Tips and Trends

Should I Measure My Trade Show Exhibit’s Success with an Audit or an Exit Survey?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Many clients ask us which is better—an exhibit audit or an exhibit survey. The answer, of course, depends on what you’re trying to measure.

An exit survey reveals the experience of visitors who have been engaged by your team. You can find out if you’ve improved their perception or moved them closer to a sale—as well as which of your content they found the most relevant. You can even get feedback on what they thought of your interactives and demos.

What an exit survey doesn’t do is indicate how well your people are engaging in the first place. Many exhibit staffers are poor engagers—but excellent communicators once they do speak with someone. Because your exit survey participants are all people who spent time in your booth—everyone you survey will have most likely spoken with someone. Therefore, it’s possible to have an exit survey that indicates excellent staff performance when in fact, your staff is only engaging a fraction of the people who slow down as they pass your exhibit.

An exit survey can also deliver insights into how exhibit visitors felt about your exhibit design, messaging, demos, interactives, and traffic flow. However, since your attendees are answering a limited number of questions, you won’t be able to get feedback on everything.

Via exit survey, you can also rate attendees’ level of satisfaction with a specific aspect of the experience, the experience’s impact on their likelihood to purchase, or their ability to recall your message. But because you are asking multiple choice questions, your responses will be expressed in terms of the percentage of visitors who responded a specific way. You will not receive specific feedback into how the experience could have performed better. Even if you add an open-ended question or two, survey respondents tend to answer these questions with one or two word statements that don’t provide a lot of information.

An audit, on the other hand, will tell you exactly how well your people engaged. You’ll know—via observation and the secret shopper—how your exhibit staff did both at engaging and in conversation once engaged. An audit also delivers a thorough evaluation of your exhibit design, messaging, demos, interactives, and traffic flow. It also provides actionable suggestions on how to improve any aspect that is underperforming. And, our 3D Exhibits proprietary audit methodology delivers a numeric score that you can use to compare your performance against your competitors—and to chart your improvement over time.

The thing an audit won’t give you is firsthand feedback on how the dozens of attendees who visited your exhibit felt about their experience. Or insight into how your exhibit performed in terms of improving perception, moving a visitor closer to a sale, or in creating message recall.

Why an exit survey and an audit together?

When a client asks us which they should choose—an exhibit audit or an exit survey—we look at their objectives and help them evaluate which will serve them better. But whenever possible, we recommend that they implement both for all of the reasons we’ve shared above.

If you’d like to discuss what type of exhibit measurement is best for your company, please shoot us an email and we’ll set up a meeting with one of our 3D Exhibits measurement specialists.


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