Why Do People Go to Trade Shows?

47158232_sAs a business exhibiting at a trade show, we often think about the actual trade show display as our first point of reference. What will the design be, which accessories will make the most sense, what lighting, trade show flooring and furniture will be needed?

All really good questions.

However, there is another question we need to consider.Why are the attendees at the event to begin with? Unless we take a moment to consider their motivation, we may be missing a critical component to having a successful trade show experience.

There are many articles that talk about balloons, door prizes, music and entertainment as a trade show “must have” but if the attendee is seeking something more than a bag filled with tchotchkes, then will you have met their needs?

CEIR recently conducted a survey to determine what trade show attendees want and they asked 421 people to give their opinion.

Trade Show Students

Sixty-nine percent said they attend a trade show to shop for products and services while 66% are seeking knowledge – they want to learn something new.

You may be well prepared to show off your latest products and services, but have you considered the needs of those seeking to learn?

  • Do you offer product knowledge workshops?
  • Are there hands-on presentations that allow attendees real life interaction with your products?
  • Are continuing education break-out sessions something that your company can sponsor or even lead?

If two-thirds of trade show attendees come to the event to learn something new; will they find new knowledge at your trade show booth?

Trade Show Job Seekers

Another group of trade show attendees that you may not have considered are those that are seeking a new employment opportunity or possibly are considering a new career path. Although these attendees don’t lead to immediate sales, don’t be too quick to dismiss them.

They may land a job with a company that can use your products/services and if you start to build a relationship, they may be a great resource in the future.

They may be a great candidate for a future opening your own company may have. A trade show attendee with confidence, skills and experience may be someone you’ll want to call on in the future. Make sure that you take a little time with the job seekers to obtain their contact information and connect with them via LinkedIn or email after the event to keep the lines of communication open.

Trade Show Information Gatherers

Granted, some information gathers may be members of your competition seeking a competitive advantage, but not all attendees asking questions and taking notes are “the enemy.”

Some companies send out interns or new employees to a variety of trade show displays to gather information so that the real decision maker of the company can sift through the information at their leisure. These data gathers may be followed by interested decision makers later in the show and if you’ve made a good first impression, answered questions and been forthcoming – you could reap the benefits quickly.

Make sure to obtain their contact information and make note of their focus so that you can follow up with additional emails, videos and social media contact at a later date.

Not Every Attendee is Satisfied

The CEIR Survey “What Attendees Want” offers the following chart that clearly shows trade show attendees not getting what they want. How might you be different?

Reason for Attending % Reporting Their Needs Are Met
To see new technology
To interact with new products
To talk to experts
To see new products
To have questions answered on the spot
To gather information for upcoming purchase

Are you aware of what motivated the trade show attendees you want to attract to your trade show exhibit?

If you need help, contact our Trade Show Consultants at E&E Exhibit Solutions.