How Leaders of Tomorrow Judge the Trade Shows of Today

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR

Dallas, TX – Education, experience and placing orders are among the top reasons that younger professionals are attending trade shows, much as their respected elders do, according to a survey released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).

The survey, which was sponsored by the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), includes some upbeat findings on how the venerable trade show model is viewed by the up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow, and how shows may evolve in the coming years to fit their needs even better.

“Young business professionals are our future,” said Lew Shomer, executive director of SISO. “It is essential to have the most current insights into this audience.”

The survey, 2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preference Study, is available on the CEIR web site. It delves into what younger attendees (age 23 to 40), are responding to now and what they are looking for in the future.

  • A whopping 98% of younger attendees said they indeed found valuable “takeaways” at trade shows, and 93% said they would likely attend another show in the future.
  • Buying is a big reason to attend. The survey showed 86% were there on a mission to make purchases for their company. Another 83% said furthering their professional education was a key reason for attending.
  • Nearly all younger attendees, 97%, had some say in the decision to dispatch their bosses to a particular show, including 66% who said they themselves recommended the show to their superiors. These results are a call to action for organizers to market directly to young professionals.
  • Direct e-mail marketing from show organizers was the primary source of information about the show for 58% of the attendees surveyed. Another 41% considered e-mails from suppliers and other vendors that they do business with, and 33% received recommendations from their boss. This suggests the need for multi-channel promotions.
  • Mobile devices were put to use, with 42% using their cell phone cameras to photograph a product on the show floor.
  • The ability to gain more experience is a popular draw. Interactive exhibits and product demonstrations were sought out along with opportunities to network and exchange notes with colleagues, friends and product users. And booth giveaways remain as popular as ever.
  • A major goal for attendees is getting ahead in their career. The most popular educational sessions are those that add to their professional education with interactive workshops being particularly popular.

Reach Brian Casey, president and CEO of CEIR, at (972) 687-9242 or bcasey@ceir.org; Lew Shomer at  (310) 450-8831, x2, or lshomer@shomex.com