The Power of Advocacy and Why You Need to Get Involved

Originally published by Trade Show Executive September 2017 Edition

In July, I wrote about our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill during the fourth annual Exhibitions Day. Let me start by emphasizing once again how important advocacy is and why you should get involved. The exhibitions and events industry contributed more than $80 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2016. There are exhibitions in all 50 states and the industry sees more than 33 million attendees at business-to-business shows with 1.35 million exhibiting companies. The exhibitions industry is a force to be reckoned with and through advocacy, we continually beat the drum that exhibitions mean business. Out of the success of Exhibitions Day, Global Exhibitions Day was born and now takes place with more than 75 countries participating in activities to promote the exhibitions industry.

During the 2017 Exhibitions Day on June 6-7 in Washington, D.C., attendees met with U.S. representatives to emphasize the importance of fair and free trade, raise awareness for the economic power of trade shows and discuss specific issues that are directly impacting the industry’s ability to conduct business. These issues included Protecting Brand USA; Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act – H.R. 1265; Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI); and Stop Online Booking Scams Act – H.R. 2495 and S. 1164.

On July 18, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY18 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, which noted the redirection of Brand USA would not be supported. The bill is currently on the House floor.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a funding boost for the Department of Transportation (DOT) in July, which includes raising the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from $4.50 to $8.50. The bill will move to the full U.S. House.

The Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI) is in its final iteration with a targeted completion date of early October. Once completed, hundreds of convention centers will be requesting certification from the DHS SAFETY Act Office – a significant undertaking that would require immense time and resources.

Since Exhibitions Day, 20 additional Members of Congress have agreed to co-sponsor H.R. 2495 and S. 1164.

It is important to also note that 2017 attendees told me and staff that these representatives and their office staff remembered our group. This is key because as you know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Stay tuned this fall for additional efforts by the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign including a post-Exhibitions Day advocacy strategy that includes ways to contact Members of Congress regarding the issues we addressed this past June. Also mark your calendars for the 2018 Exhibitions Day taking place on June 6.

Equally important is the work we do on the state level. In August, the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign exhibited at the National Conference of State Legislatures which saw more than 1,000 staffers from all 50 states. The campaign is heavily involved with destination management organizations (DMOs) when the issue of discriminatory legislation is put forth during state sessions, most recently in Texas.

I will leave you with this final thought. We all have a responsibility to promote the value of face-to-face events. Whether you join me on Capitol Hill each June, have an event focused outside the US for Global Exhibitions Day, or simply post information on social media about exhibitions, it is vital to keep the positive message going that Exhibitions Mean Business! Visit for blogs, advocacy toolkits and quarterly campaign reports.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO





Make Marketing Magic with These 4 Fundamentals

Originally published by 4imprint 31 July 2017

How to best market your organization may seem like a mystery. Maybe you’re in charge of a large marketing team. Or maybe you’re the wizard behind the curtain doing it all: making trash disappear, conjuring leads, and casting spells on customers (tasks we non-wizards like to call marketing). Let’s face it, the Wizard of Oz® was just a normal, enterprising guy with access to cool technology. But he knew how to market himself, and knowing those skills is how you make magic.

If the marketing magic depends on you, it’s time to study the book of tricks. In this day and age, not marketing is simply not an option. Without a rabbit or two to pull out of your hat, your organization is likely to vanish into the thin air.

Starting your marketing journey

If you’re thinking, “Advertising, social media and personalized promotional products, oh my!” it’s time to find the wizard within. Put on your ruby slippers, Dorothy, this is your chance to feel at home with marketing. In this Blue Paper, we offer four fundamental ideas—and some promotional products—that will help you unlock your marketing potential.

So, let’s start at the beginning! No, not in Kansas. Let’s start wherever your business is right now. We promise, this Blue Paper will have you easing on down the road to marketing success.

Pinpoint your brand

Remind customers you’re different from the competition. Imprint what sets you apart on the Soft Touch Pique Sport Shirt and gift to your best customers.

Tip 1: ‘Witch’-ever way you go, find your true identity

All marketing wizards in training must first understand the importance of branding. You want your organization to stand out in the crowd and be immediately identifiable. Think of the Wizard of Oz witches. One glance at the green face, black outfit and gravely, nasal voice told you a lot about the character. The same goes for the sparkly, elegant Glinda. The point is, you don’t have to peek behind the curtain to understand them. Their names, actions and color palettes give you a good feel for who they are and what they stand for.

Know what sets your organization apart

Mike McCracken, President of Hawkeye Aircraft Acquisitions, LLC, is like many entrepreneurs: he says he is President, CTO and COO of his aircraft acquisition company and his wife is CFO and janitor. With all the hats he’s wearing, he is also managing the company’s marketing, and he’s doing it well.

“We are a small shop, and we’re competing with people who have been in the business for lots of years and have lots of fancy offices and fancy advertising,” McCracken said. “But there’s something to be said for being small and boutique. You hire me and I’m like an employee on your staff. You’re a customer in one way, but basically we’re partners.”

By celebrating what differentiates their business model from the competition, McCracken has defined his company brand, and leveraged that to attract customers. Their tagline: “See The Difference.”

Like Hawkeye Aircraft, your organization already has a heart. Your company brand is essentially the heart of who you are as an organization. Most importantly, it’s how you want your customers, clients and key stakeholders to perceive you. Many companies rely on experts to help cultivate their brand. But if you are on a limited budget and need to do it in-house, don’t worry: you’ve had the power all along! Head to the brainstorming table and bring along your employees. No one knows your company better than the people who work there!

Reinforce your brand

Define Your Company Brand—Your brand is the essence of who you are.

Define your brand by looking at its very essence and then determining how that should look and feel to your target demographics. Once you’ve pinpointed what’s at your heart, build your brand through consistent use of your organization’s identity, including:

  • your company name
  • your logo, tagline and colors
  • style guidelines
  • your mission, vision and values

Your brand should be reflected in everything you do, including when you shop for custom giveaways for companies. (Examples to come, we promise!)

Tip 2: From munchkins to millionaires: Define your target market.

Define your target market—Determine what they love and need, and give it to them.

Defining your target market goes hand-in-hand with building your brand identity, because you want to make sure the brand speaks to your target market.

To define your market, first think about your product or service, and ask yourself:

  • Who are my current customers?
  • Who do I want my future clients to be?

Then, really drill down to get a clear picture of whom you are trying to reach with your company’s offerings.

Define your target customer

Some companies will develop a fictional persona that exemplifies their target customer. They’ll even name that persona and define the following:

  • Are they male or female?
  • What age group are they in?
  • What is their income level?
  • Where and how do they prefer to receive communications?
  • Where do they spend their time?
  • What motivates them?
  • What are their problems and how can our company address those?

Companies will use this information when it comes times to make decisions. They’ll frame pertinent questions through the filter of their target audience personas, and ask, “What would Patty want?” or “What would John think?”

Think like your target customer

McCracken knows his target market well. They’re high-income business leaders, often company CEOs, who are interested in buying a jet. They are the kind of people who are tough to shop for, because they seem to have everything. That poses a challenge when you want to buy meaningful, useful personalized promotional items for giveaways, but McCracken had an idea. He searched for giveaways that reflect his brand and tagline.

“Everything we’re doing is trying to focus on how we are doing things differently. We view the world differently,” he says.

To help his customers and leads “See The Difference,” he gives them cleaning cloths that can be used on eyeglasses. The Full Color Cleaning Cloth – 5” x 5” hit the right note. McCracken says he was at an event recently where a business associate pulled out the custom cloth and confessed she carries it everywhere.

Choosing the right giveaways is important. To get there, you need to know your audience.

Tip 3: Take it from the wizard: Create a marketing strategy.

Create a Marketing Strategy—Be a marketing wizard.

You know your target audience, and you have an understanding of what your business is at heart. Now it’s time to plan how you will reach your key stakeholders with your message. Obviously, you can’t do it all, so choose carefully based on where your audiences are and how they like to get their news and information.

You may want to develop a marketing strategy for the full calendar year or the fiscal year. Either way, revisit it at least quarterly, to make sure you’re on track and your organization’s goals have not changed. Remember marketing is an investment. You’ll want to determine how you will measure success with each strategy to get a clear picture of your ROI.

Decide how to best reach your target audiences.

For Mike Nitroy, assistant manager of the Millersville University store, the decision was obvious. College students always have their phones with them. So, he did some research and found an app that could be used to launch promotions, answer questions, reward customers and engage students online. “It gets people thinking about shopping here and gets them in here,” he said.

To launch the app and quickly gain attention, the store offered free sunglasses for those who downloaded it. The app allows students to share photos of themselves in-app and on social media. “When people saw the quality and look of the sunglasses, they were quick to jump on and download it.”

The app also allows the store to offer incentives to repeat customers. Every time someone with the app shops at the store, they get a virtual punch. Those with 10 punches get a free prize during finals week, or they get to choose a grab bag. In the wake of their marketing success, Nitroy offers this advice for those looking to up their marketing game.

“Find a way to get your message through to your audience,” he says. “This was a good way for us to do it. It’s really cool because I have a master app where I can go and see analytics.”

In the industry, we call that wizardry ROI.

Listen to your customers and prospects.

Join the online conversation. Social media is where it’s at, and most audiences want to connect with you online. Do some research on which social networks your target audiences tend to use, and then stake your claim. But remember, social media isn’t a one-time project; it’s an ongoing conversation. Be responsive and helpful, engaging and, when appropriate, fun! Just make sure to stay true to your brand. Crossing over into non-brand related topics could alienate the audience you’re hoping to reach.

Say something new and share it widely.

Make wow-worthy content. If you’re in the industry, you’ve no doubt heard the marketing adage, “Content is king.” But if you’re new to marketing, the concept might be a bit of a mystery. Content marketing using blogs, e-newsletters and web articles is a powerful way to leverage SEO purposes or to improve online engagement. Keep your target market personas in mind as you develop content and give them stuff they crave. That’s a winning strategy.

Plan your public relations.

Will you host events? Attend trade shows? Have a booth at the local festival? Speak to local groups? Figure out where your target market will be throughout the year and where the best places will be for you to set up shop. Then determine what marketing materials you will need at those events. Give your brand a professional look with imprinted event banners, tablecloths and embroidered polo shirts for your staff.

Make yourself memorable.

Remember to order creative marketing promotional items and custom giveaways. Giveaways for companies are appreciated and sought after at any event or meeting. Creative and engaging promotional products keep your customers thinking about you long after the event ends.

Tip 4: Release the flying monkeys! Leverage guerilla marketing

Leverage Guerilla Marketing—Flying monkeys optional.

Guerilla marketing could be your ticket to marketing wizardry, particularly if you’re on a tight budget and are open to being creative. What’s guerilla marketing? Simply put, it’s a marketing strategy using unconventional, memorable and low-cost tactics. Creativity can help you rise above your competitors because it makes you memorable. Think about it. Most people vividly recall the movie scene with the flying monkeys because it was so unique and well-presented. Brands can do the same thing, no monkeys required.

Chelsea Baratto, founder, writer, and self-proclaimed “one woman show” for 700smiles, launched a hashtag promotion recently in tandem with her blog, which takes an unflinching look at motherhood. After struggling with infertility, getting pregnant, learning her baby had a cleft lip, and overcoming all of the hurdles of being a new mom, she realized how much moms could use some encouragement.

“No matter which way you get pregnant and go through labor, it’s just really hard. And being a mom in general is really hard,” Baratto says. “And in this age of social media, everyone is just showing their best face and looking like they have everything together. I just feel like we’re kind of in a lose-lose right now because of all the pressure we put on ourselves and society puts on us.”

Inspired by the movie Bad Moms, she decided to start a #goodmom movement. She sought out an affordable way to pay it forward. Her guerilla marketing tactic was born.

“I was just brainstorming how we could set this in motion. And obviously social media is really powerful, but I wanted to think of something more personal. So the best thing that my mom brain could come up with was Post-it® Notes,” Baratto says. The idea was simple: Enlist the public to stick mom-positive messages on cars, in bathrooms, anywhere moms who could use a lift might be. The message: “Hey momma, you’re doing a great job.”

Let customer momentum carry you

The idea quickly became popular and Baratto got the chance to see its impact first-hand with the help of two personalized promotional items. She brought custom Post-it Notes – 3″ x 4″ and logo’d Massager Pens to a recent new mom expo. Mothers clamored for the 500 massage pens, which were gone within the first hour. But the Post-it Notes gave Baratto the chance to talk about the #goodmom movement.

“I explained the Post-it Notes, and people started crying. It was emotional: I was crying, and they were crying. These were strangers that it really struck a chord with.” Baratto said, “I guess I feel like I’m really on to something here.”

Bottom line: Deploy your target audiences to join you in your guerilla marketing efforts.

You’re off to BE the (marketing) wizard with a plan in hand

Being tasked with managing the marketing for an organization is no small endeavor. It’s like magic: Those who do it well make it look so easy. But for those who struggle, it can seem like a trick gone wrong. With the right tools in your marketing toolbox, and the helpful tips in this Blue Paper, you can be a wizard in your own right. With the power of personalized promotional items, you can make them feel right at home with your brand. And there’s no place like home.

SOURCE: Make marketing magic with these 4 fundamentals

CEM Faculty Spotlight on KV Nagendra Prasad, CEM

KV Nagendra Prasad, CEM, has 20 years of professional experience in sales, marketing, business development and commercial operations in telecom, real-estate and trade fairs/exhibitions industries in India. He has been associated with the exhibition industry since 2002 and has been involved in hosting and organizing trade fairs and exhibitions on various subjects, working actively with various national and international associations and trade bodies.

KV actively works for the development of the exhibitions industry in India. He was unanimously elected as President of Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA) (2015-17 term), the apex body of the exhibition industry in India with leading global firms in the field as its members. He served as IEIA’s Vice President from year 2013-15. KV is credited for enabling the reciprocity arrangements with global associations and enabling the internationally recognized “Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) program” of IAEE in India. He speaks at various MICE forums advocating the significance of exhibitions to the industry, economy and society.

Earning his CEM designation in 2016, IAEE spoke with KV to discuss his new role as CEM Faculty and what he has learned so far. KV is the Chair of the IAEE India Chapter.

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the exhibition industry for 15 years.

I started my career in the real estate unit of India’s largest engineering and construction company – Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T). In 2002, L&T was selected by State Government (then Andhra Pradesh State) to build HITEX Exhibition Centre. I was inadvertently posted on to this project. From then on, my association with the exhibition industry began and today it means everything to me.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

I run the HITEX Exhibition Centre, a modern MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition) venue located in Hyderabad, India. The HITEX Exhibition Centre was established by the State Government under public-private partnership mode. I am responsible for business development and sustenance, venue operations, show management and infrastructure development.

I also play an active role in the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA). I am the elected President of the association for the current term.

What drives your involvement with IAEE and the CEM Learning Program?

In my experience, I find IAEE to be a very active association. There are immense opportunities for learning, collaboration and resources. The CEM program particularly is a very well laid out program covering all aspects of exhibition management. I was involved in leading the efforts to create the India Chapter of IAEE and in rolling out the CEM program in India. I received my CEM certification at Expo! Expo! in 2016.

When did you become a member of the CEM faculty?

I became a faculty member in December 2016. So far, I have taught Floor Plan Development, Exhibition and Event Sales and Event Marketing in India. As part of CEM faculty training, I had the opportunity and honor to intern under Mr. Randy Bauler, CEM, who coached me on many aspects of teaching CEM courses and I thank him for all the support. I also received great advice and tips from Mr. Al Lomas, CMP, CMM, CFE, CEM who has been my guru and is now a good friend.

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?

The first time I was teaching, I made a promise to myself that I would ensure that students in the class should feel happy to have enrolled in the CEM program. I prepared really hard for the class, made notes and listed examples, etc. I had to face a set of people, most of whom knew me from the industry and even a couple of them were my office colleagues. I was very happy with the way the sessions progressed. It was interactive and I provided examples that the class was able to relate to throughout the session. I received very positive feedback from the participants.

Do you have any advice for other CEMs who may want to start teaching?

1) One should be thorough with the subject(s) he/she is teaching.

2) They should plan and time the session well, prepare a set of examples/exercises/case studies relevant to the participants’ country/region/markets.

3) One should try and make their class interactive and engaging.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM?

There are quite a few benefits of teaching CEM courses. You get an opportunity to become thorough in the subject that you are teaching. You are recognized as a thought leader in the industry and you have the opportunity to connect with participants from different regions/markets/functions. Also, you get to travel and see new places.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?

I am more organized now and plan my days better. There is recognition of being a trained and certified professional. I am able to do my job with more conviction.


6 Tips for a Newcomer at EXPO! EXPO!

By: Maxx Lebiecki, Account Executive, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

We’ve all been there before – a friend or coworker invites us somewhere on short notice.  Although not really interested, we decide to tag along to be nice, but wind up having a wonderful time. Or the flip side – we choose to miss out on an event that turns out to be the talk of the town.

The situation reminds me of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzke’s insightful statement, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Technically speaking, it is impossible to miss a shot you don’t take. That being said, your “shot,” translated to networking and meeting people, could mean the difference between an open or closed door in the future.

One thing that I left Expo! Expo! 2016 in Anaheim excited about was the opportunity for more involvement. I made a conscious decision to put myself out there, meet new people and connect/network constantly. Those decisions led to opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. In just a few short months, I found myself joining committees, gaining a YP Spotlight feature, being interviewed by Exhibitions Mean Business on where I see our industry headed and most recently being recognized as an industry trendsetter.

In 2016, I was proud to be recognized at Expo! Expo! as one of the top 20 under 30 in the industry. Anaheim was my first Expo! Expo!, and I look forward to attending many more to come. I would like to share 6 key takeaways that enriched my experience in hopes that they will be useful for you as well:

1. Go to Everything (Practice your ‘FOMO’)

While it is impossible to be in two places at once, look at scheduled events beforehand and really scope out what you think will benefit you most. Connect with others pre-show and onsite, listen and look for after hour events, meet and mingle with every person you can and do a solid vetting of what education classes will benefit you as an individual. Trust me when I say that the hardest part will be showing up. After that, it’s all easy-going…not to mention the food is usually delicious.

2. Try to get involved

Make note of those you connect with while at events or education sessions. Are they in a leadership position? Are they well connected? Be sure to take notice of these things. Let other professionals know that you are interested in becoming involved. Everyone is looking for help in one way or another. A connection today could lead to an opportunity months, or even years down the road.

3. Connect with Everyone

This should go without saying, but bring a stack of business cards with you. Bring them to your classes, bring them on the show floor and most importantly bring them to all networking events. Add your connections on LinkedIn after, and add a message that will make people remember you. It could be as simple as “It was great meeting you at Wednesday’s IAEE networking event.” After all, that’s what these events are for!

4. Be Nice to Everyone – Attitude is Everything

Sounds simple, right? It can be more difficult than you think. Sometimes after long workdays, travelling and missing our loved ones, we can become distracted and appear to be standoff-ish.  “Dressing the part” and the way you carry yourself can (in some cases, not all) be just as important as how well you may know the industry, or how much you feel like you can offer. Dress for the job you want. Even if you don’t feel like it, think of every experience as though this is the greatest thing you have ever attended. Your body language will follow. No one wants to work with someone who is difficult to talk to or won’t give him or her the time of day.

5. Ask for help/intros

As a sales person, I would compare this to cold calling vs. word of mouth. In my experience, people are more inclined to trust you and get to know you when someone else that they know (and trust) introduces you. In addition, it can help with any awkwardness that you may encounter when meeting someone new. There can be a fine line to the etiquette of asking, but don’t be afraid to politely ask someone to make an introduction for you. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

6. Create Your Path

Last, but certainly not least, be sure to create your own path. Your path, or end goal is something that should be in the back of your mind throughout your stay. Think beforehand what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Remember it. Whether your end goal is to join a committee, meet 15 new people or make a sale – in the end YOU are in charge of your own path to success.

Networking is not always easy, but taking these things into account at events, such as Expo! Expo! can really help you take a step in the right direction. I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio!

Need a start with a connection? Add me on LinkedIn:




Chapter Leaders Council Spotlight… An Interview with Dan Darby, CEM, VP, Group Show Director, Antique, Jewelry and Watch Shows, Emerald Expositions

Dan Darby, CEM is VP, Group Show Director, Antique, Jewelry and Watch Shows for Emerald Expositions and a member of IAEE’s Chapter Leaders Council. Dan has been an IAEE member for 16 years. He recently shared with IAEE how serving in a leadership role within his chapter has expanded his understanding and involvement not only in the industry, but his community as well.

How did you get involved in leadership within your chapter?

I was recruited to become involved by Daniel McKinnon, a former co-worker, after attending the 2011 Southeast Chapter’s Summer Classic in Orlando.

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

I am the current SE Chapter Board Chairperson and previously served on the Membership Committee.

What have you gotten out of volunteering for your chapter?

Participation has been very rewarding. Certainly the connections and face-to-face interaction are beneficial – those are the backbones of our industry – but the opportunity to work with a wider variety of venues, companies and charitable organizations around metro-Atlanta has been personally rewarding. Although I have lived outside Atlanta my entire life, these are opportunities I doubt I would have taken advantage of without IAEE.

How are you fostering future volunteer leaders?

The Southeast Chapter has embraced IAEE’s commitment to helping mentor our YPs and, as one of our group’s MPs (Mature Professionals), I am working directly with the 15 active YPs from my company to be more involved with the association.

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

I think each chairperson finds a particular area where they feel they can affect growth – maybe it’s education or membership or sponsorships. As a former marketing director, I am most excited to work with our committees to develop new programs to promote the association, chapter participation and our full slate of meetings and events (and without breaking the budget as marketers are reputed to do!).

What is your favorite chapter activity?

The Southeast Summer Classic! Two and a half days of education, networking and socializing with industry members at a great Southeast location. Keep your calendar open for 2018’s Southeast Summer Classic! All IAEE members are invited to attend!

List all IAEE Councils, Committees and task forces you are currently involved in aside from your chapter activities.

CEM Learning Program Faculty, an incredible opportunity to meet members on a national and international level and to engage in some very thought-provoking discussions about our industry and its best practices.

Are you over-responsible? 6 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Sense of Responsibility

Originally published by Valorie Burton 30 July 2017

Taking responsibility is the hallmark of a successful leader. Whether managing people, managing a workload, or managing a household, not much gets done if you don’t take ownership of the tasks that need to get done day to day.  But what happens when you don’t just take responsibility for your tasks, but for other people’s as well? It’s called over-responsibility, and it just might be sabotaging your schedule, your effectiveness, and the people around you.

If you stress about whether people in your life will hold up their end of the bargain so you step in to take on tasks that aren’t yours, you are being over-responsible. Here are a few signs you suffer from over-responsibility:

  1. You behave as though everything and everyone depends on you.

Deep down, you’re actually proud that you’re the one with all the answers, the one who can fix every problem. In some ways, you define yourself by this ability.

  1. You answer questions for other people, instead of letting them answer for themselves.

If this is you, be honest with yourself. Why do you do it? If you stopped, what would happen? Whatever your answer, that’s the issue it’s time to address.

  1. You consistently remind the people in your life of their own responsibilities because they aren’t responsible enough to remember on their own.

You keep up with your schedule – and everyone else’s. That wouldn’t be quite so bad if they also kept up with their schedule. Instead, they rely on you. They don’t take responsibility for knowing what’s going on, and take responsibility for their contribution. “You never told me,” “I didn’t know,” or “Just tell me what you need me to do” are a common refrain from those people in your life.

  1. You consistently do for others what they can do for themselves.

Or perhaps you take it a step further than just reminding others of what they need to do. You just go ahead and do it. And it’s stretching and stressing you. And sometimes, people don’t want you to get involved. They’d rather do it themselves, but you won’t let them! There’s nothing wrong with lending a helping hand sometimes, but there is a problem when you regularly take on responsibilities that aren’t yours. It enables others to live below their potential and stunts their growth. So while you feel like you’re helping, you’re actually doing just the opposite.

  1. You avoid confronting people as much as possible.

Getting others to change their behavior can mean having an uncomfortable conversation. If you refuse to confront issues, you just might keep allowing others to get away with being irresponsible just to avoid having a conversation to set a boundary.

  1. You are resentful that people feel entitled to your generosity.

You’ve been over-responsible for so long that people in your life have come to expect it. You’ve trained them to rely on you for things that should not be your responsibility. And deep down, you now resent it. This is perhaps the sign that most indicates the problem has been going on far too long.

My challenge to you:
The first step to solving a problem is recognizing it. Using these six signs, identify when and for whom you are “over-responsible.”

Journal about it:

Consider both your personal, community and professional life. In what way(s) are you currently over-responsible? What would it do for you to be free of responsibilities that are not your own? What would it free you to do? What task or responsibility will you let go of this week and give back to the person to whom it should belong?


Successful Women Speak Differently

Successful Women Speak Differently Audio Book

Source: Are you over-responsible? 6 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Sense of Responsibility

Expo! Expo! Sneak Peak

Originally published by Trade Show Executive August 2017 Edition

I always enjoy writing this month’s article because I get to officially tell you about all the great new things we have planned for attendees at this year’s Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition. I can confidently say that IAEE is in a unique position to provide attendees what no other organization can, and that is the “show for shows.” But if we step back for a moment, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do? To create that definitive “something” that makes our organizations and, ultimately, our shows THE event to attend in your specific industry? Planning for each year’s Expo! Expo! starts more than a year out from show date and I am truly grateful for the awesome staff that not only puts on the “show for shows,” but brings you, the exhibitions and events community, year-round content and programming that is timely and relevant.

It’s All About Connections at this year’s Expo! Expo! on 28-30 November in San Antonio, Texas. This theme has given us plenty to think about, and we have taken the opportunity to focus on the feedback we have received from members on the areas of interest that are at the top of most people’s “meeting wish list” right now.

One of the accomplishments we are most proud of is the reputation Expo! Expo! has built on its exceptional education programming and networking opportunities, making it the “show for shows.” Our Education Committee received more than 130 session proposals this year! The vast expanse of information presented helped us hone in on the following three areas of development: research informed; data guided; and experience design, all infused with technology and innovation in mind.

Expo! Expo! continues its strong commitment to providing the most diverse product mix marketplace in the industry and as the leading industry platform for innovative solutions. The Tech Start Up Program, now in its third year, will design greater experiences for attendees to interact and engage with emerging technologies. The attendee and exhibitor mobile app and beacon tech will provide a brand-new user experience that will enhance connections with peers and give greater insight and interaction with show content. New show technology partners have come into the mix, further emphasizing Expo! Expo! as the tech laboratory for the industry.

Other new initiatives created to enhance the Connections made at Expo! Expo! include the Women’s Leadership Experience, sponsored by Experient, which will include a panel discussion with a life-hack gathering activity; a unique, communal learning and networking experience that will include six rounds of 15-minute discussions on various topics such as Ask the Expert, Leadership and Personal Development, Technology Use Cases and Personal Style Inspiration; and special programming for university/college students and faculty.

View the Expo! Expo! Schedule at a Glance!

In the coming months, I will be delving further into the new ideas and concepts we are exploring at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2017. In the meantime, visit the Expo! Expo! website at

I look forward to connecting with you in San Antonio this November!

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Sponsorship Program

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Sponsorship Program category evaluates a case study presentation of a show’s sponsorship development/management program and the effect the program had on the show. Judging criteria includes: creativity in program offerings and elements that attract potential sponsors; overall development of the program and deliverables to sponsors; clarity of information, overall message and content usefulness in the marketing pieces used to promote the program; how well the marketing elements used to promote the program relate to the “theme” of the event in terms of overall presentation and visual appeal; and how well the program met its intended goals.

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

Under 75,000 nsf
IRL Events
Anime Expo 2016

Anime Expo is the largest Japanese culture event in North America hosting more than 300,000 fans and cosplay enthusiasts, as well as a sold out show floor of more than 400 exhibitors (up 17% from 2015!).

With sponsorship marketing aggressively moving online, 2016 marked the debut of the first ever Anime Expo Sponsorship Website. This site provided current and potential sponsors with an intuitive and comprehensive tool that allowed them to quickly and easily plan their Anime show presence, becoming a one stop shop for all potential sponsors.

Through the use of renderings, photographs and descriptions, the Anime Expo sponsorship website provided potential sponsors a variety of resources to help them create a strategic onsite marketing presence. The site also provided logistical and execution information, making it the one stop shop for all things event marketing. As a result, this first-time resource grew sponsorships 103% in 2016.

“Knowledge is everything when it comes to sponsorships – knowing your clients’ goals, knowing every square inch of the venue, and knowing how to use every bit of that space to its maximum effect,” said Mary Dolaher, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of IRL Events. “The IRL Events team has been lucky enough to work with the LACC for more than 20 years, and with AX for almost a decade. This experience has given us the knowledge we need to build a sponsorship web site like no other – clients can access layouts, photos, and descriptions all in one place, and then purchase easily through the site. What’s good for the sponsor is good for the show!”

Over 200,001 nsf
American Pet Products Association
Global Pet Expo

Global Pet Expo, the premier industry event, is presented by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA). The 2016 Global Pet Expo had 1,087 exhibitors in 3,218 booths. Total buyer attendance was 6,170, representing 76 countries. Global Pet Expo is open to independent retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers, and other qualified media & professionals.

The goal of its sponsorship program in 2016 as to boost visibility and drive traffic to the sponsors booth, as well as build brand awareness. 2016 exceeded the Global Pet Expo sponsorship program goals. With sales up a record 22% the brand awareness that is created through sponsorships is becoming apparent to many of the exhibitors.

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.

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

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

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.

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Show Promotion Website

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Show Promotion Website category evaluates any web site used to promote attendance at a show. Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity; organization of the information presented and ease of navigation/user-friendliness; clarity of pertinent information, value of information presented and content usefulness; performance metrics such as average monthly visits, Google analytics, etc.; and how the website contributed to the overall success of the exhibition and/or event.

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

Under 75,000 nsf
Ontario Hospital Association


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.

The goal of the show website was to provide an easy navigation experience for its 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. The objective was to build the website to be responsive in design and to include a noticeable global navigation for both attendees and exhibitors.

Whether an attendee was a health care professional or a commercial vendor, their experience with the website was seamless and compelling. The website offered the opportunity for HealthAchieve to showcase event features on the homepage through rotating ads, and provide visitors with direct entry to its event satellite locations in Thundery Bay and Halifax. To help guide its diverse audience, the program schedule could be filtered down by session type, topic category and by speakers. The registration call to action was one of the main focal points on the homepage, and was repeated on various pages throughout the site.

For the duration of the 2015 Campaign – from February 1 to November 30 – the HealthAchieve website received 383,654 page views, 231,234 of which were unique. It also achieved the following:

  • 61,638 visitors went to the Program Schedule page;
  • 7,928 visitors utilized the filtered schedule option;
  • 17,642 visitors went to the Registration page; and
  • 11,890 to the Exhibit/Sponsor page.

These numbers supported OHA’s goal of providing an easy navigation experience for HealthAchieve’s distinct audiences.

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Frank Strategic Marketing
HPBExpo 2017


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.

One main goal for the new HPBExpo website was to improve the user’s mobile experience. Frank Strategic Marketing and HPBExpo planned and designed the site from a mobile user’s perspective first, then built out the desktop experience. This required streamlining the content and overall design of the site to take into account best practice responsive web development techniques. The next goal was to improve the organization and presentation of the in-depth and robust education schedule. Previous versions of the schedule consisted of static charts/tables. The site implemented a tool that allowed users to sort the schedule by date, session name, time, credits, and event type.

The print and virtual sponsorship brochure was converted into a webpage allowing easy and real time access to open sponsorship opportunities. As sponsorship opportunities sold out, the page could updated in real time to reflect the latest information. The Education Schedule section of the website also received a complete overhaul. Previous versions of the schedule consisted of static charts/tables. Once again, the site implemented a functionality that allowed users to sort the schedule by date, session name, time, credits, and event type allowing users to custom view content according to their preference.

Over 200,001 nsf

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.

mdg revamped the SuperZoo website in 2016. This re-envisioned website was designed to drive registrations and exhibitor participation by improving the user journey and event positioning with a clean, modern layout and mobile-friendly design. We sought to increase visual interest in line with current user expectations and also added content to help exhibitors promote their presence onsite through media relations.

The website incorporated the 2016 “STAND OUT” campaign concept and featured an innovative homepage that drew attention to the different content available on the site with interactive boxes that change color when you scroll over them. Special vignettes in the right-hand corner of each page complemented the content on that specific page, continuing to delight and engage users as they delved deeper.

The website also took advantage of unique pieces of content that were available, including a show overview video and a widget from InGo that featured registrants’ Facebook profile pictures to provide a sneak peek at who was attending. These pieces were prominently placed within the infrastructure of the homepage and each interior page. A new exhibitor media toolkit page provided press release best practices and guidance on the pressroom. Exhibitor press releases were also showcased in a visual format on the press page, leveraging the product images included in many of the releases to draw attention and drive clicks.

Reflecting the significant changes to the website design and layout in 2016, metrics increased significantly across the board. The number of sessions increased more than 11 percent to 181,014, page views rose more than 19 percent to 416,477 and users increased more than 9 percent to 105,820. At the same time, and indicating the quality of content, engagement metrics also rose significantly. Pages per session increased more than 8 percent, the bounce rate dropped 10 percent, and session duration increased more than 8 percent. Finally, mobile traffic rose more than 19 percent, suggesting that the clean, mobile-friendly formatting made an impact. The additional exhibitor content and reformatted online pressroom were also successful, contributing to a more than 44 percent increase in exhibitor submissions to the digital pressroom over 2015.

“Our digital marketing team has taken the agency’s clients to a new level over the past year,” commented mdg President Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes. “Specifically, the dynamic UI/UX duo of Eric Holtan and Ben McRae have created user-centric, design-forward, analytics-driven websites you typically see only with big brands.”

Account Director Elena Lien echoed those sentiments, adding, “I take great pride in these awards and even greater pride in the results that the work has helped SuperZoo achieve over the past year.”

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.