Looking to turn your small-industry trade show into a world-renowned event? In this article, we explore learnings and best practices from some of the world’s largest trade shows on how to organize a successful large-scale event.
The start to trade show season is just around the corner. Starting in the beginning of September trillions of businesses globally are gearing up to showcase their latest product and service offerings at an upcoming trade show.
Every brand is vying to stand out from the crowd of exhibit booths and surpass their sales goals. Some businesses are better at marketing their trade shows than others.
What does it take to achieve world renowned recognition for your event?
International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), MWC19 (formerly Mobile World Congress), Adobe Max, SXSW, Dreamforce, and Web Summit are just a few of the top exhibitions in the world.
All of these events are well-respected across several industries for their fantastic content and innovation.
What can we learn from them?
We analyzed some of the biggest trade shows around the world to identify best practices for achieving trade show success.
Develop a top-notch content marketing strategy
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell,” said Marketing guru and best-selling author Seth Godin.
Event marketers can no longer deliver the same content on an annual basis. Thanks to the fast-paced digital era we are living, event content has to be high-quality, original, and inspiring.
People no longer want to experience filler content at events. They want to experience unique value-added trade show content that enhances their lives. Every event has a story to tell, and in today’s competitive climate, organizers must recognize that they need to differentiate themselves to thrive.
Think of some of the top trade shows and conferences we mentioned earlier and how they are delivering top-notch content that engages and inspires attendees. How do they do it so well?
They put the attendees at the forefront when building out the event strategy.
For example, SXSW- an annual interactive tech, film, and music conference, held every spring in Austin, Texas, focuses on creating a better brand experience through user-generated content.
Each year SXSW conference organizers turn over panel selections to their online community. Starting in late July, companies can go on the SXSW website to suggest panel ideas that align with the 20 conference tracks of the year through an automated tool.
SXSW organizers encourage future-focused content submissions. Then a few weeks later in August, SXSW announces the submissions that were submitted and let the online community vote for their favorite panels through its panel-picker ®. After the votes are in, SXSW reviews thousands of votes and selects the speaker line-up for the upcoming year.
User-generated content is a great way to build momentum around your event because it generates buzz and allows your target audience to be involved with the content strategy.
Secure an all-star speaker line-up
If you want to have a sold-out conference or trade show, remember that speakers sell tickets. People want to hear from the best experts in the industry when crowd-sourcing which events to attend.
Choose your speakers wisely because this could make or break the success of your event. Attendees will most likely remember the educational content they received when hearing from an influential line up.
When looking for speakers aim high and source industry experts that have an online presence. The more value your speakers have to bring the table, the easier it will be to draw a crowd and sell tickets.
Speakers with a significant online following will flock to your event to hear them speak. Inviting influencers to your event is a great way to increase brand awareness and hopefully drive sales.
Focus on being forward-thinking and innovative
Tradeshows are highly competitive and each year the bar gets raised even higher. To become a thought leader in the industry and transform your event into a prominent brand, it’s important that you shift to a forward-thinking mindset.
What sets the top leading brands in the trade show industry apart from others?
It’s that they think outside the box and deliver innovative exhibitions.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the tech industry’s most prominent international event. Brands flock to CES from around the world to reveal the next technological innovations.
The trade show is known for its future-focused thought leadership content. CES has become the go-to show for being a part of forward-thinking tech conversations. Last year’s show drew in 175,212 industry attendees, exhibitors, and media all looking to be a part of the trade show conversations.
CES, much like SXSW, is focused on delivering content that solely puts the consumer experience at the forefront of all conversations.
In conclusion, developing user-generated content, having an all-star speaker line, and shifting to a forward-thinking mindset are just a few best practices to turn your small-scale event into a sold-out international event.
It’s important to monitor event industry trends that you can replicate for your trade show or conference to provide an overall great consumer experience.