Success can only be found when success is defined. Trade shows and brand activations are instrumental business activities that can move the needle. At nParallel, we believe each show should have ROI and success metrics broken out into three supporting phases.

As part of our strategic approach, we help our clients create programs that deliver on business objectives. The three phases we recommend developing marketing programs and metrics around are the pre-show (or pre-event), show, and post-show. We’ll use the term “show” for simplicity, but we recommend this approach for all brand activations whether it’s a trade show, event, retail pop-up, etc. Unfortunately, some companies only focus on the middle activity, the show or the event. We find that all three components of the brand activation are crucial for success and ROI.

Event attendance should be evaluated based on business goals and how each show or event moves the company closer to achieving their goals. Once a show is defined, it’s important to set metrics and begin planning all three phases, again, not just the middle phase. If a company can build a holistic marketing plan that includes pre-show, show, and post-show elements, their business impact will be stronger than simply focusing on the show alone.


Each event should have a pre-show marketing campaign to support their business goals. The pre-show campaign should help to build awareness of the event and engage the company’s target audience. An example of a pre-show metric would be identifying and connecting with a specific number of qualified show attendees in advance of the event to increase engagement and follow-ups in all phases. The metric for this example should be based upon a realistic and measurable number that can be qualified and monitored. It’s instrumental in this phase to begin capturing leads or prospects to move through the sales funnel, that is, if that’s the business goal.


It’s important to identify metrics to be measured during the show as well. We recommend establishing on-site show goals and review them before and after each day of the brand activation. Those who focus on their goals are much more likely to achieve them because they are the focus of their attention, conversations, and engagements.

Often, there are additional on-site initiatives that the show hosts offer that can help to build upon the brand activation. Opportunities like speaking engagements, dinners, advertising, etc. can help to support the business goals of the brand activation. Again, all opportunities should have goals and should be measured for impact.


Having a post-show plan is vital. Companies are investing time and budget to showcase their brand in front of the right target market and continuing the conversation after the event helps to close deals, increase brand awareness, and bring the brand closer to their business goals.

Success and ROI as it relates to the post-show should be supported with measurables. For example, metrics should be very clear on how to bring leads through the sales funnel and what type of marketing campaigns should be applied to each scenario.

Like we said earlier, success can only be found when success is defined. Each post-show should have a post-mortem to analyze the brand activation’s goals and how the pre-show, show, and post-show campaigns delivered upon the established metrics. If you aren’t hosting post-mortems, we recommend implementing them to optimize brand activations further.