Most trade show audiences are a diverse mix, seeking knowledge across a
variety of disciplines. So why are you still sending them the same
marketing brochure?

Gartner Group is seeing improved response from individualized marketing
pitches. "If we get relevant, we get results," says Michelle Whitlock,
vice president of marketing at Gartner Worldwide Events.

Gartner customizes its audience acquisition tactics based on what it
knows about the prospect and their affinity to the company and its
events. Each attendee is categorized and assigned a location on a
bulls-eye-like configuration of concentric circles based on what level
of convincing Gartner feels will be necessary to attract them to the

Returning attendees are placed in the center, with each ring
representing the next level of familiarity with the company. Moving
outward would be people who use Gartner’s research but have not been to
an event, then people who read a partner publication, and so on. "Each
level represents a level of convincing that is necessary to attract the
attendee," Whitlock says.

Tips for show promotion:

Custom Offers. Every
audience member has a particular perk, gift or discount that will
entice them to sign up. Gartner’s event team customizes its
Symposium/Itxpo brochure with bellybands offering incentives that vary
for each specific recipient. These include client and alumni discounts,
inclusion in a VIP program, and free premiums to local attendees who

Segment Benefits Messaging. Every
attendee wants to know what’s in it for them. By customizing the
benefits messaging for different segments of the target audience, you
can make every prospect feel that your event is just what they need to
solve their business challenges.

Different Highlights.
If a certain keynote speaker or educational track is more meaningful to
an audience segment, let them know. It’s invisible to attendees that
the conference isn’t just for them.

Personalized URLs.
Creating customized URLs enables you to create variations on your Web
pages that address the needs of particular audience segments. It also
builds in a mechanism to measure the response to your communications.
Plus, everyone likes to see their name in lights. "If people see their
name in the URL, they’ll pay more attention," says Whitlock.

Competitive Messaging. Sometimes seeing the right names on the list of confirmed speakers will help motivate prospects to register.

Image Changes. Gartner
will change some of the images on its communications pieces to create a
better fit with a particular audience. "It’s OK to have some fun with
the graphics, as long as you stay consistent with the brand," says
Whitlock. — Lisa Goell Sinicki

Next-Gen Advertising: Selling What Buyers Want
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