trade show

Recently, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released a study called “Attracting Attendees” where they surveyed 400 participants from 14 industries about their decision-making process for attending a trade show and what influenced them when they were on the floor. From this study, CEIR identified three major myths that most trade show managers and organizers believe to be true. Here is what they found:

Myth #1: Social Media is the major source of information for prospective attendees.

What CEIR found was that attendees wish to be contacted or be paid attention to in the following in order of importance:

  • Telemarketing
  • Text Marketing
  • Email Campaign
  • Word-of-Mouth
  • Personal Invitation
  • Social Media

“While a social media engagement plan certainly plays a role in creating critical mass awareness about your show, connecting with attendees on a personal level is more important than ever before,” said Carolyn Clark, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at PCMA.

Implementation Strategy: Clearly the first three bullets are intended to be cross-generational with telemarketing focused on the Matures and Boomers, text marketing focused on Millennials, and email on Boomers and Gen X. Knowing your attendees and their connection preference can be determined by collecting data through wireless Audience Response Systems at your next meeting.

Myth #2: All Trade Shows Must be Paperless. 

This study found that printed exhibition programs are still the primary method that attendees use to navigate the show floor. In fact, it found that only 25% of attendees rely on smartphone apps for their show information. However, they also found this is due to the lack of trade show apps available on mobile devices.

“As the industry continues to evolve, there’s an emerging attendee base that will download these apps and use them to get around shows and learn more about products,” said Clark.

Implementation Strategy: There are many benefits if you rent iPads for your next event, including navigation apps for the trade show floor. The key is to be comfortable with the vendor, app and hardware. While trade shows do not have to be entirely paperless, research shows a high percentage of printed collateral ends up in the trash!

Myth #3: Technology give attendees a reason to stay home. 

While hybrid and virtual events abound, 81% of the survey respondents stated they are planning on attending the same number of trade shows in 2013 as they did in 2012, 15% plan on attending more shows and only 4% plan on attending less.

Implementation Strategy: Give attendees a reason to stop by your booth and talk to you. One easy way to get them there is to rent a charging station for their mobile devices. You will be able to garner 10 minutes of their undivided attention while their battery is recharged. .

AV Event Solutions, now part of SmartSource Rentals, is a national audio visual provider of Audience Response rentals, iPads, charging stations and much more! Fill out their express quote form to get the process started!