It wasn't too many years ago that people involved in the trade show industry were worrying about the sustainability of the exposition business: Could it survive given the unmistakable trend toward online communication? Would virtual trade shows become the new norm? Were traditional expositions becoming dinosaurs? The evidence is now pretty overwhelming that there still is great value in face-to-face contact and trade shows provide the most effective way to accomplish that.
Lately, at NRCA, we've been asking members a lot of questions about the colloquialism we call the "value proposition." What are the things members find most valuable? What products and services do we offer that make membership a good business decision if not an imperative?
And the results are interesting. When we ask these questions of all members, we tend to get answers such as "I like the manuals and training programs" or "The industry needs a voice in Washington, D.C.," or "I like your strong technical programs."
However, when we ask members who are or have been in NRCA leadership positions, the first answer invariably is: "I value the relationships, friendships and opportunities for networking."