Reimagining Trade Shows: A Continuation of Our Earlier Journey

Comprise with the FluidLogic team at the 2023 AIMExpo.
Comprise with the FluidLogic team at the 2023 AIMExpo.

Share this post


In his seminal work, The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman dissects how our world has evolved. Instantaneous access to information and the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere, has essentially “shrunk” our global community. This profound transformation, accentuated by the recent pandemic and the monumental shift from a predominantly in-person workforce to a dynamic blend of remote, hybrid, and in-person work modes, has forced many to reconsider the role of in-person trade shows.

Following my previous blog on maximizing the value of trade show involvement, the resounding question emerged: “Do trade shows still make a difference?” The answer isn’t as clear-cut as one might expect.

Instead, it becomes evident that the response to this question varies from individual to individual and business to business as key stakeholders grapple with an essential query: “How critical is it for prospective customers, distribution partners and investors to physically interact with my company’s product offerings?”

I concede that some companies, through unmatched name recognition or inherently self-explanatory products, might find trade shows less essential. However, for most of us, attending the right trade show and implementing the strategies outlined in my previous blog can tremendously impact a product’s success.

Ahead of his time

In the words of Charles Dickens, “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who, with their soul, encourages another person to be brave and true.” In a world where technological marvels facilitate remote work, the overarching truth remains — genuine, face-to-face connections defy replacement. It’s no wonder that a recent study by attests to the fact that 95% of exhibitors still cherish the in-person experience over its online counterpart.

End of the glory days?

Once upon a time, you could merely set up a modest 10’x10′ booth at a trade show, set out a bowl of candy, give away some pens and watch as attendees flocked to engage with your team. You’d wrap up the three-day event with a collection of quality leads and deem your efforts a success. Those days, however, met an abrupt end in March 2020 when the pandemic struck, halting the trade show world in its tracks. Even when quarantine restrictions eased, many hesitated to return to poorly ventilated convention centers to mingle with strangers from far-flung locations, wary of potential virus strains.

The rebound for trade shows has not been as robust as in other business sectors. While the figures for attendees and revenue in 2022-2023 indicate a marked improvement over the trying years of 2020-2021, revenues remain over 20% below the thriving pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

The challenge

It’s indisputable that no virtual experience can match the in-person opportunity for key stakeholders to experience your products and services. Yet, the foot traffic at trade shows is not as vigorous as before. In this landscape, meticulous planning becomes imperative.

As part of that planning, it’s essential to:

  • Stand Out: Identify what sets your product or service apart and highlight it at the trade show.
  • Articulate Your Message: Ensure that everyone representing your company at the trade show is well-versed in the key messages that must be conveyed to make your product or service shine.
  • Engage Actively: Don’t let your team languish at the back of your booth; actively engage with passersby. A friendly greeting and informative introduction can work wonders.

While these suggestions might appear simple, they are key to maximizing your trade show experience.

The proof is in the pudding

At Comprise, we practice what we preach. Our team recently clinched the PR News Platinum Award in “Conference Marketing/PR Campaign” for collaborating with the FluidLogic team at the 2023 AIMExpo in Las Vegas.

In discussions with various attendees and colleagues, the consensus is that the show was good, though not quite at its pre-COVID peak. However, FluidLogic’s team resoundingly declared it their best trade show ever.

This success is a testament to our collective adherence to the strategies outlined in my previous blog and the abovementioned principles.

Please contact us if you wish to explore how Comprise can enhance your organization’s trade show investments!

Recent Posts