4 Tips to Develop Trade Shows That Appeal To Women

Marketing and promoting events based on demographic data isn’t new. As just one example, in recent years many show organizers have made shifts to appeal to millennials, the coveted demographic representing the largest living generation.

But how often do organizers market events based on gender? Perhaps not as frequently, even though women control an incredible amount of buying power – an estimated $22 trillion by 2020

According to the newest report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), subtle but distinct differences exist between men and women when it comes to their goals for attending a trade show.

Drawing from the “Gender Differences and Similarities” report, organizers can use these four tips to make their events appeal more broadly to women.

1. Find Ways to Recognize Those Who Pay Their Own Way

According to the CEIR research, twenty-nine percent of men recommend attending an event to their boss, who approves their request and covers the cost to attend.

On the flipside, only twenty-seven percent of women go based on the approval and budget from a boss. More women (twenty-nine percent) decide to go on their own, using their own money. As noted in a recent #Expochat, this difference highlights serious motivation by women to attend exhibitions!

Although it can be challenging to ask detailed questions about how funding is covered, a simple thank you extended to all attendees and recognizing their commitment to attend likely would be well-received by everyone.

2. Focus on Learning Opportunities

Shopping and learning objectives have always been top-of-mind motivators behind attendance, regardless of gender. However, more women place importance on almost all specific learning objectives, as well as idea generation/planning. More women also place greater importance on the experiential aspect of exhibitions, in particular, the chance to get inspired/motivated/recharged.

To appeal more broadly to women, organizers can benefit from emphasizing the value of the event aspects as it relates to keeping up-to-date with industry trends, personal development, job performance improvement, the opportunity to get inspired and motivated, and to generate new ideas.

This focus on learning opportunities could be accomplished through motivational tracks, quiet recharge spaces or even industry-related resource centers or connection zones for speakers and other attendees to meet-up.

3. Facilitate Peer-to-Peer Information Exchange

For women, behind B2B exhibitions the second most valued information source for business information and purchasing decision needs is peer network communications.

In an era where brand trust is declining and peers are an influential source of information, organizers can benefit in appealing more broadly to women by establishing influencer marketing or social referral campaigns to encourage promotion and sharing of events within a trusted network.

4. Encourage Women-Only Networking

The opportunity to network has long been a top reason why attendees – men and women alike – attend exhibitions. Aside from CEIR research, new recent research highlights how networking is different based on gender.

In a recent report in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, researchers at the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University found that large social networks are essential for men seeking to advance into a leadership role, but women often rely on close inner circles dominated by other women.

Organizers can appeal to women’s desire to create connections in small groups of women by creating special networking functions — just like the Experiential Marketing Summit Women in Events women-exclusive supper clubs, paint night events and other networking events that have proven so successful, it has now expanded to a nationwide week-long event.

Women comprise a significant percentage of the attendee base across industry trade shows. CEIR’s research highlights several key opportunities for organizers to tailor audience acquisition campaigns and marketing messages to appeal more broadly to women.

To learn more about using social referral marketing as part of your exhibition marketing strategy to appeal to women, contact Gleaning for a demo.

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