Weekly News & Insights: Optimism, Un-tradeshows & Maximizing Dollars … Oh, My!

Photo: stock.xchng / rore_d

Ever feel like some weeks are just more motivating than others? Like maybe life has been on “pause” for a bit, but then springs back into motion? Maybe because summer’s over, or maybe it’s just a cycle, but it seems like there was a burst of news this week relating to the trade show world.

First of all, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) held the Predict Conference in New York to discuss the future of the industry. Representatives from a variety of perspectives reported on their outlook, including Doug Ducate from CEIR who reported that there have been eight straight quarters of slow but steady positive growth. Others shared suggestions for future growth, including technology to expand the reach of shows and marketing to a younger, more diverse audience.

In a testimonial to that growth, attendance was up 4.4 percent at this week’s IMTS Show in Chicago, with registrations exceeding 90,000UPDATE 9/15: On Saturday, IMTS welcomed the 100,000 registrant to the 2012 show. Held every other year, IMTS hasn’t seen that many attendees in more than a decade. This is especially notable because it’s a show for the manufacturing industry, which was one of the hardest hit during the past few years. Another indicator of growth in meetings and trade shows came out of Los Angeles this week: the city announced it will host 24 city-wide conventions this year, the most since 2001.

A large part of the trade show industry revolves around travel, and travel now supports 1 in 8 jobs in the U.S. (14.4 million). The U.S. Travel Association has released a report that examines the impact and future of travel on the economy.

When is a trade show not a like a trade show? When it’s an “anti-trade fair,” according to Michela O’Connor Abrams, who launched Dwell magazine’s “Dwell on Design” event in 2005. This year’s event hosted about 30,000 attendees, both design professionals and consumers. The show isn’t laid out in the traditional pipe-and-drape grid, but rather in “experience centers” which are full-size homes constructed to be a “neighborhood.” To learn more, check out this article from ExpoWeb.com.

Even if you’re not ready to totally blow up the traditional model, there are ways to make the most of your trade show dollars. Here’s an article from a reporter covering IMTS on some tools and techniques that can help your booth stand out on a crowded show floor. But what about employees that can’t attend the show … how can they feel engaged? FOXBusiness has some tips for fun and creative ways to help them feel like they’re a part of the action.

Ready to kick your trade show strategy into higher gear? Join us for the webcast kickoff of the Exhibit Marketers Café on Oct. 2, with live expert interviews and Q&A sessions. Click here to RSVP and get more information.


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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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