Fifty three point six

The number above was the average age of an attendee at a trade show in our industry last year. And, no surprise, that number’s been trending up for years.

Yesterday, I was at another meeting where everyone agreed that our failure to attract a younger crowd is a contributor to declining trade show attendance in our industry. I don’t think it’s quite that simple, but there was a universal response to the question of, “What do we do about that? How do we engage more young people in our industry and trade shows?”

The solution presented with conviction was social media, that is, Facebook and Twitter. For example, I heard, “Young people communicate differently than we did in our 20s. We have to come to grips with that and communicate using the tools they use”. That resonated with the audience, but what a gigantic understatement! And, when I pressed those same participants on exactly how they would use Facebook and Twitter to increase trade show attendance, the conversation came to a screeching halt.

The exchange struck me a lot like saying, “to do surgery, you need a scalpel.” Or, handing someone a voltmeter that’s never seen one, and saying, “here’s your solution to submersible troubleshooting”. Just naming a tool is not a fix.

We could talk pages about declining trade show attendance, and I certainly don’t have all (or even most) of the answers, especially if it involves social media. There’s no doubt that social media is an important tool. However, like many things, knowing what the tool is and knowing how to use it effectively are miles and generations apart.

2 thoughts on “Fifty three point six

  1. It all starts in school where no child is to be left behind. In order for all to pass therefore the most advanced students are down graded till the low students “made the grade”, thus no one fails so they get used to it. They just come to expect that when they want to buy something it will be there no work or money required. The youth have been conditioned to completely miss that they could actually fail to get a job or what is worse that there are jobs to get, much less that you have to study something to qualify for those jobs.

    If they never had to think in school why should they start now?

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