Tradeshow Attendee: How to Stay Connected After the Event


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This presentation discusses five ways to extend the power of tradeshows after they are over. For more useful tradeshow tips visit our blog:

Including ways for show managers to engage the tradeshow audience after the show. And for exhibitors to use tradeshows as a long term lead generation tool. The use of mobile apps at tradeshows is highlighted as well as the latest ways to manage data and sales leads.

Published in: Marketing, Business, Education
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Tradeshow Attendee: How to Stay Connected After the Event

  1. 1. Attendees Staying Connected After the Show
  2. 2. STAYING CONNECTED AFTER THE SHOW PAGE 2 Bartizan Connects, a provider of Lead Retrieval systems for trade shows, recently surveyed trade show attendees across a range of industries and show profiles. The focus of the survey was to determine how they view the show experience and how they deal with what they’ve learned from the show when they return home. The methodology used for gathering this research was a series of online focus groups used to solicit attitudes and opinions regarding trade show industry experiences from the unique perspectives of trade show Attendees. These online groups were conducted by Joyce McKee & Company, over a multi-day time frame in April and May of 2009 allowing respondents to candidly discuss and debate topics. The respondents did not know who was sponsoring the survey. When we analyzed what we learned from our interaction with Attendees in the context of similar interactions with Exhibitors and Organizers, we were struck by how ineffective post-show interaction was between Attendees and Exhibitors. We don’t mean the communication with possible prospects, but rather the communication with all those Attendees who were “just looking.” Those Attendees with no intention to buy, who make up the vast majority of visitors to any booth. If broader marketplace visibility plays a role in your show strategy, then how you handle those visitors who aren’t active sales opportunities becomes important to you. In this paper we pinpoint where we see Exhibitors lose that visibility with the broader marketplace. And we suggest a general approach to solving it that some might find worth pursuing. Specifically we focus on: 1. A profile of the “curious” Attendee. 2. The breakdown of the connection between Exhibitors and those Attendees. 3. The problem that breakdown causes. 4. The collaboration between Exhibitors and Organizers that can repair that connection. Attendees Staying Connected After the Show
  3. 3. STAYING CONNECTED AFTER THE SHOW PAGE 3 The Curious Attendee We probed what Attendees wanted to get out of show attendance. There were a few answers, but only one common one. Here’s Lyn to tell it succinctly. Learn as much as I can in the short time I have. This is what we learn from every study about show attendees. The vast majority are on a knowledge hunt. We imagine this aligns with most Exhibitors’ experience. Most of their traffic isn’t interested in buying. They’re walking the floor. They’re engaging in informal professional development. Learning who’s out there, and what they have that’s new. They may be on the floor between learning and breakout sessions. They may be passing your booth on the way to another company whose product they are interested in. They may just be looking for stress balls. This is the “broader market visibility” part of your show objectives. The objective is to become somehow part of the conversation when this group of Attendees returns to work. To have made enough of an impression that when the post show review session takes place your product and company are remembered . . . along with your stress ball. Connection Breakdown During the show, your connection to this broader market is active. The show is designed that way, designed to guide people to see as many displays as possible: to connect curious visitors with exhibiting companies. It’s a very limited connection to be sure: neither the curious Attendee nor the sales rep in the booth wants to interact with each other. But they do want to connect: the rep wants to scan the badge and the Attendee wants to see what his company does. A quick connection. But a connection nonetheless. But after the show, instead of being something to build on, the connection breaks down and eventually disappears. Let’s piece together the phases of that breakdown using quotes from both our Exhibitors and Attendees. When Attendees Get Back To the Office Things are informal for our Attendee respondents when they get back home. Few have any rigid obligations (reports, summaries, meetings, email) coming back from the show. Let’s sit back and let Pat speak for them all: When I return it is expected that I have learned more about the products we utilize and what is coming from this product in the near future. It is also expected that I share any information of products that may interest one of our departments so that they can follow up and see for themselves. It is also expected that I share what I have learned with my Administrators if I think there is something that may be beneficial to our instructional technology. (Laughing) I am also expected to come back and spread out any 'freebees' collected for everyone to grab. Our Attendees all described the same kind of thing. If they thought it was interesting, they shared it. If not, it was forgotten. Your fate is entirely in their hands. When Exhibitors Return to the Office Our Exhibitors were equally unanimous in describing what they did upon their return. Follow up was the same across the board. Keith does a good job of representing the Exhibitors group when he describes that follow up. We use the show scanners and read almost everyone who we talk to. These are cold leads. They will get a catalog mailed to them and "thanks for stopping by...." note. A thank you email. Sometimes an offer. In Keith’s case a catalog. Paths to more information. And, always, an invitation to call if there are any questions. Sometimes a call or two. Everybody with the same lead qualification code gets the same letter. When Attendees Receive the Follow Up Our Attendees view this follow up as unavoidable and irrelevant. Only a couple of comments are needed: It can result in several annoying calls from the vendors desperate for a lead.
  4. 4. STAYING CONNECTED AFTER THE SHOW PAGE 4 Usually results in more junk e-mail/mail. The Problem Here’s the issue. This group of attendees, the merely curious, have let you know in action, word and behavior, that they’re just learning what’s out there. Keeping up to date. That they aren’t interested in your product. And how do you follow up? With information about your product. So it’s no surprise that your message falls on deaf ears. Let’s let Pat finish her story be describing her reaction to follow up: What I usually hear on the other end of the phone is "Thank you for your interest in our product" or "you requested a call" when I never really spoke to anyone or in anyway requested contact. The conclusion is clear. If you want to maintain your goal of “broader market visibility,” you need to deliver a message they do want to hear. A Joint Action And what is that? Our Attendees have already told us the answer to that question. Remember what Lyn said? Learn as much as I can in the short time I have. Broad industry knowledge. To stay in front of this group you have to deliver more than information about your product. You have to deliver information that they can use for their own professional knowledge. Such an easy answer. The practical answer, though, is not easy. There are three big obstacles: 1. Cost This is not a critical marketplace, this is a “good to have” group. No Marketer has a significant budget to allocate for brand awareness to this group. No Marketer has a significant budget, but a tiny one they do. 2. Having a continual supply of interesting content. No individual exhibitor has the ability or the motivation to become a conduit of broad market knowledge. Something within their product category yes, but not across categories. No individual exhibitor does. But working together they do. It’s an extension of lead sharing. They contribute interesting articles encountered and make it part of a broader package of information. Two articles for company A and one from company B and two more from C . . . and you have a useful package of information that extends beyond any individual company’s sphere of interest. 3. Having a delivery infrastructure in place to send it out on a regular basis. Exhibitors don’t have registration processing systems, or data analyses that point to qualified collaborating companies, or content management systems, or sophisticated email creation, delivery and tracking methods. They don’t. But Organizers do. Organizers have the registration systems. They have access to data that can tell them that this person visited these booths, and they can use that information to suggest collaborations. They have email and postal mail systems in place. They can develop SIGs and focus groups. Our Call to Action That’s the collaboration we’re suggesting. Using predominantly existing resources, and making only the most modest of additional investments, Exhibitors and Organizers can together create a message delivery vehicle that supports the often-critical goal of broader market visibility. That allows companies to
  5. 5. STAYING CONNECTED AFTER THE SHOW PAGE 5 stay in front of people and organizations who may not have a need today, but who still contribute and make purchasing decisions within the broader industry. And that continues providing the full value of the show to everyone, after the show has closed. It’s a win/win/win opportunity. 1. Attendees get what they want: access to industry trends and insights. And they credit the participating companies and the show itself for it. 2. Exhibitors get what they want: ongoing visibility in the industry, at a price that makes it worth doing. 3. Organizers get what they want: value-add to attract Exhibitors and Attendees (and possibly additional revenue by providing participation as a service option). A Final Note This is not a prescription. It’s an observation. Something we at Bartizan thought worth sharing with our customers, and our customers’ customers. We don’t expect that it will apply to all of you. But we do expect that it will apply to many of you. In a landscape where show attendance is at risk, delivering this kind of added value for everyone may be good territory to explore. Corporate Headquarters: Bartizan Lead Retrieval 217 Riverdale Ave Yonkers, NY 10705 (800) 899-2278 Fax: 914-965-774