What Do Today’s Trade Show Attendees Want?

CEIR (The Center for Exhibition Industry Research) recently released their latest “Attendee Retention Insights” Report that analyzes why attendees become loyal visitors to events, and what organizers are doing to motivate attendees to return on a regular basis.

Trade show exhibitors may feel that this report does not speak to their specific needs. However, when read strategically, I feel it speaks volumes to exhibitors … especially when you extrapolate new insights.  For example, CEIR found that:

  • 93% of attendees want to attend education sessions with formats of 45 minutes and 15 minutes for Q&A.
  • 93% of attendees want to hear from professionals or peers in their field.
  • 89% of attendees want to attend sessions on industry trends

Interesting, certainly, but let’s view this organizer-centric data through an exhibitor’s lens:

  • Attendees like their education short, informative, and interactive.
  • Attendees want their information to come from credible sources.
  • Attendees crave current, industry context for their messaging.

As you can see, this type of analysis offers exhibitors valuable guidance as they create their in-booth engagement programs. It also explains why one of the more popular in-booth engagement strategies on the show floor today is The Facilitated Demo.

In short, a Facilitated Demo has an in-house expert demonstrate a product (everything from drill bits to CT scanners and everything in-between). However, to amplify this demo and to place it in a relevant industry and brand context, a Professional Presenter frames it with high-level brand messaging, manages audience Q&A, delivers a powerful call-to-action at the demo’s conclusion, and facilitates the connection between attendees with reps.

In short, a Facilitated Demo transforms a simple product how-to, into a rich brand experience.

Go here for a deeper dive into Facilitated Demos.

But what about the CEIR data? Facilitated Demos satisfy each attendee desire:

  • They are short, highly informative, and interactive.
  • They enable attendees to learn from and connect with experts in the field.
  • They frame the demo with industry trends, and address specific attendee needs and challenges.

Finally, the CEIR Study found that 92% of all returning attendees play a role in final decision-making … with over half being final decision makers.

This means it is more important than ever for exhibitors to make their in-booth engagement strategies as informative, interactive, and credible as possible.

The data says it all.