Weekly Insights: What Show Managers Can Learn from Pokemon®

Photo: © AntonioGuillemF/Depositphotos.com

Photo: © AntonioGuillemF/Depositphotos.com

I must confess … the whole Pokemon® game craze is lost on me.

Last night, my husband and I attended a food truck festival and concert in the park. We not only enjoyed the scheduled festivities, but also laughed as we watched a large percentage of attendees wandering around in the grass, staring down trance-like at their phones. We finally figured out what was happening … they were all engrossed in the new Pokemon® Go game. (Including one set of parents who were completely ignoring their adorable toddler playing with a flower in the grass.)

And while the fascination with video games remains a mystery to me, I know that gaming isn’t going anywhere and will only continue to grow as the younger generation matures and has more money to spend on the latest apps.

So I was intrigued this morning when I discovered the article “12 Things Event Managers Can Learn from Pokemon Go” by Nick Borelli on the Event Manager Blog.

While I don’t agree with the first point regarding celebrity star power, the rest of the list makes a lot of sense for trade shows and conventions. Augmented reality hasn’t quite taken off as expected, but holds lots of potential for those who get it right. (Check out these previous posts on augmented reality technology.) Gamification is growing at shows, especially those with younger audiences. (See more articles on this, plus a replay of the TSNN webinar on Keeping Your Audience Engaged.)

One idea that hasn’t gained much traction in the event world yet is the freemium model. Up until now, show managers and meeting planners seem to be of the mindset that you can’t offer anything free or else people won’t “pay to play.” But perhaps a video game with in-app upgrades could help convince them otherwise.

Be sure to check out the EventMB article for the complete list of tips, then come back and share in the comments how you will use the lessons learned from Pokemon® Go in your next trade show or event!

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community. To request an “Extra Shot of Exhibit Success” go to www.ExhibitMarketersCafe.com.