The ShowGizmo team went to three industry tradeshows last month, in and amongst supporting another twenty-five. Yes it’s show season, that’s for sure! Going to ‘events for events people’ is our favourite way to catch up with colleagues and competitors (sometimes they’re the same!) and to check in on what’s going down in our industry. We were also testing a sneaky peek of our next generation apps on clients and prospects in Australia.
That Australian show was our third year in attendance – once as the official app – and we were slightly surprised at how little it had changed in three years… overpriced stodgy food, sub-zero temperatures, unexpected last minute ‘gaps’ in the floorplan and a reliance on event ‘totty’ walking around to encourage, well, not quite sure what they are supposed encourage at 10:30am on a Thursday morning….and why do event organisers think that exhibitors, after having been on their feet at their booths for ten hours, want to go to a networking event that involves being on your feet for another four hours?! The good bits – the quality of the visitors was very good and we will sign up many new clients as a result. We also appreciated the effort the organisers put into the little extras – like our speaking slot – which give us more marketing leverage.
What was most fascinating to us, was how few event technology companies were exhibiting. In a line up of 230 exhibitors, 15 represented technology companies. Just two app providers including ourselves. This despite the organisers attempts to encourage technology participation via their new ‘Technology Village’.
We’re wondering why that was – was it because:
- event organisers want a day out that spectacular and event tech just isn’t interesting on the show floor? well, not in the same way half naked cowboys shooting on a virtual range is interesting…!
- the tradeshow floor is designed for brief interactions and tech conversations/decisions take much longer (so you’d expect and be right that there is a higher uptake of tech companies at events which offer a pre-scheduled meetings programme)
- the audience being marketed to weren’t technology buyers – or, because the marketing seemed to focus mostly on food and entertainment, the general vibe of the show feels about food and entertainment – so not one that event tech providers will put at the top of their list for investment
So, ‘shows for show people’ – if you want more event tech organisations at your next get together (and you do, because there’s some AMAZING ideas out there that your audience want you to bring to them) here’s our suggestions:
- add a pre-scheduled meetings programme. Don’t make us pay thousands on top of the booth fee for it though.
- mix up the visually interesting booths (naked cowboys etc) with the tech, so the show floor feels exciting the whole way round
- show off the tech in your social media, sure it’s harder to get visuals from software and so much easier from food and fancy flashing fog, but you can try!