contracts concluded by the visitors within 6 months after the exhibition, including the contracts with the exhibitors from that exhibition.

Here is an example from a Research Note based on an Audit of Visitors Purchasing Power.

Research Note based on the Audit of Visitors Purchasing Power of “MIPS 2012/Protection, Security, Fire Safety” (fragment)

In 2012, representatives of 7,384 companies visited the exhibition. Among them 4,900 companies (66.0%) were from Moscow/Moscow region, 259 companies (4.0%) were from St. Petersburg/Leningrad region, and 2,225 companies (30.0%) represented other Russian regions.

The professional interests of the companies that visited the event in 2012 were concentrated in the following areas: goods and services for safety provision (63.4%), trade (23.6%), construction/real estate (8.7%).

According to the auditor’s survey, from May till mid-September of 2012, 3,413 unique companies that visited the exhibition (46.2% of respondents) signed contracts to purchase equipment and safely systems.

The scope of purchase contracts signed in the research period (May - mid-September of 2012) looks as follows:

Table 1. Breakdown of respondents’ answers to the question, “What was the value of the contracts signed to purchase equipment and safety systems?” during May - mid-September of 2012 (percentage is given from the number of respondents who signed contracts during the research period)

Purchase diapason Companies that signed contracts in the research period
Percentage of companies Quantity of companies
up to 500 k RUB 25,5% 871
500 k – 1 mln RUB 21,8% 743
1 – 5 mln RUB 21,3% 728
5 – 10 mln RUB 6,7% 229
10 – 25 mln RUB 3,3% 114
25 – 50 mln RUB 0,4% 14
Found it difficult/refused to answer 20,9% 714
Total number of companies that signed purchase contracts 100% 3 413

The estimated value of all the contracts concluded by the visitors of “MIPS 2012/Protection, Security, Fire Safety” during the first 5.5 months after the end of the exhibition is within the interval from 7,503.2 mln to 9,583.9 mln RUB with the confidence coefficient of 80%.

The estimated value of the contracts concluded by the exhibition visitors with its exhibitors during the first 5.5 months after the end of the exhibition is within the interval from 6,801.7 mln to 8,857,4 mln RUB with the confidence coefficient of 80%. Thus, the fundamental sum of contracts to purchase equipment and safely systems (90%) falls on the contracts signed with the exhibitors. Hence, the exhibition served as an effective platform for establishing mutually beneficial partnerships.

The following sections of the exhibition turned out to be the most attractive for investment:

Table 2. Investment potential of subject sections of the exhibition “MIPS 2012/Protection, Security, Fire Safety”

Subject sections All signed contracts Contracts signed with the exhibitors
Number of companies Total visitor investment Number of companies Total visitor investment
Closed-Circuit Television Systems Video Monitoring 1219 2887.6 mln – 4485.1 mln RUB 1044 2764.4 mln -4412.2 mln RUB
Fire Safety. Rescue Equipment. Labour Protection 695 1241.6 mln – 2085.7 mln RUB 536 811.8 mln – 1422.9 mln RUB
Burglar Alarm 650 840.0 mln - 1457.4 mln RUB 554 799.6 mln – 1437.3 mln RUB
Access Control Systems Identification 506 754.5 mln – 1196.3 mln RUB 462 681.2 mln – 1119.8 mln RUB

For people in business numbers are often more eloquent than any words. Doesn’t this exhibition represent an effective sales channel? Shouldn’t all companies that have popular goods in these market sectors look closer at it?

Here is a recommended mechanism for a professional, careful selection of an exhibition:


1. ROI from participation in an exhibition * - an indicator of return on investment in the exhibition participation.
2. Confidence coefficient is a statistical term that defines the probability of the true value of the measurand X falling into the given confidence interval, where the confidence interval is built/found in the result of conducted research.
3. All provided data are rounded up to 100,000 rubles.