Trade show industry folks know that the key to having a successful event lies in having satisfied attendees, which requires an intimate knowledge of your trade show attendee demographics. If attendees accomplish their goals and objectives at the event, then they will become cheerleaders for your brand. This may seem obvious, but event managers are confounded when they don’t have insight into the objectives of their attendees and how they would define a “successful experience.”
Resolve this by collecting targeted demographics from attendees during the registration process and in subsequent interactive phases in the show cycle. A thorough review of the shared patterns in the demographics of the participants can help strengthen many aspects of your upcoming event, as well as future initiatives.
For trade show attendee demographics to become a strategic part of your decision-making process, the data collected must be spot-on. As you ponder what statistics you want to gather, consider the value of the following pieces of data.
Titles can often be vague or misleading. While it’s good to collect titles, it’s more critical to know an attendee’s professional role and area of specialization. Roles can help you better segment attendees into categories like researcher, influencer, buyer, decision-maker, etc.
Once you can group attendees by role, you can engage them with targeted communications that quickly provide them with the information they need. Roles enable your team to better customize the online and onsite experience for the attendees.
Most show organizers ask exhibitors to select product categories that best describe their products and services. It’s equally critical to ask attendees (aka buyers) to select the product categories they are interested finding. Not only will it help you identify the potential traffic in each section of your expo hall, it’ll also help you match attendees to exhibitors and provide them higher ROI from their participation in the event.
Provide attendees with the opportunity to specify at least one product category that’s not on the provided list. This will help your team identify upcoming and newly trending categories in your vertical market.
Most verticals tend to become more complex with time. The industry your trade show represents probably incorporates a range of sectors. Each sector may have its own unique focus areas and requirements that should be addressed and served by your event. For example, in the hospitality industry, the sectors may be food and beverage, housing, tourism, and travel. Attendees in one sector may be looking for new products and attendees in another sector may be looking for more educational opportunities.
New attendees may require more education and basic information about the event, so it’s important to identify them. A large contingent of newbies may also mean more lead-building opportunities for exhibitors. Ask follow-up questions of the first-timers, like who referred them and what motivated them to attend the event. If it’s a returning attendee, you’d want to know what brings them back, and if their expectations have changed.
An attendee may be a newcomer to your event, but they may be bringing comprehensive industry experience and knowledge with them. Asking this question may help you easily zoom into attendees who are current or potential influencers for your event.
Identify other statistics you need, and devise questions to uncover the data.
When it’s gathered, combine and cross-reference your new data. These questions are critical because knowing simply the attendee’s title and product categories may not be able to clarify what their participation objectives are.