July 20, 2024 7:04 AM
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Choice Revolution: How Experiences Shape Your Path 

by Chris Kappes, Exhibit City News

Column: From the Corner Office


In a world where your thoughts are the architects of your reality, picture waking up every day to a canvas of choices. From the big, life-altering decisions to the smallest everyday preferences, your choices define your unique journey. On my bedside table, you’ll find an inviting orange book titled “YOUR GREATEST POWER” by J. Martin Kohe. It’s a concise yet compelling read that underscores a timeless message: each one of us possesses an extraordinary force—the power of choice. It’s a force that influences our actions, a force that molds our reality. 

Did you know that on average, humans generate a whopping 6,000 thoughts each day? Our thoughts and experiences are our favorite conversation starters. In fact, 60% of our conversations center around our own musings and experiences. In today’s digital age, especially on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, that figure soars to an astonishing 80%. 

Given this, it’s no surprise that marketers have traditionally banked on channels that gently tap our shoulders, interrupting our train of thought to deliver their messages. Consider, for instance, that for every hour of cable television, we willingly allocate 12 minutes to advertisements. But hold on to your seats, because the tides are changing! 

The Choice Revolution: What Modern Buyers Truly Desire 

Modern buyers are no longer content with interruptions; they crave something more exciting—self-selection. Take a moment to think about your everyday experiences in places like retail stores, restaurants, and healthcare facilities. We’re naturally drawn to places where we can choose, where we can cherry-pick what resonates with our desires and aspirations. 

Now, here’s the burning question: Why do marketers still cling to old paradigms of disruption when it’s the era of self-selection that beckons? 

Decoding the Buyer’s Odyssey 

A recent eye-opening study by Gartner unraveled a fascinating insight into the modern buyer’s behavior. Buyers spend about two-thirds of their time in rigorous research, learning, and peer-to-peer conversations, often far from the realm of suppliers. In the intricate dance of commerce, suppliers are awarded a mere 17% of this precious time.  

In a typical scenario with three suppliers, each gets just 5% of the buyer’s valuable attention. 

Events—Magnets of Self-Selection   

And this is where the magic unfolds. In this realm of the choice revolution, events are the magnetic epicenter of self-selection. Show attendees, potential buyers, eagerly invest their time and resources to partake in these events. They come with a purpose, armed with a checklist of questions. They dedicate a substantial 8.3 hours engaging with pre-qualified companies and products. 

But here’s the plot twist: In our world of constant digital noise, it’s still vital for sales and marketing teams to maintain a robust online presence to disseminate information about their products and services. However, the true alchemy of choice happens through personal, hands-on experiences and genuine engagements. After all, we, as humans, learn best by doing, not just by being told. 

Powering the Path Through Experiences 

Experience is the key to the choice revolution. They open doors for individuals to interact, explore, and make well-informed decisions based on their personal preferences. Here’s how these experiences light up the path to self-selection: 

  • Hands-On Interaction: Experiences enable individuals to directly interact with products and services. It’s like test-driving a car or sampling a product, giving a firsthand perspective that empowers choices based on experience. 
  • Emotional Engagement: Memorable experiences tap into our emotions, creating a deep connection to specific products or services. This emotional connection greatly influences self-selection, guiding people to choose what resonates with them on a profound level. 
  • Comparison: Experiences empower individuals to make side-by-side comparisons of multiple options. Be it shopping in a physical store or navigating an event with numerous vendors, this comparison aids in making choices that align with personal preferences. 
  • Feedback and Reviews: Experiences offer the opportunity to collect feedback from fellow individuals who have shared similar experiences. Reviews, recommendations, and testimonials provide valuable insights from peers and experts, further guiding self-selection. 


In today’s ever-evolving marketing landscape, embracing the choice revolution means acknowledging the pivotal role that experiences play in shaping self-selection. It’s about creating opportunities for individuals to engage, explore and make choices that are authentically theirs. After all, the path to discovery is best traveled by doing, not just by being told.  


Chris Kappes is a three-decade executive who has served as CMO, CSO and President of leading event agencies. Kappes is a published author of two trade books, The Noise Behind Business. How to Make Tradeshows Work & How to Master the Art of Selling at Tradeshows co-written with sales expert, Tom Hopkins. Kappes shares his industry experiences and views at conferences and publications like Exhibit City News. His contact information:  kappes52@gmail.com

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