How to Engage the Next Generation of Trade Show Attendees

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Fab 50 2016: Engaging the Next Generation

Each year, our Fab 50 program provides a list of the top fabricators serving the event and trade show industry in an effort to simplify the exhibit partner selection process. This year, in addition to the 2016 Fab 50 lineup, we offered a deeper dive into the state of the fabrication industry, including how to engage younger generations.

Millennials have begun to comprise a hefty portion of trade show attendees and fabricators say their strategies are shifting in tandem with the influx of this new generation. Following are four tips for working with a younger crowd.

 

1. Create Meaningful Engagements 

“Giving the attendee the ability to choose their engagement changes the message a little bit,” says Nick Simonette, vp-sales at Czarnowski. “It shows the why—why am I engaging with your brand. Millennials in particular, from our findings, want to have some meaning and purpose behind it.”

2. Align with Strategic Partners

“Agencies are really good at targeting and focusing the overall marketing program,” says Nicole Genarella, svp-marketing at 3D Exhibits. “So you’re seeing a lot more partnerships between agencies that focus on the millennials as well as trade show companies coming together to bring the experience to life.”

3. Get Social Media-Savvy

“If you look at some of the younger generations growing up, their virtual life is more important than their physical life,” says Tao Her, creative director at CEP Exhibit Productions. “We need to accommodate that thinking because a lot of our clients, before we do any design or research, are actually looking at our Facebook pages and Instagram just to see what the connection is to the company, to the people and the culture, to understand what they stand behind.”

4. Mix It Up

“I think you engage a little differently with younger people and then it’s trying to figure out that mix [of generations],” says Aidan Corish, owner and cco at Tangram. “Like every industry, it’s youth and experience. There’s something to be said for the youthful nature of the industry, but there are also mistakes that get made that we don’t want to make again, and I think that’s where experience comes in.”

This story appeared in the August 2016 issue

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