Attendees still want to see new products
By Barry Siskind, President, International Training & Management Company
CEIR’s report titled, Trends in Use of Exhibitions, (F05.12) is a must read for show managers and exhibitors alike. One of the many findings focused on attendees reasons for participating in a trade show. Surprisingly the number one reason hasn’t changed in the last thirty years – “look for new products and vendors.” I think this finding points to an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
You have to ask yourself why anyone would go to a trade show to find a new product or vendor when all of this information is available at their fingertips without ever leaving their desk. The internet has made shopping easier and safer. There’s not a product or vendor out there that hasn’t been reviewed by someone on social media. So, for someone looking for a new product or people to do business with there is an unparalleled access to data and testimonials.
So, the question is why do they come to a trade show and identify their number one reason is to find new products? My guess is that it gives them a chance to do what the internet doesn’t allow them to do – experience.
At a show they have a chance to touch and feel, to question and judge the vendors. In my opinion, that’s why trade shows are still so relevant and the number one place to see new products and find new vendors.
If I’m right then I believe it points to the need for a different approach to marketing a trade show, one that involves both the manager and exhibitor.
Do you agree?
YES, I absolutely agree with you. I am based in Denmark and I have been in the exhibition business for over 20 years now. Back in 2009 we changed our approach to the business by moving from a primarily logistical focus as in designing and building stands to a value creation focus adding objectives, staff training etc. etc. to our work process. In short you could say that we went from “before and after” to “during” as well. We invented a process model we call PAINSTORM and we always ask our clients; what are the top 5 questions your guests ask you when visiting your stand. To date noone has been able to mention more than two. The first one is; how are you and the second one is; what’s new. So, repeating my answer above to your question I must add that as long as everybody keeps doing things exactly the way they have always done, we can hope for a change, but in my experience, somebody MUST drive that change and it seems to me that, that somebody is very hard to find. Why? Because it is a very big job and it is not obvious how to attack the problem. Consequently, there will be a tendency towards keeping things as they are. And that is really a shame, because there is SO much potential, so much benefit from meeting face to face. You mention the experience, exemplified by creativity, interpersonal dynamics, idea creation etc. etc. All the things that can ONLY happen when you physically meet with other people.
The net isn’t really all that great of resource for new products. There is an overload of information. Type in “new product” and see what you get. Even narrow it down to “new hammer”, still your not really seeing what’s really “NEW”.