Striving to be more spectacular, bigger, and more impactful each time, trade shows have become an important meeting point for brands and their audiences.
A symbol for professional B2B gatherings, these massive events are responsible for igniting powerful economic activities and collaborations.
From smart cities and transportation to future technologies and the healthcare industry, trade shows allow access to new products, valuable contacts, and fresh insights.
That’s why attracting relevant leads for your exhibitors is paramount to generating value and meaningful exchanges. More visitors equals a higher ROI for the brands or companies that are attending, plus it improves your fair’s industry positioning.
However, launching traditional campaigns won’t guarantee good results in terms of trade show marketing.
A different approach is needed.
To ensure high attendance at your next trade show, you should start by understanding the profile and expectations of your attendees.
This information will help you design and deploy efficient promotional activities that will provide personalized experiences and motivate different types of people to register for the event.
According to the 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, “Success begins with getting to know your audience members — what motivates them, what makes them engage or disengage.”
The same report identifies six types of attendees, each one having a different agenda, specific motivation, and very clear goals.
Understanding your attendees for a successful marketing strategy
Next, we’ll be looking into these types of attendees and exploring different marketing actions you could deploy (depending on their profile) to attract them to your trade show.
#1. The knowledge seeker
These attendees are searching for learning opportunities. They want to upgrade their professional skills and build better careers or business cases. They want to gain a wider understanding of the industry and will always pay close attention to the quality of the speakers at your trade show.
To attract them to your event, make sure to design and promote a highly interesting program, which includes different sessions they can choose from.
#2. The tech-savvy networker
The main reason these people will come to your trade show is to gain access to specific professionals and engage in worthwhile conversations. Although they like face-to-face interactions, they can also appreciate the value of event technology in helping them achieve their goals.
To make your trade show truly appealing for the tech-savvy networkers, you’ll want to level up their networking experience by introducing them to B2B auto-matchmaking, an algorithm-based feature that works by automatically matching the offer and demand, taking into account the data your attendees previously supplied.
This dynamic assures high-quality interactions and networking opportunities, something the tech-savvy networker covets.
#3. The inspiration seeker
These attendees are always looking for their purpose in both their personal and professional lives. They are mostly interested in the emotional value of connecting with others.
The inspiration seekers have very high expectations and want to leave an event with new insights or changed outlooks.
When promoting your trade show, highlight the unique settings and immersive dynamics you can provide.
If you’re running an international trade show, always refer to the local culture particularities and experiences they’ll get if they’ll attend the event.
Another way to attract them to your event, as recommended by the report, is to “involve them in the event. Don’t just speak to them, speak with them, engage them.”
#4. The social butterfly
Full of boundless energy and enthusiasm, this type of attendee loves meeting new people and connecting with others who have the same interests. Compared to tech-savvy networkers, social butterflies don’t need a structured networking experience.
The natural drive they have for casual social opportunities makes them eager to engage at every touchpoint.
To attract this type of visitor to your trade show, spice up the program with some informal meal settings, cocktail dinners, entertainment shows, unconventional networking areas, and a rich social program.
Also, as the report indicates, “Consider how the Social Butterfly can be a powerful influencer, helping to communicate your key messages and build excitement with other attendees — consider asking them to be speakers or event committee members.”
Identify those people who’ll be eager to help you promote the trade show and spread the word.
#5. The reluctant attendee
These attendees will come to your event because they have to or because their bosses told them so. They are quite reluctant to dynamics such as networking and interaction.
They feel awkward when it comes to small talk and need absolute control over their experience.
One element that can make them curious about your event is the customizable program. If you’ll be running multiple knowledge sessions at the same time, give your attendees the possibility to build their own agenda and decide what speakers they want to hear.
This trick will make the reluctant attendees feel more at ease, since they’ll have a certain degree of control.
#6. The brand fanatic
These people enjoy their status and are always looking for the next big thing. When attending an event, they expect to be amazed.
Brand fanatics are also extremely active on social media and will usually advocate their identification with a certain brand.
To make your trade show irresistible to them, talk about the brand experience element you’ll be providing along with different product demonstrations. They’ll like the idea of receiving exclusive brand merchandise.
To sum up
As you can understand, you’re likely to have a mix of different types of visitors at your trade show. That’s why designing a one-size-fits-all marketing campaign might not be the best idea.
If you want to attract as many visitors as possible to your event, you’ll want to cover the entire spectrum of attendee typology and deploy specific tactics for each different category. Depending on whom you want to attract and what your resources are, prioritize your marketing actions and try to appeal to the likely majority.