Guest Post by Marlys Arnold
I Admit It – I’m a Big Star Trek fan.
No, not to the point where I dress up as a Klingon and stroll the aisles of Comic-Con – although I did thoroughly enjoy roaming around with them back when the Star Trek Experience was a Vegas attraction. But I digress…
One of the things I love most about Star Trek is the way it shows us the potential of how much life can change for the better in the next 200 or so years. I mean, traveling at warp speed, scanning devices that heal wounds.
So it got me to thinking: How might trade shows advance in the next two centuries… or will they?
If you look back at the past 200 years, trade shows haven’t evolved all that much. At the core, they’re still long aisles of exhibits with company representatives attempting to draw crowds into their booths.
But the Potential is There for So Much More!
What if trade shows could be truly experiential? Could exhibits one day become mini-Holodeck environments with 3D simulations? I’d sign up for that! Just imagine being able to transport attendees to any place or time (real or imaginary) within the confines of your booth space.
And what about using replicators to create any object attendees request – is that so far removed from the 3D printers we have today? Exhibitors could use them in a booth to generate a physical representation of most any kind of item.
Perhaps one day we can even have teams of androids or holograms to help staff our booths. (That could be a good thing or a bad thing!)
But on a more serious note, I truly hope that the trade shows of the 2300s look wildly different, yet remarkably similar to today’s. I want them to be innovative and out-of-this-world, yet still be focused on creating relationships between buyers and sellers, between people and products.
While the purpose of a trade show exhibit will continue to be on sharing innovation and solutions, I hope the execution of that purpose looks much more Star Trek-ish.
Are Trade Shows a Final Frontier?
I hope so. Because if we fail to innovate and evolve, trade shows will not survive. And as we’ve all learned this past year, that would be a very bad way for the story to end.
Author Bio: With experience as both an exhibitor and show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. She consults with and trains both exhibitors and show managers from across the country and is the author of Exhibit Design That Works and Build a Better Trade Show Image, host of the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, creator of the ExhibitorEd Success System, and founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café and Exhibit Marketers Academy online learning community. She can be contacted via her website, www.exhibitmarketerscafe.com.