B2B Trade Show Attendees

How to Give B2B Trade Show Attendees What They Truly Want

Attendees visit a trade show with goals, and for the majority of them, that goal is to learn – learn about the industry, learn about new trends, and learn about the vendors.
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Trade shows are the workhorses of a marketing campaign in that they are both utilitarian and eye-catching, effective, reliable, and entertaining. That’s why, according to the new 2020 Future Trends in Meetings & Events Report, the events industry is growing eight percent annually.  

That’s true for attendance, as well. A recent report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) found that the vast majority of business-to-business (B2B) exhibition attendees plan to maintain or increase the number of shows they visit. The respondents attended an average of four B2B exhibitions in the past two years. When asked about the future, 26 percent planned to increase the number of shows they visit each year, while 54 percent said their attendance would remain the same.  

The report also found that the three generations currently dominating the workforce – millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers – all find value in attending B2B exhibitions. Across the generations, B2B exhibitions ranked as the number one information source used to drive “B2B information and purchasing decisions.” All generations listed that the primary reason for attending trade shows was to “shop and learn.” Their main objectives are to see and experience new tech, to see and experience new product introductions, to interact with new products, and take advantage of the ability to talk to experts.   

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These results align with research by Marketech that revealed the largest number of respondents (35 percent) visited trade show displays to obtain new product information, while 11 percent stopped by to see a product demo, and 10 percent wanted to visit with a company representative.   

So, the crowds at B2B trade shows are going to grow, and attendees of all ages feel that B2B trade shows are important. This makes it essential to deliver value to attendees when they stop by your display. You have precious few seconds to grab someone’s attention as they pass by your booth and less to keep their attention and wow them. That makes it crucially important to give visitors to your booth what they want.  

Educate Visitors  

2022 Solera at NADA – Staff Interaction

Attendees visit a trade show with goals, and for the majority of them, that goal is to learn – learn about the industry, learn about new trends, and learn about the vendors.  

If you do a poor job of education, there is a silver lining: the visitors to your booth won’t remember. However, that’s because they won’t remember you. Fortunately, you can employ a wide array of educational tools, such as product demonstrations, live presentations, one-on-one conversations, hands-on product interactions, and more.  

You will need to discover which tactics provide the best opportunity to engage visitors and how to combine those opportunities into a cohesive presentation. For example, you could offer a product demonstration to attract people to your booth. Once that’s finished, booth staff can engage visitors and answer any questions. Then, the most interested could segue to another area and spend some hands-on time with your product.  

According to the Marketech report, “We have noticed in all of our studies over the past six years that there is a correlation between learning and inclination to buy, prescribe, recommend, or influence after visiting an exhibit where there was new learning.”  

Attendees want to be engaged at trade shows. The more information you can provide them, the more likely they will remember your company and the products and services you provide.  

Train Staff  

2019 OYO at AAHOA Staff Interaction

Since educating visitors is such an essential aspect of a trade show, it is crucially important that your booth staff understands what they need to convey and how they need to convey it. This makes booth staff training one of the most important elements of preparing for a trade show. Six months after an event, 80 percent of what booth visitors remember about your company is based entirely on the interactions they have with your booth staff.  

However, a recent CEIR report found that 20 percent of exhibitors do not train their booth staff.   

Booth staff training helps ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities and where they need to be at all times. Also, training is the best way to discover your booth staff’s strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can assign roles that accommodate their strengths. Who is detail orientated and will accel at meet-and-greets? Who has the knowledge to perform product and service demonstrations? Who is personable enough to be a greeter? Once you have filled all of your positions, make sure that everyone clearly understands what is expected of their role to ensure that show days run smoothly.   

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Promote Attendance   

Well before the show doors open, you can begin to encourage attendees to swing by your booth. Send out an email blast alerting your customers to your attendance, and maybe even offer some exclusive swag for those who swing by. Produce a host of social media notifications. Be sure to create an event-specific hashtag and include it on all posts – also, include the event’s official hashtag to create further traction.   

Develop a page on your website dedicated to the trade show, your attendance, and have all social posts link to this page. Be sure to highlight the products or services on display at the show, specific times for product demonstrations, any special activities involving your employees (such as panel discussions and educational sessions), and give web visitors a glimpse of your event schedule.  

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You should also consider including the ability to request or set up meetings through your website. According to CEIR research, 60 percent of attendees would like this convenience, but only 31 percent of exhibitors provide the ability to do so. By adding this function, you are giving your brand a significant advantage over your competition at the show.   

The more you can do to build anticipation for your event attendance, the better chance you have of attracting a significant crowd throughout the event.  

Distribute Swag  

Handing out an event souvenir, also known as swag, is a very effective way of thanking guests for stopping by your exhibit – especially if you attach a thank you note. However, the unfortunate fate of most branded trinkets is that they wind up in the garbage. You can avoid this regrettable end (to the best of your abilities, anyway) by distributing giveaways that both make sense for your event and have value for your visitors.  

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First, think about all the events your visitors are likely to attend and the handouts they likely receive. What can you do to make your giveaway stand apart? Next, consider the average job title and income of your visitors. What type and quality of the gift is most likely to make a lasting impression? Finally, make sure that your handout relates to your brand and the show attendees. What can you offer your visitors that will bring value to their lives?  

B2B trade shows provide an exceptional opportunity for face-to-face interactions with an invested audience, but you have to bring value to these exchanges immediately, or you’ll miss your best prospects.  

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If you are looking for a partner who can help create an inviting and engaging trade show package, call The Trade Group on 972-734-8585.   

Photo credit: Pexels

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