"The sponsorship is only $10,000 if we sign-up now and it is a great delegate list". The argument seems compelling. So you agree the budget with the number $10k lodged in your mind. Showtime
9 months later and it is show time. But now the budget has expanded to include design work, stand construction, marketing collateral design and print, lead capture devices, a client VIP lunch in the conference hotel, sales team travel and accommodation to those manning the stand.... and the list goes on and on and on.
Plus there are bound to be last minute "gotchas"; the general free wifi is poor to useless on the show floor so you forced to pay $900 for a dedicated wifi to be able to demo your web-based application. And you have limited control over the expenses of the sales team as they are all more senior that you and have a different reporting line.
So what is the "damage" at the end of the show? The total cost? NO IDEA, or at least not without a lot of chasing and a spreadsheet from hell. There was certainly no way of knowing on a daily or weekly basis. It certainly isn't the $10k that was agreed when it all kicked off.
Re-register for a great deal... perhaps
That is the cost side. From a results perspective you don't have any idea of the leads you captured because they are all on the hand held scanner you rented and you don't get the output until after the show.
And now you are being offered a sweet deal to register for next year if you do it at the show. How do you decide? Answer: YOU CAN'T. Not now. If you have done things differently you would have the information to be able to make a decision
Next year will be different
What is different is the launch of two new software applications:
The first is LessEventAdmin which is the central place for all discussions, documents and cost information for an event. It's Facebook like interface encourages collaboration rather than email so you have a history building up. But because all the quotes and invoices are tracked you have an accurate view of the event cost on a daily basis.
The second is Zuant which is iPad based lead capture. No scanning bar codes and trying to remember the discussions with the potential customer. Set up pre-defined questions for a show, access all marketing collateral and email it directly from the app. No wasted paper. No lost leads. No misinformation. And backed up with powerful real-time analytics and integration with your CRM or marketing software.
So with LessEventAdmin you have the costs and Zuant you have the results. NOW you can start making informed decisions. Now you can see if $10k really is a good deal.