The Three Q’s of Successful Events

By Susanne Skinner and Victor Torregroza

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.

~John Ruskin

Quality matters in the event management industry.   It differentiates the exceptional from the ordinary.

It’s expensive for organizers to put on quality shows and it’s equally costly for brands to send employees and staff to support these endeavors. 

The three “Qs”  underwriting success in events and trade shows are:

  • The Quality of the Attendee
  • The Quality of the Show
  • The Quality of the Support Staff
Know Before You Go
  1. Quality of the Show: Familiarize yourself and your team with the show organizer.  Understand the success factors affecting your participation. Exhibitors must fully grasp the reputation of a show and tailor the experience to their strategy, objectives, budgets, and success metrics.
  2. Quality of the Attendee:  Today’s trade show attendees require a higher quality experience to justify their attendance and address their business challenges.   They attend for deep dive discussions with technology and solutions experts to enhance existing portfolios and broker new deals.  Many come to establish new business relationships – gone are the tire kickers.  Attendees are the decision makers and influencers, paving the way for their companies’ future investments.
  3. Quality of Staffing:  In today’s post Covid exhibit landscape, companies send fewer numbers of booth staff with higher skill levels, delivering a quality experience that delights and informs the attendee.  Brands have sixty seconds to engage and qualify an attendee.  Make each one count by offering an experience that offers conversations that inform and fulfill their business needs.

Know The Show

Has the show and the organizer changed now that face-to-face events are back?  Note changes in its mission, cost structure or core target audiences and understand the reasons behind the changes. 

  1. Meet with the show organizer 6-9 months ahead of the show dates to understand their mission, core audience, promotional plan, contracted exhibitors, and cost structure.
  2. Is your competition at the show? Where are they located with respect to your booth?
  3. Are you customers planning to attend? Are you inviting key prospects to meetings?

Know The Attendee

Today’s attendees are more qualified and empowered to make decisions that influence their management and workforce.  They are in the driver’s seat for sales recommendations and influence final decisions!  More than 80% of post pandemic attendees have buying authority.  That means four out of five people that come to your booth have sales and revenue potential.

Know the profile of the attendee.  Request a profile of the job level /job title and demographic breakdown of show attendance. This will likely come from the previous year, but it’s a good way of measuring the quality of those attending.

Tips and Techniques for Success

  1. Ask the organizer for a profile of current registrants. This may be reserved for tier one sponsors, but it never hurts to ask.
  2. How are they reaching / acquiring the target audience?
  3. You have a minute to win it – that’s how long it takes an attendee to decide to engage.


Know the Quality and Level of Staffing

A successful show is staffed with teams dedicated to crafting and delivering a rich experience to everyone that walks through the doors.  This includes exhibitors, customers, and everyone in between.

Professional, courteous, well-informed staff are the human thread ensuring qualified attendees get above the bar experiences to discuss and solve their business challenges.

Tips and Techniques for Success

  1. Ensure staff traveling to the show are the subject matter experts needed to answer attendees’ questions.
  2. Is staff still in hobbit mode? We were all hobbits during the pandemic and our face-to-face skills are out of practice.  Equip your staff with an etiquette refresh on listening, engagement, and qualification, as well as knowing the subject experts in the booth.  First impressions count!
  3. Ensure your staff are well taken care of. Carry water (literally!) for your people.  Offer regular breaks and healthy food options.

There is No Substitute for Quality

 Investing in the three Q’s before and during a trade show will drive industry connections and nurture leads in ways no other marketing activity can.  Quality underwrites a successful experience, invests in long term relationships and promotes customer loyalty.