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Trade show innovation
Where can you go to see hundreds of cutting-edge businesses exhibiting state-of-the-art products in new and innovative ways—and all in a single day? No place other than a trade show, of course.The business-to-business (B2B) exhibition industry is a great place to garner not just sales, but inspiration as well. There are hundreds of B2B trade shows across Canada each year, with thousands more you could potentially exhibit at or check out south of the border. In fact, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), there are approximately 9,000 B2B exhibits in the U.S. with an estimated 1.5 million companies exhibiting annually. If you’re interested in learning what’s new on the trade show floor, keep reading.

The latest, greatest innovators
Borrow from some of these great ideas, and get inspired to find other innovations at your next trade show:

  • Innovation in appointment booking: IMEX America featured several innovative ideas at a recent trade show and conference. One such concept is their hosted-buyer appointment scheduler. This complimentary online service allows their hosted buyers to message, make appointments with, and send requests for proposals (RFPs) to exhibitors of their choice prior to the show. Thinking of hosting your own buyer-driven appointment portal? Incorporate a sign-up on your website and direct preferred buyers to it via email. Follow up instantly with an email appointment confirmation and mail a reminder one to two weeks prior. Include a microfibre cleaning cloth or stylus as a small token of thanks.
  • Innovation in green: The Consumer Electronics Association was awarded first place in the Reader’s Choice Trade Show Executive’s 2012 Innovation Awards for their comprehensive greening plan. They produced 190,000 badge holders from recycled vinyl banners, many of which were recycled or repurposed for future shows. They also used paperless exhibitor press kits by opting to host the information electronically. If you want to show your own innovation, try uploading your promotional materials to a USB that doubles as a giveaway and is reusable. Or, choose eco-friendly badge holders or recycled lanyards to display credentials.
  • Innovation in advertising: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is another award-winning innovator. Along with Smart City Networks, they introduced a 14-location digital advertising network available for exhibitors to display show information, schedules, initiatives and more. Unlike traditional advertising methods, this digital network enabled real-time information to be transmitted on screens throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center while allowing for swift information changes and time-relevant messaging. You may not have access to a digital advertising network, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use multi-media in your booth in a real-time manner. Offer frequently changing promotions or hourly updates via a display screen to keep your advertising fresh.

Remember, trade shows can be a great place to draw inspiration and innovation. What new ideas will you incorporate when you attend your next event?

Shapiro, Gary. “Want Innovation? Go to a Tradeshow.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 04 Jan. 2012. Web. Retrieved 12 Dec. 2013.

Huddleston, Anna. “IMEX America Shows Strong Growth, Innovative Ideas.” TSNN Trade Show News. N.p., 18 Oct. 2013. Web. Retrieved 12 Dec. 2013.

“IMEX America: Hosted Buyer Appointment System.” IMEX America: Hosted Buyer Appointment System. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 12 Dec. 2013.

“The Readers Have Spoken.” Tradeshowexecutive.com. N.p., Sept. 2012. Web. Retrieved 12 Dec. 2013.

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