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Pros and cons
3 Min Read

Pros and Cons of Show Floor Segmentation and How To Get the Pleasure Without the Pain

As trade shows grow in size, they become more difficult and time consuming for attendees to navigate. Some organizers group exhibitors together by product category (common at trade shows in Germany) but the practice involves some major compromise. There are advantages and disadvantages to segmenting the show floor. For organizers that want all of the benefits without the heartburn, technology can help.


It’s easier for attendees with specific interests to find what they’re looking for when similar products and companies are grouped together.
Segmentation lets attendees use their limited time more efficiently.
Segments naturally attract attendees with higher interest, buying plans and buyer influence levels.
Segmentation can be a tangible response to attendee demand for more customized experiences.
Exhibitor groupings can provide more focused opportunities to sponsors.


Some exhibitors prefer not to be located near competitors, fearing that rivals will poach their prospects or existing customers.
Exhibitors with a broad range of products will either be forced to choose among products to promote in one segment or have to exhibit in multiple segments.
Attendees may not be able to discover unconventional solutions to existing problems if they are incentivized to confine themselves to a particular area of the show.
Exhibitors in less popular segments may not experience the traffic that more popular segments enjoy.
Some exhibitors—those who are innovative, for example—may not yet fit neatly within a segment.
Segmentation prevents exhibitors from being placed next to industry partners (companies offering complementary products and services) in other product categories.

Segmentation can be a hard sell to exhibitors. There is a long-standing tradition among shows in North America to steer away from grouping exhibitors by product. Exhibitors have traditionally maintained control over their booth locations. But with more focus on the attendee experience, organizers are looking for ways to keep both camps happy.

Technology can play a huge role in allowing exhibitors and attendees to have their cakes and eat them too. Pre-show online marketplaces help buyers choose the companies they want to see. Appointment-setting software lets buyers prioritize their booth visits. <a href="/blog/pros-and-cons-of-show-floor-segmentation?amp;view=article&id=48&Itemid=206">Interactive maps</a> viewable on mobile devices allow attendees to locate companies on the show floor and proximity-based devices such as beacons can communicate with mobile apps to provide turn-by-turn instructions.

While technology isn’t the answer to every problem, it can (in this instance) effectively deliver the benefits of segmentation without the pain of having to physically rearrange the show floor.