Our friend and colleague at Interactive Meeting Technology, Elizabeth Glau, posted this great blog post and idea (original post appeared here). Here’s the quick read on her post.
Picture via GMIC 2014 SMC
When we convene at the Green Meetings Industry Council, we talk about a lot of ways to make our events more responsible. The trade show is consistently the elephant in the room. By the way, I’m not suggesting you stop getting people together for face-to-face interactions and business meetings. I’m suggesting you don’t build an entire city within a trade show hall of materials that will get sent to the landfill when it is over.
I’m also not suggesting that it is just that easy. I took a 30-year-old trade show for MPISCC (their biggest revenue driver) and I eliminated the trade show portion of the education conference. It was very successful in facilitating networking, delivering education and connecting buyers and sellers in ways they hadn’t connected at an event before. Not surprisingly, I failed to produce the revenue that the event had once generated. I had all of the opportunities in place to drive the same revenue, but the suppliers hadn’t all bought into the concepts I offered. Change is not going to happen overnight and I am hoping to share what I learned so that others don’t have to start from the beginning. If you would like to learn more about the specific agenda and sponsorship levels I created for that event, contact me directly. By the way, I didn’t eliminate the trade show just to “go green”. I was responding to negative feedback from planners and suppliers on previous events and put in hours of conversations with potential attendees about how they buy and sell.
Are you willing to share your successes and failures? I’d love to hear what you think whether you have tried something innovative or if you see the need for change. Let’s collaborate!
Nicely said, Elizabeth. I agree that the future of trade shows is ripe for revolution. It was great to share a table with Elizabeth and some other planners. Here are some of the concepts we discussed at GMIC conference as we tackled this issue at our table:
We came across this idea of Activation Hub by Sustainable Brands. Valerie Miller, their Conference Operations Manager, was at our table and is working to innovate how their conference attendees connect with suppliers. They eliminated the trade show aspect and focused on the ‘hub’ concept which puts networking and learning at the core instead. It will be an opportunity to connect brands with a wide network of change makers and next generation brands and leaders. The event also helped companies to meet with prominent companies to deliver innovative business solutions and find strategic opportunities to partner for greater impact, making company goals into a reality.
Fairware & Leverage Lab
Last October, Fairware took part in the inaugural cohort of Leverage Lab. We collaborated with various companies and looked for ways to differentiate ourselves in our industry. It created a space for company leaders to take a step back from everyday and come together to tackle a shared challenge just like Elizabeth did. Instead of setting up booths at local events, the five founding companies have come together to invite local buyers to an interactive night of stories, wine and food. Leverage Lab could be an innovative way to start re-imaging trade shows altogether. To improve the static booth at trade shows to something more innovative and interactive for everyone.
We’d love to see more examples.
Elizabeth Glau, CMP launched Building Blocks Social Media in 2009. With a thorough knowledge of key social platforms and understanding of content flow within these networks, Elizabeth’s thirst for “What’s Next” keeps her on the cutting edge of the tools and tactics in interactive media. Elizabeth has helped to increase the proficiency of the meetings and events industry by consulting and speaking on topics such as personal branding, engagement technology and event marketing.