Exhibit Experiences and Attendee Intent

Aligning Exhibit Experiences and Attendee Intent

The message or offer—no matter how creative—will not influence behavior if it doesn’t give what the target audience wants.

Marketers excel at coming up with fun, outside-the-box ideas.  

For many, this freedom to brainstorm and, admittedly, be a little silly, is the main perk of being in marketing. But an idea must be more than fun or creative to move the audience to take action—it must consider the audience’s intent.  

The message or offer—no matter how creative—will not influence behavior if it doesn’t give what the target audience wants. This is true no matter what marketing materials the message appears in, including  

  • Online Ads  
  • Marketing Emails  
  • Landing Pages  
  • Website  
  • Blogs  
  • Print Ads  
  • Direct Mail  
  • Trade Show Exhibit

Another way to avoid a flat message is NOT to base ideas on personal preference. Personal preference is likely to appeal to a minority of people.  

Advertising pioneer, Claude Hopkin’s in his autobiography, My Life in Advertising, puts it bluntly: 

“We must never judge humanity by ourselves. The things we want, the things we like, may appeal to a small minority. The losses occasioned in advertising by venturing on personal preference would easily pay the national debt. We live in a democracy. On every law there are divided opinions. So in every preference, every want. Only the obstinate, the bone-headed, will venture far on personal opinion. We must submit all things in advertising, as in everything else, to the court of public opinion.”  

The same advice applies to trade show exhibits.  

So, here are some things to know to start aligning the exhibit experience with attendee intent.  

Analyzing Attendee Demographics  

Today’s attendees are a dynamic blend of old-school enthusiasm and digital savvy. From a generational standpoint, they are predominantly Millennials and Gen Xers, comprising 53% of the entire demographic.  

What are the characteristics of each generation?  

  • Generation Z (18-24 years old): Gen Zers are distinguished by their digital fluency and are anticipated to have a profound impact on future technological and cultural trends. 
  • Millennials (25-40 years old): Skews slightly more female. Millennials are known for their adaptability to technology and are more likely to attend events for learning and career advancement.  
  • Generation X (41-56 years old): Skews more male. They are recognized for their entrepreneurial mindset and attend events primarily for learning and product discovery.  
  • Young Boomers (57-75 years old): Skews more male. Younger and Older Boomers tend to place a higher value on face-to-face meetings than other generations.  
  • Older Boomers (65-75 years old): 85% of this group is male. Older Boomers have experienced significant historical events and cultural movements that have shaped the modern world. 

There is an overarching theme present in each generation. According to Freeman’s latest trends report, attendees from every walk of life desire personalization. They want to be seen and heard.  

Analyzing Attendee Psychographics 

To really deliver what target attendees are looking for, demographics are not enough. Psychographic data helps understand target attendees’ attitudes, interests, and opinions. This is crucial for creating tailored exhibit experiences that resonate with the target audience. 

There are several ways to collect this kind of data, such as  

  • Surveys 
  • Social Media Monitoring  
  • Event Prospectus  
  • Visitor Feedback from Previous Event 
  • Studying Relevant Influencers  

Start by collecting data through surveys, social media monitoring, and attendee feedback from previous events. This should include questions about attendees’ preferences, beliefs, motivations, and values. 

A fun, out-of-the-box idea backed by this sort of data is more likely to drive visitors to your booth and persuade them to act.  

Managing Attendee Touchpoints

Aligning Exhibit Experiences and Attendee Intent

A touchpoint happens anytime a prospect or client engages with your marketing materials. Touchpoints include viewing an online ad, opening a marketing email, visiting the website, and talking with booth staff in an exhibit.  

Once the main message or offer is created, it must be plastered everywhere, on as many touchpoints as possible to create a cohesive experience. The exhibit experience is no different.  

Here are two case studies of exhibits that align with attendee intent, one B2C and the other B2B. 

B2C Case Study: League of Legends Riftwalk 

Company: Riot Games Inc. 

Event: League of Legends: The Riftwalk 

Objectives: To provide an unforgettable experience for “League of Legends” players, celebrate the community, and thank the loyal fan base. 

Riot Games Inc. set out to create an unforgettable experience for “League of Legends” players with the “The Riftwalk” event at PAX East and other locations. With a philosophy focused on user experience, the objective was to celebrate the community and thank the loyal fan base. The strategy entailed engaging with attendees through advanced technology like RFID bracelets for interactive tours and enhanced social media sharing. 

Highlights and Touchpoints 

The Riftwalk was an immersive recreation of the game’s iconic setting, Summoner’s Rift, complete with detailed graphics and atmospheric effects. Using RFID technology, attendees enjoyed a personalized journey with 27 displays and multiple photo ops. The event also featured community-created art, a cosplay panel, and a “cospitality lounge” for cosplayers, fostering a deep connection with the game’s community. 

Impact and Success 

The event’s success was marked by  

  • 170,000 RFID wristband scans 
  • 22,000 photos delivered 
  • 31,000 microsite page views

Attendees averaged 30-40 minutes in the Riftwalk, indicating high engagement. This success led to the Riftwalk touring with the 2016 League of Legends World Championship. 

B2B Example: ClosetMaid 

Company: ClosetMaid 

Event: International Builder’s Show (IBS) 2023 

Objectives: Showcase ClosetMaid’s diverse product lines in a reduced space while attracting prospects and standing out on the show floor. 

Design Challenge and Solution 

Faced with downsizing their exhibit from 50×70 to 50×50, ClosetMaid aimed for a unique booth design. They discarded traditional rectangular structures for sharp, triangular angles and an open floor plan. This innovative approach used simple shapes to effectively frame products without clutter, and the triangular walls expanded upwards into full surfaces and canopies, keeping the focus on the ClosetMaid brand. 

Impact and Success 

The booth’s unique design provided an inviting and engaging space, distinguishing ClosetMaid amidst a sea of typical exhibit structures. The booth’s triangular shapes and open layout achieved a dual purpose: maximizing product display in a smaller footprint and drawing in visitors.  

This strategic design allowed for an uncluttered showcase of products, underlining ClosetMaid’s dedication to innovative marketing strategies. 

Exhibit Design and Execution 

ClosetMaid’s exhibit at IBS 2023 was a masterclass in efficient and impactful design. The booth’s triangular shapes and open layout achieved a dual purpose: maximizing product display in a smaller footprint and drawing in visitors. This strategic design allowed for an uncluttered showcase of products while maintaining an inviting atmosphere. 

Conclusion 

Riot Games’ “The Riftwalk” for League of Legends and ClosetMaid’s exhibit at the International Builder’s Show 2023 exemplifies what it means to align exhibit experiences with attendee intent.  

For more insights and award-winning event strategies, contact our team of event specialists to design the perfect exhibit to amplify your brand. Connect with a team member here or give us a call at 972-734-8585.

Photo Credit: Dall-E

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