The Center for Exhibition Industry Research recently published a study titled “What Attendees Want From Exhibitions.” It gives some interesting insight into why attendees plunk down their registration money – and what they expect to get in return.
The researchers asked its survey responders to give their top reasons for attending a show. While “shopping” was cited by 69% of surveyed attendees, “learning” followed a close second at 66%. Among shopping needs, “seeing new technology” was the most important reason given, while “industry trend insight” was given as the top learning need.
Other top reasons given among the shopper crowd: The ability to talk to experts; interaction with new products; having questions answered immediately; and brand comparison. On the learning side, they also wanted to develop their professional network and improve their job performance.
While IMTS 2014 might still seem like a long way off, this is a good time for exhibitors to begin asking themselves if their booth offerings are meeting these needs. Are you offering any kind of learning opportunity? What kind of ideas are your booth visitors going to take away with them? Are your booth presentations offering dynamic content that’s more than a product pitch?
One area of focus within the report is the people they label “scouts,” or someone that an organization sends out to gather information to bring back to others. Since this one person could ultimately be your “brand reputation” at their respective organization, it’s important to identify these people … and leave a good impression.
Remember, trade shows aren’t just a supermarket anymore … they’re growing into a mix of shopping mall, classroom, town square, and coffee shop. Evaluate your booth plans to see how well they fit into that mix.