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.
Great post Marlys! It is an interesting observation on the traditional trade show and the opportunities there are to adjust those traditions. I’ve seen a lot of trade shows now starting to integrate with more digital technology solutions as a way to offer not only a communication route but also to provide pre or post-trade show sales and lead generation aspects. While the costs for trade shows has always been on the higher end, I believe that the shift towards digital solutions will provide a better ROI, a better opportunity to network and expand their contacts, and ultimately a better solution for generating long-term sales and partnerships.
You’re right, Jennifer. There are so many amazing digital solutions these days, many of which can increase exhibit ROI tremendously. While it can sometimes feel overwhelming to sift through all the options available, exhibitors who do make the leap to new technology often wonder how they ever lived without it! Thanks for weighing in, and good luck with implementing your own changes.
Investing in simple booths can be extremely beneficial when attending a trade show. Many booths now-a-days use materials that can be re-used. No one industry stays stagnant, you need to be on top of innovative technology to both appeal to the consumers and increase your ROI.
The key to having a successful trade show is minimizing costs while maximizing profits! Thanks for sharing, Marlys!
That’s so true … it’s not how much (or little) you spend on your exhibit, but how well that investment pays off. There are many smart ways to save on things that don’t really affect the overall outcome. Thanks for stopping by to read & comment!