What Are The New Differentiators?

A recent article in Inc. Magazine revealed what Gen Zs want most from managers: care, trust, and support.  Managing “the whole-self” of employees is the new norm.

These attitudes are not limited to Gen Z; they are shared by Millenials and Gen Xers as well.  Coincidentally, demographic studies show that an increasing number of Millenials and GenXers are attending trade shows, with Gen Zs close on their heels.

Subsequently, this desire for “personalized & humanized” experiences has spilled onto the trade show floor. Attendees crave booth interactions that are tailored to their specific needs, that make them feel valued, and that let them know that their actions have meaningful consequences.  

Implementing this approach is heavily dependent on the vertical market; Pharma vs. Industrial vs Hi-Tech vs Education, etc.  But there are a few constants to keep in mind:

  • Feedback: Invite attendees to become part of a conversation about important industry topics.  Booth engagements must be two-way. It’s important that discussions be focused away (initially) from products & services and onto thoughts, ideas, and emotions.  This positions your organization as a caring, trusted supportive member of their professional community. Care, trust, and support.
  • Participation:  Experiential marketers have known for years that involving attendees in brand activities is the best way to gain buy-in. This is more important than ever. The more an attendee controls and guides their experience, the more likely they are to increase dwell time and share positive word-of-mouth. In other words, the more they’ll care, trust, and support the brand.
  • Big Picture:  These days, attendees are hyper-aware of big picture concerns; hunger, climate; water, geo-political relations, etc.  This has made Cause Marketing more important than ever. Attendees must know more than just what an organization does; they must know what they stand for. 25 years ago, this may have been a quaint idea, but today it’s imperative attendees know and understand your “why.” 

Care, trust, and support. 

These are the new corporate differentiators.