How to Target the Right Audience at Trade Shows

November 10th, 2015 by Interex Exhibits


One of the most important keys to event marketing success is targeting the correct audience. Trade show attendance often requires a significant financial investment, and a blanket approach seldom gives you the best chance to maximize ROI. Therefore, it’s crucial for exhibitors to have a keen understanding of their market and to mold strategy to fit. Here is how you can narrow your audience to ensure maximum ROI at your next trade show.

Determine Your Target Audience

The first step in determining your target audience is to examine your existing customer base. Look at recent success stories, and determine the unique characteristics of those clients—demographics, employment level, purchasing power, etc. What people or companies are already benefiting the most from your products and services?

Next, turn your attention to lead management. See if any leads currently in the pipeline came from trade shows, and if so, which ones. Work with the sales team to discuss what constitutes a qualified lead. The sales team should have a clear picture of who your company aims to sell to, and its representatives will be able to help you hone in on specific characteristics.

Compare with Trade Show Audiences

Once you have a clear picture of your target audience, you need to make sure it fits with the trade show (or shows) you choose to attend. It’s generally rather simple to find information about an event’s attendee characteristics. Most trade shows provide detailed audience profiles on their websites. For B2B shows, find out what type of employees attend, their job level and decision-making power. For B2C shows, look for individual information such as age, occupation, income and interests. You can also speak with the show sales staff directly about who typically attends their event.

In addition, consider the days of the week the event is taking place. If the show happens during regular working hours, certain professionals may be less likely to attend than if it happened on a weekend. Also, research what events your competitors are attending. The same shows won’t always be right for you, but it’s good information to have.

At the Show

It could be the case that some attendees at a particular trade show are in your target audience and others are not. That’s why your audience narrowing shouldn’t stop with the show itself. Make sure your booth is designed to appeal to the type of person you want to sell to. For instance, private meeting rooms make sense if your target audience includes company executives, while bold lighting and high-tech demos could be a good route for a younger, tech-savvy audience.

In addition, make sure your target audience profile is clearly communicated to booth personnel. It’s great for event and sales managers to understand the target, but the people doing the actual talking at the booth need to be aware as well. Take the time during staff training to go over the audience profile with a fine-toothed comb.

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