The Trade Show Floor Can Be a Fascinating Research Lab

Joyce McKee is creator and founder of Let’s Talk Trade Shows and GES’ first guest blogger. As an industry veteran her experience is helpful to exhibitors of all types looking for guidance on the show floor.

Due to all the economic shifts in the last year or so, the audience for your product or service has changed. Do you know how much they have changed? You can easily gain insight by collecting information at your next show. Here are a several simple ideas to consider and possibly incorporate in your overall show planning efforts.

Typically, the smart exhibit marketer has trained booth personnel to engage the audience with a unique “pick-up” line. It is a short, an open-ended question, which stops the attendee in the aisle and draws them into the booth for further conversation.  It is NOT – “Can I help you?”

Using this function and conducting primary research with the trade show audience, you can have your fingers on the pulse of prospects and what is relevant for them.

Test Your Marketing Message:

Conveying your marketing message in a brief sentence or two can be a challenge.  These succinct ideas should deliver the compelling response – tell me more.  But which ones have the broadest appeal?

This concept is very similar to the A/B split testing done on headlines. You want to assess which one has the greatest impact. Does it solicit a response which indicates they want more information or is there no response?

Equip your booth personnel with two different statements and use them to engage the audience.  Then, see which one has the best response. Now it is important that you coach your personnel to deliver the one-liners in the same fashion so there is consistency of information being collected.

It will be fascinating to hear and understand their responses. They just might give you a better marketing message, in their language, than you could have dreamed up.

Once you have the winning statement, share this with your marketing teammates so they can assess if this should be woven into other marketing messages. It could be used in email campaigns, advertising, website etc.

How is Your Competition Viewed?

What do the attendees say about your competition? Gathering intelligence from your customers and prospects on how they view the competition can aid you in positioning your products/services. How high do they regard the features, functions, and benefits of your adversary?

Typically, this information can be gathered when you are conducting a demo of your product/service. During a demo or a conversation in the booth many questions are asked. By carefully analyzing the questions asked, you can determine the holes in your marketing.

Assess the following:

  • What features did people ask about which you already have, but it wasn’t obvious in the demo?
  • What features did people keep asking for which you don’t have or are on the drawing board for a future release?

As you were talking to them, did they share anything they loved or hated about your competition? This information is golden, in that you are hearing their preferences directly from your audience.

Consider hiring an outside research firm to conduct intercept interviews (GES is a great option). This is where a person stops someone who has just left your booth and poses a few questions. Via this qualitative research tool you can assess your marketing message, the booth personnel, etc. Using the results will help fine tune or totally change your approach for the next show.

Gathering and analyzing the responses to your queries can alter your marketing so that it has a broader impact and moves more prospects into the sales funnel.

Have you ever thought of the trade show floor as a research lab? Share your thoughts with GES’ LinkedIn group here!

The postings on Defying Convention by guest bloggers are the thoughts and opinions of the guest blogger and don't necessarily represent GES’ positions, strategies or opinions.

Previous Article
Midyear Recharge

Now that we’re halfway through the year, getting together to network with fellow industry members and finis...

Next Article
Our Industry Forecast: 2012

Spring brings growth, and growth is especially welcome considering the instability in U.S. and global econo...