Precision Targetting Your Trade Show Displays With Buyer Personas
Trade show displays are, of course, primarily marketing tools. Unfortunately, due to the pressures of planning, setting up, and staffing trade show displays, this can sometimes be overlooked. However, even as you’re getting bogged down in the details of ordering banner stands and optimizing your space, you can’t lose sight of the “big picture” strategy behind the display.
Create A Buyer Persona
In essence, a buyer persona is a psychological profile of your key customer traits. The more detailed and informative it is, the more insight you can gain into what your buyers want to see in your trade show displays.
Go talk to your marketing guys. They may already have a buyer persona developed that you can use. If you don’t have one (or more) yet, then your next trade show is the perfect excuse to make one. It’ll be a big help for many of your future marketing efforts, beyond just trade shows.
A buyer persona goes beyond simple demographics. The goal is to produce a detailed document that covers everything from a buyer’s average age and income to issues like whether they’re detail-oriented or “big picture” thinkers.
Here are some questions to ask about your customers to help develop this. Ideally, this is done in an interview setting with actual potential customers, but it can also be gleaned through secondhand sources if you don’t have the resources to do interviews.
- Who, exactly, would find our product to be the perfect solution to their problems? (hint: this should not simply be “small businesses” or something equally generic)
- What questions or problems keep your customers up at night?
- Do they prefer organized spaces, or more free-form designs?
- Do they like their information in data-heavy doses, or in eye-catching charts and graphs?
- What do they hope to achieve when they go to a trade show?
If you’re engaged in B2B sales, also consider topics like the following:
- Are my visitors decision-makers, or are they gathering information for higher authorities?
- What position and title do they have?
- How close of a relationship do they want with partner businesses?
Putting It In Practice
Ideally, if you have a well-defined buyer persona, you should be able to “ask” it questions about aspects of your booth and be reasonably sure of the answer you’d get back.
For example, if your visitors are mostly gophers gathering information for their bosses, you should probably focus on giving them information that’s in easily-retained small chunks. However, if you’re expecting VIPs, then they will almost certainly want more detail and more comprehensive information.
Likewise, this influences your trade show booth design and layout. We generally recommend having airy, spacious layouts, but on the other hand, if one of your target buyers are the sorts of people who enjoy going to flea markets and getting hands-on with displayed products, a more “cluttered” look would probably appeal to them.
You may find that you need more than one buyer persona, depending on your products and appeal. If so, look for areas of overlap when planning your trade show displays.
Don’t just base your trade show booths on generic advice. Try to learn as much as you can about your potential customers, and craft a display that appeals to them above all else. If you have well-defined buyer personas, they can aid both your trade show presence as well as any other marketing efforts you might be planning.