The path between value for customers and exhibiting or attending an event may seem circuitous. But really, establishing a strong and consistent presence at events can reveal insights into how your customers interact with your products, services, and ultimately brand. Through these interactions you can increase relevance, improve quality, and establish reliability—all of which contribute to overall value.
By habitually exhibiting at particular events you create a recurring phenomenon that your customers can rely on. This makes it easier for remote customers to plan to meet with you on neutral ground. It also allows your folks on the ground to form relationships within shows that connect you with developing market trends and products.
Take advantage of the interactions you’ll have with customers at an event to show how your products work or can benefit people. Showing (or modeling) is a powerful teaching tool that you can use to cultivate deeper understanding of your products and services within your customer base’s collective consciousness. Take the time to record these genuine, unrehearsed interactions and then share them everywhere you can so that those who didn’t attend the event can see that others like them can benefit from your attendees’ modeled interactions.
Not everyone takes the time to fill out online surveys (a 10% response is considered excellent for most surveys). Nor can everyone communicate their problems well over the phone or in writing. Listening to your customers and prospects at an event can yield tremendously better understanding of how your customers use your products and how you can refine them to best suit their usage habits (or even develop new products).
Have you ever noticed how the people who use wildly popular products somehow get their own label? That’s because, somewhere along the way, those product-owners started talking with each other and identifying themselves with that product. You can use your presence at an event to meet your customers face-to-face in a place where you can also introduce them to each other. Find ways to get your customers to talk to each other while you’re at an event and you’re on your way to starting a movement.
Pay attention to the sorts of interactions that your customers have with your competitors or colleagues on a trade show floor and look for opportunities to create relationships with the folks that are getting a lot of attention from your customers. Could you partner with those exhibitors to make a joints sales offer? Should your products be showing up in the same places as a few other products that you’ve never seen before?