As anyone who has been in the exhibit business for even a short while knows, the only constant is change itself. So, looking ahead to 2016, the question isn’t whether things will change, but rather where the changes are likely to be the most profound.
We at Mirror Show Management humbly offer three prognostications:
#1 Technology will go mainstream
Technology is nothing new in the exhibit space. So to say that next year will bring more of it is no big deal. But our instincts tell us that 2016 may very well be the year of the big turning-point. The year when, from an audience engagement perspective, technology goes from a nice-to-have to an absolute essential. But that’s only the half of it. Because when you consider how technology also enables us to capture so much new information about attendees, we think this advantage will prove irresistible to more and more exhibitors. So expect to see Beacon, facial recognition, heat-mapping and geo-fencing showing up just about everywhere. Best to stay ahead of this curve or risk being left behind in a big way.
#2 Dollars will remain tight
As goes the economy, so goes the exhibit business. And the slow-growth pattern we’ve been locked into since the end of the Great Recession shows no signs of abating. All of which raises the stakes for exhibit houses to help their clients do more with less, which generally means sharpening pencils and delivering savings on the operational sides of their businesses. And, on your part, for continuing to dig in and prove ROI to those who approve your budgets.
#3 Customer experience to be even more important
Shows like SXSW, CES and Mobile World Congress continue to set new standards for wowing clients. Cool pop-ups are happening all over New York and Los Angeles. And every day seems to bring a new entertainment outlet to consumers. All of which means that the stakes for customer engagement have been permanently raised. So whether you’re B2C or even B2B, expect in the coming year that you’ll need to work harder than ever to capture the imaginations of your attendees. Technology will play a prominent role in all of this, of course. But in the end, it’s audience knowledge, strategy and creative imagination that will rule.
That’s our three. Challenges, yes, but opportunities for each of us to prove our mettle and keep growing in this topsy-turvy, wonderful business. Here’s wishing you great success with your exhibit program in 2016 and beyond!