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Infographic: Why people visit exhibitions and what exhibitors can learn from it

July 31, 2014 |

At Marketing Week Live 2014, we asked visitors to tell us their reasons for visiting and then consider these reasons when they next exhibit.

Visitors were asked to rank out of 100% why they were visiting from a list of: Learn, Ideas, Network Interact and Source.

Our findings suggest that the visitors perceive exhibitions primarily as a platform for both understanding and discovering.

Understanding the reasons why people visit exhibitions is vital for would-be exhibitors to create positive, memorable experiences – all of which helps to convert visitors to leads and generate sales.

Infographic of reasons to visit exhibitions

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Understanding and discovering valued equally as top reasons to visit exhibitions

It’s rare, of course, that there’s only one single reason cited for visiting an exhibition. And our findings suggest that collectively 50 percent of people visit to learn and gain new ideas.

Visitors like to be inspired. They like to see what’s new and find out what’s out there by learning about the latest trends to get ideas and think about how these ideas may be used in their own businesses.

Exhibitors can take advantage of this by making sure that their on-stand campaign provides thought-provoking information to stimulate ideas and to provide valuable and meaningful information. This may be educational, in the form of on-stand mini-seminars or speaker slots within the official show content programme. Or valuable insight into a particular topic can be generated from on-stand research.

Finding suppliers and negotiating deals

People attributed sourcing suppliers at 15 percent of the reason why they visit. As the least popular reason, (albeit only by 1%) this tells us that the majority of people visiting exhibitions may not be ready to immediately negotiate a deal – even though exhibitions are seen as the most influential medium in a buyers decision.

Your brand is one of many competitors within a small area, so visitors will take their opportunity to shop around first. Creating brand awareness is increasingly important to ensure that you’re on the radar of those who may not be considering purchasing yet…but are on the brink. You need to be in the game when it comes to the customer purchasing cycle.

Networking still vital

19 percent of the reason why people visit B2B exhibitions is to network. Having industry professionals under one roof is a perfect opportunity to meet with suppliers, colleagues and peers alike. Exhibitions are also a good platform to arrange meetings beforehand as you know who’ll be there – if networking is your objective, arranging meetings ahead is a good example of time management as your day is mapped out and you can get round your targets in an organised fashion.

As an exhibitor, to accommodate these meetings, it’s good practice to think about the ergonomics of your stand to make sure you have quieter seating areas, and perhaps hospitality, to talk to prospective clients about their needs. You may even need integrated meeting rooms if you need an even quieter space.

Nimlok's exhibition stand at Marketing Week Live 2014Getting hands on

16 percent of the reason to visit exhibitions is to get hands on and to interact with products and services. This is the bread and butter of exhibitions as no other platform allows for a full sensory experience. Where else can you see, hear, touch, small and taste all under one roof!

Making sure you have the right engagement tools in place will help to nurture your conversations with potential leads. For exhibitors, this means making sure you have the right product demos and digital engagement tools available to show your visitors first-hand what you can do. Maybe consider a digital quiz, game or survey. Perhaps you could use innovative technology, such as augmented reality, to showcase a presentation, video or brochure. And don’t forget ‘old school’ games or puzzles are well received on stands as long as it’s adapted somehow to your theme. Think ‘hook a duck’, buzz wire games and giant Jenga, just to name a few…

What do you think about these findings? Let us know by leaving a comment, tweeting us at NimlokUK, or by commenting on LinkedIn.

*Sample of 50 visitors to the Nimlok stand.