In the April 2012 issue of Exhibitor Magazine, an article called “Trade Show Trends” was published. This article highlighted various statistics from an annual survey (completed by Exhibit Surveys, Inc) of attendees at more than 30 U.S. trade shows that took place in 2011.
As you read the following statistics (all of which are listed in the above article), I would encourage you to take some time to reflect on your previous event efforts.
- Influence -
STATISTIC: The percent of trade show attendees (81%) who “have the power to recommend or make final purchasing decisions is up a smidge” from last year’s all-show average.
…Of the attendees who visited your trade show booth, how many are the correct decision makers?
After understanding your target audience (through which you would have identified the types of people qualified to commit to your offerings), divide the number of decision makers encountered into your total lead count – compare your findings to the statistic above. To improve the quality of leads obtained, focus on the event selection process and subsequent promotional efforts in attracting the right attendees into your booth.
- Opportunity -
STATISTIC: The percentage of attendees whose “purchase intentions were more favorable after visiting companies’ exhibits” has increased (by 4% over the published 2010 statistics) to 35% in 2011.
…Of the leads generated at your trade show, how many are more interested in working with you after visiting your booth than they were before?
During your follow up process, survey your visitors to understand the contributing factors in the quality of your relationship moving forward; divide the number of attendees for whom the quality increased after visiting your trade show booth into your total number of leads – compare your findings to the statistic above. To improve the opportunity available to you after the trade show (by raising awareness and building relationships), focus on pre-show training for your staff and find additional opportunities to connect with your visitors throughout the trade show.
- Freshness -
STATISTIC: On average, the percentage of “first time attendees” at any given trade show in 2011 was 36%.
…For every set of contact information your team obtained at your last trade show, how many of those encounters were with attendees your team hadn’t met at a prior event?
Revisit the list of leads you acquired in previous years; after identifying anyone you had met before, divide the remaining leads into that number (of repeat contacts) to get your percentage of fresh leads – compare this percentage to the statistic above. To improve the percentage of new attendees that your team attracts, focus on targeted prospecting through pre-show marketing efforts.
- Staff Performance -
STATISTIC: Holding steady over the past several years, nearly all of the attendees surveyed (92%) “described staffers as good (22%), very good (36%), or excellent (34%).” Only 4% of attendees “felt like booth staffers were unavailable or unresponsive to their needs.”
…How are the efforts of your booth staff received by the professionals who visit your trade show booth? Are your visitors being properly cared for by your team?
Spend some time observing your staff in action (especially noting the body language of attendees they encounter) and consider working with a consultant or surveying those attendees to receive objective feedback – compare your findings to the statistic above. To improve the performance of your staff, prepare your team before the event and practice the situations they are most likely to encounter on-site. As you consider your staff selection options, ensure that you have chosen the best professionals for the job.
In order to fully utilize the trade show trends discussed above, you must to know your numbers (documenting your results before calculating ROI according to these and other factors for each trade show). From there, you can implement the tips above to improve your future exhibiting efforts.
As always, if there is ever anything I can do to help you or someone you know (I offer convenient products, on-site sales and marketing support, as well as pre-/post-show consulting services), please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.