By Karen Eppsteiner, Director of Event Sales, Electronic Retailing Association
Every year I set a mission for Expo! Expo!: come away with 3 new ideas for my shows and events. Like all of you, during the year I research and review ways to improve our shows making them more profitable, effective, experiential and simply fun for our attendees. For me, Expo! Expo! has proven a gold mine of the “new” and “different” in both traditional and non-traditional opportunities. It’s a new adventure every year.
Yes, I have learned valuable techniques from the educational sessions taught by my peers and industry experts. In fact, I once came back from the event and held a staff “customer service” session based on one terrific program I attended. Further boosting Expo! Expo!’s value are the feedback and conversations with your seat mates. The simplest of comments can be valuable. For example, based on a tip from my neighbor, we showcased the international side of our event and generated widespread interest by having an interactive map with push pins for attendees to mark where they are from. Huge success.
Multiple ideas have come to me on the trade show floor. Obviously, there are vendors who can help you with solutions, upgrades and destinations. But the show floor can also be a source of ideas as to innovative layout, mini-session presentation and floor logistics/ time management.
2015 Expo! Expo! has:
3 days of general sessions with keynotes packed with content and motivation
17 Sessions on Show Design, Implementation, Execution and Measurement
30 Sessions on Attendee/Exhibitor/Sponsor Acquisition, Retention & Engagement
32 Sessions on Personal Empowerment and Development
54 Networking and Special Events
Obviously, I love to learn new techniques and approaches. I’ve found that I frequently pick up great ideas at the multiple social functions and parties as well. Expo! Expo! has its own creative events supplemented by vendor parties. Each gives me a chance to rethink how my association approaches and supports our events.
AND one more great benefit for all of us is the pleasure of being an attendee, not the organizer. We can take a moment away from frantic calls and split-second decision making to learn and absorb. I’ve found time to walk the floor with friends, taking a walk in “their” shoes, stimulating the brain cells and reviewing how we each do our own events.
Status report: Yes, since setting my mission, I’ve quickly met each years mandate for ideas and walked away with many more. Is it worth the time away from the office and expense? …Definitively YES!