Trade Show Surveys To Enhance Your Trade Show Participation

Rental RE-2021 Hybrid Inline Exhibit - plenty of room to conduct trade show survey

Inline Rental Display

Don’t miss your chance! Good trade show surveys can help generate good intel, in turn helping you make your products or services as appealing as possible. As trade show managers, it’s easy to become complacent and adopt an “if we build it, they will come” mentality about our participation in shows. But that only works in Kevin Costner movies.

What really works on the trade show floor is knowing your customers and prospects as intensely as you can, so you’ll know how to make your products or services as appealing as possible. That means you need good intel.

You can get that intelligence through surveying your customers and prospects. Both groups have information that will prove valuable to you. Trade show surveys are one of the most important tools for marketing research, because they allow you to capture valuable information about clients and prospective clients. You can discover how much these groups know about you, and what you can do to serve them better.

One suggestion: keep it short. It’s better to ask participants to take two or three shorter surveys than to hope they’ll remain interested and engaged in one long, ponderous inquisition. In fact, introduce your survey with a time frame, like this: “Please take just three minutes to share your opinions with us.”

If you absolutely must use a longer survey, provide a benefit for the survey taker: a chance to win something of value (that represents value to the respondent personally, not his or her company), a thoughtful premium item, a coffee house gift card, etc.

Numerous online resources can assist you in creating surveys to help you study your audience. But first, you have to determine what you want to know. You might want to design your survey with these guidelines in mind:

Where are you now?

I’d suggest you begin with questions that help you gauge your current relationship with your customers and prospects. Ask them how your connection could be strengthened. Quiz them to find ways you could increase your level of service to better meet their needs.

What else can you do for me?

It’s always easier to sell more to an existing client than to find new clients to sell to. So you might also want to find out if your existing customers would be interested in doing more business with you, if you had more to offer. Ask, “In addition to widgets, what other widget-like products do you use in your business?”

What’s your biggest problem?

People want to tell you what they think, good or bad (particularly if the survey is anonymous). So ask respondents what the top three to five frustrations are that they experience in their work lives, and then plan to show how your product or service can solve them.

Having gathered that information, you can generate a customized landing page that shows prospects how you can help. It could be as simple as “If you answered ‘C’ to Question 4, you’ve got a problem with ‘x.’ Stop by our booth at the ABC show and check out our product that does ‘y.’”

Is our marketing on the mark?

Custom RENTAL Island Design with 30 Wide x 10 High Backwall Storage Closet 8' x 8' x 12' High Storage Room

Custom Rental Displays

This might also be a good opportunity to see how well your marketing efforts are doing with the very people you’re trying to reach. Are your current marketing campaigns on target, or do your customers and prospects feel you’re missing the mark? Remember New Coke? There’s an example of a company trying to do exactly what their customers didn’t want.

Consider using the same survey in your trade show exhibit. Set up a few iPad kiosks and invite attendees to share their opinions. Your booth staffers can walk prospects through the survey, helping to build face-to-face relationships. Then your people can steer attendees to the product or service that meets their needs. This in-booth surveying adds to your collective intelligence about the various aspects of your marketing program, giving you a bigger sample size.

What next?

The next step in dealing with the information from good trade show surveys may be to share it with those who took part in its gathering. There are benefits to letting your prospects and customers know what you’ve learned.

After the show, analyze your responses and create a report to share with those who participated. This report should also include information related to how your products or services helped prospects and customers, providing solutions to problems they identified.

It may also be worthwhile to include a section titled “What We Learned” or something to that effect. In it, you can share what respondents had to say about your company, your products, your customer service, or any other issues they highlighted.

Then explain what action steps your company has taken (or plans to take) to improve in any area(s) where respondents found you lacking. Honesty breeds respect, so don’t sugar coat things. I suggest you own up to any mistakes your company may have made.

There’s no mystery to conducting good trade show surveys. However, they’re only as good at uncovering useful information as their construction allows. So put ample time into the creation and wording of each question. That way, you can be sure you’re soliciting responses you’ll benefit from.

Those show attendees you want to attract to your trade show exhibit make judgments about your company based solely on the look of your booth.

If your trade show booth is starting to appear a little road weary or dated, you may be turning off potential customers before you even have the chance to demonstrate your product or service. Let us show you how we can help your exhibit make a positive statement about your company. Call (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected] 

For more, check out our other article on trade show surveys and remember, trade shows are not events!