Conferences and tradeshows live or die by the quality of their data. Old or disorganized data about attendees, exhibitors and prospects yields slow or no growth. Good data—both accurate existing data and creative sources of new data—spell growth and success.

It starts internally. Show organizers must have reliable data on who has attended, exhibited and sponsored for at least three years, as well as information on who has been targeted in marketing for each of these audiences. I say, ‘three years,’ because the rule of thumb is that there is about a 50% churn rate over three years – so you need three years of reliable data at a minimum. However, if your show rotates locations, it is ideal to have clean data for at least one or two past cycles in each location.

The most important reason for having clean internal data is the most obvious reason – you want to promote your event to past participants.

Reliable data also enables you find prospects who share similar characteristics with your existing or past participants – based on a wide variety of demographic characteristics.

  • Using your data and predictive analytics techniques, data brokers can access a vast pool of purchasing history to compile lists of people who may be interested in buying similar products or services – in this case, registration or exhibit space at a tradeshow or conference.
  • Digital channels such as paid social media and mobile advertising, can create audiences by using your existing data to identify people with similar demographic characteristics– further broadening your prospect base.

Data-driven marketing is particularly effective for reaching millennials – a segment all shows want to grow.

The beginning of a new year is a good time assess – or grade – your own tradeshow data. Is it current? Is it reliable? Can it be properly segmented? Does it tell you what you need to know about your past attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and prospects? If not, you should make it a priority to improve it. If your data is in great shape, begin using it in creative ways to grow your prospect base.


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