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An exploratory study of attendee activities at a business trade show

Srinath Gopalakrishna (University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA)
Catherine A. Roster (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
Shrihari Sridhar (Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 13 April 2010




Although trade shows are a significant part of the B2B communications mix, academic research in the area is sparse. To successfully manage this medium, a careful understanding of attendee behavior on the trade show floor is necessary. Drawing from the rich literature on shopper typologies in retailing (which parallels the trade show atmosphere), this paper sets out to develop a set of attendee metrics that show organizers can track regularly.


Through latent class clustering on unique attendee‐level data from a popular computer trade show, five segments of attendee activity are uncovered that differ along dimensions such as the attendee's involvement and focus and the exhibitor's booth size, booth accessibility, and product display.


Significant heterogeneity is found in attendee activities on the show floor. There are interesting similarities and differences between the retail and B2B shopper. Implications for trade show organizers and exhibitors are discussed and directions for future research suggested.


Since the data employed are becoming more readily available, the hope is that managers and academic researchers might find the suggested metrics and segmentation approach useful in advancing a deeper understanding of the trade show attendee.



Gopalakrishna, S., Roster, C.A. and Sridhar, S. (2010), "An exploratory study of attendee activities at a business trade show", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 241-248.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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