It wouldn't surprise me at all if my contribution to this Marketing Week roundtable on conferences had gone unnoticed, given how little I am quoted, but nevertheless it was an interesting event.
The key takeaway for me was how creative some industries are being with trade shows and conventions, thinking far beyond the traditional display to offering real added value to attendees. This can be in the form of great speakers that fit in with the exhibition itself, or by finding new ways to drive engagement. My favourite story was about the company who produced some kind of environmentally friendly material (I forget what, exactly) but who decided to dedicate part of their stand to a micro pig. Needless to say, their footfall was off the scale - who could resist a micro pig?
Photo credit: Flickr lwpkommunikacio
If I am brutally honest, I just don't see this level of thinking going into conferences in my sector, and there is little appetite from those who drive these forwards to make a change. But I do think events like these can and should evolve. Why, in 2014, should we as exhibitors be tied to the same old dreary book displays? Let's think outside of the box! Let's find new ways to get attendees to engage with our brands!