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What are Attendees Thinking? Find Out!

In today’s world of instant feedback requests, it is easy to become blasé over yet another survey about a product or a service. But learning the value of your custom trade show exhibit and gaining insight into the experience that attendees had in your environment is a critical component of trade show investment and efficiency measurements. Thus, it is critical to integrate ways to capture relevant information during the show, as well as when everyone returns to their offices.

The good news is that customers and prospects walk through the door in evaluation mode. Even those who insist, ‘I’m just looking,’ typically are silently critiquing vendors on their stroll. It can’t be helped – it’s human nature to form opinions about what we are experiencing in the moment.

Events are communication and engagement tools with the goal of gaining specific, desirable behavior from participants. This behavior only occurs if participants are persuaded and motivated to act. To know how well your event marketing program accomplishes these goals and how you might change future events to be more effective requires insight through the eyes of your attendees.

As a reminder, there are these critical success factors for a marketing event:

  • You must attract the “right” people to participate in your event, i.e., those who can act in a beneficial manner.
  • You must give participants information and an experience that is persuasive and conclusive.
  • You must gain participants’ commitment to “take the next step” that will help you and your company accomplish your goals.

Asking the right questions and gathering relevant information will help you understand how well your program is performing and where to tweak your approach.

  • Who are your attendees? You want to determine the demographics of your visitors versus the demographics of the event’s overall base of attendees.
  • What are their biggest problems? Discovering attendees top-of-mind challenges allows you to show how your product or service can solve them.
  • Why did your attendees choose to visit your booth? You want to capture whether they planned to visit before they arrived in the exhibit hall, or if your marketing communication efforts, show messaging and/or engagement activities enticed them to enter.
  • What did they learn as a result of visiting your exhibit or event? Be sure to find out what information was most valuable to their future plans.
  • What do participants plan to do as a result of their visit? Specifically, you want to know if they will commit to taking the steps you have specified necessary to achieve results.

There are several ways to collect this type of information. A mix of research techniques will provide the most reliable and insightful results.

On-site Surveys

On-site survey techniques, such as a random visitor intercept survey, allow for participant profiling, immediate feedback on the visitor’s experience and prediction of post event behavior, such as purchasing intent.  On-site research provides actionable information regarding:

  • How well your exhibit is organized
  • How to arrange and manage customer flow
  • The effectiveness of your message hierarchy
  • How valuable the experience is for the visitor

But remember to keep the survey short and sweet so not to annoy attendees. They  have places to go and people to see when they are at an event!

Post- Event Surveys

Post-event survey techniques can provide validation of customer behavior and are also a good way to test the event’s impact on brand awareness and whether your marketing messages hit the mark.

  • Did the visitor receive a follow-up or progress through the “next steps” of the program?
  • What specifically did they do with the information they received while in your booth?
  • What did they buy at the show, and from whom?
  • Was the visit to your exhibit a factor in their buying decision?
  • What impression of your brand do they have now that they have returned from the show?

Types of Questions to Use

There are a number of ways to pose questions to attendees. Determine the type of information you want to gleam and construct the survey using the appropriate format.

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) – These questions are multiple choice. Attendees rate an item on a numeric scale.
    • Rate the engagement of our booth staff on a scale of one to five, with five being “amazing”
  • Yes and No Questions – These questions are looking for a specific fact.
    • Are you planning to attend one of our events in the future?
  • Open-ended Questions – These questions allow the attendee to share their opinons, observations and analysis of your presence at the event.
    • What was the best part of your experience in our exhibit?

Ongoing Communications

On a grander scale, you can reach out to your entire leads universe quarterly or annually to validate the effectiveness of follow-up by your company and to create a projection of actual purchasing results, including an estimated amount of sales.

You can perform statistical analysis on your program data to see which factors most influenced customers who bought, or identify those who were satisfied or dissatisfied with their experience with your company.

ROI and efficiency measures are important. However, making the right changes in future events is much easier when you have good customer feedback. Decide which survey techniques will work best to validate and improve your results in the business development and communication objectives associated with your company. For assistance with developing your own method of gaining participant feedback, contact Exhibitus’ Results Division today. Or, start on your own by taking our free self assessment for your program!