At the 2014 Exhibitor Show, Bob Milam (a.k.a. Tradeshow Bob) spoke about an interesting way to reconsider you approach to tradeshows. It involved looking at the relationship between the three groups of people that make up a show:
– The Attendees who come to connect with people, products and information that will benefit them and/or their companies
– The Exhibitors, looking to connect with what they hope will be a highly-qualified, ready-to-buy audience of prospects
– The Show Organizers, out to collect revenue from the first two groups by connecting them in a way that meets the expectations of both
The three groups are codependent on each other, and one of Bob’s key points is that when any one group fails to deliver its expected value a show begins to die. This suggests a number of things for exhibitors. One of them is this:
As an exhibitor “you can’t just phone it in.” Every year you need to actively increase the value you bring to a show’s attendees. You do this to keep the show healthy. You do it to make yourself the preferred resource for whatever it is you are selling. So each year during planning, talk about what you can do in or around a show to give your target audience more of what they come for than your competitors. You can start by trying to gain insight in three key areas:
What are attendees looking for at the show? Why do they come (e.g., to find the best deal, to learn how to do their jobs better, to make money)?
How do they go about “shopping?” How do they prefer to learn about your product, and ultimately what do they need to believe before they can say yes to you? For instance, more and more people want to know what other people like them think about you before they will come into your booth – how can you help them get that information?
How well does the sum of all your activities at a show – from advertising and social events to your in-booth graphics and activities – serve your target’s wants and needs? How can you do it better?