Five Deeper Attendee Demographics Questions You Should be Asking

Nishita Jain, senior director of digital marketing, a2z, Inc.

Those of us who have been associated with the tradeshow industry for a long time know that the key to having a successful event is in having satisfied attendees. If attendees accomplish their goals and objectives in attending the event, then they’ll automatically become cheerleaders for your brand.

This may seem like something so obvious that it doesn’t need to be stated, but this is also something that confounds event managers when they don’t have a good insight into what their attendees’ specific objectives are and what would define a “successful experience” for them.

The best way to meet this challenge is by collecting targeted demographics information from attendees during the registration process and in subsequent interactional phases in the show cycle. A thorough review of the shared patterns in the demographics of the participants can help strengthen all the important aspects of your upcoming event as well as all future initiatives. 

For attendee demographics to become a strategic part of your decision-making process, the data collected needs to be very spot on. Here is a quick list of attendee demographics questions that should absolutely be asked along with some bonus tips to make the process even effective for your team!

1.       What is their role?
Titles can often be misleading, vague and not descriptive enough. Though, for logistic reasons’ it’s good to collect titles, it’s more critical to know an attendee’s professional role and area of specialization. Roles can help you better segment attendees into categories like researcher, influencer, buyer, distributor and similar.

Once you can group attendees by roles, then you can send them targeted communications that quickly provide them just the information they need. Your team will can also better customize their online and onsite experience based on their role.

2.What product categories are they interested in?
Most show organizers ask exhibitors to select product categories which best describe their products and services. It’s equally critical to ask buyers to select the product categories they are interested in. Not only will it help you identify the potential traffic in each section of your expo hall, it’ll also help you match attendees to exhibitors and provide them higher ROI from their participation in the event.

Provide attendees with the opportunity to specify at least one product category that’s not on the given list. This may help your team identify upcoming as well as newly trending categories in your vertical which may not otherwise have been on your radar.

3.What sector of the industry do they represent?
Most verticals tend to become complex over the years. The industry your trade show represents probably incorporates a wide range of sector. And each sector may have its own unique focus areas and requirements that need to be specifically addressed and served by your event. For example, in the hospitality industry, the sectors may be food and beverage, housing, tourism and travel. Attendees in one sector may be looking for new products and attendees in another sector may be looking for more educational opportunities.

It’s therefore important to ask the question because even knowing the attendee’s role and product categories may not be able to clarify what their participation objectives are.

4.Are they a first-time or repeat attendee?
New attendees may require more education and starter information about the event. That is a very compelling reason to identify them. A large contingent of first timers may also mean more networking and lead-building opportunities for exhibitors

If it’s a first-time attendee, you may want to ask follow up questions about who referred them and what motivated them to attend the event. If it’s a returning attendee, you’d want to know what brings them back, and if their expectations from the next event have changed.

5.Years of experience in the Industry?

An attendee may be a new comer to your event, but they may be bringing comprehensive industry experience and knowledge with them. Asking this question may help you easily zoom into attendees who are current or potential influencers for your event.

Is collecting pertinent demographics questions an integral part of your audience engagement and retention strategy? Do you have any additional tips for eventprofs? If yes, we’d love to hear from you!

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