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How To Master The Event Experience: Strategies to Drive Brand Loyalty

It’s every event planner’s objective – how am I going to set my event or exhibition experience apart and leave the audience wanting more? The answer ultimately comes down to mastering the customer journey.

In today’s competitive market, the significance of prioritising the customer and cultivating a positive experience with a product or brand is unrivalled. With customers having an abundance of options at their disposal, influenced by various factors and real-life influencers, brands face the challenge of standing out amidst the noise.

Navigating the path from brand awareness to customer loyalty is a pivotal journey for any business, particularly in the dynamic landscape of events and exhibitions. Let’s explore the stages of the customer journey with some practical examples for you to steal and secure brand loyalty for the long term. 

What is a Customer Journey?

The customer journey is the path that a potential customer takes from being unaware of your brand to becoming a loyal advocate. It encompasses several stages, including awareness, consideration, purchase and loyalty. But how do you refine your touchpoints and provide more engaging attendee experiences that drive results?

Stage 1: Creating Awareness

Exhibitions and events serve as a strong platform to introduce your brand to a diverse audience and at the heart of our industry is the power of human connection through these authentic in-person experiences. However, cultivating brand awareness should begin before any exhibition space is booked or venue selections to ensure you’re leveraging existing customer connections and forging pathways to welcome new customers to your products and services. Here’s some strategies to consider:

1. Customer campaigns: Reach out to your current customer base and promote your attendance at the tradeshow or event, as well as details on how they can find your space. Utilise email marketing, social media or advertising channels to spread the word. Additionally, consider introducing your sales representatives or other team members in your communications highlighting their availability on the day and invite your customers to book an appointment.

2. Host a webinar or virtual event to showcase your products/services. This will not only generate leads but also provide an opportunity to interact with your audience, receive instantaneous feedback to respond to pain points and further understand their wants and needs.

3. Effective Signage: During the design stage, ensure that your space includes clear and informative signage and graphics too. Consider rigged signage, large graphic panels or even roving brand ambassadors during the event to hand out samples or promotional materials and make certain your key messages are getting the attention you want.

Stage 2: Fostering Consideration

Once you’ve captured the attention of potential customers, it’s crucial to provide them with more information to stimulate additional interest in your brand and offerings. Here are some effective strategies to consider:

1. Product Knowledge: Ensure your exhibition and event staff are well-prepared with extensive product knowledge to address enquiries and provide valuable insights to potential customers. You can choose to host training sessions or product briefings at your test assemble appointment with Creative Hire to ensure everyone on the team is aligned.

2. Interactive Demonstrations: This could involve live demos, video walkthroughs or interactive experiences on your website or social media platforms, providing a firsthand look at how your products/services can address your target audiences needs and solve their problems.

3. Lead Capture: Lead generation is an important consideration and there are many ways to incentivise your customers. From free trials and samples through to limited-time access to your products/services or exclusive discounts, you can allow potential customers to experience the value firsthand and help alleviate any doubts or uncertainties.

Stage 3: Encouraging Purchase

Exhibitions and events present the highest opportunity to generate interest and secure a purchase, if executed effectively. As you progress further down the customer funnel, it’s time to focus on driving conversions with our top strategies:

1. Exclusive Event Bundles: Create special event bundles or packages that combine multiple products/services at a discounted price. Offer these exclusive bundles only to event attendees, incentivising them to take advantage of the limited-time offer that drive conversions at the same time.

2. On-Site Consultations: Offer on-site consultations or personalised sessions with your sales or product experts at the event or exhibition. Use these one-on-one interactions to understand attendees’ specific needs and tailor your recommendations to address their unique challenges, leading to higher conversion rates.

3. Partner Collaborations: Collaborate with complimentary brands or exhibitors at the event to offer joint promotions or cross-promotional opportunities. By leveraging each other’s audiences and resources, you can expand your reach, increase visibility and drive conversions through shared marketing initiatives.

Stage 4: Building Loyalty

As you strive to cultivate long-term relationships with customers, building and maintaining loyalty becomes central to long term growth and success. The last stage of the customer journey involves nurturing and strengthening these connections to foster repeat purchases, advocacy and brand loyalty. Here are some strategies to cultivate loyalty and turning satisfied buyers into enthusiastic brand advocates.

1. Loyalty Rewards Programs: Implementing a loyalty rewards program offers customers incentives for repeat purchases, encouraging continued engagement and brand loyalty. Points-based systems, tiered rewards or exclusive perks for loyal members are effective ways to incentivise customers to return in the future.

2. Surprise and Delight Campaigns: These campaigns involve unexpected gestures or rewards that pleasantly surprise customers and strengthen positive brand associations. From sending handwritten notes and offering unexpected discounts or sample gifts through to commemorating special milestones can create memorable experiences that deepen customer loyalty.

These exhibition trends we’re predicting for 2024 are more than just shifts in preferences; they’re reflections of a deeper change in the industry’s approach to creating more meaningful memorable, inclusive and impactful experiences. So, as you gear up for your next exhibition, remember: it’s not just about your stand presence; it’s about embracing the whole experience. Reach out to the team at Creative Hire and we can help you leverage these trends for your brand to stay ahead and prepare your strategy for 2024.

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