As trade show organizers work to build booth traffic for their exhibitors, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research has unveiled new research that highlights what really matters to attendees. From preferences for marketing communication to on-site shopping motivations and more, the new report includes plenty of useful knowledge for planning more powerful trade show experiences. Here’s a look at four key takeaways.
1) Leave their phones alone.
Attendees spend plenty of time glued to their phones, but they aren’t crossing their fingers and hoping your number — or your exhibitors’ numbers — will appear on their screens. Texts and telemarketing from show organizers and exhibitors ranked last as trusted sources of information.
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2) Find your show ambassadors.
Rather than hoping texts and phone calls will increase attendance, organizers should shift attention to identifying the attendees who will champion the show. An email from a colleague and word of mouth ranked as the most important avenues attendees consider when deciding whether to attend a show. Instead of sending loads of mass emails, think of ways that you can inspire the loyal members of your community to spread the word about the show. Can you send them a show badge to post on their Facebook pages? If they tweet, is your marketing team favoriting their comments about the show? How can you elevate their voices rather than hope yours will be heard? Today’s digital landscape is shaped by personal authenticity — not finely crafted brand language.
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3) Focus on educational offerings.
Education is no longer an add-on bonus for participating in a trade show; it’s an expectation. Attendees want a trade show experience that extends beyond the booths on the floor. Sixty-three percent of attendees choose or register to attend educational sessions before the show begins. As your next show approaches, work closely with your education department to determine the biggest issues and trends that are impacting the audience. Curate a list of renowned expert speakers to add even more credibility to the slate of learning opportunities. Make sure your show will send attendees home with actionable insights they can put to work within their own organizations.
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4) Press pause on the video player.
When your attendees are at home, they probably love to browse YouTube for the latest and greatest Internet sensations. However, they do not bring that same love for videos to the trade show floor. Just 16 percent of attendees indicated that they like to watch videos during their interactions with exhibitors. As you work to help exhibitors maximize their ROI, make sure they know that a busy trade show floor is no place for on-screen viewing. Instead, focus on in-person conversations and hands-on product demonstrations.
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