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Trends in Trade Show Design

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Our brains are hard-wired to focus on ME first. Technology has tapped into the deep “It’s All About Me” part of the brain – and has created a new normal (convenience, instant gratification, …

Our brains are hard-wired to focus on ME first. Technology has tapped into the deep “It’s All About Me” part of the brain – and has created a new normal (convenience, instant gratification, entertainment) because of the ability to get immediate, personalized responses.The content explains how neuroscience, mobile devices, and macro trends have changed the landscape for events.

There are two macro trends that greatly impact this new normal: Millennials and big data. Learn about “All-About-Me” solutions for events, event organizers, exhibitors and education and how to customize these solutions to match the macro trends.

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  • Who is the most important person in this room? I am. When I say “I,” I mean you as an individual are the most important person. When it really comes down to it, our brains are hardwired to focus on ME first.

    Imagine you are walking through a field with a dear friend. You look down and see this.
  • What would be your first, split-second reaction?

    Was it to push the friend out of the way? Most likely it was for YOU to jump back. Perhaps your second reaction might have been to help your friend.

    So why is that?
  • You brain is programmed for survival--we evolved that way. If you think back to caveman times, the type of brain we needed then was one focused on instincts (running away, finding food, mating).

    That part of your brain still exists today. It’s called the Deep Brain (or the Reptile Brain), and it determines what we pay attention to. That primitive part of the brain is why we can’t look away from accidents on the highway, why sex still sells, and why you just have to look at your phone if it beeps at you.

    So what does this mean for us today? If you want to make a deep connection with people, make the experience feel all-about-me.
  • Technology, and especially mobile devices, empowers us with information. And when we get that information, it feels great, so we use technology more. As technology gets smarter from our use, it gives us more relevant information. And the loop keeps going.

    [If I want the best pecan pie in Houston, all I have to do is pull out my phone, open an app, and check reviews. I even get directions with a moving blue dot to follow so I don’t get lost. I freely give personal information (where I am right now), because I get something in return (amazing pecan pie from Goode Co.).]

    The reinforcement or reward is so strong that it reprioritizes what is important. Just how important is technology?

    The novelist Abha Dawesar tells a story of her life in NYC after Hurricane Sandy. She was in a part of the city that lost power for several days. She walked up 7 flights of stairs every day carrying gallons of water, and walked 40 blocks to her gym to take a shower.

    But what was also important to her?
  • Finding an outlet where she could charge her mobile devices. Technology had become as important as water, food, and shelter. She tells of seeing people even standing in the rain under umbrellas just to charge their devices.

    And if you’re thinking this is just New Yorkers who are on the extreme side … Did you know the typical mobile phone user checks his/her phone 150 times a day (Mary Meeker, KPCB)? And by the end of this year, there will be more mobile-connected devices than there are people on earth (Cisco, 2013).

  • This dynamic has created a significant shift in how people see the world. Technology has tapped into the deep “It’s All About Me” part of the brain. Because we have been able to get immediate, personalized response, there is a new normal. We expect…

    To get what we want, whenever we want it
    Convenience
    To be entertained or wow’ed

    Amazon has taught us to expect recommended book selections, we like it when our banks to tell us when there’s suspicious activity on our credit cards, and we take it for granted that search engines will automatically fill in what we’re typing.

    There are two macro trends that greatly impact the technology and all-about-me loop. The first one is the prevalence of Millennials.


  • Millennials are, for the most part, the children of Baby Boomers. In general, they range in age from 18 to 33, so they may be older than you think.

    Millennials came of age with technology. (Unlike us, they didn’t learn about it as adults.) That means they have more dependency on technology and greater all-about-me expectations than do their older cohorts.

    So what’s the big deal? There are a lot of Millennials. It’s about paying attention to the influencers. Millennials’ estimated purchasing power today is $13 trillion (CEB/Iconoculture), and in 12 years (by 2025) they will make up 75% of the workforce (Brian Solis 2013).

    And just like their Boomer parents, their sheer volume means they can dictate how business, retailers, and the media offer goods and services.

    The second macro trend that’s impacting technology and the all-about-me loop is Big Data. Big data is a buzz word that just means using actual behavior info to make very customized products and services for individuals.
  • Has anyone heard of “House of Cards”? This is a political thriller series Netflix created and released in February 2013. It is also an excellent illustration of Big Data in action.

    Netflix looked at data from their 37 million subscribers--what shows people play, when they pause/fast-forward what they’re watching, what shows got the highest ratings, and when people watch shows. They analyzed their data and discovered there would be strong interest in seeing Kevin Spacey play the lead role in the British show “House of Cards”, with David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as the director.

    So Netflix bought the rights to the British show and got it made. And it worked! So well in fact that this year it got 9 Emmy nominations and 3 awards (directing, cinematography, casting). Based on this success, Netflix has started another program like this (Orange is the New Black).

    The other thing Netflix did right was an all-about-me way of viewing the series. Instead of dripping out episodes each week, they released all 13 at one time for video streaming. So you can get just what you want, when you want it. They perfected binge viewing.

    Well that’s all interesting, but how can this help us in the events world? Or, so what’s in it for me?

  • The winners in the event space will provide All-About-Me solutions for their customers. They will make sure the entire experience:

    Gives people what they want, when they want it
    Provides them convenience
    Engages them in some way--whether it entertains, wows, or makes them say “that’s pretty cool”

    [We are fortunate to have lots of tools to help us do this. One successful approach may be mindset mapping, or micro-targeting. That’s where you determine major persona groups that exist in your customer base according to how they see the world. You then create custom messages and programs that would appeal to those specific groups.]

    Other tools we have relate to event technology. The last slides I have include partial lists of all-about-me solutions you may consider. [There are different levels of customization and analytics, so these can be as affordable as you need them to be.]
  • Event Mobile App--This is the most critical all-about-me solution a show organizer can provide. If done properly, you can channel people to find just-the-right classes, exhibitors, poster sessions, and networking functions. They can talk to speakers and find out how to get from here to there with dynamic show maps.

    Virtual Events/Telepresence--This is a fabulous convenience solution. Attendees can still get the content they want, when they want it.

    NFC--Tech that lets enabled devices communicate with each other when they’re in close range. Show organizers can create smart badges that transfer attendee/exhibitor data with a wave of the hand, automatically check in people when they go to classes, transfer contact/lead info to exhibitors, or even open hotel doors.

    Heat Mapping--(aka Indoor Mapping/Geo Targeting) By leveraging WiFi [and cell service], we are now able to map attendee progress throughout the show floor. This is key for any event marketer who wants to know which areas are attracting attention and which may need to be retooled.
  • Targeted Messaging – What will catch your eye is not the same as what will catch mine. If you know what I care about and tell it to me in ways I’ll hear, I’ll definitely pay attention to you. There are a whole suite of social media listening tools out there that drill down into what audiences are saying and what they want--Radian 6, Blue Ocean, Socialite.

    The way it works is you listen to your audiences before the event/all year round, then target messages that will make them excited to visit you in your booth. You can extend engagement all year round.

    Tech “Eye Candy”--These next solutions are about engaging and the wow factor:

    Projection Mapping--You can project images onto the floor to encourage interaction with the brand. For example, have virtual sawdust on the floor and people kick it away to reveal a Home Depot logo.

    AR--This technology uses a device to overlay images/info onto a real-world environment. It’s a cool way to blur the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated. Exhibitors can use AR to more accurately portray the features and benefits of what they’re selling.

    Photo Booths--Not new. A great way to take your picture, immediately post it to the Facebook page. Can even combine with AR and take a picture with a famous celebrity.

  • Second Screen--Using portable devices (smartphones, tablets) to provide supplemental info during sessions. Let people have “appropriate” distractions.

    Flipped Learning--Providing a video of the speaking session ahead of the event, then using the onsite event time to address specific problems or issues.

    Adaptive Learning Models--Using computers that adjust the level of content to match the student’s learning needs. Like Pandora (music channel) for online teaching.

    Gamified Education--This is an augment to gamification. The combination of game-based platforms + media-based learning communities (blogs, YouTube) + personal study.

  • Transcript

    • 1. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. Trends in Trade Show Design: Neuroscience, Technology, Interactivity
    • 2. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential.
    • 3. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential.
    • 4. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. High relevance strengthens use Technology empowers by giving access to info
    • 5. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. The typical mobile phone user checks his/her phone 150 times a day.--Mary Meeker, KPCB By the end of this year, there will be more mobile- connected devices than there are people on earth.-- Cisco, 2013
    • 6. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. High relevance strengthens use Technology empowers by giving access to info • Give me what I want, when I want it • Be convenient for me • Engage me
    • 7. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. Millennial estimated purchasing power today is $13 trillion.-- CEB/Iconoculture By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.--Brian Solis
    • 8. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. Netflix House of Cards example illustrating Big Data
    • 9. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. Technology empowers by giving access to info • Give me what I want, when I want it • Be convenient for me • Engage me All-About-Me Event Solutions
    • 10. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. • Event Mobile App • Virtual Events • Near-Field Communication • Heat Mapping All-About-Me Solutions Event Organizers
    • 11. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. • Targeted messaging through social media • Tech “eye candy”: projection mapping, augmented reality • Photo booths All-About-Me Solutions Exhibitors
    • 12. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. • Second screen • Flipped learning • Adaptive learning models • Gamified education All-About-Me Solutions Education
    • 13. © Copyright 2014 Freeman Expositions, Inc. Proprietary & Confidential. Presented by: Loretta Hudelot At Expo!Expo! 2013 (214) 445-1292 loretta.hudelot@freemanxp.com @InsightsChick

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