Tips When Attending Trade Shows

Trade shows can be an excellent opportunity for you and your business, whether you are an entrepreneur or you’re representing the company you work for. Thousands of people set up trade show booths and trade show displays across the country at a huge variety of industry events. However, many people don’t know how to take advantage of the opportunities a trade show offers. Some plan on simply attending, setting up their trade show booth, and then staying there all day hoping to attract new business.

Manning a trade show display is only part of the reason you should be attending a trade show. The other vendors at a trade show can provide you with a wealth of new information and contacts in your industry; all accessible in the same room on the same day—this is the unparalleled attraction of a trade show for your business.

If you plan to attend a trade show, make sure you are not the only person there representing your company, even if you are a small business owner with few employees or a sole proprietorship. You will need at least one person to staff your trade show booth, and another to walk the floor taking in the other trade show displays.

If necessary, get your spouse or a good friend to come with you and give them a crash course on how to handle your trade show booth while you check out the other vendors – and only do so when it is slow so you don’t miss important business opportunities. When you make reservations for the hotel you will stay at during the show, try to find a room as close as possible to the actual location—preferably within walking distance. That way, you won’t have to bring anything with you to the venue other than the materials for your trade show display.

Before you attend a trade show, go over the list of vendors who plan to put up trade show booths. Make lists of the vendors you must see, the vendors you would like to see, and those you can live without seeing. You may even be able to schedule appointments with your top priority vendors.

Research the companies and determine ahead of time what you would like to find out from each trade show display and what your goals are regarding each vendor: are they competition, or a potential contact? If they are a potential contact, how would they specifically benefit your company? Have questions ready to ask vendors to save yourself time walking the floor.

Another good time saving strategy is to obtain a map and a directory of the trade show when you arrive on location, before the show begins. Use the map to plan your route, and check your prioritized list of vendors against the directory to find out whether any vendors have been added or dropped out.

During the trade show, be active in your quest for information. Don’t feel bad about passing by trade show booths that don’t interest you. Like you, they are attending the trade show to generate new business, and they don’t want to waste time talking to someone who isn’t a potential customer.

Visit your targeted trade show displays, engage in a dialogue with the vendors, and ask questions. If the trade show booth offers handouts, samples or other materials, take only those you actually want to find out more about. It can be difficult to tote a loose stack of glossy brochures, catalogs, and bulky product samples around a busy trade show floor.

If possible, arm yourself with an empty briefcase or duffel bag to stow materials. Use your time wisely to gather intelligence on your competition and make new industry contacts that will benefit your company.

When the trade show ends, especially if it is a multiple-day event, take the time to make notes and organize the materials you gathered before you leave the event. If you need to mail reports, brochures or other materials to your colleagues, prepare the mailings right away while “who gets what” is still fresh in your mind.

Make sure to store your trade show display safely so nothing is damaged and you can find everything you need the following day. When you return from the trade show, remember to follow up with the contacts you have made—and start preparing for next year’s trade show!

Introduction to Trade Show Exhibits

When you are planning for your next trade show exhibit you should look back to when you were only browsing the many different booths, exhibits, and displays. Remember what type of exhibits got your attention. Your presentation should also draw the crowd.

Before you just rush out and purchase displays for your trade show exhibition you must take into consideration many different aspects of how you desire your presentation to look and feel. You know you want it to speak to the potential customers that are passing by and hopefully bring them over so you can speak with them. Your exhibit must get their attention so will they walk over, and then you can get their undivided attention.

You must first decide which type of exhibit will be the best to present your products, services and your company image. You should also consider your budget. No matter what your budget you can find the perfect trade show exhibits that will convey your message with the image that you want others to see.

The size of your trade show exhibit can either make or break you. If you have one to large, the exhibit will be overwhelming and if you choose one to small it will look overcrowded and cluttered. The most common sizes for trade show exhibits are 10 feet by 10 feet, 20 feet by 20 feet, and 10 feet by 20 feet. Within this size limitation, you must also choose from pop-up designs, panels or complete Truss trade show display booths.

In the 10 feet by 10 feet size, you can find some great displays in various styles and designs. With the Clever 10 foot panel, you can choose from Backlit Header, lights, the color that you prefer for the lower panel and a different one for the upper panel. The benefits of using these panels are that they are sturdy and durable but very lightweight and easy to transport. The average weight of these panels is around 130 pounds.  The Genius I 10 foot panel you can also choose whether you want lights, the counter base color, Counter Laminate Color, the color of the lower panel and the upper panel. The features of this type of panel is that it is a folding panel display system, has 6 upper hinged panels, 6 lower hinged panels, 1 backlit header and lights, 1 alcove counter top and 1 alcove counter base. This wonderful panel is very impressive for all types of displays and normally weighs around 200 pounds.

If you prefer a larger size like the 20 feet by 20 feet, you should like at the features that are included with pop-up displays and Truss display booths. The best pop-up display of this size is the Trilogy 20′ x 20′ Island Pop up Trade Show Display. The features of this unique display are that it is in actuality three trade show booths in one. It has the 10-foot wide back-to-back exhibiting area that creates a triangular or star shape. If gives you the ability to present your products or different aspects of your company all the way around the display. You will also be able to choose the color and fabric that you desire along with a case to counter conversion kit and the colors and fabrics of this kit, lights, shelf package, Backlit Header Package and Reconfiguration Panels. 20 feet by 20 feet Truss booths come in a few unique styles such as the Cassiopeia, which features a steel construction; high shine silver color, 4 tabletops, and the ability to assemble with just four screwdrivers that are included. The Centaurus features the same quality steel construction, the high shine silver color, 24 silver spotlights, and the ability to add tabletops in either light wood or silver in color. The Neptune is sure to grab attention with features like a modular system that is quick and easy to assemble. The Jupiter is another modern and innovative display which gives you great features such as high shine silver color, quality steel construction, 6 tabletops in either light wood or silver, 8 silver spot lights, and easy to assemble with screw drivers that are included. The Vega is similar to other Truss booths but is an eye catching and appealing booth with options for tabletops, colors, and design.

The 10 feet by 20 feet size of displays gives you styles and designs to choose from such as pop-display’s, panels, and Truss booths. All of these also have many unique styles and designs that are sure to aid you in presenting your products, your company, or your services in a manner that is not only unique, stylish and original, but with prices within your budget.

Tips When Displaying at Trade Shows

Almost all products being sold in the market today have already been sold before by their competitors but what makes other products a hit despite their being new in the market? Most entrepreneurs say it is a matter of marketing your products to your target market.

Marketing can be done in various ways depending on the expertise of the marketer. However, one common way to market a new product is through participation in trade shows. Trade shows are held at any time of the year and they do attract buyers and prospective customers.

There are general trade shows but you can choose from niche trade shows depending on your area of business. Companies join trade shows not so much for actual selling but most importantly for showing off their products and for the possibility of getting bulk orders during the trade show.

A company or a sole proprietor planning to join a trade show should take note of the following:

1. Able personnel to man the trade show booth. A trade show is not just an ordinary selling venue but it is a venue where prospective clients abound so make sure that you send your best personnel to man the booth. Some companies take trade shows for granted and allow inept personnel to watch the booth. The people who are put in charge of your trade show booth can make or break your product. A good staff with public relations skill can attract more clients to your products. It is also important to instruct your booth personnel to dress properly depending on the venue of the trade show. Business attire will always be safe.

2. Invite visitors to your booth. The booth personnel must be trained and instructed to invite visitors to the booth. Most visitors walk away from trade show booth when they see the staff busy with their own thing. Tell your staff the main reason why they were assigned to the trade show and that is to get as many visitors to see your products. Booth personnel should be able to answer questions from the visitors because the visitors may already be potential customers. A booth demo will catch the attention of visitors especially if the demo is useful to them.

3. Prepare your brochures, leaflets and business cards and make sure you do not run out of them.  Always expect plenty of people to visit trade shows so never be caught without your marketing tools. Imagine if a potential client asks for your brochure or your card and then you cannot give him anything just because you did not prepare for an influx of people. It is better to have plenty of left over marketing materials after the show rather than miss the opportunity of showing off what you have to offer.

4. Keep a visitors’ book. Most companies who join trade shows require visitors who get their free marketing materials to sign up in a guestbook. However, only a few of these companies will communicate with the people who signed in their guestbook. Be creative and use the guestbook as a sourcebook for potential clients. The people who visited your booth and who got your materials are definitely interested in your products or else they will not even glance at your booth. Why not take advantage of their contact information?  Mail them a thank you letter along with more information about the product and where they can buy the products.

5. Promote your products but do not be too pushy. Visitors are often turned off by very eager booth personnel who call out to the visitors using their loudest voice. No one would want to visit your booth if your personnel are boisterous. Allow the visitors to go inside your booth and look at the items you have on display but always keep a welcoming smile. Entertain their questions and try to respond to them accordingly. Never shout your words of welcome to the visitors since they might feel defensive all of a sudden and decide against looking at your products.

Anatomy Of A Successful Trade Show Exhibit

A trade show, also known as a merchandise show or market week, is an exhibition or a business gathering organized by companies that showcase and demonstrate their new products and services and also their latest offerings. Trade shows also provide opportunities for companies to meet their customers, to learn new trends and to identify new prospects.

Trade shows are not open to the public and can only be attended by company representatives, members of the trade and members of the press. One advantage of holding a trade show is that it shortens the time it takes for companies to look for prospective customers. But the major disadvantage is that customers and prospects pay little attention to the many exhibitors and their products due to the many distractions and the busy atmosphere inherent in trade shows.

Exhibitors can make effective use of trade show displays in trade shows to direct visitors to their main display area. Trade show displays are used to give visitors a better understanding or appreciation of the products or services being marketed. Although exhibitors are only supposed to put their trade show displays within the confines of their designated trade show exhibit area, exhibitors also display items in strategic areas of the fair grounds. Trade show displays often used include banner stands, counters and cabinets, panel display etc. that clearly display the company logo, basic company information and company slogan.

The trade show booth is an important component of the trade show display as it aims to enhance the brand and marketing experience for the visitor. It facilitates valuable direct face-to-face contact between the companies and their prospective customers. The whole booth set-up includes counters kiosks, lighting, flooring, literature racks, banner stands and high impact graphics, with the booth design, the staffing and the handouts the main factors to a successful trade show booth.

Many companies prefer to rent pre-owned trade show exhibits and displays rather than to buy or to create them from scratch to save on the trade show booth construction costs and also on the expense of warehousing the displays after the trade show is over.

Trade shows demand a lot of work and effort, and exhibitors have to plan well in advance so as to make the trade show a success. It is because any successful trade show offers exhibitors with a very valuable opportunity to build relationships face-to-face with their clients and to close lucrative business deals.

A recent study by American Express found 90 percent of attendees who own a smartphone specifically use it for business at meetings, conferences, and trade shows. Nearly half of event attendees also own tablets. With smartphone and tablet usage continuing to rise and mobile apps becoming a mainstay at events in all industries, it’s time to take a closer look at how Wi-Fi access at an event facility impacts event apps and the attendee experience.  

A Wi-Fi hotspot at or around the event registration area may suffice for smaller meetings, yet event hosts tasked with planning larger conferences – often with thousands of attendees and numerous app updates planned – need to coordinate with the host facility to better understand the bandwidth and capabilities of existing Wi-Fi. Budgeting for the costs of internet access in cases where Wi-Fi isn’t free, or when options aren’t considered reliable, is an important element to consider in the planning stages of an event. Also make sure the steps taken to connect to Wi-Fi are identified in advance and tested, as well as contact information for on-site tech support should an issue arise during the event. 

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The holidays brought good cheer for companies looking to hire or promote from within throughout the end of 2014.

The International Association Exhibitions and Events appointed Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP as the organization’s executive vice president.  In this role, she will oversee additional strategic planning and operational responsibilities.

“Cathy has been an integral member of the IAEE team for many years and has worked tirelessly to promote IAEE’s strategic plan and initiatives,” said David DuBois, president and CEO of IAEE. “She has earned respect and appreciation from our staff, volunteer leaders and global members.”

Breden manages the day-to-day operations of the association including overseeing marketing and communications, membership, education, conventions and events, and administration.

In addition, she currently serves as the managing director of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) whose primary purpose is to promote the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering research-based knowledge tools.

Sharon Enright has been promoted from vice president to executive vice president of the Trade Show Division of Business Journals Inc, a leading integrated business-to-business media company primarily serving the men’s and women’s fashion industry. The promotion is effective immediately.

In making the announcement, Britton Jones, president and CEO of Business Journals, said, “In her almost 17 years with the company, Sharon has demonstrated relentless passion and outstanding leadership skills. She has been and continues to be a driving force in the outstanding growth and success of the BJI Fashion Group trade shows.”

Hargrove hired on Dan Cole as their new senior vice president for Trade Shows and Exhibits.
With more than 27 years of professional sales and leadership experience, Cole was most recently vice president of Business Development for the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the organization which produces it – the Consumer Electronics Association.  

He began his career in the trade show industry in 1992 as a national accounts manager for National Trade Productions, progressing there to Sales Director and went on to hold a number of important executive positions at companies such as Advanstar and Yellowbrix. 

Hargrove COO and EVP Diana Simmons said, “Dan Cole brings outstanding, award-winning experience to Hargrove. This is a huge addition for us. I worked with Dan at National Trade Productions, and am very excited about his joining Hargrove leadership team. His insight and background will no doubt help the company grow and enhance our visibility and reach in the industries we serve.”

CompuSystems named Chris Williams as its new president. Williams joined CompuSystems in 1996 and within a few short years became director of sales. Under his leadership, sales nearly tripled and most recently in his role as senior vice president, Williams has been Instrumental in directing CompuSystems’ product development and setting strategic goals.

In his new role, Williams will be responsible for all aspects of day-to-day operations and overseeing the senior management team.

Also at Compusystems, Scott Allen was hired on as chief sales officer. Allen, who was hand-picked by CompuSystems’ President Chris Williams, previously served as senior regional manager at Oracle where he was in charge of the Central Region.

Allen has 20 years of experience with four Fortune 500 companies in the IT and technology service industries. 

Freeman named Paul Cunniffe business development vice president of the Exposition division at Freeman.

“We are excited to announce the addition of Paul Cunniffe to our Exposition team. Paul joins us with more than 20 years’ experience working with customers such as the Democratic National Convention, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, and the American Physical Therapy Association,” said Steve Anderson, executive vice president, Business Development, Freeman.

Andrew P. Riester has rejoined ShowNets after a 13-year hiatus.  He began his professional career with ShowNets, LLC as an operational technician and now rejoins the team as a strategic account representative.  

  • Industry News

Ours is an industry filled with ingenuity and innovation. Even the shows that have been around for decades find ways to reinvent themselves and bring an exciting and profitable experience to both attendees and exhibitors, making them crave even more next year. Here’re a few ideas tested by shows in 2014 that could bring a new sparkle to your event:

Near Field Communication. Several shows switched this year to Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in attendee badges. In essence, it’s a microchip in the badge encrypted with relevant data about the attendee, such as access to expo, sessions and events. No printing and losing lunch tickets (and drink coupons) anymore. Exhibitors collect leads by scanning badges with their smartphone pre-loaded with a registration app and synched with their database. Since all contact info is digital exhibitors can also instantly send specs and relevant materials. 

CES introduced the badges at its 2014 show in collaboration with ITN International. “There’s a bit of a learning curve but people are very excited about it,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president of events and conferences for Consumer Electronics Association. CES will again use NFT in their badges in 2015.

Licensing Expo 2014 also has a successful experience with NFT. “I heard from a lot of attendees that this was the smoothest entry process they’ve had into a show. It is likely that Advanstar will adopt the same technology for its other shows,” said Chris DeMoulin, president of Licensing & EVP Worldwide Customer Development at Advanstar Communications.

Mobile Engagement Technology. CTIA Super Mobility Week 2014 launched a system that could monitor location of mobile devices on the floor as well as send proximity marketing messages. It collected real-time data from 125 sensors around the floor and created a “heat map” of the busiest booths and presentations displayed in the Big Data Wall in the lobby. At the same time, it allowed exhibitors to send messages to nearby attendees through the official show app and opted-in to receive such notifications.  More of proximity messaging is expected at next year’s event.

“You’ll walk into the Samsung booth, and it will ask you questions about what you’d like to see and offer to schedule a meeting and send information to your phone,” said Robert Mesirow, vice president and show director for CTIA. “It makes it a lot more efficient for exhibitors as it automatically does their lead generation and follow-up.”

Shop the Tradeshow. MAGIC Market Week launched its Shop the Floor website as an online product showcase to help extend the life of the show. In 2014, the site became a full ecommerce platform. Buyers can still use it to research products and brands before the show but they also can also place orders throughout the year. “It’s an established brand now,” said Allison Lombardo, vice president of marketing for Advanstar. “And it’s a lot more robust in terms of a shopping experience for the retailer.”

Show Apps All Grown Up. One of the most helpful innovations in show apps has been the introduction of real-time navigation and its integration with other functions. At JCK, attendees could provide information about the desirable products and price ranges and were recommended up to 25 exhibitors that could be a good match. The app would then help schedule appointments and help navigate to the booth during the show.

Along with the GSP routing feature, National Hardware Show app also had a Near Me button that allowed exhibitors to show deals to attendees that had selected their product as category of interest.

Sample Box. Cosmoprof partnered with Glossy Box, a subscription beauty samples service, to create and distribute a limited edition Cosmoprof Box with products launched at the show. “We wanted our exhibitors, especially smaller companies, to get a chance to connect directly with their consumers and also to test the subscription box model that is getting very popular now,” said Daniela Ciocan, marketing director at Cosmoprof North America. “Normally, it takes 30,000 pieces to participate, and it’s a huge investment. Here they only have to contribute 3,000 pieces. We’re hoping it will be a successful partnership with a B-to-C platform.”

Awesome Old School. IT show Interop decided to go the low-tech route to promote attendance at its 2014 event by sending out posters with the history of the show and IT. Their colorful presence on the walls of attendee firms did the trick. “Instead of doing three humongous mail drops, we did one drop to about 100,000 potential registrants,” said Jennifer Jessup, general manager of Interop. “We got better pickup and made more money from those codes than we’d ever done.”

Bonus: Personal Meme Generator. Ok, so this is really a glance into the future, but 2015 CES lets you build a surprisingly accurate and funny personal meme that makes it hard to resist sharing on social media. Even if you’re not going, it might be worth it just as inspiration for next year. 

  • Industry News

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ 2014 Chairperson Jonathan “Skip” Cox passed the gavel to chairperson-elect Megan Tanel, vice president of exhibitions and events at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, at the Annual Networking Business Luncheon and Awards Ceremony held during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition last week in Los Angeles.

“I look forward to contributing to a robust agenda of advocacy, education development, global expansion and increasing engagement of all members during my term as IAEE Chairperson in 2015,” Tanel said.

She added, “I am a passionate advocate for the power of exhibitions and could not feel more honored to serve IAEE in its mission to promote the importance and value of the exhibitions and events industry.”

At AEM, Tanel is responsible for overseeing AEM trade shows and show partnerships, U.S. and globally, and association education/meeting programs.

She also has served as director of AEM’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG exposition, which focuses on construction equipment and materials and is the largest event of its type in the Western Hemisphere.

Tanel has served as IAEE Education Committee Chair, is a graduate of the IAEE Krakoff Leadership Institute, and \ is a member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).

IAEE welcomes its newest members of the IAEE Board of Directors: Director Robert “Bob” McLean, Jr., CPA, Executive Vice President, Promotional Products Association International; Director Robert “Bob” Morgan, General Manager, Dulles Expo Center and Director Stephen “Steve” Sind, President & CEO, Global Event Strategies, LLC.

Ex-officio directors include Walter Yeh, Executive Vice President, TAITRA – Taiwan External Trade Development Council representing the IAEE Asia Exhibition Council; Britton Jones, President & CEO, Business Journals, Inc. representing the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR); and Ex-officio Greg McCormack, CEM, Director of National Sales, T3 Expo representing the Robert L. Krakoff seat.

Continuing directors include Immediate Past Chairperson Skip Cox, President, Exhibit Surveys, Inc.; Chairperson-Elect Julia Smith, CEM, CTA, Senior Vice President of National Sales, Global Experience Specialists (GES); Secretary/Treasurer Daniel McKinnon, CEM, Vice President, Client Services – Global, FreemanXP; Vicki Bedi, Director, PSBedi & Co Pvt Ltd; Thomas Cindric, Jr., CEM, Vice President, Hanley Wood Exhibitions; Christopher McCabe, Executive Vice President, Emerald Expositions; Martin Moggre, CEM, Executive Vice President & Chief Sales Officer, Expositions, Freeman; Manolita Moore, MBA, Owner/Managing Director, Las Vegas Show Management, LLC; Susan Schwartz, CEM, Managing Director, ConvExx; and Ryan Strowger, CEM, Vice President of Exhibitions, Conferences and Sales, International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Continuing ex-officio members of the board include Kristin Barranger, CEM, Manager, Expositions & Communications, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), representing the Chapter Leaders Council and Chris Nemchek, Senior Vice President, Sales & Exhibitions, Specialty Food Association, Inc. represents the IAEE MATSO Council.

Members of IAEE’s Board of Directors are elected on an annual basis by the official voting member of each IAEE member company. All officers serve a term of one year, except the secretary/treasurer who holds office for two years. The directors are divided into three classes, as nearly equal in number as possible, each to serve three years in staggered terms to ensure continuity in the governance of the association.

  • Industry News

The Consumer Electronics Association unveiled a series of awards and events for the 2015 International CES, including the new APPNATION IV, Wearable Tech Awards, Hardware Battlefield and Extreme Tech Challenge.

Owned and produced by CEA, the 2015 CES will be haled Jan. 6-9 in several venues around Las Vegas.
“These awards and events at CES celebrate pioneering technology companies and entrepreneurs who are creating innovative products and services that will be all the buzz and ‘must have items’ for consumers in the months and years ahead,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA.

She added, “These partner activities at CES showcase the innovation within our dynamic technology industry and highlight those exhibitors who are helping drive the industry to new heights.”
Among the more than 20 specialty awards programs and events that will be featured at the 2015 CES, such as the Best of CES Awards, presented by Engadget, Technology and Engineering Emmy® Awards, presented by NATAS, and Last Gadget Standing, presented by Living in Digital Times, new highlights include:

·  APPNATION IV - This two-day event is focused exclusively on the business of apps and the broader consumer app economy. APPNATION reaches the full long-tail of app developers and publishers from the cool indies all the way up through the largest brands and companies in the world.

·  Wearable Tech Awards, presented by Stuff - The Wearable Tech Awards will showcase the 10 most promising wearable tech products of the 2015 CES, as chosen by Stuff‘s editors, including the best smartwatch, smart eyewear, health and fitness gadgets, VR products and apps to launch this January.

·  Hardware Battlefield, presented by TechCrunch - During this premiere startup competition, 16 startups will reveal a brand-new product for the first time to a panel of industry experts and investors while competing for $50,000 and the coveted Metal Man trophy. See the finalists’ products in the TechCrunch display at the Sands, Level 2, booth #75468.

·  Extreme Tech Challenge - Watch ten of the most innovative startups in the world compete live on stage at CES for the opportunity of a lifetime: to pitch Sir Richard Branson on his private Necker Island. CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro will lead the all-star judging panel.

The 2015 CES will feature more than 3,500 exhibitors unveiling the latest consumer technology products and services across 20 unique product categories. 

  • Industry News

After last quarter, which saw slowing growth in the trade show industry, the third quarter bounced back with the 17th consecutive positive quarter showing, a 1.8-percent year-on-year increase overall, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Index Report.

Even so, the growth of the exhibition industry index lagged a bit behind GDP growth for the second straight quarter, in contrast to the previous two quarters (2014Q1 and 2013Q4), where exhibitions grew slightly faster than GDP.

“We are very pleased by the third quarter results and confirm our forecast that the exhibition industry will gain momentum,” said CEIR’s economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates.

The growth of the CEIR Total Index averaged 1.9 percent during the first three quarters of 2014, just 0.1 percent point shy of the 2.0 percent forecasted for 2014 the year as a whole, as published in the 2014 CEIR Predict Report.

The only metric of the four measured by CEIR that did not see year-on-year growth in the third quarter was real revenues.

The strongest performer was the number of exhibitors, which rose 3.7 percent. Net square feet increased 2.1 percent, whereas professional attendance was up 1.9 percent.

Nominal revenues increased just 1.2 percent year-on-year, weighted down by a moderate decline in consumer goods and retail trade exhibitions. Adjusted for inflation, real revenues declined by 0.5 percent year-on-year, according to CEIR.

The trade show industry saw another big boost last week when more than 2,000 trade show organizers and suppliers were in Los Angeles to take part in three days of networking, education sessions and a bustling showfloor at the 2014 International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ Expo! Expo!

The exact number of attendees, 2,104, was a significant jump, compared with 2013, with also more than 1,000 show organizers on hand this year.

Putting a spotlight on the state of the industry right now, IAEE also held a media forum with several trade show industry executives who talked about current challenges.

David DuBois, president and CEO of IAEE, said the overall industry is seeing growth, with more and more interest coming from international attendees and exhibitors.  

Bradley Kent, who heads sales at the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the recession caused a lot of consolidation in the industry. “Customers have more voice and more choice,” he added.

Megan Tanel, from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, said, “We are questioning a lot of antiquated models,” adding that they are especially looking at rising costs that are not tied to receiving the same value.

  • Industry News

When I stumbled into the exhibition industry, I didn’t have a mentor to steer me through the inevitable career potholes. After learning from various mistakes and wins, I figured my wealth of knowledge would help steer the next generation of industry leaders.

Here are the eight lessons I learned along the way that are still applicable:

1) Become a Student of Office Politics - No matter how large or small your employer is, there are always internal dynamics that aren’t reflected on an org chart. When you join a new organization, remember to spend some time just observing…. Influencers, thought leaders, unofficial “consultants” to the leaders and decision makers.

2) Change Jobs with Class - If a new and improved opportunity comes along, remember the rules; give at least two weeks notice, and no bad-mouthing your former employer. Another important rule – don’t leave too close to any event you are planning. This is a small industry, and people do talk (a lot). Very bad form to leave your former team in a lurch.

3) Give Every Job Your Best - Again, being a small industry, your reputation for being motivated, energetic and positive will get around, and will open doors.

4) Love the Ones You’re With - I know how intoxicating those electronics can be. But if you are constantly checking your texts, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., the co-workers and clients you are with will feel neglected. Frankly, it is insulting if you are meeting with a client or your boss, and are looking at your phone instead of them. Which leads me to the next tip…

5) Don’t Over Share - A little mystery is good. In this age of posting every life event online, remember that people will make judgments. If you are in a client-facing position, you could alienate someone through your politics or other activities. The same advice is applicable for office conversation… Don’t discuss anything you would not want your CEO or biggest client to know.

6) Resist Travel Temptations - When you are young and traveling on an expense account, life is good, but this is a business trip, not a frat party. Drink with moderation, and keep your extracurricular activities quiet. Make sure you know what your organization will reimburse, so you don’t end up with a rejected expense report. If you are on the client side, know your group’s policies for accepting gifts and other travel perks like mileage points and room nights.

7) Volunteer with Purpose - One of the best ways to get your name and reputation out there is to volunteer with industry organizations on both the local and national level. Join a committee, or help with a special event, but don’t volunteer unless you have the time and intent to participate fully. Otherwise, your volunteerism will backfire, and you could get branded as someone who “doesn’t show up.” Volunteering is also a great way to network with industry players who might not be in your immediate circle.

8) A Word about Mentors - Don’t despair if you don’t have a designated mentor. I think you can have many “mentor-like” relationships in a long career; people you admire or want to emulate, or who give you advice or a boost at a particular time in your career. Be open to all types of interactions with peers, upper management, clients, sponsors, exhibitors, suppliers, and you will eventually decide what business style works best for you.

This is an exciting industry, and one starving for the next generation of leaders. Engage. Experiment. Participate. Have fun, but expect to work hard.

How are you empowering the Millennials in our industry? As a Millennial, do you have advice for your peers on how to further their career? Share your tips below; I know our readers would love to hear them!

My tips were originally featured in IAEE’s Young Professional Fall 2014 Newsletter! Check it out here for more helpful tips.

  • Blog

Sponsorships are a great way for exhibitors and corporate marketers to be seen and experienced by their target audience, but with the influx of marketing initiatives, it’s becoming harder and harder for companies to stand out and connect with their consumers. Companies invest in sponsorships because they recognize the value of connecting with their segment of the market. But it’s time to look beyond the logo placement and reexamine what connecting really looks like.

We recently compiled a database of all sponsorships offered by the top 250 U.S. trade shows, the top 50 Canadian trade shows, and the top 50 medical meetings to identify key sponsorship trends. While there was much overlap in the sponsorships offered, we also found some unique and exclusive offerings that can really help sponsors connect with their target audiences.

Here are seven innovative sponsorship opportunities that you should consider:

1. Guided Trade Show Tours

Attendees who are interested in specific products or innovations are taken on a tour to visit related exhibitors. Each sponsor is allotted uninterrupted time to present its brand and expertise. The guide facilitates discussion and provides added value by comparing and contrasting the various offerings in the space.

Attendees love it because it helps them filter through the noise and get to the core of what they’re actually interested in. And it’s a great investment for sponsors because they get to connect with the potential customers who are the most likely to get on board with what’s being offered.

2. Answers on the Hour

What better way to speak to your target audience than to actually speak with them? In this scenario, attendees are invited to join company representatives in an open Q-and-A forum. The Q-and-A session can take on any number of formats, but the format isn’t as important as the quality of your answers and your ability to leverage your time with attendees. This is a great opportunity to build rapport and strengthen the narrative around your brand.

The Golf Industry Show does a good job of capitalizing on this opportunity. It holds an “Education on the Trade Show Floor” during which sponsors discuss relevant topics and answer questions.

3. Branded Segways

You can put an ad on anything, so get creative. Segways add dimension, and representatives can hand out your literature or collect information from an interested passerby. The Sweet & Snacks Expo allows sponsors to display branded messaging on Segways, which are driven around the event by professionals who hand out materials and free product samples.

4. Juice and Smoothie Bar

Food is a common theme in sponsorship circles, but it’s also a great one with ample room for creativity. It’s not just about branded wrappers anymore. Have the servers wear your brand colors or logo, and create a custom menu that relates to your message and experience. Going the healthy route with fresh juices and nutritious smoothies will be a welcome change from traditional sugar-laden treats.

5. Branded Registration and Housing Confirmation Messages

Many organizations offer the opportunity to sponsor email or printed confirmation slips, which attendees often keep as mementos. Add a message about your show experience, upcoming speakers, or event. This will ensure you’re the first company to interact with registered attendees.

This option is offered at the ASCO Annual Meeting. Attendees can familiarize themselves with different sponsors’ basic information before the event and keep them top of mind as they experience it.

6. Games Lounge

Sponsor a table tennis or table hockey tournament, for example. It will encourage socializing and networking and give you a chance to chat with folks while they check out a game or wait their turn. This year’s MAGIC Market Week featured a game room sponsored by Haggar Clothing. It was filled with pingpong and pool tables and DIY stations where guests were asked to create their own unique designs.

7. Illuminated Smart Wall

Many companies have started using these impressive interactive walls for social media, data visualization, and anything else that helps them tell their brand’s story. Rain did this at GlobalShop, a retail design and shopper marketing event, to engage the audience and instill the brand’s message.

Beyond these seven sponsorship strategies, you could ask marketers to sponsor a group of trade show attendees, brand the event registration message, or host a focus group. Sponsorship opportunities run the gamut, but far too often, sponsorships seem to settle for similar offerings simply because the offer is there. For a spectacular sponsorship investment, it’s critical that you create a unique, customized experience that meets the needs of your exhibitors.

  • Blog

More than 2,000 trade show organizers and suppliers were in Los Angeles this week to take part in three days of networking, education sessions and a bustling showfloor at the 2014 International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ Expo! Expo!

The exact number of attendees, 2,104, was a significant jump, compared with 2013, with also more than 1,000 show organizers on hand this year.

“The 2014 Expo! Expo! has exceeded our expectations so far. We have a record number of show organizer attendees, specifically a 30 percent increase over last year, and our overall attendance has increased by 23 percent,” said IAEE President and CEO  David DuBois.

He added, “Feedback I’ve received from attendees is that they’re really enjoying the new features we’ve added to the 2014 show.”

The event was held Dec. 9-11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

One of the many highlights of Expo! Expo! is a joint session held between IAEE and the Society of Independent Show Organizers.

This year’s session focused on “How Do Independent Show Organizers and Associations View Each Other”, with Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc.’s Richard Mead moderating a discussion with Hanley Wood’s Rick McConnell and the National Association of Broadcasters’ Chris Brown.

Hanley Wood has acquired several association shows in the past. “If there was a good thing that came out of the recession, we’re seeing a lot of strategic partnerships that would not have happened before,” McConnell said.

The opening general session kicked off the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti welcoming the crowd and joking, “Thank you for coming back, even though it took about two decades.”

Outgoing IAEE Chairperson Skip Cox took the stage and told the capacity crowd of the many IAEE successes in the past year, including Exhibitions Day, in which more than 100 show organizers went to Capitol Hill to talk about the value of events, as well as the “Exhibitions Means Business” campaign, which has had an estimated $36 million impact in media value and nearly 40 million impressions.

IAEE membership also has seen a 13 percent increase in number of countries represented and overall membership grew by 4 percent in the past year.

“International membership is up 26 percent overall,” DuBois said. To highlight this point, several international associations representing countries such as Mexico, Thailand, China and India took the stage to sign reciprocal partnership agreements with IAEE.

The first day’s keynote, Fast Company Editor Robert Safian, encouraged people to not have a fixed mindset and be willing to accept change in order to succeed.

“(People) need to be in the right mindset to adapt to changes around us,” he added.

Putting a spotlight on the state of the industry right now, IAEE also held a media forum with several trade show industry executives who talked about current challenges.

DuBois said the overall industry is seeing growth, with 16 consecutive positive quarters, as tracked by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.

Bradley Kent, who heads sales at the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the recession caused a lot of consolidation in the industry. “Customers have more voice and more choice,” he added.

Megan Tanel, from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, said, “We are questioning a lot of antiquated models,” adding that they are especially looking at rising costs that are not tied to receiving the same value.

The showfloor, packed with suppliers to the trade show industry, was held during a two-day period and drew 265 exhibitors to 39,000 net square foot of space.

The festivities kicked off with an outdoor opening party at L.A. Live featuring a holiday theme before attendees got back down to business the next day with sessions in the morning and another general session with Seth Mattison.

Mattison showed an organizational chart from the top down and pointed out most of the attendees in the room viewed the world this way, while the younger generations coming up saw the world more as an interconnected, ever-changing network.

He added that the Internet has empowered the younger generations. “They have access and they have a platform,” Mattison said. “They see people their age disrupting every industry.”

He also encouraged people to have a defined outcome objective for every meeting, to do their homework before talking to someone about their business and “ask killer questions”, but just ones like “What do you do?”

The rest of the three-day event featured Humanity Rocks annual networking event that supported a local charity, IAEE chapter receptions, a plethora of education sessions and a closing luncheon that featured IAEE Individual Award Honorees, including Vincent Polito, who received the Pinnacle Award, and Sarah Soliman, who was honored as this year’s Rookie award honoree.

In conclusion, AEM’s Megan Tanel accepted the passing of the gavel from Skip Cox and will start her year as IAEE’s new chairperson.

  • Industry News

Business Journals Inc. and ENK International have decided to join forces and collocate their fall/winter shows in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Britton Jones, President and CEO of BJI, and Tom Nastos, CEO of ENK, which is owned by Advanstar Communications, made the joint announcement that the shows would come together for the first time April 27-29 next year.

According to officials from both BJI and ENK, they conducted market research before deciding to make this move.

“Our decisions are always focused on our industry’s needs,” said ENK’s Tom Nastos. Joint extensive retailer and exhibitor queries discovered an additional benefit of this April collocation.

The majority of the buyers prefer these dates because they move the market a little further away from Mother’s Day, which is second only to the Christmas season in terms of sales for the women’s market.

“By scheduling the Fall/Winter market in the last week in April, instead of the first full week in May, we are actually giving many specialty store owners more time to work with their customers right before this very important holiday. Therefore these earlier dates will give more buyers the opportunity to shop our events,” Nastos said.

Britton Jones added, “For years, the industry has been clamoring for the show organizers to come together to better address the needs of the industry and meaningful co-locations are a proven formula for success. Over the years, ENK and BJI have run our shows together in other seasons at the Javits Center and we have found that it is beneficial for the entire industry. The co-location gives more retailers a more compelling reason to come to New York. The convenience of running the two established shows together, in the same building, means that buyers have more time to shop the shows rather than traveling between them.”

The BJI Fashion Group produces 27 market leading trade shows each year including AccessoriesTheShow, EDIT, FAME, Moda, MRket and  STITCH.

Nastos said, “Britton and I have been working on this plan in cooperation with the Javits Center management for several months and we are pleased to have been able to put this agreement together.”

ENK produces 14-plus annual trade shows, including Coterie, Accessorie Circuit, IntermezzoCollections, Children’s Club and ENKVegas.

In addition to the collocation in April, BJI and ENK will also collocate during the Holiday/Resort market in August.

“Both Tom and I want to offer our sincere thanks to the senior management of the Javits Center for working with us in making this co-location possible,” Jones said.

He added, “Alan Steel, president, and Doreen Guerin, vice president of sales and marketing of the Javits Center, devoted considerable time and effort to make this collocation possible. We greatly appreciate their support of this endeavor and their overall commitment to the continued health and well-being of the fashion industry and its importance to the City and State of New York.”

  • Industry News