Tradeshows Merging with Digital World

Tradeshows are finding ways to add digital dimensions to the quintessential up-close and personal marketing event. Two examples:

AIA Virtual Convention: While unable to travel to San Francisco this year, I was still able to sit in on educational programs, ask questions to keynote presenters, chat with attendees in a lounge, and even interface with building product manufacturers who had an "online booth".

Construct 2009
Sent attendees links to the booths visited at their show last week. This provides exhibitors a chance to make one more impression on show attendees, and is useful to participants who, like me, remember that great new product by... what was their name?

More, both shows encouraged active blogging and twittering from their conventions. This created a buzz that helped me connect with other attendees and learn about new developments that I might otherwise have missed.

Both of these examples are still in a rudimentary stage and could be improved. Wouldn't it be great, for example, if when an attendee swiped their ID at a booth, the attendee could enter a reminder to him or her self on the spot - such as. "Contact this manufacturer ASAP for project currently on the boards." But rough as they are, they suggest ways that, if done correctly, tradeshows can increase overall participation and add value to both the exhibitor and the speaker. Stay tuned.