“Tough Love Sarah” is coming at y’all right now, my friends! But it’s all in the spirit of positivity and growth. Just please don’t T.P. my house after you read what I have to say.
Here we go…
Over the last year, while we’ve had virtual exhibit halls that didn’t seem to provide a wealth of ROI, there has been the continuous discussion regarding in-person meetings; and that if we could just get back to in-person meetings things will be better; we’ll be able to make sales again and get back on our feet.
Well, we are dipping our toes in the water (wow, there’s two puns in a row… kudos to me) in terms of on-site meetings and the reality is, it’s not the same. You know it. I know it. Now what? Adapt and survive.
We were forced to make a lot of changes and I think many of us thought those changes were going to be temporary. They’re not. But let’s be honest, were we ever singing Exhibit Hall praises before the pandemic? I’ve been exhibiting in this profession for over ten years now and I don’t recall any mass exhibitor satisfaction across the board. It’s always been tough.
So if it’s always been tough, and we keep doing the same things over and over and over, why are we surprised when we don’t get the ROI we want? Why do we keep throwing money at conferences that we complain about and expect that the meeting planners are going to do more than they did a year ago to get more feet in the hall? I’m certainly not suggesting that you don’t give that meeting another shot, but let’s start controlling the things we can control.
I’m going to challenge all of us to be more accountable for the success we have on the tradeshow floor. We cannot have the mentality of, “maybe if I keep complaining about poor exhibit hall traffic and point my finger at the meeting planners, I won’t have to be accountable for the fact that I did nothing in order to drive traffic to my booth on my own”, like pre-show marketing or even glancing at the attendee list to see if I could make some pre-show sales calls.
Now that we have a clearer idea of what to expect, we need to be able to roll with it. I actually have some ideas of how we can improve exhibit hall traffic on our own, without relying on meeting planners to herd them in like cattle. However, I think these ideas would be best discussed with our exhibitor family and I would like to propose a discussion group.
Normally we do a SPEAK UP, VENDORS! (formally known as the VENDOR VOTE-N-GO) poll as a separate section of our monthly newsletter, but this segues nicely here. So give us your feedback below.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN A MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY EXHIBITOR DISCUSSION GROUP TO BRAINSTORM IDEAS ON HOW WE CAN COLLECTIVELY ENCOURAGE MORE DPM TRAFFIC IN EXHIBIT HALLS? IF SO, EMAIL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get this! In-person shows are back(ish) and it’s up to us to make the exhibit hall be an incredible experience for everyone and to make that bread!