1 trade show, 2 days, 19 keynotes, 52 press, 36 briefings, 2 pizzas and a hypnotist


Hundreds upon hundreds of shows take place every year in the UK but with the influence of PR and social media, what role does the traditional trade show play and how do you pick which ones are the most relevant to your business?

Last week, we helped to run the press office at Connected Business Expo. Manning the press office gave me a real insight into the characters that attend the show (I was almost hypnotised by one visitor), the buzz in the exhibition hall and, more importantly, the value that a trade show can provide to businesses.

As well as being the perfect place to boost your brand awareness, generate leads and create sales, (72%  of visitors say shows affect their buying decisions) the trade show also gives you an intense immersion into the people engaging and running successful businesses in that market. The average visitor spends 8.3 hours visiting exhibits and being in an exhibition hall all day is not only a great forum for organisations to reach the right audiences but also a great place for people watching and making new contacts.

Connected Business Expo lived up to its reputation of being Europe’s leading communication and collaboration event featuring over 100 seminars from some of today’s leading business and technology influencers and attracting a record number of exhibitors to the show. The event has grown significantly since 2013 with a 26% rise in floor space and a 20% rise in exhibitor numbers.

The press and speaker lounge was a hive of activity and we saw first-hand the top level speakers the show had attracted like the editor of Unified Communications Insight, Guy Clapperton; Philip Vanhoutte, senior VP and MD, Plantronics Europe and Africa; Dr Nicola Millard, customer experience futurologist, BT Global Services; Dave Coplin, Microsoft’s chief envisioning officer; Steve Blood, research VP, Gartner Research…I could go on!

It was really great to see the enthusiasm and excitement the speakers brought to their audiences and this showed in the high level of press and analyst attendees who took real value and promising new leads away from the show. As a PR it was also very interesting to see other PR’s on top form with their clients, and trying to sneak into the press lounge to meet the journalists.

As well as being a technology collaboration event it was also a collaboration of people and ideas. The trade show is a powerful tool when done properly so it’s important to choose the right show (look for timely and highly targeted events); promote your stand and get the design right (make it noticeable); choose the right staff to man it (shiny happy people) and don’t forget the branded giveaways and prize draws (teddy bears, pens and stress balls are personal favourites).