It’s that time of year again: TSNN has announced the five finalists for their “Best of Show” Award and is requesting your vote before October 1. But before you click over to cast that vote, know that it won’t be easy – each of the shows has done innovative and amazing things:
- Greenbuild International Conference & Expo lives up to their mission with sustainability and community initiatives.
- International Vision Expo East doesn’t just talk about how they appreciate their exhibitors … they demonstrate it!
- LA Auto Show Press & Trade Days reinvented their business model.
- LIGHTFAIR International is leaping head-first into previously under-discussed topics which draw in more attendees.
- Offshore Technology Conference also re-thought speakers and sessions to be more relevant and essential, and to inspire the “next big thing.”
So what makes a show great? We’ve covered a few ideas in the Trade Show Trailblazers series:
- Dan Cole shared how International CES pays attention to what their exhibitors and audience want.
- Tom Pellet explained how understanding audience personas led to rebranding the AAFP event as the AAFP Family Medical Experience (FMX).
- Peter Eelman highlighted some creative ways that IMTS is using to shift from a one-week event to a year-round, go-to industry resource.
- Jamie Romano Hillegas spilled the beans on how Fresh Summit is building incredible long-term exhibitor loyalty.
At the recent CEIR Predict Conference in Chicago, Marc Pomerleau, Director of Strategy from FreemanXP issued a challenge to all shows: Don’t simply ask if attendees were satisfied – instead ask how the event fundamentally transformed the way they view the industry and their role in it. (Click to watch his explanation in a short video.)
Wow! That’s a pretty steep challenge! But definitely one that needs to be met in order for trade shows to remain relevant in our modern world. No show will survive if all they do is “satisfy.” To be an award-winning, trailblazing show calls for taking risks and being willing to address the tough issues.
So what shows are rising to the challenge? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Who knows? Maybe we’ll feature that show in a future Trailblazers episode!