Chapter Leaders Council Spotlight… An Interview with Peter Abraham, CEM, Sr. Business Development Manager, Freeman

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Peter Abraham, CEM, is Sr. Business Development Manager with Freeman and a member of IAEE’s Chapter Leaders Council. Peter has been an IAEE member for 10 years. He recently shared with IAEE his perspective on the advantages of being an IAEE member and what prompted him to take on a leadership role in his local chapter.

How did you get involved in leadership within your chapter?

The company for whom I worked at the time was interested in having a greater presence locally, and sought volunteers to attend IAEE events in the greater Boston area. At the end of one of the presentations, the then-chapter chair made an announcement that they were seeking volunteers to join the board, and it piqued my interest. After learning more about how I could contribute, it was a no-brainer. I’ve loved every minute of being part of IAEE.

What chapter committees do you serve on currently and/or have served on in the past?

I have been part of the Events Committee, Community Service Committee, and have served as Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair.

What have you gotten out of volunteering for your chapter?

Where do I begin? The industry connections and the friends that I have made in these past 10 years are amazing. And in doing so, it’s put me in the position to introduce so many people. I also love the idea of bringing the younger generation in, showing them the ropes and helping to get them started.

How are you fostering future volunteer leaders?

The most important “recruiting tool,” I believe, is in hosting successful events. It entices others to participate. I also love to see the younger generation, who may not initially understand the value of face-to-face, overcome this – and often become our biggest supporters.

What do you find most satisfying about having stepped into a leadership role within your chapter?

Stepping into a leadership role has shown me that I have the ability to impact change. By working with such a diverse, talented board, our educational and networking events, as well as our community service has such a significant impact on not only our membership, but to the community at large.

What is your favorite chapter activity?

My favorite chapter activities are the networking events! I love seeing people of so many different facets of the industry come together and share. I love to see the energy they bring to our events. And I love to see people relax and make those same connections that can only enhance both their personal and professional lives.

What other IAEE Councils, Committees and task forces are you currently involved in aside from your chapter activities?

I’m currently involved in the Member Meet-Up Committee.

Why Are Trade Shows Rarely Talked About at B2B Marketing Events? Why It’s a Problem and What to Do About It.


by Gary Slack

For seven years, from 2009 to 2015, I organized and ran the world’s largest annual business-to-business marketing conference.

Sponsored by the Business Marketing Association, the conference in 2015 drew just over 1,000 B2B marketers from 550 companies, 36 states and 12 nations. At least one-fifth of the attendees were senior directors and above—VPs and CMOs.

Every B2B marketing medium and channel was represented, including vertical business publications, horizontal business newspapers and magazines, pure-play web publishers, online community owners, Google, LinkedIn, database providers, PR and social media purveyors, cable TV networks and software and marketing technology providers galore.

But just two people attended from the trade show industry, one of whom I invited to serve on a panel discussing event trends—a topic that, as a big believer in face-to-face marketing, I made sure was melded into the conference every year I ran it.

To her credit, this person…

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Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Industry Promotion

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Industry Promotion category evaluates ways in which a show grew its audience by identifying new markets. Using creative thinking and new aspects of the show to attract new audiences, this category examines how well the marketing efforts of a show positioned its industry to attract new markets. This category is broken up into two parts: 1) How the show changed to attract a new audience(s) and 2) What marketing initiatives and metrics were used to drive attendee acquisition.

Judging criteria includes: identifying key factors that drove the marketing team to identify a new market segment; metrics used to identify goals and the subsequent marketing initiatives; and how the show changed to accommodate this new market.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Industry Promotion category:

Under 75,000 nsf
Diversified Communications
International Floriculture Expo


The International Floriculture Expo (IFE) is North America’s largest business-to-business trade show for the floral industry, uniting mass market retail buyers with suppliers of fresh cut flowers and products. The show features displays of fresh cut flowers, foliage/potted plants, giftware/accessories, lawn/garden, and floral-related business services. Some of the business categories that IFE attracts include: online retailers, supermarkets and supercenters, independent grocers, retail florists, designers and nurseries.

IFE aimed to find new retailers in smaller segments that still qualified for entry as buyers in the industry.  Promotions included significant online marketing, and also participating in industry initiatives that helped show their attendees and exhibitors that they truly care about their business and the industry.

The impact of the initiative was significant. Several exhibitors remarked that the traffic was the busiest it has been in 10 years. Within months, IFE’s social media presence quadrupled through its paid social campaigns.  Overall, the campaign produced positive reactions including “Excellent show! IFE is the pulse of the floral industry,” from one of its largest buyers.

“The added benefit of our promotion was that the staff at IFE and Diversified Communications as a whole also gained a deeper appreciation for the floral industry,” said Lora Burns, Marketing & Conference Coordinator for International Floriculture Expo. “When we handed out flowers for the Petal It Forward campaign, it was not just the marketing team on IFE but members of Diversified’s other teams – Seafood, Technology, Human Resources, HR – everyone from admins to VPs in the company participated.

“It really brought us together as a company by sharing the joy of flowers, something that helped give everyone an inside look into the work our attendees and exhibitors are so passionate about every day. Our hands-on involvement also really excited exhibitors and attendees – many remarked that they were touched that Diversified cared that deeply about the success of the floral industry, and that we were not just a trade show organizer, but allies in their industry.”

Over 200,001 nsf
Emerald Expositions, LLC
Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2016

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market brings together retailers, manufacturers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of winter outdoor recreation through a winter trade show, a product demo event, print and digital marketing opportunities, and web-based business solutions. Outdoor Retailer Winter Market also provides and promotes retailer education, advocacy, responsibility and face-to-face business initiatives within the outdoor industry.

The Venture Out industry promotion was created by Outdoor Retailer to address the growing urban and lifestyle trend that has influenced and invigorated a modern outdoor movement – a renewed interest in the outdoors, including traditional outdoor pursuits like camping and hiking, all influenced by a fashion aesthetic and driven by a strong social media community. Venture Out was designed to help brands validate the fact that outdoor function does exist in a fashionable solution, while expanding their brand reach to new market segments.

The key brands for this area are more fashion-driven and historically felt excluded from Outdoor Retailer, whose retailers traditionally value function over form. The “outdoor” trend was quickly gaining footing at fashion-driven shows and the Outdoor Retailer team recognized the opportunity early. Brands include Poler, Coal, Miir, Iron & Resin, Freewaters, Topo Designs, etc.

Venture Out was conceived as a way to satisfy and add additional value to our current retailers looking to draw new customers, but also a way to draw buyers from premium boutiques, who hadn’t considered Outdoor Retailer as a part of their buying process.

Venture Out is a show within a show. It is a carefully defined exhibit area with curated exhibitors occupying meticulously outfitted space (both turn-key and raw space options are available). The aesthetic is distinctly “outdoor” with the booths arranged around an open, park-like central community space, but with a modern flair. This concept has proven to be a very effective revenue driver for Outdoor Retailer and has enabled the show to provide new and compelling opportunities to keep our retailers on the leading edge of trend and innovation.

The turn-key booth space option is unique to Venture Out at Outdoor Retailer and allows smaller, less established brands an easy access point to the show. These smaller footprints help increase the overall exhibitor count within a maxed-out floor plan, giving the show an opportunity to grow. Venture Out also gives its retailers the opportunity to grow, with new products and new ideas. It features an on-floor education space where speakers lead idea exchanges that help retailers understand how to present these trends within their stores.

The performance of Venture Out has been highly successful for Outdoor Retailer as it continues to grow. Venture Out initially started out with 17 companies in 2014 and reached 75 participating companies in just two years. Retail goals have also exceeded expectation with not only drawing new buyers from stores that previously not attended Outdoor Retailer, but with the number of existing stores bringing more buyers to shop Venture Out, visiting the area multiple times with strong attendance all days of the show.

“The positive impact of the Venture Out initiative is clear,” said Jennifer Holcomb, Senior Marketing Director at Outdoor Retailer/Emerald Expositions. “As a catalyst for change in the industry, the brands and retailers supporting this area are helping to create a new definition for the industry. As a business model, Venture Out is a proven vehicle to incubate and launch new brands and new trends.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

Say Hello To Your New Best Friend, The Official Services Contractor

First appeared in IAEE’s special quarterly insert of The Meeting Professional Magazine

By Michelle Bruno, MPC
Writer | Content Strategist | Blogger
Technology Journalist | Publisher

In an industry that can appear to be evolving slowly, a lot has changed. While the grid-style floor plans, pipe and drape, and PowerPoint presentations at some events could be candidates for #ThrowbackThursday, new technologies, competitors, and magnets for attendee attention surface daily. As organizers work toward addressing these new realities, they may have an unexpected ally. General services contractors are moving into a new role—that of official services contractor, strategist, collaborator, and investor.

Over the past decade, the lines of business and the strategic role of the general service contractor have expanded, so much so that the leaders in the category now refer to themselves as official services contractors. The initial focus on exhibitor-centric offerings has widened to encompass attendee services. Firms that were previously extensions of the event-operations team have morphed into experiential brand agencies. Strategists and creatives have begun working alongside logisticians.

Although the change has been fairly slow—“It’s a little like watching your kids grow up,” says Aaron Bludworth, CEO of exposition and corporate event service provider, Fern—a number of factors have precipitated the decade-long transition. The continuous barrage of event technology, evolving attendee preferences, competition from digital marketing channels, and desire of organizers to deliver compelling experiences despite limited staffs and budgets created new opportunities for contractors.

Services contractors are keenly aware of the changing requirements from customers and the fact that they are being called upon to provide a broader range of services. “We recognize that we’ve been in the business of providing logistics expertise for a very, very long time, but as we see the world changing and as we see digital and strategy and creative and the experiential part becoming a bigger reason for going to events, we’re pivoting in that direction as well,” says Richard Maranville, Chief Digital Officer of brand experience company, Freeman.

Of all the event–industry stakeholders, services contractors were the likeliest companies to step up. “It’s a natural fit,” Bludworth explains. “The big official services contractors, at least, touch more customers and have more resources that any of the other entities—more than buildings, more than bureaus and other types of specialty contractors,” he says.

Addressing solution overload

“The market is saturated with solution providers,” says Randy Pekowski, President and Chief Operating Officer of exhibition and event services provider, The Expo Group. His firm recently announced the launch of its strategic positioning services, which aim to help organizations navigate the increasingly crowded supplier marketplace. Through strategic mapping exercises, the company performs a deep dive into client objectives, delivers a list of unbiased, neutral recommendations, manages the execution, and measures the results.

In a solution-rich technology landscape, another challenge for event organizers is the tedious job of integrating solutions with one another. Freeman is focusing specifically on the problem. “Instead of taking sort of a one-off approach where you partner with a company, you announce a partnership, but it doesn’t really integrate anything, we’re doing some of the hard work of integrating the offerings, so that a client actually sees the value, and it’s not one plus one equals two. It’s one plus one equals three,” says Maranville.

Helping to energize audiences

Most organizers focus on the experiential as well as the transactional nature of face-to-face meetings. As attendees continue to up the ante on what they consider a worthwhile way to spend their time and budget, event producers are looking for ways to engage them. GES recently announced the acquisition of Poken, a visitor engagement and measurement platform. Fern acquired KiwiLive, a mobile audience engagement solution.

Organizers want contractors to create a certain “think, know, and, feel quality” and tie that into the design, says Richard Maples, Executive Vice President of Shepard Exposition Services. As a result, many official services contractors have increased their investments in audio-visual capabilities, production services, and agency-level creative resources. GES offers its agency event services and GES Marketworks, a strategic marketing consulting group. FreemanXP is a brand-experience agency under the Freeman umbrella and The Expo Group’s Level 5 is an in-house team that provides experiential audience engagement activations.

Lowering the risk of innovation

Not every organization has the budget to test drive new technology. Freeman was one of the first companies to lead with a kind of event-technology-as-a-service strategy. It established Freeman Digital Ventures, a fund to accelerate innovation through investments in sophisticated digital event technology providers. With Freeman as an intermediary, event organizers can circumvent the expense and resource allocation required to select, test, implement, and measure new technologies.

There are other ways for event organizers to access technology at lower price points and risk levels. Some solution providers offer freemium (free at a basic level) access or revenue-share models. Many association management firms invest in technology and allocate the costs and capabilities across their customer portfolios. One innovative contractor recently announced a pay-for-performance pricing model that provides funding for innovation in exchange for participation in the positive results.

Reducing event-data FOMO

All of the discussion around using data to market more effectively, create better experiences, and develop new revenue streams leaves some of the less capable organizers feeling disadvantaged. Official services contractors are helping them assuage this fear of missing out (FOMO) by crunching some of the numbers for them. Fern analyzes data trends from customer events, validates them using publicly available data sources, and provides organizers with a rich, more reliable data set from the event, Bludworth explains.

With its broad range of acquisitions in registration, housing, travel planning, exhibitor services, and attendee engagement, GES has access to a huge supply of event data, which it can deliver to event organizers. “If we can provide greater data about the ROI for exhibitors or insight into the attendee experience, we can help clients develop better go-to-market strategies, attendee engagement programs, and new environments,” explains Chuck Grouzard, Executive Vice President of Exhibition Sales at GES.

Relieving the pinch of a small staff

In many ways, the expanded service offerings from official services contractors are a reflection of the needs of organizers to do more with less, including fewer employees. “Especially with events that travel,” says Richard Maples, “Organizers don’t always have partners in every city. We’re with them as business consultants wherever they go and with whatever they’re doing. It’s also the reason why organizers don’t change official services contractors as often as they do other service providers. It’s a relationship with a large impact.”

While official services contractors can use their expertise and resources help fill in the gaps created by thin staffs, at least one firm has invested in a program that provides contract staff to organizers. Shepard’s “Sandbox Sherpas” offer pre-qualified meeting-industry professionals with specialty skills from show-floor management to marketing and show operations to exhibit sales. “We don’t recommend anyone who doesn’t share the Shepard values,” Maples explains.

Facilitating change management

In the past, services contractors were looked upon as logisticians. Today, they’re viewed as thought leaders. One of the reasons for the shift, says Maples, is that organizers are under pressure to change more quickly than they have in the past. “Ten years ago, we consulted at a surface level. Now we’re getting involved in the core business and working with all the event’s stakeholders. They see us as a way to deliver change at a much faster pace than they could if they were trying to take it on internally.”

The role of the exhibition and meeting planner has also changed in the past decade. Many are required to play a more strategic role in the business. “Planners aren’t just walking around with a checklist anymore. They have to perform more complex tasks, work with multiple vendors, and integrate different platforms and databases. They need partners with a broader range of services and expertise so they can work at a higher level,” says Marsha Flanagan, M.Ed., Vice President of Learning Experiences at the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).

Driving down costs

Richard Maples from Shepard echoes what many services contractors say. When customers allow them to deliver more services, they can offer some economies of scale. “If organizers can align their general service contracting and exhibits portion with me and give me an opportunity to provide marketing, audio-visual, production and entertainment, now my revenue streams have doubled and I can give them a better package.  They might see an additional five to ten percent impact on the budget,” he says.

The digital transformation that is impacting all businesses is also finding its way into the business of services contracting. And it’s helping to lower the costs of producing events. For example, online portals that improve the communication and collaboration between organizers and services contractors and digital products—virtual tours of facilities, web-based floor plans, and all-in-one eLearning platforms, etc.—which result in more process efficiencies, help drive operating costs down.

The new customer view

The way that many organizers see services contractors has changed too. At IAEE’s most recent annual meeting, Expo! Expo!, GES, the official services contractor was integrated into almost every aspect of the show from the development of the trade show floor plan to the design of the general sessions, educational offerings, charity event and the Young Professionals initiative, explains Nicole Bowman, MBA, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at IAEE. “It’s not just about ordering services. These companies are helping organizers extend their brands and enhance their business strategies,” Flanagan adds.

The word “partnership” comes up in a lot of conversations about the new role of services contractors. “Certainly an organizer can benefit from the official services contractor’s vast knowledge and experience, drawing from other shows. However, it is also important for the contractor and the organizer to have a collaborative partnership and customization strategy geared for a show’s unique strategic objectives and characteristics,” says Scott Craighead, CEM, Vice President, Exhibitions and Events at IAEE.

While there are many general service contractors committed to providing exhibitor-focused logistics services, a few in the space have been slowly pulling away from a siloed business model. Instead, they have invested vertically (with more robust capabilities in every line of business) and horizontally (cutting across boundaries and revenue streams) in what they see as the future of a thriving industry just starting to get its digital and experiential mojo. For a full list of official services contractors, visit

About the Author

Michelle Bruno, MPC is a writer, blogger, and technology journalist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She develops content and content strategies for event-industry technology companies at Bruno Group Signature Services ( She writes about event innovation at Fork in the Road blog ( and publishes Event Tech Brief (, a weekly newsletter and website on event technology. She is a former meeting planer and has received both the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified Exhibition Manager (CEM) designations. She holds a Master of Professional Communication (MPC) degree.

More Career Advice Nobody Talks About: Everybody Bombs

Originally posted 9 May 2017 by Lindsey Pollak

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries – in March, it was  backup singers in 20 Feet from Stardom, and this month it’s stand-up comedians in Dying Laughing. (Please send me recommendations of what to stream next!) I love finding career advice in movies, and this doc did not disappoint.

The documentary features a who’s who of famous comics — Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, the late Garry Shandling, Sarah Silverman and many, many more – sharing raw tales of what it takes to succeed.

What I found most fascinating and impressive was that these entertainers who are at the very top of their field were so willing to talk openly about their failures. And while I certainly didn’t think it was easy, I had never fully appreciated the angst and pressure that goes into the career of a stand-up. Comedy is no laughing matter.

Here were some of my favorite career advice takeaways from the film.

Everyone pays their dues

Sure, everyone wants to be the unknown comic who dazzles their first audience and immediately ends up on SNL with no looking back, just as many young professionals yearn for a fast track to the CEO suite. But this rarely happens in any realm.

Garry Shandling tells a story in the film about a newbie comic approaching him to ask “the secret” to bypassing the years of telling mediocre jokes in crappy small town clubs. “I know there’s got to be one,” he says. Shandling shakes his head with a knowing smile and says simply, “There is no shortcut.”

No one is immune from a bad day

The stories the comedians told about bombing were the most powerful, even tear jerking. They talked about bad performances and bad audiences. Material that sounded awesome in front of their mirrors and painfully unfunny when it came out of their mouths onstage. Even Jerry Seinfeld explained how easy it can be to fail: “When you first go on, you start from a dead quiet room full of unhappy people.”

Their tales reminded me that absolutely no one is perfect, and no one is always winning: One day we have an audience or a client who loves us, and the next day we are smacked down. I get it because my experiences as a speaker have also run the gamut. I’ve gotten criticism from some audiences and standing ovations from others. When you first walk into a room, you don’t always know which way the night will end.

The bombs are when you grow

The comedians in Dying Laughing reinforced that bombing has some upside. Every time it happens to you, you get a little better at figuring out what caused the bomb and how to avoid it — or better deal with it — in the future.

The career equivalents of bombing (getting reprimanded, demoted or fired, for example) can occur at any and every stage of your career; what changes over time is how you react and how you recover. “If you come back from the worst bomb of your life, you’ll make it,” notes Keenen Ivory Wayans.

You need your tribe

One of the the film’s most powerful moments comes when comedian Royale Watkins tearfully tells the story of the worst night of his career (the short version of the story is that he bombed in front of basketball star Michael Jordan), and how it all turned around when the late Bernie Mac supported him through it.

A bad day yields the tendency to hide in our shell and eat ice cream, but this film is a good reminder that you should do the exact opposite and reach out to someone who knows your pain. No matter what your career field, it’s critical to have mentors, friends and colleagues. You can benefit from a friend’s tale of a similar woe or even just a listening ear and reminder that you’re not alone — even if your career involves standing by yourself on a stage in front of thousands of people.

Hearing these luminaries share their bombs underscored another truth: Sharing stories of the tough times becomes a strength; it makes you more approachable and authentic. So next time I bomb at a speaking gig, I think I’ll give Jerry Seinfeld a call…

What have been some takeaways you’ve had about bombing? Remember what I said about the importance of sharing with others, and let us all know in the comments below!

Four Easy Steps To Make Your Registration Data Work For You

Originally posted on June 7, 2017 from TSNN Blog

By: JD Hawley

Throughout the registration process of an event, show management has the opportunity to collect an incredible amount of data about their show’s attendees. This data – registration and attendance patterns, demographics, region and registration classification – is a rich source of information.

Taking data and making it work for you is about more than just capturing information. Data needs to be analyzed and used to produce a successful event.

With so much data available, making decisions about what to do with it can be a daunting challenge. Where do you begin?

Image result for data shutterstock

Before you can create and implement a data strategy, partner with a registration company that goes beyond data collection. A great partner provides advice, offers data analysis tools, and provides user-friendly reports that help you with the following steps:

1.  Determine your event goals 

Deciding what you want to do with the data is the first step in developing a solid data strategy. Before diving too deep into the mechanics of data collection, decide what event problems you want to solve or enhanced value you are looking to create. Are your goals to create new sessions, develop new content or increase traffic in your expo hall? With this information, decisions can be made on the category and timeframe of data needed to fulfill these event goals.

2.  Identify and consolidate your data and its sources

Identify all the pieces of data you need and where each data element lives, typically in membership or CRM systems, registration company databases or with housing vendors. Evaluate each system for its potential reporting, analytics and marketing capabilities, and then consolidate the data for easier analysis. By integrating and consolidating data, you will see and understand attendees and their behavior.

3.  Analyze your data

Having a flexible analytics tool is necessary in order to interpret your consolidated data. Analyzing broad-based attendee behavior provides more than just a marketing benefit. The information can also be used for your event planning decisions and to provide a rich event experience for your attendees. Data analytics can help identify your next venue, evaluate sessions and conferences to draw more attendees, assist with exhibitor sales and attendee marketing, and find sponsorship opportunities.

4.  Personalize your marketing campaigns 

Personalization helps create a deeper connection with your target audience and is the foundation of a successful event. Identify attendee attributes and habits such as attendance history, purchasing power, location and educational objectives. Then, design targeted marketing campaigns around those specific interests. For example, from your data, you learn that a segment of attendees with high purchasing power registered for a particular session. Use this information to create a targeted campaign to upsell a related session to that segment.

Creating a comprehensive data strategy allows you to use the information collected to create strategies and achieve your event goals. Most important, a comprehensive data strategy and effective analysis help you evaluate ways to increase attendance and exhibitor ROI through an enhanced event experience.

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Exhibit Sales Brochure/Prospectus

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Exhibit Sales Brochure/Prospectus category evaluates a single sales piece targeting potential exhibitors for a show. It is important to note this category does not include any print advertising, which has its own category. Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity; clarity of information and content usefulness; and how well the piece met its intended goals.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Exhibit Sales Brochure/Prospectus category:

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Frank Strategic Marketing
HPBExpo 2016


The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo is North America’s largest indoor-outdoor living showcase. Every year, over 350 leading hearth, patio and barbecue manufacturers and suppliers exhibit and demonstrate their latest home heating solutions; grills, grilling accessories and fully-equipped outdoor kitchens; casual patio furniture and outdoor accents; water and landscape features; all-weather entertainment products and more. It’s also a one-stop-shop for retailers nationwide to find not only the latest products for their showrooms, but also the latest services and technologies for their companies.

HPBExpo was seeking to position not only the show itself, but also the location (Atlanta) as vibrant and exciting. The goal was to create a highly non-traditional and dramatic campaign by making a bold statement that the show is not to be missed. All of the brand imagery was contemporary and cutting-edge to dovetail with the increasing sophistication of the outdoor living marketplace itself.

The brochure centered on the theme, “Your Products. Their Dreams.” It was specifically designed to be visually stunning (including the paper stock), as it was one of just a handful of print marketing pieces for the show, compared to the vast majority of the campaign being digital. The goal was to push the boundaries as much as possible to achieve maximum impact.

Over 200,001 nsf
Fixation Marketing
2016 NAHB International Builders’ Show

The International Builders’ Show (IBS) is the world’s largest annual residential and light construction show, attracting 60,000+ building industry professionals from 100 and featuring 1,400 manufacturers and suppliers in more than 300 product categories. IBS showcases the latest products, materials and technologies involved in all types of buildings – including wood, concrete, stone and brick.

The show features The New American Home (NAHB’s show home) which highlights new products and techniques. IBS also offers innovative education with 130+ sessions in eight tracks, taught by renowned building industry experts from across the country. The show has plenty of networking opportunities including the House Party, Spike Concert and The Centrals – hubs for programs, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

An aggressive goal of 500,000 net square feet of exhibit space was set for the 2016 International Builders’ Show® (IBS) exhibit sales team. To meet this number, the exhibit sales prospectus had to accomplish the following: entice former exhibitors to return to IBS; convince those prospects that had yet to commit to IBS that 2016 is the year to do so; and encourage loyal customers to take bigger space. NAHB needed to illustrate that IBS is a dynamic, exciting place to get business done – a “can’t be missed” event – and the theme “Raise the Roof” helped to tell that story well.

As a result, the IBS exhibit sales team reached its goal of 500,000 net square feet, filling in the space with exhibitors from all tree targets: former exhibitors; prospects that had yet to commit; and loyal customers with bigger space.

“Our key objective was to speak to the growing optimism within the industry after a challenging stretch of time and convey that the show was bursting with opportunities for exhibitors to boost leads, sales and brand awareness,” said Megan Campbell, Vice President of Client Services & Strategy. “We worked to design a visually arresting concept that had flexibility and a spirited tone.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

2017’s Hottest Trends in Promotional Apparel

Originally posted by 4imprint 1 May 2016

Clothing trends come and go. The same holds true for promotional apparel: What’s hot today may be replaced by something more colourful, stylish or full-featured tomorrow. What promotional wear is on-trend this year? We’ll show you the latest styles, so you can put them to work in your organization.

Rock a retro look for 2017 promotional apparel

Just like the remakes hitting movie theatres and playlists. The biggest splash in promotional wear is a retro-inspired. The 2017 versions of retro-inspired headwear and shirts give a nod to yesteryear but add a stylish modern twist.

The “dad” hat

Tops among retro-inspired looks is the “dad hat.” While previously associated with unhip fathers everywhere, this look is making a comeback among the cool kids!

To pair this look with your brand, try the Prestige Two-Tone Cap. The two-tone colour scheme gives a retro vibe while organic cotton material and a unique flip buckle give it contemporary class.

Want to kick your promo up a bit? Grab the New Era® Stretch Mesh Contrast Stitch Cap. It features Spacer Mesh panels for extra ventilation and a stretch fit for perfect sizing.

The ringer tee

If you want a retro-inspired look, but prefer promotional shirts, try the ringer tee. Once reserved for baseball and softball, these shirts are now popping up at community events, trade shows and team-building outings.

To connect this look with your organization, check out the Canvas 3/4 Sleeve Triblend Baseball Tees. Though it looks vintage, its sizing and styling are completely modern.

Likewise, the Euro Spun Cotton Baseball Tee provides the perfect canvas for your brand. This shirt is made of 100% combed and ring-spun cotton, making it both super-soft and super-comfortable.

Go high-tech for 2017 promotional apparel

If the retro-inspired look doesn’t suit your brand, take a high-tech approach to promotional apparel. Technical fabrics add a contemporary twist to traditional promotional apparel, offering benefits from stain-repelling treatments to performance-enhancing styles.

Repel stains with high-tech promotional apparel

Nothing spoils a workday faster than a spill, especially when your team members are meeting with customers, exhibiting at a tradeshow or speaking to a service club or community group. That’s what makes the stain-repelling Foundation Teflon® Treated Cotton Shirt so popular.

Add moisture-wicking features in your branded shirts

When your team is required to do some heavy lifting as part of their day-to-day roles, the stay-cool powers of moisture-wicking fabrics are ultra-appealing. In these cases, choose moisture-wicking custom logo apparel such as the Concourse Performance Roll Sleeve Shirt.

Choose sun-protecting fabrics to help employees stay safe in the sun

For employees who spend their days in the rays, turn to the Columbia Stain Release UPF 50 Performance Shirt. Not only does this fishing-style shirt repel stains and wick moisture away, the high-performance fabric also repels water and has sun protection built in.

Modern promotional apparel gives your brand a boost

When you want to be sure your brand has an au courant look, pay attention to the promotional hats and branded shirts you choose. These are two of the five most impression-generating promotional products. When you choose a modern style for these, you help create an ‘of-the-minute’ impression that customers will see again and again.

Like what you see?! IAEE Members – receive a 10% discount PLUS 24 hour shipping here.

Source: 2017’s Hottest Trends in Promotional Apparel

F2F: The Killer App in B2B


by Ruth Stevens

I was teaching B2B digital marketing in Buenos Aires recently, and found some of my students to be dismayed by one data point that came up again and again in the course:  Of all tactics in the B2B marketing toolkit, the most valued, the most used and the most effective is face-to-face events. It’s not digital, except tangentially.  But, year after year, events like conferences and trade shows consistently show up at the top of the list.  Why, and what does that mean for us marketers?

Interestingly, my savvier students got it immediately.  They intuitively understood the power of face to face in B2B marketing.  “Business buying is done through relationships,” said one.  Bingo.

It’s all about personal connections.  Business buyers buy from people they know and trust. Business buying is based on people as much as it is on specifications and product requirements.  Even when we…

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Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Email Promotion Campaign

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Email Promotion Campaign category evaluates a series of email messages disseminated to distinct target audiences in order to promote and/or inform interested parties about a show. Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity; how well each individual email applies to its target audience; clarity of pertinent information, overall message and content usefulness; how well the email met its intended goals; and effectiveness of the email in terms of audience response.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Email Promotion Campaign category:

Under 75,000 nsf
Ontario Hospital Association

The signature conference and exhibition of the Ontario Hospital Association for over 90 years, HealthAchieve is an award-winning event that has long been one of the largest and most respected health care events in North America – the preeminent gathering place for health care and business leaders. HealthAchieve continues to inspire ideas and innovation by providing global health care and business leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to learn from each other, share their ideas and evolve their perspectives.

The event targets two distinct audiences: prospective attendees and potential exhibitors. The prospective attendees are made up of international health care and business leaders. The potential exhibitors are made up of medical suppliers and commercial vendors from across the globe. HealthAchieve provides the platform for unlimited networking opportunities between the two distinct audiences, and would not be the distinguished event that it is without ample participation from both.

Building on HealthAchieve’s theme of inspiring ideas and innovation, the goal of one of the campaign’s email was to showcase the show’s four keynote speakers to inspire prospective attendees with their stories to secure registrations. With such a broad audience of health care and business professionals, the objective was to capture the attention of each unique individual by differentiating the genre of the speakers as thought leaders, visionaries and creative minds. This email had a 26% open rate and received 271 clicks, representing a 5% click-to-open rate. A total of 50 contacts registered from this email, which helped secure a total registration of 6,364 attendees.

Another email was targeted to potential exhibitors, with the goal of securing more exhibitor contracts. The objective and design intent of this email was for potential exhibitors to understand that their most profitable return on investment would be realized if they attended HealthAchieve. This email garnered a 27% open rate, with over half as unique opens. The email drew 10 new exhibitors, helping secure a total of 231 exhibitor contracts.

“HealthAchieve offers a diverse range of health care professionals an opportunity to step out of their daily work environment,” said Craig Swatuk, Director, Brand Strategy and Marketing. “And we’re continually seeking new ways to express that experience, offering unique perspectives on health care.”

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Frank Strategic Marketing
HPBExpo 2016

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo is North America’s largest indoor-outdoor living showcase. Every year, over 350 leading hearth, patio and barbecue manufacturers and suppliers exhibit and demonstrate their latest home heating solutions; grills, grilling accessories and fully-equipped outdoor kitchens; casual patio furniture and outdoor accents; water and landscape features; all-weather entertainment products and more. It’s also a one-stop-shop for retailers nationwide to find not only the latest products for their showrooms, but also the latest services and technologies for their companies.

The show’s email promotion campaign was created to build attendance by combining the appeal of New Orleans as a top destination city with event-centric brand messaging. Specifically, the creative branding features New Orleans typography and iconography, intertwined with hard-hitting benefit-driven messaging.

As a result, HPBExpo was named as one of TSNN’s 2016 top 25 fastest-growing shows in the United States in attendance. Aside from the prior year’s show in Nashville, attendance beat all other HPBExpo shows in the past five years.

Over 200,001 nsf
CTIA Super Mobility 2016

Powered by CTIA, Super Mobility is North America’s largest and most influential forum for mobile innovation. A convergence of the leading authorities in the connected life all under one roof, CTIA provides professionals from across the mobile landscape (retail, enterprise IT, connected life, etc.) with unparalleled opportunities to hear the latest developments from top executives and entrepreneurs; see first-hand the next generation of technology shaping the future wireless such as 5G, IoT and security/privacy; and to network with fellow thought leaders. Unlike other events, CTIA is the backbone of the mobile industry – where the new technology and innovation emerges, before they are even translated into consumer products. It’s also perfectly timed for planning next year’s strategic roadmap and to jumpstart planning for the coming year.

The email campaign promoted the theme “Everything Wireless” by telling the story that CTIA Super Mobility 2016 did not just represent a piece of the wireless industry; rather it encompassed EVERYTHING from start to finish. Messaging focused on the content around the show floor, conference and keynote programming. At the peak of the campaign, an email called “Technology Starts Here” tied it all together by taking the reader on a journey through the show floor from where technology STARTS (research, discovery, mobile innovation) to where technology ends (a consumer product on retail shelves). The campaign averaged an open rate of 18 percent and clicks averaged 6 percent.

“We are so fortunate to work with clients like Heather Lee Landers, formerly of CTIA and now the Executive Vice President of AUVSI, who trust us with their brands and have challenged us to take their event campaigns to the next level,” said mdg President Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes. “I’m also grateful to our collaborative team of designers, copywriters and digital marketers who are creating the kind of attention-grabbing, design-forward, emotionally-appealing work that was once reserved for consumer marketing.”

Co-owner and Live Events Specialist Vinnie Polito echoed those sentiments, adding, “I take great pride in these awards and even greater pride in the results that the work has helped our clients achieve. Thank you, IAEE, for recognizing marketing and design excellence in our industry.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.