It wasn’t long ago when a good sign, attractive graphics, a few demos and a well-trained staff was just about all a company needed to have a successful trade show exhibit.
But today, those things are just for starters. We now live in a world where there’s an app for everything. You can stream a thousand movies to your 4k screen, tell Alexa to play your favorite song, order anything your heart desires and it’ll be sitting on your doorstep tomorrow, and take an Uber anywhere in cars that practically drive themselves.
So when attendees show up at your trade show exhibit, they have a whole new set of expectations about how the world works and the way they should be treated. They want navigation to be easy and don’t ever want to wait in line. Static content? No, today it needs to be dynamic, lively and personal. And just like surfing the web, they want to be in charge of their own learning experience.
Because today’s trade show attendees have seen and done so much, the bar for capturing their attention is much, much higher. They want to play a new game, design something, compete in a cool way, learn about themselves, engage in a social media dialogue or put on a headset and be transported to a place they’ve never been before.
And if your exhibit doesn’t do these things, they’ll just walk down the hall and find one that does.
These are the challenges that Donna Shultz, our company’s founder and leader, recently outlined in her first speech as the new President of the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA).
But she also emphasized the incredible opportunities that these changes are bringing to all of us. After all, experiential marketing is just getting started. It’s nothing compared to where it can go. Think what we’ll be doing tomorrow. And just imagine what we’ll be doing 10 years from now.
So how do we get there? For exhibitors, it all starts by connecting with the right partner. For those of you attending CES in January or ExhibitorLIVE in late February, you’re sure to see plenty of leading-edge examples of experiential design executed by some of the best companies in the business.
As for exhibit producers and supplier/partners, you really should consider joining the EDPA, the industry’s leading support organization that goes all out in helping its members learn from each other.
Truly, experiential marketing is the future of face-to-face engagement—a future that is brighter and more exciting than ever because of it. So in 2018 and beyond, let’s bring it on and prosper!