The Center for Exhibition Industry Research just released a study that explores what attendees want when they walk a trade show floor. In a nutshell: It’s all about product interaction. Attendees want to see your product in action, even personally interact with it, if possible.
But it’s not just about the interactive experience. To capitalize on this interest, it’s also important to give your visitors something to digest later, whether it’s product literature, a flash drive with persuasive and informational marketing materials or even a follow-up email to digitally deliver the information.
According to the CEIR study, of those surveyed, 58.9% of attendees want to see product demonstrations, followed closely by hands-on interaction with the project (58%). The third most popular activity? Collecting/reading literature from exhibitors (57.8%).
Interestingly enough, more than half of those surveyed (54.7%) like to walk the show floor and just observe all the vendors without being approached, unless they initiate a conversation.
Overall interest in these activities also varies by job title and role. For example, executive-level attendees prefer face-to-face interaction with vendors they do not know nearly 20 percent more than those in entry or lower-level positions. In contrast, those attendees who are in lower-level positions prefer product demonstrations 20 percent more than executives. These statistics can be quite helpful if you know you are targeting information gathers or decision makers at your typical trade show.
The CEIR study also shed some light on activities that people don’t place a priority on. Only 22.2 of those surveyed like to participate in group discussions and even fewer like to watch videos on the show floor (15.5%).
Based on our experience, that isn’t to suggest that you should dump video monitors from your display. In fact, Exhibit Systems’ Dave Jentz advises clients to incorporate video and pay careful attention to the length and message.
“Videos definitely draw in people because they are attracted to the movement on the screen; it’s an attention grabber,” he says. “But keep the video short and sweet. That doesn’t mean you should skimp on quality though. A well-produced short video can really make an impact at a trade show.”
Unless you have a dedicated presentation area, it’s also difficult for attendees to absorb information presented in a video. The ambient noise of a trade show floor, the visual distractions and the need to budget time during the event all work against using longer videos.
Based on the results of this study, CEIR offers a number of suggestions to trade show exhibitors:
· Dedicated product focus areas or hubs in your exhibit space can satisfy the need for first-hand interaction.
· If you can’t demonstrate your product, consider a simulation of what it does or a gamification technique to express its highlights.
· Comprehensive staff training that includes deep product knowledge and sharp listening skills can help your trade show team assess what kind of visitors are stopping in at your booth, and helps them target the most effective means for individually reaching new sales.
· Customers like to influence the products and services they use. Empower your trade show team to listen to their needs and suggestions, and let it influence your new product development or upgrades to existing items.
We can help you integrate these ideas into your trade show exhibit and show experience. Give Dave a call at (262) 432-8410 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you connect with your customers in face-to-face marketing environments.