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The Exhibitor Journey: What Exhibitors Need

By Adam Jones, Adrienne Sergeant and Sunil Patel

AT A GLANCE

  • Learn how to support exhibitor
  • Find out why a smooth and seamless experience is key

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 with exhibitors are successful.

As a result, show organizers want to help exhibitors achieve their goals while providing a pain-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 so you can better address what they are looking to achieve at a trade show.

Exhibitor Need #1: ROI

Traditionally, companies exhibiting at certain events every year was a given, with little scrutiny given to whether the event was worth the cost and effort. Today, marketing departments are spread thin across multiple channels, prompting them to rethink how they spend their budgets and looking for 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 as a way of getting 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 money will have been wasted.
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 ROI. In addition, the more time exhibitors need to spend on handling logistics, the less time they have to spend 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.

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.

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