by Matt Alderton | April 15, 2015

Numerous surveys and studies have analyzed the preferences of young professionals who attend meetings. A new report published today by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), however, takes a look at the preferences of young professionals who exhibit at them.

"Young exhibitors today are the brand marketers of the future who will make the decisions to exhibit. Understanding what they think about the channel and what they value most is essential to our industry's ability to respond to their preferences and assure a prosperous future," SISO Executive Director Lew Shomer said in a statement.

The "2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study" asked young exhibitors how they feel about trade shows, and what they look for from shows at which they exhibit. The survey yielded five key findings, according to CEIR and SISO:

• Nearly all (98 percent) young exhibitors say exhibitions deliver unique value that cannot be fulfilled by other marketing or sales channels. The most popular benefits is the ability to engage face-to-face with customers and prospects.

• More than seven out of 10 young exhibitors view the exhibition channel as a medium to accomplish multiple important sales and marketing objectives.

• For young exhibitors, the core of the in-booth experience is the product itself and attendee interaction with product and exhibit booth staff. Young exhibitors say tactics that feature the product (71 percent), give attendees opportunities to interact with product (67 percent), and provide settings that enable booth staff to engage with attendees (66 percent) are the most effective ways to interact with attendees. A majority also finds digital interactive elements, giveaways, and prizes as effective attendee engagement techniques.

• One-on-one conversations with exhibit personnel, with and without a product demonstration, are the No. 1 face-to-face settings of choice for young exhibitors.

• Emphasis on the importance of exuding a "friendly and outgoing" approach is uniquely Millennial, and at 77 percent, is a top-ranked trait young exhibitors look for in booth staff.

Concluded CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, "This particular study suggests the future of the industry is bright; though it also points out young exhibitors have unique preferences. Organizers need to pay attention and adjust content and marketing approaches to remain relevant and positioned for growth."


For a recap of recent top stories, check out MeetingNews Minute: