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The Future of Mega Events

The Future of Mega Events

How to prepare for evolving industries and audiences

After returning from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and watching media coverage of 10-day SXSW extravaganza, both of which follow the equally massive CES, I started thinking: What is the future of the current batch of mega events? How big and broad can they get and still be relevant?  

All three of these events target industry segments that are rapidly growing, consolidating, and changing. Their audiences are also expanding, becoming more diverse, and in some cases, more mature.  It will be interesting to see how these events respond to increasing demands for focus, specialization, and segmentation while still retaining their “mega-event” atmosphere. For those of you who have been around the event business for a while, Comdex comes to mind.

The shifting role of big corporate brands at these events is another question in my mind. At MWC, for instance, several large brands, including Ericsson, Cisco, and Samsung, held co-located, exclusive events open only to a handful of attendees. Meanwhile, SXSW – which has always prided itself on its counter-cultural persona – didn’t seem to mind the irony that establishment brands had such a large presence this year.

How do these events stay true to their mission to serve their loyal audiences, without succumbing to the lure of corporate sponsorship revenue?

These are the challenges that mega events must face in the future. In the meantime, there is still much to be found and enjoyed in Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Austin!

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