The new festival theme introduced in 2018 couldn’t prevent what so many have expected for a while. No more CeBIT.

What was once one of the largest IT conferences in the world, unfortunately turned into more of a networking event. Fewer and fewer business meetings and declining sales closures were the result. And brands decided to turn away from CeBIT to focus on their own events instead.

Even recent attempts to transform CeBIT into a festival style event along the lines of SXSW didn’t work because hording large numbers of sales reps onto huge and expensive booths is not a winning formula anymore. Technology has to become an experience. Customers want to touch, feel and use what they are about to buy – not just in consumer electronics but also B2B technology.

So, what does this all mean?

In the end, CeBIT 2018 turned out to be old wine in a new bottle. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether the concept of classic trade shows is outdated.

One thing is certain; trade show models are changing, becoming more and more experience driven to ensure sales and marketing teams can engage with prospects in smart ways.