How to approach an MRX trade show: key learnings from the 2017 Insight Show

The 2017 Insight Show saw an 80% registration increase with presenters and delegates from across the globe. With this much attention placed on exhibitors, you need to make sure you stand out amongst the sea of researchers. But did the exhibitors take full advantage of the wave of attendees passing their stands over the two-day trade show?

Team Mustard spent the two days soaking up the content and wandering around the trade show. And we spent a lot of time in Marketing Week Live, looking at how the ‘professional’ marketers approach things differently to research and insight. As marketers ourselves, it’d be wrong not to judge the exhibitors based on how well they’re communicating their brand, grabbing attention, creating awareness, and generating leads.

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So here is our list of trade show best behaviours for those who are looking to get their money’s worth from exhibiting at a trade show.

  1. Go big or go home
    With 10s, 20s, 100s of stands around you, there’s no arguing that you need to find a way to make a splash. There are several ways to get all eyes on you at a trade show. Firstly, you need do some research of your own – it’s what you’re best at after all. You must understand your audience and consider what will grab your clients’ attention. Make sure you have an interesting message not just a sales shout – combine a stand with a presentation or sponsorship of some other element (drinks, coffee). Just a stand on its own won’t cut it. Ask yourself, what do market researchers want?
  2. Have a one-track mind
    What’s the point of exhibiting if you’re not exchanging contact information? Your focus should absolutely be lead generation. After you have their attention, make that transaction as quick and painless as possible for the attendees. Over on the Marketing Week Live side of the event, we saw a company simply exchanging a scoop of ice cream for details. There was a queue round the block for that! I don’t know many people who would say no to ice cream. Now ice-cream might have nothing to do with the company in question, but that’s not why they had their stand. They used their stand to get 1000s of people to sign up to their database (reminder that your database is a key element to company growth). Then the marketing starts. In our book you should be sure to stray away from anything that makes exchanging details a difficult task for the attendees, such as long surveys or tedious competitions.
  3. Give the people what they want
    Booze and food. This is key for the market research scene, particularly if the event is held in the UK. The place that boasted the highest lead generation at the Insight Show was the chill and charge lounge. Note – it wasn’t for the mobile chargers, it was for the tokens that were given out in exchange for a beer or wine. But if you do go down the booze route make sure it’s not too strong. It’s all very well having a party but if you and your team are too sozzled to get details and everyone passes out/forgets who you are, it might not work so well!
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