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The Exhibitor Journey: What Exhibitors Need

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Adam Jones

Director, Digital Products

Freeman EMEA

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Adrienne Sergeant

Senior Manager, Digital Product Management

Freeman

Sunil Patel

Digital Product Management Director - Product Development

Freeman

Best Practices for Supporting Trade Show Exhibitors: Part Two

Missed the first part of this series? Get caught up on everything you need to know about the exhibitor journey.

When it comes to working with exhibitors, show organizers don’t merely want to sell the space on the show floor. After all, a trade show is most successful when exhibitors are successful.

As a result, show organizers want to help exhibitors achieve their goals while providing a hassle-free, beneficial experience.

At the end of a show, exhibitors have two main needs:

  • For the event to be worth their investment.
  • For the event to be a smooth and seamless experience.

If show organizers can satisfy both of those needs, exhibitors will return. Exploring each of these needs further can help you understand the psyche and goals of your exhibitors — this knowledge will help you better address what they hope to achieve at a trade show.

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Exhibitor need #1: ROI

Traditionally, many companies exhibit at certain events every year with little scrutiny given to whether the event was worth the cost and effort. Today, marketing departments are spread thin across multiple channels, prompting marketers to rethink how they spend their budgets and seek out opportunities that can demonstrate the most return.

At the very least, exhibitors want to make sure that if they spend part of their marketing budget on an event, the gains will be worth the cost. To that end, many exhibitors focus on getting as many leads as possible, through actions like gathering business cards or scanning badges.

The problem, though, is that not all event leads are equal.

Frequently, attendees will allow their badges to be scanned out of politeness or to score free merchandise. Perhaps only a fraction are genuinely interested in the brand. Thus, the value of each lead is relatively low.

A rep could come back from an event with 300 new contacts, but if none of them are a good fit for what the company offers, then what was the point?

Furthermore, when choosing how to spend their money on an event, exhibitors face a dilemma — first-time exhibitors, especially. What option will provide the best ROI? For example:

  • If they make a cautious investment in a small booth, they may find themselves tucked away in a low-traffic area where they get little attention.
  • If they go big, it may be on the wrong things (or with the wrong audience), and their investment will have been wasted.
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Exhibitor need #2: a smooth and seamless experience

Besides ROI, exhibitors also have to think about logistics: the sheer amount of effort, time, and money it takes to pull an appearance together.

These logistics are linked to ROI — the more time, money, and effort expended on a show, the higher the bar to achieve a satisfactory return. In addition, the more time exhibitors spend managing logistics, the less time they have to focus on the high-value, high-touch activities that make event exhibiting successful.

As the show date approaches, the number of things exhibitors must think about multiplies. Arranging travel and freight deliveries are just the tip of the iceberg.

Exhibitors are often given event manuals thick with onerous tasks like health and safety assessments and procedures for ordering electrical service. For first-time exhibitors, navigating the numerous requirements can be confusing. Even for veteran exhibitors, rules and regulations vary from venue to venue, making it difficult to keep everything straight.

With so many boxes to check, it’s easy to overlook one or two items.

Events have fixed beginning and end dates and typically inflexible schedules. Any delays or problems could derail the entire endeavor. When dealing with unions or local vendors, last-minute changes can translate into significant increases in expenses — and headaches.

It’s no surprise then that events can be stressful and unpredictable from the exhibitor perspective.

Organizers can make the entire experience dramatically easier by providing tools that help exhibitors successfully and efficiently navigate the entire event from start to finish.

Want more ideas? Explore our suite of services to discover solutions that enhance the exhibitor experience.

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