As the instructor of the UFI Exhibition Management School (UFI-EMS) course on Cross-Channel Marketing, I spend some time discussing personas. What they are, why they are important. As a reminder, personas are a way of segmenting your market according to demographics and behaviors– title, job function/role, size of company, age, educational sessions and expos visited in the past, etc. Once segmented, an organizer can then market more personally – and effectively using the visitor’s (or exhibitor’s) wants and needs.

I recently received an email from TISE, The International Surface Event (and an UFI-member, Informa Markets show) that should be the textbook example of exhibition visitor persona marketing. By using data, Michelle Swayze, Sr. Marketing Manager on the show, was able to identify eight major visitor personas, then lay out a personalized journey for each, entitled “Storybooks”. These “Stories” provide some suggestions on exhibitors to visit and educational sessions.

Michelle Swayze, Sr. Marketing Manager, TISE

The journey is behind a gate. Once they self-select their persona of choice, prospective visitors supply some basic demographic information (name, title, company, email, product interest, etc.). Michelle said, “Data driven insights give us a chance to better personalize and communicate with visitors, providing them with a better show experience.” And it may be improved year-over-year.

Where does the data come from? While not all of us have the same resources for the sophisticated back-end technology Informa has, most of it, “comes from the registration intake.” They also ask visitors for a secondary business role and product interests. The secondary business question has uncovered a lot of valuable information.

“For example,” she said, “we have a number of retailers who are also installers. We had no idea how many installers were at our show before asking about their secondary role – so now we factor that into the journey. We also ask about product interest throughout the recruitment process. It is one of the best ways to know your audience – what do they want to see and buy on the expo floor? Additionally, by sharing this information within our show team, it helps drive educational content and sales.”

To check out Storybooks, click here and scroll about halfway down the home page.

What other examples of persona marketing have you seen?

To learn more about the UFI-EMS and how it can enhance your professional skills, click here.