February 11, 2021


When the virtual trade show exhibition at IBS / KBIS did not work as planned for all involved, it was time to pivot.

Pivot was once best known as a basketball term. After all of the demands of 2020, pivot in business means to quickly change position or direction for betterment of your customers and company. All of the businesses that invested in exhibiting at IBS / KBIS were put in a position to pivot and a few appear to be doing just that.

Making the Move


The exhibitors that invested in educational programs with IBS / KBIS pivoted their emphasis in this direction since the education programs were still functioning. Wellborn Cabinet is a good example of an exhibitor that pivoted to promote their education programs with IBS / KBIS.

virtual trade show


Some exhibitors promoted involvement with IBS / KBIS by moving their exhibit to their own location. Whirlpool did just this by inviting attendees to count of their back up plan and visit their exhibit on their own site.


virtual trade show


Other exhibitors at IBS / KBIS that were featuring their products at Pro Builder’s Show Village promoted their products featured on each of the three show homes. Most of the exhibitors, however, appear not to have pivoted at all. As a result, we have put together a few options for you to consider as you plan for your next virtual trade show.

Pivot Options for the Next Virtual Trade Show


Yes, there will be more virtual trades in our immediate future, so it is a good idea to prepare and consider the following ideas:

  • Redundancy. The IBS / KBIS exhibits were essentially templated microsites. Creating a duplicate version of your official exhibit on your own microsite is a viable option. The official templates are typically a simple layout easy to duplicate. The time and resources being placed against the official exhibit can be shared with a second page of your own. Being able to move outside of your templated page appears to have been an option for higher priced templates from IBS / KBIS, so this pivot may have been easier for these exhibitors.


  • Social media. Virtual exhibits are static publishing platforms. When they crash, move your program to your most flexible platforms on social media – your custom publishing vehicle. Feature your presentations on LinkedIn. Post your programs, promotions, and calls to action with contact names and information on Facebook. Use Instagram to promote your exhibit with stunning visuals. Post to Twitter throughout the event with immediate offers. A good social media team can product a dynamic experience for your customers and prospects. They can also target and retarget your audiences.


  • Make lemonade. Acknowledge the dysfunction of the planned event and invite your customers and prospects to your VIP event at a later date featuring all they could experience at IBS / KBIS and more. A well-produced webinar captured on video can become a podcast and a blog post to share across platforms whenever you desire. The beauty of this approach is you can create these events in time allotments your customers can consume at their leisure.

We feel badly for the exhibitors, show teams at NAHB and NKBA, and attendees. Everyone invested significantly in this event with the best intentions. Unfortunately, there are times when you just need to pivot.

Read more about participating in virtual events by clicking HERE.

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