Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Big Idea for Earth Day

Do more than just eliminate bottled water.

Get rid of the trade show.

When we convene at the Green Meetings Industry Council, we talk about a lot of ways to make our events more responsible. The trade show is consistently the elephant in the room. By the way, I'm not suggesting you stop getting people together for face-to-face interactions and business meetings. I'm suggesting you don't build an entire city within a trade show hall of materials that will get sent to the landfill when it is over.

I'm also not suggesting that it is just that easy. I took a 30 year old trade show for MPISCC (their biggest revenue driver) and I eliminated the trade show portion of the education conference. It was very successful in facilitating networking, delivering education and connecting buyers and sellers in ways they hadn't connected at an event before. Not surprisingly, I failed to produce the revenue that the event had once generated. I had all of the opportunities in place to drive the same revenue, but the suppliers hadn't all bought into the concepts I offered. Change is not going to happen overnight and I am hoping to share what I learned so that others don't have to start from the beginning. If you would like to learn more about the specific agenda and sponsorship levels I created for that event, contact me directly. By the way, I didn't eliminate the trade show just to "go green". I was responding to negative feedback from planners and suppliers on previous events and put in hours of conversations with potential attendees about how they buy and sell.

Are you willing to share your successes and failures? I'd love to hear what you think whether you have tried something innovative or if you see the need for change. Let's collaborate!