Millennials, those age 20-36 in 2017, recently surpassed the Baby Boomers as America’s largest living generation according to the Pew Research Center. And the Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants enter the country. Baby Boomers as well as members of Generation X have traditionally leaned heavily towards trade shows to learn about products, suppliers, and industry trends. Now, with their increased presence, Millennials are emerging as a major force in the trade show world. So in order to have a great trade show experience, it’s important for exhibitors to appeal not only to their traditional audience, but to find meaningful ways to connect with members of this new generation.

Participation in trade shows is an essential part of being a design leader in your industry. Here are just a few reasons to take part:

  • Networking – Trade shows attract all the members of an industry – suppliers, OEMs, distributors, and customers – and allow participants to meet face-to-face. It’s an opportunity to exchange information with other like-minded individuals in your industry, build personal relationships, negotiate sales and partnership opportunities, and collaborate on projects.
  • Branding – Booth design, booth placement, and promotional materials present a unique opportunity to build and strengthen your brand. Wearing company attire, hosting a training session during the event, and sponsorships also reinforce your positioning in the minds of your customers.
  • Training – Offering training sessions positions your company and its employees as industry experts. You can learn from other as well, through seminars and presentations by the industrial associations, academic, and professional organizations who attend the show.
  • Market Research – Since your competitors and suppliers are at the show, you get a first-hand look at their new product launches and promotional materials.
  • Display Products – One of the main reasons attendees stop by your booth is to view and interact with your physical products. You want to not only display your most popular offerings, but unveil new products and prototypes to build excitement and cement your reputation as an innovator in your industry.

So how do you connect with the growing Millennial generation who attend trade shows?  First of all, realize that Millennials are loyal to companies that put the customer first. Even more than other generations, Millennials want to personally interact with brands, to be listened to, and to have

individualized communication about their concerns and experiences. To create this personal relationship, companies should engage Millennials individually or in small groups through direct, authentic communication. And be sure to reward their loyalty with meaningful discounts and promotions that align with your brand.

Finally, seek opportunities to use technology to invite this tech-savvy group of attendees into the conversation. Attract their attention with video walls, interaction with wearable technology, and social media posts utilizing smart personalized content and alerts.

At Element Designs, we believe participating in trade shows is important, particularly if your organization uses the opportunity to connect with Millennials. We recently had a great experience meeting with Millennials (and other generations as well) at one of North America’s largest woodworking shows, AWFS Fair 2017. This event, hosted by the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers in Las Vegas, attracted over 15,000 attendees and hundreds of exhibitors throughout the United States and around the globe. AWFS provided valuable networking opportunities to share ideas, advice, and make industry connections with other woodworking professionals.

Element Designs is committed to building relationships with customers, displaying products, networking with others, and learning about all of the innovations in the design world by regularly participating in trade shows like AWFS Fair.

To find out where Element Designs will be next, visit https://www.element-designs.com.