EXHIBITORLIVE, the most comprehensive educational event for trade show and event marketing professionals, took place April 23 – 27 in the renovated, state-of-the-art Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville. We had an amazing week exploring the latest in creative and imaginative experiential ideas for trade show exhibits and technology. We met up with fellow Event Profs, met new friends, colleagues, and companies. Our CEO was interviewed for the Rockway Exhibits + Events podcasts conducted live from the trade show floor, plus she delivered presentations for two sessions. In short, a good time was had by all, and we enjoyed being immersed in the educational opportunities and creative exhibits on display.
We caught up with the President and CEO of TPG, Christina Piedlow, and Event Producer and Account Executive, Jeda Higgs, to get their takes on this iconic show.
Christina, this year EXHIBITORLIVE moved to a new destination – the Kentucky International Convention Center. How did you feel about this move and was it a successful change?
I enjoy being able to experience a new venue, and this was my first adventure to the Kentucky International Convention Center. The facility was recently remodeled, and it was beautiful – wood architectural treatments, beautiful meeting rooms, and (my favorite) water bottle filling stations. I’m never thrilled about traveling across the country, which is why you often see me in Las Vegas, but for most attendees, Louisville was a more centralized location. I talked to more trade show managers at this event than I have in the past, and I was thrilled to see different exhibitors on the show floor this year, mostly due to the change in venue.
We understand that podcasts are trending. At this event one was broadcast directly from the booth itself. In fact, you were interviewed! What were the benefits of incorporating a podcast as an exhibit strategy?
We are seeing a growing number of podcast booths on the show floor, and they carry a lot of benefits. Foremost, they are attractive and visible to attendees. They spark curiosity and create a reason for attendees to come into a branded environment. From a content generation standpoint, podcasts create opportunities to connect with an audience not only during the podcast, but long afterward through repurposing clips, getting quotes from industry experts, and creating client testimonials.
EXHIBITORLIVE is known for featuring great vendors and the latest in products and technologies. What did you see on the show floor that was impressive? Were there any trends, themes and best practices in event marketing or exhibit design that stood out?
There is a focus now on experience design at ExhibitorLive! It’s impressive when a company exhibits a comprehensive marketing strategy and theme. I like the reach out before the event, an amazing experience at the event, and follow-up afterward. So, when a company utilizes marketing strategies to design impactful experiences, I find that inspirational. In terms of technology, LED walls and tiles incorporated into different pieces of exhibitry stood out at this year’s show.
Jeda, you attended many of the educational sessions available for CTSM (Certified Trade Show Marketer) certification. What industry knowledge, tools and updates did you find interesting and how do you feel it will benefit both you and TPG in the future?
Foundational sessions were offered, from graphic design, to budgeting basics, and redesigning your toolbox for post pandemic events. Each session I attended delivered valuable information, with industry-specific educators, engaging marketers new to trade shows, as well as seasoned professionals. No matter how long we’ve worked in events, the core courses remind us of the finer details and tasks and keeping the big-picture purpose in mind when planning for show success. Confidence in your tool kit is essential to building trust with partners, vendors, and clients on the show floor. I can attest to the courses creating more confident marketers, especially understanding the nuances within B2B and B2C in-person, virtual and hybrid event management.
Top event professionals understand that nowadays trade show attendees want to experience a product or service, not just walk by an inactive booth where there is little to attract passersby. What was cool and fun?
So much to see and be inspired by! I prefer activations where a creative theme is explored with a variety of ways to engage with booth properties and attendees. As an example, one booth created the theme of “What is your hat?” We wear many hats as event professionals – stepping in for audio/visual and technical issues, shipping and logistics, giveaways, vendor management and more. The display featured a variety of hats with a unique descriptor of what wearing that hat might mean to the individual. The activity offered a personality test to determine the hat you might wear in your work role. Once attendees’ data was gathered (lead capture!), a quiz was given, with the opportunity to virtually try on the hat. A picture could be sent to you for print or sharing (fun), and the photo was uploaded to a photo collage on an LED wall (additional marketing uses). Talk about hitting all the high points – messaging, lead capture, personal connection and fun! It is inspiring to see what focused inventive minds can ideate and execute on the show floor.
It sounds like you two took full advantage of the networking opportunities, and educational sessions offered at EXHIBITORLIVE, in addition to seeing the creative and engaging exhibitry and event technology showcased under one roof. Thank you for your insights.
Each time we attend an event, it reinforces our belief that nothing can replace a face-to-face interaction or engagement. When we experience something with all our senses in an environment specifically focused on creating connections, it leaves an impact unlike any other. ExhibitorLive brings together industry experts and professionals who share the same passion for live events and it feels good to be a part of that community.
We love to create. We love to help brands get the attention they deserve. We’d love to work with you. Let’s start a conversation!