Weekly News & Insights: Events made mainstream news, but not in a good way

When I first saw the article, “Conventions Breed ‘Bad Behaviors,’ Survey Shows” in Successful Meetings, I found it a bit strange. But when TSNN ran an editorial spelling out exactly how wide the reach of the original press release was and where all it had run (including Forbes.com and the Huffington Post), I was really upset. To make matters worse, it came from a company within the events industry … or at least one that’s trying to be. It seems someone at ON24 decided it would be a smart public relations move to promote their virtual meeting software by portraying a dark side to conferences and trade shows (attendees drinking too much, cheating on spouses, etc.). Haven’t we been through enough the past few years, with even the White House telling people to stay home from events? Now to have such negativity coming from a company that wants to work with meeting planners … it just seems like a strange way to win business. What do you think?

In other news, here’s an interesting reason for exhibiting at a trade show: to demonstrate that your company isn’t dead yet. In spite of the fact that Kodak has all but left the digital camera business, they will be exhibiting at Photokina, the world’s largest photography and imaging trade show in Cologne, Germany. So what will they be showing off? A digital color printing press, for one thing, along with photo specialty and professional lab products.

And you may have heard about the recent verdict in the Apple vs. Samsung patent lawsuit — the court ruled in favor of Apple. Now while that may not seem to have any relationship to events and trade shows, here’s the underlying lesson: innovate, don’t replicate. Just like Samsung and other smart phone manufacturers have been put on notice to stop copying Apple and design technology of their own, trade show organizers, meeting planners, and exhibitors need to start being more innovative in how they approach events. Stop copying what everyone else is doing and take some risks with your own ideas.

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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. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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