Some Reflections on Our Experience as an Exhibitor at Your Recent Event: An Email from a Dissatisfied Customer 

Note: this is an imagined email based on an amalgamation of actual comments from industry colleagues and does not represent the situation at any one event.

Dear Event Leadership Team,

Subject Line: Some Reflections on Our Experience as an Exhibitor at Your Recent Event

As VP of Marketing for our company, I feel compelled to share some thoughts about our disheartening experience as an exhibitor at your recent event. Should other exhibitors feel similarly, I fear that your event is headed toward its demise. My observations and analysis illuminate several issues that I believe are contributing factors to this likely downfall. Hopefully, there are actions you can take to remedy the situation.

1. You have shown a fundamental failure to understand your audience that has significantly impacted on the event’s success. The lack of insight into the demographics/firmographics, interests, and needs of your audience has led to content that fails to attract the “right” attendees: the customers and prospects that companies like mine are attempting to reach. Additionally, I feel the absence of relevant content on the conference agenda has resulted in diminished interest in the conference. Keeping abreast of industry trends and addressing the pressing issues of its different constituencies are vital to maintaining relevance. This lack of prospective attendee interest may have contributed to missing attendee numbers and revenue goals, leading to what I expect are operational losses for you.

2. In a competitive market, the apparent lack of an aggressive pursuit of the right buyer audience was noticeable. In our opinion, the absence of a focused approach to audience acquisition, including targeted marketing campaigns, has significantly contributed to the decline in attendance.

3. The choice of location for the conference venue suggests a lack of research into important logistical factors and only compounded our challenges. Poor accessibility inconvenienced both attendees and exhibitors, which I am confident was another significant contributor to the drop in attendance.

1. The failure to provide exhibitors with comprehensive pre- and post-event data proved to be a critical flaw. Our significant investment in the event presumed that we’d gain valuable insights into our target audience, but that was hindered by the lack of relevant data about attendees. This negligence undermined our ability to assess the event’s impact on our business, thus diminishing its overall value.

2. Your inability to fully understand the profile of leads that we wanted highlights a crucial gap in effective collaboration with exhibitors. A shared understanding of the attributes (such as buying intentions, decision making power, budget, for example) that make leads valuable is essential. The failure to apply that understanding to marketing efforts resulted in dissatisfaction among the exhibitors I spoke with in the exhibit hall. This impacts our ability to get a return on investment for the event and discourages future participation.

In conclusion, the deficiencies expressed above should serve as a cautionary tale for all your events. Success in the competitive conference landscape demands a strategic and customer-centric approach. You must understand the needs of both exhibitors and your prospective audience, conduct lead generation and audience engagement, carefully choose the event venue, and ensure the delivery of relevant content. Ignoring any of these factors can lead to a rapid decline in attendance, loss of revenue, and, ultimately, the demise of the event.

As we navigate future opportunities, let’s draw valuable insights from this experience to ensure our participation in your events aligns with our strategic goals and reflects a customer-centric approach.

VP of Marketing

Can you afford to ignore customer wishes?

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