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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.

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