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Trade Show Marketing 101: How to Identify Your Target Audience

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Success in trade show marketing begins when you learn how to identify your target audience. It starts with pinpointing exactly who the high-quality prospects and customers are that need to be reached. The key to establishing your target audience is in-depth research. Once you know exactly who your product is designed for; the next step is figuring out where exactly you can find those people. Keep reading to learn how your team can improve your trade show marketing success with proper research into your target audience.

Review Your Current Customers and Build Buyer Personas

When it comes to learning how to identify your target audience, start with building buyer personas. Buyer personas give you a detailed picture of the exact customer you should target in a trade show.The more detailed you can define your buyer personas, the better. Look further into audience demographics, psychographics, thinking patterns, interests, and needs. Assess your current customers and break them down into different micro-groups.

Tapestry segmentation tools are available to help perform some of this research into your company’s target market. Categorize clients based on genders, titles, industry, age range, buying patterns, etc. This will help you create buyer personas, and it’s the foundation of successful trade show marketing campaigns. Your target audience or market should be made up of several different buyer personas to develop a well-rounded strategy of how your sales and marketing teams will reach those different types of consumers.

Attend Trade Show Events That Are Relevant to Your Target Audience 

Your goal to exhibit in a tradeshow is to attract the right audience to your booth. This can only happen through exhibiting in the right trade show. Not all trade shows are equal, and it’s impossible for all trade shows to attract your ideal customer.

Your team will likely need to research and find out which trade shows are most relevant to your target audience. Approximately 13,000 trade shows happen in the US every year. On average, US businesses attend only 14.5 of these events. Only attend an event if it’s in line with your target audience and industry. 

Look at the demographics, number of attendees, and success stories of each event. Find out about the industry and the target market for each event. Establish if your product suits the tradeshow’s audience and whether the event is worth it.  Always go deep into history to uncover the best event for your product. Look at past attendance and performance data to discern about:

  • The event’s reputation
  • The event’s sales and networking performance
  • Competitors’ attendance
  • The participation of major industry players
  • The tradeshow’s theme and whether it matches your brand
  • Recorded attendees and whether they match your target audience

Once you narrow down to a few trade shows, identify and attend the highest potential events to attract great prospects. Analyze audience quality, size of the qualified audience, and cost per qualified attendee.

Develop a List of Potential Attendees

One trade show marketing secret is to find the shows that attract the most industry decision-makers. Some trade shows may attract many decision-makers because industry regulators recommend them. 

Talk with the trade show management team for specific events to find out who usually attends. Ask the administration for a profile of their regular attendees. Check the titles and responsibilities of the people on your list.

Break down your list into vendors, prospects, customers, competitors, salespeople, and business partners. Match your audience with their industry, company size, buying authority, and product interest. 

Another route to developing your target list is to engage potential attendees. Contact them with a list of questions to understand their role in the tradeshow. Figure out if they’re people you should focus on or drop them from your list.

Identify Which Attendees Match Your Personas

So you’ve already developed your list of potential attendees. Now it’s time to find who ticks more boxes as your ideal target customer. 

Tradeshow marketing is tricky because you have to target different audience groups. You need separate targeting lists—different lists for current customers, prospects and leads, and previous trade show visitors. 

Go through these lists and find out who is the best match for your tradeshow buyer persona. Pinpoint which persona is more likely to attend a particular show and be interesting in your product or service. Establish their goals and figure out if they’re worth adding to your tradeshow marketing list. 

Figuring out your buyer persona is an effective way to set yourself up for success. It’s a step that helps you to create a perfect custom booth. It also enables you to personalize your messaging and choose the right giveaways.

Choose a High Potential Buyer Persona

Successful trade shows take months of planning. According to HubSpot, it can take six months to one year of planning to succeed. It’s a hectic and costly process and you should ensure it helps you reach your trade show marketing goals. Trade shows allow you to increase traffic, boost sales and spread brand awareness. To achieve these goals, you need to market and attract a high potential audience to your booth. 

You could also choose a trade show and market to your high potential buyer persona. This group of customers has typically demonstrated more interest in attending an upcoming show.

Is Tradeshow Marketing Worth It?

Trade shows are one of the largest sources of B2B revenue for US businesses. 90% of tradeshow attendees go there to look for new products. Participating in trade shows is an effective way to get yourself some leads. 

For the best marketing results, spend money where the chances of conversions are high. Defining your audience helps you to personalize your pre-trade show campaigns. It will make your prospect feel special and boost your attendance. Your online and offline trade show marketing efforts need to be strategic. Avoid high competition by building relationships with your audience early on.

Define Your Target Audience to Improve Trade Show Marketing

People attend trade shows to attract customers, increase sales, and expand their network. The chance of hitting these targets is higher if you reach out to your target audience. This can be accomplished if you honed in on trade show marketing.

Start with mastering target audience marketing. If you’re looking to improve your trade show results, we can help. Contact us for assistance with your trade show marketing.


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