Clive’s Big Exhibition Survey

In an age of data overload, GDPR spam flooding inboxes and shrinking mailing lists, face-to-face marketing has never been more important for brands that want to achieve stand out.

As brands work harder than ever to create meaningful touchpoints with their audiences, exhibitions offer the opportunity to put their products and people directly in front of the people that matter most.

Understanding what excites your audience is the starting point to creating amazing exhibition spaces from which you will reap the rewards…

But how do you make a big bang?

…and engage your exhibition audiences to maximum impact?

Fear not, here at Clive we’ve done the hard work for you.

We’ve surveyed the great exhibition-going public to find out exactly what they’re looking for and what makes the experience memorable. Here’s what we found…

“Only 36% wanted take away printed material – so save your money on printing and put it into the experience.”

Why Bother?

Exhibitions win you new business: Almost 70% of respondents said they had invited a new supplier to quote for business as a result of attending a show, with 55% awarding new contracts as a direct result.

They also amplify word of mouth recommendations: Almost 80% told colleagues about new suppliers they’d met and 53% started following them on social media.

Trade Show Tribes

Next up, who actually goes to trade shows?  Well, there are two, roughly equally-sized tribes – let’s call them the ‘Purposeful’ and the ‘Spontaneous’.  There are slightly more in the ‘Purposeful’ camp, (50%), compared to around 40% in the ‘Spontaneous’ tribe.

The ‘Purposeful’ tribe plan their visits.  They research beforehand and have a list of who to see. They like pre-event marketing to help work out which suppliers will be of interest.  For this tribe, your conversation has to begin before the exhibition doors open.  If you don’t, you’ve probably lost them before you’ve even started.

The ‘Spontaneous’ don’t attend trade shows with a pre-formed plan. They prefer to visit the stands that engage them on the day.

That brings us to the Holy Grail of exhibition experiences – how do you create a stand which ‘stands-out’ for the ‘Spontaneous’ but also lives up to the expectations of the ‘Purposeful’?

  • 75% want to have a conversation with a real person who is expert and knowledgeable.
  • 60% also had a preference for screens with digital and video content and 42% expected new technology such as virtual reality.
  • Only 36% wanted take away printed material – so save your money on printing and put it into the experience.
  • We also asked what stand features attracted visitors? Good design, visual impact, how polished the stand looked, how it stood-out compared to others and the use of interesting materials came out top. 52% said they liked stands that looked ‘fun’.
  • When asked “What would make you more likely to visit a stand” the top answer was free giveaways, closely followed by free food and drink, interactive entertainment and prize draws (less than 30%, though, liked performers such as magicians and stilt walkers, so be warned).
Getting your exhibition presence right is about maximising the return on your investment. At Clive, we’re not your bog standard stand builders. We help bring brands to life, creating audience engagement that spans pre-event engagement campaigns, stand design, tech set-up and support, messaging development, on-stand activations and much, much more. Get in touch now and see what we can do for your brand.