Wooing the New Trade Show Attendee
A lot has been written about trade show attendance, particularly as everyone races to become the first to discover the “next big thing” to attract attendees. First, people were arguing that it was absolutely virtual reality, no question. Then, the discussion turned into augmented reality, geo beacons and similar types of location-based experiences. While trade shows in general may incorporate to these enhancements, they are also becoming something that people are only just now starting to realize.
They're getting younger.
Leave it to Millennials to Breathe Life Into Trade Shows
Are millennials are attracted to trade shows because they're starved for face-to-face interactions? Or is it the increasingly tech-driven exhibits that are the allure? Our view is that millennials are attracted in large part because of the intimate nature of a face-to-face event.
When you're part of a generation that switches between laptops and smartphones and tablets and televisions and back again more than 27 times over the span of an hour according to Pew Research, it does make sense that you would start to put a premium on in-person interactions.
Likability, trust, consistency, and personality
These are all factors that millennials value when it comes to who they choose to do business with. What do these four ideas all have in common? They're all based on intimacy and they're all things that come out of strong in-person interactions. Sixty-two percent of millennials report that brand engagement is more likely to make them a loyal customer, according to the University of Southern California.
Do you need more proof that millennials crave intimacy in their marketing experiences? Ninety percent of millennials said that they prefer postal delivery over email when receiving promotional items because they consider it to be a more “personal” experience. (That noise you just heard was a sigh of relief from postal workers everywhere.)
While they are searching for personal interactions, millennials are also climbing the corporate ladder. They are becoming the decision makers that spell success for a trade show program.
Millennials are expected to account for roughly $200 billion in buying power by the end of the year. If you're not already going after this segment of the population with your trade show design, now would be a good time to start.
In the End
So, as you visualize the future of your trade show program, keep two other things in mind. Millennials don't want to be “sold to.” They want to be connected to the products and services they're engaged in, both emotionally or digitally (or both at the same time, if they can help it).
To that end, the future of trade shows becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Start targeting the millennials today and you lay the groundwork for the next decade of your business and beyond.