The Millennials are coming! The Millennials are coming! Are you ready? This younger generation requires different experiences in the business-to-business market than the Baby Boomers of old. Some of those preferences may require a change in how you approach the trade show experience.
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has teamed again with the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) to produce its latest publication, 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study. They examined, studied and interviewed attendees and business professionals gathering data from 2009 forward.
You can download the entire report – however, there is a cost associated with it. The press release from CEIR offers five key findings from the study that is worth examining further, without the expense of buying the report!
Here are their five key findings:
- Nearly all (98 percent) of young exhibitors find that exhibitions deliver unique value that cannot be fulfilled by other marketing or sales channels. The most popular aspects speak to the ROI, the ability to achieve multiple sales and marketing objectives in a compressed time period, with engaging face-to-face with customers and prospects top-ranked.
- For young exhibitors, exhibitions mean business: More than seven out of 10 young exhibitors view the exhibition channel as a medium to accomplish multiple important marketing and sales objectives.
- For young exhibitors, at the core of the trade show displays experience is the product itself and attendee interaction with product and exhibit booth staff. Young exhibitors find tactics which feature the product (71 percent) give attendees opportunities to interact with product (67 percent) and provide settings that enable booth staff to engage with attendees (66 percent) as the most effective ways to interact with attendees. A majority also find various digital interactive elements, giveaways and prizes as effective attendee engagement techniques.
- It is all about face-to-face engagement and interactions: One-on-one conversations with exhibit personnel, with and without a product demonstration are the number one face-to-face settings of choice.
- Keep it friendly and inviting! Emphasis on the importance of exuding a ‘friendly and outgoing’ approach is uniquely Millennial, and at 77 percent, it is a top-ranked trait young exhibitors look for in booth staff.
How to Use This Information
Consider ways to allow attendees to touch, feel, play with, experience your product.
Ensure your trade show booth staff has been trained in the importance of being open, friendly, engaging and even funny. A smile goes a long way to making a connection with any of the attendees but especially with the younger generation.
Consider adding a gaming component to your trade show displays. This population grew up on Xbox, Playstation and even Nintendo. Examine the different ways you might incorporate computer games into the experience.
Think outside the box of give aways and interactive options. In an article from Handshake,22 Guerilla Marketing Ideas for Trade Shows, the author offers a few really interesting ways to stand out from the crowd
- Hand out half of something small or a key. What does the key open? What does the other half offer?
- Incentivize people to tweet something about your booth, preferably including photos.
- Have a flash mob or impromptu dancers or a band.
- Have people roam the floor with Etch-a-Sketches with drawings of your logo and/or products. Pass out etch-a-sketch postcards to come by the booth. Give Etch-a-Sketches away every hour.
Host an information-gathering luncheon back at the office. Invite some Millennials within your organization to come together and offer suggestions of what would interest them. Offer a price for the ideas you select and use at your next trade show event.
Bottom Line: the days are long gone where you can set up a table and hope people come by and put their business card in your bowl for a door prize. If we want to attract and retain the Millennials as customers, we will have to step outside our comfort zone and really connect on a one-on-one basis.
If you are interested in learning about some of the trade show accessories and trade show graphics that are available to help with the interactive process, give us a call.
Give us a call – we are here to help.