Is the Events Industry Disruption-Resistant?


by Michael Hart

The shopping center industry is the latest disrupted business model that events can learn from. According to a research report from Credit Suisse, 25 percent of today’s malls will close by 2020.

What makes us think 25 percent of our shows won’t exist in their present form in three years?

The fall of the traditional shopping center is pushed along by the demise of brick-and-mortar retailing. The same Credit Suisse report tells us that, by 2030, 35 percent of all apparel in the US will be purchased online, up from 17 percent today.

What makes us think our attendees won’t be finding twice as many of the products and services they need somewhere besides our exhibit halls in 15 years?

Even an automotive warhorse like Ford last month replaced its CEO because he was not moving fast enough to take advantage of self-driving cars and the sharing…

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Autonomous Vehicles @ Events


by Scott Schenker

The relationship we have with our cars is the stuff of legend. In fact, Sir William Lyons, one of the founders of Jaguar Cars, said, “The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something alive.”

Schenker 1While I can’t imagine how Sir Lyons would feel about today’s technology, I know many who are more emotionally attached to their cars than they are other humans.

Breaking that bond will be difficult.

But the opposite is true of work vehicles. You don’t often see Facebook post of friends with the fork lift they restored.

The disruption brought about by autonomous vehicles will be felt in work vehicles before it become the norm in personal and leisure vehicles. And there are plenty of opportunities for that disruption at events and convention centers.

At one recent event, there were 150 vendors whose only job was to drive: a forklift, cart, truck, bus, garbage…

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Maximizing the Value Attendees Get From Your Event


by Don Peppers

As a business author and professional speaker “living mouth to hand” (as Winston Churchill once described the speaking circuit), over the last 20 years I’ve made presentations in 63 different countries. Which means I have personally had a ring-side, up-close view of literally hundreds of conventions, conferences, and single-company events–big and small, some with trade shows and some without, some open-enrollment and some single-company, both exciting and boring, entertaining and academic.

What I’ve observed is that events are great places to meet interesting people and broaden your own perspective. In fact, without a doubt in my mind, this is the single most valuable benefit attendees get–a broadened perspective and access to new connections. Because when it comes to generating innovative ideas, there really is no substitute for person-to-person interaction.

Economist Leonard Read once used an ordinary wooden pencil to make a fundamental argument about the nature of…

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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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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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Association Organizer, What If Your Attendees Stopped Coming?


by Bob James and Michael Hatch

Brick-and-mortar chain store owners everywhere are sweating “the retail apocalypse.” Traffic is abysmal. Sales have tanked. Stores are vanishing (over 8,600 are predicted to close this year). Job losses, bankruptcies and liquidations are legion. A tidal wave of disruption is shaking retailers to the core.

Could an “apocalypse” beset association shows, as well?

To be sure, brick-and-mortar retail is not going away—and neither are shows. But the lessons retailers are learning apply to any business that depends on foot traffic.

Let’s look at just one.

Lesson: the wounds are self-inflicted

Disruptors like Amazon, of course, have captured tons of retail market share. “But much of what ails [traditional] retail is self-inflicted,” says retail consultant Steven Dennis.

“Retailers’ organizational silos get in the way of delivering an experience that is unified across channels and touch-points,” Dennis says. “Traditional players’ reluctance to move away from one-size-fits-all marketing strategies fail…

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Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Convention Center Promotion

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Convention Center Promotion category evaluates promotion of a convention center using any marketing channel. Judges take into consideration all marketing components used and how effectively they correlate as a promotion campaign on behalf of the convention center.

Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity of the campaign; whether the information presented effectively communicates the convention center’s offerings; how each marketing component contributes to the overall campaign and how skillfully it was applied in its individual context; how user-friendly the component is to an interested party; and how well the campaign met its intended goals.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winner of last year’s Convention Center Promotion category. (Special note: show sizes do not apply to this category.)

Orange County Convention Center – Orlando
Experience the New Orange Campaign

The award-winning Orange County Convention Center, located in the heart of Orlando’s Convention Center District and only fifteen minutes from the Orlando International Airport, provides a multitude of event options in two beautifully appointed buildings with 2.1 million square feet of exhibit space. The West Concourse showcases tropical atriums, skylights and inviting courtyards. With distinctive architecture and tropical ambiance, the North/South Concourses are designed for flexibility and functionality, featuring a dramatic 1,500-foot Oversight Pedestrian Bridge with moving sidewalks leading to the West Concourse. The Convention Center is surrounded by 116,000 guestrooms, including over 5,000 directly connected to the facility by pedestrian bridge. A broad offering of show management and exhibitor services, ranging from catering to telecommunications, are considered the finest in the convention industry.

The Orange County Convention Center’s (OCCC) Marketing department has developed numerous promotional resources and continues to assist Center sales staff in sharing information about campus improvements and updates to meeting planners. In fiscal year 2015-16, the OCCC’s marketing efforts centered on digital media with traditional print and advertising also playing a fundamental role. The Experience the New Orange Marketing Campaign was shared on multiple platforms to ensure all meeting planners knew the latest Center happenings.

“The Orange County Convention Center strives to be an industry leader across the board, including in our promotional and marketing resources,” said Yulita Osuba, Deputy Director of the Orange County Convention Center. “We know the convention industry is a competitive one and we’re happy our Experience the New Orange campaign resonated with so many meeting planners and attendees.”

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.

Boring Exhibitor Sales Brochures


by Jim Curry

I am neck deep in exhibitor sales brochures at the moment. That involves reading endless exhibition statistics, questionable exhibitor testimonials, and vomit-inducing openers from organizers.

It is a very boring and predictable process, because 85% of them are templated tosh.

When reading the brochures, you can normally tell quite quickly the 15% of marketing teams that are trying to up their game and the other 85% who are just updating the previous years’ copy and taking instruction from very shouty event directors.

(Message to the 15%: Nice one, loving your work!)

The exhibitor sales brochure has been around for years and, although the layouts and graphics have undoubtedly improved, the format and tone have remained pretty much unchanged over the years and across the sectors:

“The must-attend event for the industry,” said a faceless sales exec.

‘A great place to meet all the relevant people under one roof,”…

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Hosting the Perfect Event


by Carl Landau

As a seasoned veteran in the niche event world, I’ve pretty much seen it all. What event organizers should do, mistakes to avoid, and most importantly—how to generate more revenue!

I recently sat down with Magnificent Media’s Dave Reimherr for a podcast about live event management for niche publishers. We talked about how to go from thee sponsors at your first event to 20 at your next event, estimating attendee turnout months in advance, and more.

Here are a few of my tricks and tips discussed in the podcast:

  1. What to charge attendees? Consult a circle of industry advisers before you start to determine the right price point.
  2. Seek out top speakers. Speakers that approach you are usually not as good as they may seem.
  3. Provide solid networking opportunities at your events. Networking is much more than parties – done right, networking offers meaningful connections with peers, and a great opportunity to create a core group for advice, support and new…

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4 Trends Disrupting Events


by Michael Barnett

Virtual reality, drones, artificial intelligence, big data, live streaming, the list of buzzwords “revolutionizing events” is endless, and therefore meaningless.  If everything is a threat to the events industry, then nothing is. But here are four trends indisputably affecting events:

Isolation. Instead, consider that a majority of Americans do not have someone they trust to call in a crisis.  The British found it better to be separate from Europe than united.  And lastly, over half a million Japanese young adults do not leave their home for weeks.  We do not have to wonder whether the events industry should grow.  People desperately need events to connect and form meaningful relationships.

Look at SXSW, CES, Burning Man; these events do something special to elevate themselves from the mundane to be inspiring, and captivating.   They attract the most engaged and engaging, thrill seeking, and thrilling, the most valuable, and…

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