Let’s talk trade shows! Who needs what!

The Organizer needs everyone to come, learn, enjoy and commit to returning next year
The Attendee needs the time, approval, budget and the justification or expectation that they can see something that they cannot see on the web, virtual reality, video or animation
The Exhibitor needs a sale, a client to be there along with possible new clients AND the cost of participation has to be less than net revenue realized from the exhibitors’ participation.

These needs go well beyond brand building, entertainment, networking, edutainment –
– they speak direct to the business need of ROI, solutions, both personal, corporate and industry wide.

This engagement is more complex, nuanced and in depth than anything previously envisioned or labeled as a tradeshow, if you will, all the binary or “easy stuff” has been digitized and taken online.
Leaving us with a crisis or “dangerous opportunity” which I would suggest is how do we approach the difficult work of human engagement, where the strongest tools are listening – asking questions – and working collaboratively to solve a problem profitably.

To all of our organizer friends – If this is the case, do miles of aisles still make sense, as a means of engagement?
Is the mindset that we put people in the aisle and it is up to the exhibitor to make a profit still relevant?
Is the learning still designed to be ONLY in the sessions and break outs or do we need to enable event wide learning and engagement?

Could it be that the time has come to revisit the very reason for having the event and show, reevaluate and redesign from the ground up everything from the p/l on up?