Weekly News & Insights: Time for a Change

The trade show industry is not exactly known for being on the cutting-edge of most things. In fact, sometimes it can be a real dinosaur. If there’s one excuse I hear constantly for resisting most any new idea, it’s “but this is how we’ve always done things.” My response – either internally or externally, depending on my mood that day – is typically “and how’s that workin’ for ya?”

Here are two examples of areas that could use some change or updating. The first shares an experiment with an alternative to pipe and drape at one show and how it was received.

The second is a much darker subject: the rising costs of material handling at shows. While I won’t go into all the details (I’ve included links below to do that), here’s just one shocking statistic … at one show material handling increased 307% between 1997 and 2009. It’s no wonder that more and more companies are opting out of trade show marketing. They just can’t justify the expenses! So here’s where you can go to learn more about the problem, but more importantly possible solutions that some shows are already implementing for their exhibitors. Download this slide deck PDF from a presentation at E2MA’s Red Diamond Congress, then read this no-holds-barred commentary by Mel White from Classic Exhibits. (And no, I’m not sharing this because they’re a sponsor, but because it’s a topic that needs to be addressed.)

It’s time for change in the exhibit industry, and we all need to get involved in order to see it happen. How would you fix some of the antiquated aspects of trade shows? Please share your fresh perspectives in the comments below.

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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. 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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