Can the Internet Still Kill my Show?

Have a question you’d like to ask an industry expert about trade show management? Maybe exhibit sales, attendee promotion, technology? Or anything else having to do with the business?

Send your question to Executive Editor Michael Hart at and we will contact the appropriate trade show professional to get the question answered. This week’s question is directed to Jason Brown, chief digital officer for GLM Markets.

Expo Reader: Our association has an annual show. We’ve heard about this idea of creating some kind of digital platform that exhibitors and attendees can use 365 days a year. It seems like a good idea, so I brought it up to our association board. Their concern was that, if we try this and it really works well, why would exhibitors bother to buy space at our show or attendees come to it? What do you suggest I tell them?

Jason Brown: The question, “What happens if I kill my show with the Internet?” is a fairly standard worry for any show organizer. It’s also an unsubstantiated worry. I’ve yet to hear of any event close due to an online or virtual show.

The bigger question should be, “What happens if I DON’T create a great online presence that connects my attendees and exhibitors?” The answer to that question is your show or event will suffer.

Show organizers are quickly catching on to the fact that bringing together buyers and sellers all year round is becoming the new norm, that buyers and attendees don’t simply wait for a show to look for new products or services, whether that’s software, candles or a new boat. They are out there looking, researching and digging up information to inform them about the products they will see at the event.

It’s our job, as show organizers to help attendees gather information both pre- and post-show, and if we’re not prepared to do it, someone else will!

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Posted by Michael Hart

Michael Hart is the executive editor of Expo. Reach him at View all articles by Michael Hart →