Events are a Means to an End

CEIR Blog

by David Nour

I spend a lot of time at industry events. In addition to speaking over fifty times a year, I often attend events to spend time with my clients or to recharge my batteries and seek out new ideas. But here’s one thing that sets me apart from many others: I always have a specific set of objectives for each event.

Surprisingly, many organizers, producers, and suppliers to the events industry lose sight of the reasons that attendees, exhibitors or sponsors participate. By this I mean that many events do not work hard enough to help their stakeholders fulfill their desired strategic business goals.

Here are the three dominant reasons I perceive that organizations participate. As you consider this list, ask yourself what more you could do to facilitate the fulfilment of these objectives:

Create new relationships within a specific category: Too often, employees come back from an…

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Events: We Love You. You’re Perfect. Now Change!

CEIR Blog

by Carl Landau

Post-event, if you did your job, everyone is high on love: Loved the program! The speakers rocked! You did great!

It’s a Kudos Fest.

But, let’s admit, it, not every single attendee is always completely happy. Sure, you strive for that, but it’s realistic to assume you will not please every single person every time.

So you read the evals (most are favorable) and file them.

Then, typically, you dust off those evals again when you are beginning to create new programming (about eight months out for an annual event), looking at what you did last year. You’ll look at the evals and your team’s notes, and start filling in the educational slots and networking opportunities.

But suddenly you notice something. When you looked at the evaluations the first time, most were positive. Sure, there were a few nay-sayers and a suggestion or two, but in general attendees seem to have really liked you and your event.

But did they really?

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The Importance of a Personal Touch

CEIR Blog

by Jessica Finnerty

In this day and age, most everything in our lives is “experience driven.” We live in a world where everything is tailored and personalized to appeal to our specific interests. This is especially true in the trade show universe.

With technology providing more and more options that negate the necessity for face-to-face interaction, the best way to keep your show relevant is to connect with your attendees and make it feel personal. Give them an experience that is more than just the show–something that resonates on a deeper level.

My show is in the automotive sector, specializing in products and services for your car after it has left the dealer lot. And while I love my show dearly, I will be the first to admit that it can be a bit dry. So a few years ago, when we first started trying to brainstorm ways to make our…

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Should an Event Owner Always be Ready for a Sale?

CEIR Blog

by Toni Corvi Piela

Should an event owner “always be ready for a sale?” If so, what does that entail?

When the Reed Exhibitions’ corporate development team engages with event organizers about a potential acquisition, it’s always interesting to see how wide eyed some get (and understandably so) when the due diligence process is explained. The request lists for financial, legal and commercial due diligence can seem overwhelming. But in reality we can help simplify the process, and once the information is pulled together the seller often learns a lot more about its business as well.

Should an event owner always be ready for a sale? Our answer is emphatically, “Yes,”  because we are always looking to partner with great event organizers to add to the Reed Exhibitions portfolio. Also the process of doing due diligence on a business can be highly advantageous even, if the event is never sold. At…

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5 Steps to Take NOW to Make 2017 and Beyond a Success

CEIR Blog

by David Saef

With summer in full swing, state fairs and music festivals in full force, and many of us heading to the beach, the woods, or the mountains with a good book or Pokemon Go, it is easy to check out mentally. Yet this is the most important time of the year! Why? First, you have less than five months left to achieve your 2017 goals; about five weeks left to finalize your 2018 budget; and 15 days or so to update your strategy, change out staffing, or tweak your programs before Labor Day comes, and the focus shifts to day-to-day execution.

To save you time, here are my top five steps to maximize performance (and get you back to leisure activities):

  1. Benchmark and change. If you are an organizer, compare your events’ results to the CEIR Index: your attendee growth, exhibitor growth, square footage growth, and overall revenue change. If your show is lagging, ask yourself: Do I have…

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Death of the Trade Show Channel? Don’t Count on It….

CEIR Blog

by Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Senior Research Director, CEIR

Ok, I’m putting my stake in the ground, I’m saying it: face-to-face marketing is alive and well. CEIR research does not find cracks in the power of face-to-face marketing. If anything, the rise of digital has offered tremendous opportunity for face-to-face marketing settings, trade shows in particular, to survive and thrive in the digital age. Temporary market places that deliver the right mix of buyers and sellers that fulfill the objectives for participating on both sides of the equation (attendees and exhibitors) are poised to do well. Those that get lazy, assume they know their audiences and fall into the ‘same old’ rut and do not experiment with integrating digital into the experience; well, they are poised to have their lunch eaten.

My assertion is not based on emotion, but on a bedrock of CEIR research findings. CEIR offers different reports that…

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Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Social Media Campaign

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Social Media Campaign category evaluates the collective use of social media channels to effectively promote a show before, during and after the event. Judging criteria includes: content appeal and usefulness; effectiveness of distribution and target audience engagement; target audience response; how well the campaign correlates with the overall “theme” of the show; how well the social media campaign met its intended goals; and how well the social media drove attendance, general show awareness and overall brand awareness.

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

Under 75,000 nsf
Ontario Hospital Association
HealthAchieve

The signature conference and exhibition of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) 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.

Read the complete case study about how OHA won not only in this category, but took the overall Best of Show prize for last year’s Art of the Show Competition with this entry here.

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
mdg
SuperZoo

SuperZoo is the largest pet industry trade show in North America, with a more than 60-year history of helping pet retailers and service professionals discover new products, find amazing deals, learn how to build their businesses and connect with others who share their passion for pets. SuperZoo started out as a modest, regional trade show but has grown tremendously over the past decade, since moving to Las Vegas in 2004. SuperZoo 2016 marked the biggest SuperZoo in history, with the most exhibitors, buyers and education hours of any pet industry event in North America. SuperZoo has long been known as the event for the independent pet retailer, but it is also well-attended by pet service professionals and groomers, international buyers and corporate buyers interested in expanding their presence in the consumer pet market. SuperZoo exhibitors include distributors and manufacturers of products for cats, dogs, reptiles, aquatic animals, birds and more, as well as companies offering retail-specific services.

SuperZoo’s audience is highly social, therefore a variety of tactics was used to encourage them to engage before and during the show. The primary goals were to increase followers, and drive registrations and onsite verification. With audience acquisition in mind, mdg developed a paid Facebook campaign that mixed boosted posts and events with targeted ads to build SuperZoo’s follower base and drive attendance. Recognizing the importance of Instagram as a platform, they also sought to build this audience.

The 2016 social media campaign was a huge success, with a 23 percent increase in Facebook likes, a 58 percent increase in Twitter followers and a 106 percent increase in Instagram followers. Facebook remained the most popular platform and views and engagement peaked during the show, with users frequenting the page multiple times per day to see what was going on onsite and what they should make time to see. The efforts to build the Instagram audience also paid off with a 151 percent increase in likes over 2015.

The campaign also went to great lengths to get the sort of exclusive, visual content that drives engagement. In the weeks leading up to SuperZoo, a hashtag campaign was run asking people to download a #SZ16 sign and share photos for a repost which featured big-name speakers on successive “takeover Mondays.” This takeover campaign resulted in 68 clicks to registration and had a reach of 33,725 people. They also promoted a #WPAGoodWorks photo contest where followers posted photos of their business doing good works in their community for a chance to win a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

Once onsite, SuperZoo utilized Facebook Live and the new Instagram Stories feature (which came out while the show was happening!) to provide relatable, unscheduled content at exciting moments – show floor pan from a cherry picker, anyone? A Facebook Live post featuring a birds-eye view of the show floor was the campaign’s most successful piece of content, organically reaching 45,617 people, resulting in 1,780 likes, comments and shares and 3,931 post clicks.

The paid advertising campaign had a combined reach of more than 150,000. Facebook’s robust audience-building parameters allowed the campaign to target a highly qualified group of prospects (the difference between dog walker and dog lover is huge for SuperZoo!) and drove nearly 140 registrations at a cost less than one-third the industry average.

According to mdg president, Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, “Our digital team took SuperZoo’s social to a fun new place, not typically seen in B2B marketing. We used Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to leverage the power of social influence, drive engagement through highly visual posts, AND get the community excited about the charitable initiatives being doing by and for the communities served.”

Account Director Elena Lien echoed those sentiments, adding, “I take great pride in these IAEE awards and even greater pride in the results we’ve achieved by serving as an extension of World Pet Association’s marketing team.”

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.

Movie Theaters as B2B Event Venues: The Next Big Thing?

CEIR Blog

by Trisha Richards

Meetings are to exhibitions as cheeses are to wines: complementary stimuli that enhance the participant experience.

With countless exhibitions incorporating education and entertainment as part of the proceedings, exhibition organizers must also consider meeting venues as auxiliary spaces in which to hold supporting events.

Convention centers, of course, offer  plenty of meeting rooms, as do adjacent hotels. But these don’t always fit the bill, when it comes to providing the novelty and excitement today’s attendees crave.

That’s where an alternative space like a movie theater comes in.

Dyson discovers movie theaters

Chris Laidlaw, Dyson Canada’s national product training manager, is responsible for coordinating Dyson Academy, his company’s annual nationwide road tour at which new products are demonstrated to associates from several prominent retailers.

Within a four-month period, he and his small team of six travel to 11 cities across the country and host identical presentations to groups of 200 or more audience members. Collaborating with a venue…

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Recent Facebook Changes Mean More Opportunities for Event Marketers

CEIR Blog

by Elizabeth Johnson

Facebook now has 2 billion users, which means it’s a pretty powerful tool for event marketers. In recent weeks Facebook has been busy making changes to a number of areas that affect organizations using its business functions—as many as 12 in June alone, by some accounts. Here’s a look at two of those changes and how they could make you an event marketing superhero.

Cover Photos are No Longer Just Photos—Facebook is rolling out a feature that allows marketers to use a video in place of the static cover photo on business pages. The videos can be 20-90 seconds and will automatically play when a user visits the page. Users can choose to unmute the sound.

According to Facebook’s statement, “By making cover video available, we want to help you create more engaging interaction and drive more rich experience for your audience by letting you spotlight your…

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Is the Events Industry Disruption-Resistant?

CEIR Blog

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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