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New Trend in Trade Shows

Chris Mars - Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Today, webinars are growing quickly,  and possibly taking place of trade shows. This is for good reason, they cost significantly less and are much less time consuming than a traditional trade show. With the increase in web technology and user friendly applications, our clients have expressed their concerns when discussing the lack of energy and interest for their trade show.

Normally, selling space in a trade show would provide funding for the national seminar. As we've seen a decrease in the effectiveness of the trade show, the funding they generate has started to slip. The new challenge is to draw the advertisers and create energy and interest within their trade show and ultimately, their meeting. We found a solution in a new Virtual Expo format, a hybrid of sorts.
The hybrid trade show consists of a smaller meeting room conveniently located away from the general meeting sessions. Lets face it, the new library is your local Starbucks or coffee shop. It's the place where people go to relax, surf the web, study and connect with others. These are very important elements because they provide many different things but relate so closely.

At your typical trade show, you have a large space with cold looking booths dressed up in an attempt to make you feel welcome. We flipped that idea on it's head and put the consumer first. Our goal was to emulate the inviting atmosphere of a Starbucks, allowing the consumer to be relaxed and the seller a comfortable setting to pitch their product.

To the right you see a rendering for an upcoming show.  This set up was designed to emulate the client's branded office. Upon show day, we brand the rest of the room with advertising material.

The vendors benefit from video screens around the room playing their videos as the consumer sips coffee and reads the latest trade journals. The walls are decorated with frames of the vendor's latest poster, graphic or other artwork and when the consumer sets their coffee cup down, it's on a vendors coaster.

To cater to the consumer we provide tables and computers with internet access along with couches and chairs. Of course, when they open the web browsers they are directed to the vendor's homepage. This allows the consumer a chance to search on their own terms and the consumer a chance to see what works on their web page.

The most important aspect of this hybrid trade show is the consumer doesn't know it's all a sales pitch. They believe they're getting a free cup of coffee and a break from the meeting. All the same information from the vendor is strategically spread around the room just as you would find in a normal trade show.  But this set up allows a more comfortable atmosphere in a condensed area, costing the vendor less and making the consumer more at ease. It may not work in every application, but our clients are raving about this new concept.
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