Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Truth about Trade Shows

Last evening, I watched an old rerun of The X Files. The entire episode is a flashback to a time before FBI Agents Mulder and Scully are partners, and is set inside a trade show in Baltimore in the year 1989.

It was a kick to see how many everyday objects have changed in a quarter century. Men's suits. Women's dresses. Cameras. Computers. Telephones.

But not trade shows.

The imaginary 1989 trade show looked just like a 2017 trade show.

The truth about trade shows: they're lodged in the '80s. We still need them now, but we need them to deliver something new.

With buyers' ranks thinning, web content exploding, and pre-released products the norm, '80s-style trade shows are obsolete.

Yes, we still need to meet face-to-face, take the pulse, and wave the flag, but why "flash back" to do so?

Maybe it's time for organizers to flash forward, to think badgeless and boothless and begin to craft experiences matched to today's need to gather and do business.

The answers are out there.

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