By Mary Bukovic, AEM Director of Exhibitor Engagement Services

Being the best at what you do means not only continuing to learn from the best, but also attending events that help you question the status quo and see new possibilities for your trade show programs. One of those events is EXHIBITORLIVE.

Each year more than 5,000 trade show marketers and industry experts come together in Las Vegas for EXHIBITORLIVE, the trade show and corporate event marketing conference presented by EXHIBITOR Magazine. This year’s theme – "Connect with Your Species" – truly summed up what the show delivers to those who choose to attend.

EXHIBITORLIVE provides a unique opportunity for folks who manage corporate presences at exhibitions to interface with other marketing and trade show professionals across a variety of industries, and there is much to be gained from the exceptional networking and educational opportunities, not to mention the exhibit hall amenities, vendors and services.

However, one of the most notable benefits for show organizers who attend EXHIBITORLIVE is the opportunity to gain an understanding of exhibitor pain points and hear from industry experts about what’s trending with exhibit design and strategy.

But that’s not all attendees get out of their time at EXHIBITORLIVE. Here are some additional key takeaways from this year's show:

  • Spend the time to outline objectives, and link them to organizational goals. This is the basis and justification for everything you do!
  • Designing a booth is more than just the build and messaging around products and services. It’s about the customer’s journey and how an exhibitor connects with a customer to best meet its needs.
  • Involve all staff in planning efforts. For example: Engineers can help highlight key design/product features for promotional collateral or with scripting for on-site conversations, and executives can help get key contacts into the booth for scheduled meetings.
  • Think beyond the industry! There is so much inspiration to be found in everyday life, so don’t be afraid to use it to enhance booth design or attendee experience.
  • Measure results. Be specific and think outside just counting leads! Success comes in many numbers: press/PR impressions, executive meetings at shows, client meetings, customer surveys, digital fulfillment, purchase intent, ROI ratios, net promoter score, and more.

With more than 180 education sessions and 250 exhibitors, there was so much to see, hear and experience at EXHIBITORLIVE this year. Fortunately, I’ll be able share more of what I learned through AEM’s trade show exhibitor education efforts in the coming months.

In the meantime, though, I want to challenge you to get involved in trade show industry events like EXHIBITORLIVE. There’s simply no better way to “connect with your species.”

EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 will be held Feb. 24-28, 2019 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Registration opens in October of 2018. For more information, visit

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