Technology is always advancing and evolving. We constantly have new information available to satiate our ever growing appetite for what’s new and now. What was once popular and booming is now fading away, leaving the door wide open for new ideas. Sometimes the ideas aren’t new, but rather, reinvented with a new twist that makes the product relevant again. This can happen with the trade show industry. Ideas will fade and new ones will emerge, all the while leaving Show Managers with the daunting task of reinventing the proverbial trade show wheel once again.
As markets shift and sales decline, it becomes pivotal that there is an understanding of the cause of downturn and what the markets are responding to. In order to make discerning changes, you will need to analyze your industry demographic and current trends. This enables you to know what components attendees are gravitating to. This is a growing dilemma with many variables, such as competing with online sales and changes in market landscapes. It’s a brave new world but not one that can’t be overcome. It’s time to re-define your show’s identity and approach it with the following ideas.
Time for a Makeover
Breathing new life into a waning market is achievable, however, it will take hard work and some ingenuity. Most companies go through a period when audacity is required to take the risks necessary to overhaul their brand. Sometimes the core message stays the same while other times it needs to shift its focus while still maintaining value and consistency. It’s time to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to woo buyers back.
A New Approach
According to holistic practitioner Doug Kauffman, “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.” The same can be said for industries that have become stagnant and continue to face challenges with the same tired approach, regardless of the outcome. If your show is in need of resuscitation, then it’s time to be intentional by changing your game plan. For instance, if you have a face and body event for estheticians coming up, try adding new features and services that will draw in not only a larger audience, but will also broaden exhibitor and vertical market possibilities. Growth could be expanded by highlighting a new nail and massage pavilion, as well as complimentary services.
Since the characteristics to success in today’s trade show market involve the ability to adapt and evolve, it’s essential that value is added whenever possible. One way to add value is to co-locate with another event that compliments your own. Co-locating presents numerous opportunities, such as offering up a new set of choices and solutions to buyers, as well as giving the exhibitors better bang for their buck. Co-locating is rising in popularity and for good reason since it can be economically necessary for continued success. A caveat when joining forces with another similar industry is this: momentum occurs when the culture of both industries are harmonious and common ground can be found. If you don’t share the same goals then this partnership may not be a right fit.
A key ingredient to understanding why your sales are declining is to know if it’s a singular phenomenon that’s occurring only in your particular market or if it’s widespread. Once you evaluate the local market data, as well as data around the country, you can make an informed decision on how to proceed. If your analysis shows that the market is strong on the west coast, but weak in the midwest, you might want to consider re-locating your show to the stronger market.
There are times when we all need a new perspective from a third party that has our best interest in mind. If you don’t already utilize one, consider creating an advisory board for your next event. They can help evaluate the show alongside you and help flesh out new ideas. While a Show Manager is an expert when it comes to planning and organizing, it can be helpful to gain additional insight from another professional that specializes in the field of your event. These key players will also be able to alert you to any changes that you might not be able to identify on your own.
Responding to Change
Identifying the problem is a crucial part of the solution. Once you know the answer to why sales are declining, you can respond to it by changing your strategy. With perseverance, determination, and by implementing the changes necessary, you can once again be a success story.