Is it time the trade-show changed?
Insight | Dan hall | Business development director
E3 organisers, the ESA certainly think so with their recently ‘leaked’ proposal . The intention of which clearly demonstrates at least one industry-leading event has called time for change.
Having digested the E3 proposal, we highlighted the following areas of interest:
- More experience – the show floor will flex to provide new ways to engage the attendee. A central ‘coliseum’ would become the new focal point of the event and a hub for high energy entertainment
- More layers – exhibitors will be invited to create exclusive areas for select attendees, providing money can’t buy experiences that will drive FOMO
- More access – a digital ticket will create a new revenue stream and ways for remote audiences to access exclusive content
- More wow – the introduction of celebrities and influencers into the show program, aiming to draw in younger audiences
So, if E3 intends to move away from its B2B roots and become a ‘fan, media and influencer festival’, we wonder what this means for the rest of the exhibitions industry and importantly, ‘you’ the exhibitor.
There is no getting away from the fact that trade-shows have slowed in growth. Exhibiting companies are less reliant on them commercially and investment in attendance (booths, T&E, time) is looked at with increasing scrutiny. The knock-on effect is some shows have that not-quite-so premium feeling which ultimately impacts the paying delegate’s experience. If the show format is going to change to counter this downward spiral, how does the exhibiting company respond?
2Heads is already working with clients on our 5- step response:
- Experience depth – if B2B shows are set to become B2Everyone, exhibitors will need to adapt their approach to engage all types of audiences. There will always be the commercial need to meet customers via the ‘trade’ show but new efforts around booth entertainment will become necessary to appease the fan and influencer audience.
- Content exclusives – ensuring the content presented at the show is ‘an exclusive’ will be critical. This creates an incentive for attendance and drives up the FOMO factor. If every exhibitor were to unveil an exclusive, imagine the heightened levels of interest in the show.
- Broadcast strategy – having a clear plan on gaining maximum exposure for an event online will become mandatory - think multiple platforms and perspectives. For example, Nike have turned their audiences into video-graphers, all sharing social stings with rare success.
- Collaborations – we expect an increase in exhibitors working together to create new experiences within shows. This could be shared booth spaces, joint demos or leadership going head to head in debates.
- Sustainable – as we speed towards geo-political ambitions for a circular economy, a sustainable approach to trade-show attendance is going to become vital. The whole tradeshow supply chain will need to adapt, and this will inevitably play out on the show floor in multiple ways. The ‘build and burn’ approach can’t continue.
If you’d like help future proofing your exhibition program, we’re one click away.