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The Tradeshow Booth Is Dead, Long Live Integrated Experiences

October 26th, 2022 Cheri Hulse

I’ve attended several tradeshows throughout 2022. People are definitely excited to be back to being around other humans, and there has been a great hustle and bustle in the industry.

But there’s just one thing: I haven’t seen a lot of excitement around the results of sponsoring a booth. Event attendance may be rebounding, but attendees, it seems, aren’t spending much of their time on the tradeshow floor.

Marketers also haven’t been able to tone down their digital approach as they head back to physical events. Forrester recently released research that even says so.

Virtual Events Are Here To Stay

Smiling woman looking at laptop.

According to Forrester’s B2B Enterprise Marketing Event Trends Survey, 63% of respondents plan to conduct the same number of virtual events during the next 12 months.

The question is, is this the same ennui that people were feeling about booths before the pandemic? Or is this heightened by people having received better insights for the past two-plus years by running more digital experiences?

Physical event data was always challenging at best — and even trickier at sponsored events and tradeshows. Badge scans do not necessarily equal leads. I think by being away from tradeshows for a few years, we forgot the frustration and high cost of physical events.

What Marketers Have To Look Forward To

Two men in button up shirts in conversation with a laptop nearby.

For marketers, I urge you to explore content opportunities at these events. There are loads of opportunities for you to control your message and content during in-person sessions. And, with hybrid approaches, you can also capture contact information, provide slides for download and have a sales representative in the digital session to answer questions.

For events that are in major metro regions, you also have the opportunity to host events outside of the tradeshow. Doing so can help you rally an audience that may be in town for the big event, as well as other local customers and prospects. In this scenario, you get the best of both worlds!

Anticipate the 2023 Landscape

A woman gives a presentation to a packed room.

While it may be daunting to head into 2023 planning with economic uncertainty, I encourage you to look at the data. Be critical of your physical event investments from this year and work closely with vendors that you’ve committed to in 2023 to optimize your presence at these events.

Buyers’ journeys aren’t digital or physical – they include a mix of both types of interactions. Be smart with your investments and most importantly, listen to your buyers.