The exhibition and trade show industry has changed quite a bit over the last few years.
As a business owner, you know how hard it can be to keep up with all the latest trends. Fortunately, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (or CEIR) CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM has recently shared 5 predictions for the B2B exhibitions and events industry in 2022 and beyond.
We’ve summarized her observations and predictions below to help you prepare for the new year.
1. Omnichannel Marketing Is EssentialAccording to Breden, one of the biggest changes exhibiting professionals have seen in the tradeshow industry has to do with the way events are marketed. For B2B events, in particular, omnichannel marketing has become one of the most popular and effective options.
Omnichannel marketing combines a variety of marketing tactics, including online and offline touchpoints. It allows consumers to easily interact with a brand through a variety of channels, from commenting on social media to calling a customer service hotline.
In 2022, omnichannel marketing is more valuable than ever before. Businesses have had to find new ways to connect with their audiences in the wake of the pandemic, and a multifaceted strategy allows them to reach as many people as possible.
2. Focus on CommunityBreden also notes that people’s motivations for attending trade shows and exhibitions have changed. In 2022, fostering community and building relationships are among the top priorities for a lot of event attendees.
The CEIR CEO predicts that this year, we will see many more small, niche events. These shows will offer more community-building opportunities, will provide a chance for exhibitors to test new markets, and may be more appealing to folks who are still hesitant about being in large groups.
Collaborations — even collaborations between competitors — will likely be more common this year as well.
3. Revamp the WorkforceBusinesses will need to change the way they train their team members before attending B2B trade shows and events.
Because so many events are taking place virtually or in a hybrid format, for example, it’s particularly important that employees know how to use the tools and technologies used to host and attend these types of gatherings.
Marketing and sales teams will need to continue their training and education, too. They must learn how to promote new types of events and close deals in different environments (including online environments).
4. Prioritize Sustainability and Social IssuesIn 2022, Breden predicts that event attendees and exhibitors will need to place a greater emphasis on sustainability and social issues. This might include using recycled materials, sharing sustainability plans with customers, and creating an inclusive and inviting environment for all attendees.
Consumers care about these things more than they once did. As a result, they’re going to be more inclined to attend events and work with brands that share their concerns and values.
5. Emphasize Health and SafetyThe COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting businesses and consumers all over the world. Because of this, event attendees and associations must continue working hard to make their shows as safe as possible. In 2022, we will continue to see mask and vaccination requirements at large shows.
Showrunners will need to provide additional training to staff members, too. Breden recommends checking out the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (or GBAC), which is a subsidiary of the International Sanitary Supply Association and has a set of established cleaning standards for quality and efficiency.
Final Thoughts on 2022 Exhibiting TrendsAnyone who regularly attends trade shows will tell you that knowledge is power, especially if you want your exhibits to remain relevant and attract as many people as possible. Keep these predictions and recommendations from Breden in mind and you’ll have no trouble planning your 2022 exhibits.