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.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has appointed J. Spargo & Associates, Inc. as its registration, housing, and lead retrieval company for its 2015, 2016, and 2017 Annual Clinical & Scientific Meetings.

The event highlights new technology, current clinical dilemmas, and “hot topics” facing those

involved in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.  The 2015 Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting will be held May 2-6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Founded in 1951 in Chicago, Illinois, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has more than 58,000 members and is the nation’s leading group of professionals providing health care for women.

Now based in Washington, D.C., it is a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization.

The College works primarily in four areas:

Serving as a strong advocate for quality health care for women.

Maintaining the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education for its members.

Promoting patient education and stimulating patient understanding of and involvement in medical care.

Increasing awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.

JS&A, based in Fairfax, Va., provides a complete menu of convention and trade show services: housing, registration, exhibitor lead management services, exhibit space sales and marketing, meeting and special event management, message centers, product locators, abstract management, registrant itinerary planners, CME.CEU credit; collection, reporting, and certificate production, exhibit floor management, event Web site design and hosting services. 

International Association of Exhibitions and Events Unveils 2014 IAEE Awards Program Recipients

September 26, 2014

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events unveils this year’s recipients of the IAEE Awards program, which recognizes professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the exhibitions and events industry.

The recipients will be honored at the IAEE Annual Networking Luncheon and Awards Presentation to be held Dec. 9-11 during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Los Angeles.

“The IAEE Awards Committee is very proud of this year’s honorees,” said 2014 IAEE Awards Committee Chairperson David Audrain, CEM.

He added, “The dedication shown by these exhibitions and events professionals is truly outstanding, and we look forward to honoring their achievements at Expo! Expo! in Los Angeles.” 

This year’s award winners were selected after careful consideration and review by the IAEE Awards Committee and approval by the IAEE Board of Directors, following an open call for nominations earlier in the year. The following outstanding individuals were selected for recognition:

The Pinnacle Award recognizes an individual who, over the years, has furthered IAEE’s objectives of advancing exhibition management through the promotion of education, the dissemination of knowledge and the introduction or development of innovative techniques; and who has been dedicated to the perpetuation of the highest ideals, trust and professionalism in this highly specialized field. This year’s recipient is Vinnie Polito.

The Merit Award recognizes those whose ideas and/or work have benefited IAEE as an organization in some special way and is generally reserved for those who have stepped forward at the chapter/local level. This year’s recipients are Tesa Harding, CEM, Exhibits Manager at the Texas Music Educators Association; Carolyn Hilderbrand, National Sales Manager at AVTS; Tom Malek, CEM, National Sales Manager at GES; and Jennifer Kimball, Senior Vice President, Operations at OnPeak.

The Educator of the Year Award honors IAEE members who possess outstanding creativity, a positive attitude and the ability to transfer knowledge through good communication skills and innovative teaching to promote life-long learning to exhibitions and events industry professionals. This year’s recipients are Bob Kelley, CEM, CMM and Curtis Love, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have made an extraordinary personal or professional commitment that materially contributes to the advancement of the exhibitions and events industry. This year’s recipient is Johanne Belanger, President of Freeman Audio Visual | Canada.

The Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award recognizes achievement in the creation of new and innovative business solutions. This year’s award recipient is Amandeep Sandhu, Vice President of Customer Insights at UBM Tech.

The Young Professional of the Year Award honors individuals in the exhibitions and events industry 40 years of age or younger. The award recognizes excellent professional performance by someone who has committed his/her time to advancing the standing of young professionals in our industry. This year’s honorees are Jennifer Paine Pekowski, CEM, Business Development Director at Freeman and Barbara Myers, CAE, Vice President of Association Services at IMN Solutions.

The Rookie of the Year Award recognizes excellent professional performance by an individual with three or less years of full-time exhibitions and events industry experience. This year’s award recipient is Sarah Soliman, Producer/Talent at Convention News Television (CNTV).

For more information about the IAEE Individual Awards, visit Details about Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2014 can be found at

Content Marketing World Sees a 54 Percent Increase in Attendance in Cleveland

September 23, 2014
Traci Browne

Owner, Red Cedar Marketing, auhor of "The Social Trade Show: Leveraging Social Media and Virtual Events"

The fourth annual Content Marketing World (CMWorld), a Content Marketing Institute event, took place Sept. 8-11, 2014 at the Cleveland Convention Center and saw a huge 54 percent attendee uptick.

The event attracted 2,595 delegates from 50 countries, with 33 companies sending seven or more representatives. That is a significant jump in attendance from the 2013 event, which had just more than 1,700 delegates. The first CMWorld drew 600 delegates

The exhibit floor grew as well, with 80 exhibitors participating, which was up from 60 exhibitors last year. To accommodate start-ups, CMWorld created in an innovation zone on the showfloor that gave them a smaller footprint at a reduced rate. That option only was available to new exhibitors and was a one-time opportunity.

The exhibit hall also contained a media lounge, meet-up area, social lounge, bookstore and was where all attendees had to funnel through to get to the main keynote stage. The exhibit hall also featured the Wall Street Journal stage where panel discussions took place all throughout the day.

Steve Rotter, vice president digital marketing solutions for Brightcove, a returning exhibitor to CMWorld, explained why they participated. “Absolutely great content, great energy and for us, it’s the center of the universe for content marketing. There’s a lot of confusion in the marketing place. Content Marketing World brings it all together with people who’ve been immersed in this topic.”

An unsuspecting person walking through downtown Cleveland might wonder just what’s going on when they find themselves surrounded by hundreds of people decked out in orange clothing, a color that has become synonymous with Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute and CMWorld.

You see, CMWorld doesn’t just attract attendees, it’s attended by devoted fans that are part of a larger Content Marketing Institute community. What does Pulizzi think about so many people adopting his trademark color?

“To me, this is what a community looks like.  These people care for each other and in many cases, feel something on another level for each other,” Pulizz said.

He added, “There is a real belief that we are all in this together, part of the same family.  I’ve never seen sharing like this before. Maybe it’s this way because we’ve built the entire business on sharing amazing content from amazing people.  It’s infectious, and now we all have the virus.  And now it’s really starting to spread.”

Part of the reason CMWorld has such a devoted community is due to their weekly Twitter chats under the hashtag #CMWorld. Those chats have played a significant role in the marketing of CMWorld.

Second year attendee Erika Heald, head of social media and content marketing for Anaplan, said that one reason she attends is the opportunity to meet in person people she has talked to on the chats. She looks forward to meeting them in person and hanging out with them.

CMWorld also worked closely with Positively Cleveland to market the event. Content Marketing Institute is based in Cleveland, and they wanted to show off everything they love about their city. To do that, they had each staff member based in Cleveland contribute three or five activities they love to do in Cleveland. Not only did that give attendees insights into the city, but insights into the personalities of the staff members.

Those contributions created a snowball effect with local businesses getting involved in the promotion of the event and even sending their staff to attend the event.

Cathy McPhillips, marketing director for Content Marketing Institute, said, “people for years have said why are you doing it in Cleveland? Why do we have to go to Ohio? We have a beautiful city. It was nice for us to have a couple days showing off our city because now people say I loved the event, and I loved Cleveland, and now I do want to come back.”

That’s good news, because Pulizzi has no intention of moving the event away from Cleveland.

It goes without saying that an event that is all about content demands great content presented to attendees. More than 100 content marketing experts from around the globe spoke at CMWorld. Speakers included such brands as Kraft Foods, Facebook, SAP, Cisco Systems, GE, and Progressive Corporation.

Andrew Davis, author and marketing speaker, kicked off the event challenging attendees to create moments of inspiration through their content. Davis said, “If you want measurable ROI, think about moments of inspiration.” He also encouraged his audience to start thinking like a movie and television executive.

The final keynote speaker helped to solidify that idea. At 4:30 on Wednesday afternoon Actor Kevin Spacey took the stage and closed out the event to a packed auditorium. His tone was positive and encouraging, as he said, “For someone with more than 30 years in the business, there has never been a better moment for folks like us.” Spacey added, “the audience has spoken. They want stories. They’re dying for stories.”

Attendee Mike Myers, consultant of content marketing for Nationwide Insurance, was happy with the lineup of speakers in both the keynotes and the sessions. He felt it was smart to have someone like Spacey as the final speaker as it ensured people would stick around. “It was good to have someone outside of our space, but who could talk on what we do,” Myers said.

Myers was quick to add “there are folks in our space who are in their own right celebrities in our field. It’s fun to hear from them because they live it every day. They always have some kind of inspirational thing that sticks with you.” Myers recalled Andrew Davis’s session from last year, where he touched on the idea of fractal marketing. “That stuck with me the whole year,” Myers said.

Is the growth of both the industry and the event stressing Pulizzi? Hardly. He said, “I’m having the time of my life.  My favorite moment this year was shaking hands and taking pictures, while people were leaving the event.  How can you not enjoy this?  It’s like I get married to thousands of people once a year.”

Great content is the heart of our trade shows and conferences. If you’re looking to improve on the content you are delivering both at the show and throughout the year; if you are looking to create a community that helps you market your events for you, don’t miss next year’s Content Marketing World. It will be held Sept. 8-11 and it will, of course, be in Cleveland.

People in the News: Hiring Picks Up to Lightspeed Going into a Busy Season

September 23, 2014

Summer hiring was brisk, and now with the busy fall season in full swing, suppliers and show organizers alike are hiring and promoting at an even faster pace than has occurred in the past few years.

Emerald Expositions has promoted three veterans of the trade show industry and long-time members of the NY NOW sales team. Randi Mohr and Scott Kramer have been appointed to the new positions of vice president, show directors for NY NOW, and Allison Garafalo has been promoted to sales director.  These three internal promotions, all of which are effective immediately, include a restructuring of the Market’s senior leadership roles and responsibilities.  

In these new roles, Mohr will assume responsibility for NY NOW’s sales processes and systems management, in addition to her continued direction of NY NOW’s HOME Collection. Kramer will continue to oversee NY NOW’s LIFESTYLE and NEW! Collections, with new additional responsibility for oversight of NY NOW’s HANDMADE Collection as well as the concurrent Artisan Resource.  As part of this restructuring, the role of senior vice president, NY NOW – formerly held by Christian Falkenberg – has been eliminated and both Mohr and Kramer will report directly to Christopher McCabe, executive vice president, Emerald Expositions.  

Allison Garafalo also has been promoted to sales director, with continued responsibility for Artisan Resource and new responsibility for NY NOW’s HANDMADE Collection.  Additionally, Garafalo will play a supportive role with Emerald Expositions’ International Sourcing efforts.  Garafalo will report to Kramer, and Michelle Karol, HANDMADE Sales Manager, now will report to Garafalo.

Destination Marketing Association International has named Charles Jeffers II COO of DMAI, effective Nov. 1. Valencia Bembry has been named executive director of the Destination & Travel Foundation, effective Oct. 1.

The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau (AOCVCB) recently has hired industry veteran, Vicky Betzig, CMP as senior manager, Client Services, reporting directly to Colleen Cornett, director of Client Services & Housing. 

Naylor Association Solutions has hired John Gallagher, who will focus immediately on building Naylor’s event business. Gallagher will work on the continued expansion of Naylor’s event solutions, which includes turnkey management of trade shows and events, exhibit and sponsorship sales and one-on-one appointment-based meetings that bring qualified buyers and suppliers together.

Gallagher has been involved in the trade show and exhibition industry for more than 20 years.  As President and CEO of Messe Frankfurt North America, Gallagher oversaw its U.S. subsidiary, one of the leading trade show organizers in the world.  He produced events in the U.S., Mexico and Canada in the textile, apparel sourcing, environmental, auto parts and accessories industries.

Prior to Messe Frankfurt, Gallagher was senior vice president with E.J. Krause & Associates, Inc. and headed up the Industrial and Commercial Divisions of EJK, consisting of wholly-owned EJK events, joint ventures and association management events. Gallagher had P&L oversight of the Industrial and Commercial Division events, as well as new business development responsibilities.

Fixation Marketing added two new staff members to its Account Services team. Julie Parsons, account manager, will run point for three of Fixation’s accounts: Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI). As project coordinator, Brittany Tevis will work closely with both the Account and Creative Services teams to traffic workflow and keep all incoming and outgoing projects organized.

Global Experience Specialists (GES) has grown its U.S. AV team with the addition of 10 seasoned professionals. GES welcomes Ron Cervantes, Casey Cowan, Jeff Marker, Robert Smith, Robert Stover and Randy Will, located in GES’ Irving, Texas, client care center. Asa Crenshaw, Tracey Morrissey, CMP, and Ryan Murphy located in GES’ Chicago client care center, and Shannon Delaney is located in GES’ New Orleans client care center. “It’s exciting to recruit such talented AV professionals to the GES team,” said GES Senior Vice President of Audio Visual Services Paul Wedesky. “Clients are looking to us for their complete live event needs, and adding these experienced technical professionals strengthens the overall GES service offering and our ability to provide the entire experience through one company.”

After six years with NYC & Company, Bernadette Carter has been promoted to vice president, Marketing, for Global Tourism and Convention Development. In this role, she is responsible for developing marketing strategies to position New York City as an inspirational and attainable destination to travel trade and consumers globally, with the goal of increasing visitation. She previously worked as Senior Director, Marketing, for Tourism and Convention Development.

The Helicopter Association International (HAI) has selected Charlotte R. Zilke to be its new director of conventions. As director of conventions, Zilke is responsible for the overall preparation, coordination, and execution of all aspects of the association’s annual trade show and exposition, HAI HELI-EXPO®, the world’s largest trade show and exposition dedicated solely to the vertical lift industry.

SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals has appointed Mark Bailey as an Account Executive. Bailey will focus on meeting the technology needs of associations, for-profit show organizers and general service contractors.

Clarion Events Reportedly on Sales Block for $327 Million

September 22, 2014
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

With UBM confirming it’s in discussions to possibly buy Advanstar Communications and Questex Media Group being bought last week by Shamrock Capital Advisors, yet another trade show organizer, U.K.-based Clarion Events, also is rumored to be on the sales block, according to The Sunday Times.

Clarion, which currently is controlled by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, is the largest trade show organizer in the U.K., and the sales price is reported to be $327 million.

Clarion’s Executive Chairman Simon Kimble  and VSS Managing Partner Jeffrey Stevenson have not responded to a request for comment.

Clarion Events organizes more than 200 events (a mixture of trade shows, conferences and seated events) annually across the globe.

Some of those events include the Defense and Security industries – Counter Terror Expo, DSEI – Defence & Security Equipment International; the Retail industry – Top Drawer London, The Shows Home & Gift Harrogate; and Financial Services – Mortgage Business Expo, to name a few.

There are 350 people working for Clarion Events from 9 offices in 9 different countries: UK; USA (Connecticut and Reno); UAE; Germany; Brazil; Singapore; South Africa; The Netherlands; Turkey.

According to the company, current turnover is more than $131 million and profits have grown fourfold since undertaking an MBO in 2004.  

In that time, Clarion Events has completed 12 acquisitions, as well as launched new events and entered into three joint venture partnerships.

Questex Media Group Sells to Shamrock Capital Advisors PE Firm

September 22, 2014

Newton, Mass.-based Questex Media Group, which has more than over 100 digital media products and over 50 conferences, tradeshows and events, was bought by L.A.-based Shamrock Capital Advisors for an undisclosed sum.

The company was acquired in partnership with senior management.

“Shamrock Capital is the perfect partner for Questex at this point in our evolution,” said Kerry Gumas, Questex Group president and CEO.

He added, “They have a deep understanding of the media, communications and entertainment sectors and the customers we serve. They support our ongoing business initiatives and they share our goal of extending Questex’s service offerings and market footprint.”

Questex’s areas of focus include Hospitality& Travel, Beauty & Wellness, Nightclub & Bar, Entertainment, I.T. & Telecom and Life Sciences & Healthcare groups, a digital media industry-leading publisher, FierceMarkets, and a leading market research and advisory services provider, InfoTrends.

Shows in its portfolio include the Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show and the International Beauty Show, as well as a portfolio of hospitality and travel events.

“Over the years, Questex has aggregated a unique set of assets with significant untapped potential,” said William Wynperle, partner at Shamrock Capital Advisors.

He added, “We look forward to working with Kerry and the Questex team to capitalize on a tremendous need in today’s marketplace through additional strategic investments and the benefit of our combined experience.”

Shamrock currently is investing out of Shamrock Capital Growth Fund III, a $400 million fund raised in 2011.

Shamrock’s current investments include FanDuel, Giant Creative/Strategy, Isolation Network, MarketCast, Mobilitie, PGOA Media, Questex, Screenvision and T3 Media. 

“Since Questex was founded nine years ago, it has evolved into a technology-enabled platform integrating events, digital media and information products,” Gumas said.

He added, “The Shamrock team shares our vision of the vital benefits that business events and high quality digital information products and solutions can provide our customers to aid them in achieving their business and professional objectives. We are especially glad to be able to partner with Shamrock to continue to invest in these services for the benefit of all our customers and stakeholders.”

Questex has 350 employees located in offices throughout the United States of America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Retail Parallel: Embracing Technology and Its Impact on Trade Shows

September 21, 2014
Marty McGreevy

Marty McGreevy serves as DDR Corp.’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Previously, he was president of Cyclonix, an integrated marketing company that specializes in 3D articulation of corporate messaging.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This is especially true when it comes to technology and the evolving landscape of omnichannel retail for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Once feared as an existential threat to brick-and-mortar retail, the Internet now provides retailers with tools to evolve, redefine themselves, improve engagement with customers and build their brands.

What shoppers really want is experience and relationships – with people and brands. Technology is simply another tool retailers can employ to augment and deepen these relationships and experiences.

My belief stems from what I witnessed during my 20-year tenure in the exhibition industry. Trade show floors and retail stores are parallel experiences. I consider the trade show and event floor to be a form of a pop-up retail store. Both require advertising and promotion to attract attendees. Both require skilled personnel who engage customers face-to-face to assist, inform and sell products and services. Both are physically immersive and both are most effective when they are housed within larger, umbrella structures with other similar environments—either a convention center or an open-air shopping center.

In recent years, both industries’ perceptions have evolved. They have learned that technology isn’t the enemy—it’s an ally, an integrated tool that can be leveraged to strengthen their positions.

I firmly believe that for those of us savvy enough to embrace the new tools in front of us, the future is rosy. In 2009, the exhibition industry was in the tank. Net square footage of floor space was in decline and attendance was in free-fall. Even CES (Consumer Electronics Show), the event we all look at to see what the next cool tech gadget is going to be, experienced a 22% decrease in attendance.

Media from The New York Times to The Washington Post reported that attendance was down and the industry in decline.  There was widespread fear inside the industry that face-to-face was going to be replaced by virtual exhibitions. Why would anyone go through the trouble and expense to attend a trade show in person when they could “attend” the show via their computer? Was this shift a permanent change that would impact the exhibitions industry forever? A multi-billion dollar industry held its breath and waited to see how quickly its ship was going to sink.

When the economy improved, the opposite occurred: That floundering boat righted itself and resumed a growth course. In fact, a report issued May 29 of this year by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (the organization that tracks the overall health of the exhibition industry) announced the industry’s 15th-consecutive quarter of growth. That’s right, 15 consecutive quarters of growth.

What is even more interesting is the status of the virtual trade show, which has not emerged as a stand-alone entity. As of yet, no strictly online trade show has gained enough traction to threaten a live exhibition.

This isn’t to say that the online expo hasn’t thrived. It has, more so as a supplement to the traditional exhibition (think: the exhibition version of omnichannel). Prior to arrival at a trade show, attendees use the Internet to plan their visits. They register online and gather information via the show website and online floor plan. They use email and social media to connect with the suppliers they plan to visit.

The at-show navigational and informational apps used by trade shows that merge the convenience of online with the tactility of in-person engagement parallel the emerging in-store apps retailers such as Walmart are testing. For example, Walmart shoppers can use the retailer’s app to search products, read reviews, scan products in-store, make shopping lists, browse local coupons, track orders, share products via email, locate items within Walmart stores by aisle and check in-store merchandise stock.

From my perspective, retailers are on a great course, transitioning yesterday’s perceived threats into today’s strengths. The future is omnichannel. Like the trade show industry, retailers need to continue to integrate and embrace technology that makes their customers’ shopping experience easy and memorable.

Let’s continue down the strong road we’re on. With omnichannel, retailers are creating 24/7 relationships that give customers what they want, when they want it and how they want it. But even more importantly, retailers are delivering a great in-store experience as the anchor to it all.

Exhibitor Demand for ROI is High – Can You Deliver?

September 21, 2014
Rob Hamlin

As director of exhibition services for Ungerboeck Software International, Rob Hamlin draws on 25 years in sales and 10 years of event industry experience to help event professionals, exhibition organizers, associations and independent show organizers experience the value of intelligent back-end and audience-facing technology. 

In years past, exhibition organizers were able to take an “if we build it, they will come” approach to tradeshows, conventions, and conferences with the goal of attracting attendees in order to reel in exhibitors. Show organizers could safely tell exhibitors and sponsors the kinds of people who attend the show, often tossing around statistics like “70% of attendees are decision makers,” without too much scrutiny because there was no way to prove or disprove those numbers.

Technology changes everything

Today, every marketing dollar counts – and when your exhibitor’s tradeshow budget goes up against their company’s digital marketing budget – it’s more important than ever to show a return on investment. It’s important to understand that digital marketing budgets can show when an ad was placed on the web, where it ran, how many people clicked on the ad, and where those people went from there. Exhibitors are going to expect the same from you in order to justify spending their marketing dollars on your show. Recently, I attended panel discussions with exhibitors at both SISO and PCMA, and here’s what the exhibitors themselves say they want.

Show me that you know me

First and foremost, it’s important for you to understand why an organization is exhibiting. Who are they looking for? What are their business goals and objectives? Obviously, their overarching goal is going to be exposure to the right audience, but what can you do to make sure they connect with the exact people they want to meet at your show? An interactive event guide that provides analytics to show exhibitors where they stand in terms of numbers of visitors, social media interactions, recommendations, rankings against their competitors, and offers the ability to push out a special offer or targeted ad to boost visibility would definitely appeal to today’s exhibitors.

Help me find the Holy Grail

Of course, everyone is chasing return on investment (ROI), but is that the right thing to measure? Especially in the B2B world, the sales cycle could take 12-months to two-years, and between the time that a prospect visits a booth at a trade show. After that show, the prospect might receive 24 emails and 17 personal phone calls from a sales rep. How does a company then link that sale back to a trade show booth visit?

Given that ROI is difficult to measure, what numbers are exhibitors looking for? We’re hearing more about ROO – return on opportunity. They see your show as an opportunity to meet the right person and get into their consideration set once they’re finally ready to buy. In order to appeal to the ROO exhibitors, you need better business intelligence about who is going to be at your event. And, more importantly real statistics about what happened at the show. For instance, can you share how many people clicked on an exhibitor’s ad? Will you be able to share how many attendees marked a specific exhibitor as a favorite?  You need systems that automatically record this information – so you can report on it – not because it’s a nice to have, but because exhibitors are going to demand it.

Time to face your fears

The top reason exhibition organizers say they don’t want to measure these statistics, much less share them with exhibitors, is because they’re afraid the numbers won’t add up – and therefore exhibitors will flee their shows. This may be a valid fear, but isn’t this the exact same information YOU need to improve your shows, so you will be able to deliver the right ROO (or ROI) for exhibitors and sponsors? If you get in on the ground floor of collecting these kinds of statistics, you can figure out ways to deliver a better experience for exhibitors. In the future, your exhibitors are going to demand real numbers, and if you can’t share them, perhaps your competitor will. Investing in the right technology that gives this level of feedback puts you in a better position for tomorrow. 

25th Edition of Labelexpo Americas Breaks Attendance Records

September 18, 2014
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

The 25th edition of Tarsus Group’s Labelexpo Americas, held Sept. 9-11 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., was the busiest one yet, with 16,029 attendees flocking to the showfloor to see the latest innovations in the labels and labeling industry.

This year’s attendance figure broke records and was up 12 percent, compared with the 2012 edition of the biennial event.

The showfloor also saw an increase of 10,000 net square feet this year to 195,000, and the number of exhibitors also increased to from 413 in 2012 to 441 at this year’s event.

On the second day of the busy show, Tasha Ventimiglia, Labelexpo Americas event director, said that the opening day “was a good day. A lot was sold on the showfloor.”

Attendees also packed the conference sessions, with more than 950 passes sold this year, compared with 720 in 2012.

In all, the conference program attracted almost 1,100 delegates (its highest ever number) and consisted of 16 different sessions and 64 individual moderators, panelists and speakers.

Highlights from the conference program included the CEO and converter panel discussions, as well as the ‘Internet of things’ and inkjet technologies presentations.

“The printing industry is going through a good run,” she added. “More than ever in the last two years it’s not just focused on labels, but also package printing.”

As a result, the show itself has grown to fit that need, as well as expanded into other markets, such as Latin America, which also has reflected with more international attendees from that region on the showfloor.

For Avery Dennison, one of the largest companies in the label space, Labelexpo Americas is a key platform to launch all of their new products, according to Judy Abelman, vice president of corporate communications for the company’s Materials Group.

“It’s a huge investment for us,” she added. This year, Avery Dennison launched a Labelexpo Americas virtual show that allowed people to go online and see everything that was in the booth, as well as ask questions in a live chatroom and request more information on anything they might be interested in.

“Our virtual tradeshow will open the door to converters around the world who are unable to attend the show,” Abelman said.

She added, “This tool will enable them to experience the innovations we will debut and gain access to the information and tools featured in our booth. It’s also a great way for converters at the show to share what they’ve seen with team members who weren’t able to come to Chicago.”

Attendee Ryan Lucia, production manager at Winooski, Vt.-based Creative Labels of Vermont, said it was his fifth time attending the show.

“It’s always a really excellent time,” he said. “I always leave here really inspired to change things in my own business. Everyone has a lot to offer … too much information is never a bad thing!”

Also featured at this year’s show was the “Smart Mart”, where smart technologies were shown off.

At the SML booth there was a handheld scanning device that with one quick swipe could read specially imbedded RFID tags, making inventory much faster to accomplish.

In another booth, attendees could don a pair of glasses that would track what types of labels and packaging their eyes were drawn to in a supermarket aisle.

Over at the Hewlett Packard booth they were showing off the company’s recent partnership with Coca-Cola in which they made 2 million unique labels for bottles that were distributed in Israel. Each bottle had a special code that also allowed someone to have a one-of-a-kind t-short made that matched the design on the bottle.

Mark Andy, another leading company in the label industry, also had a significant presence on the showfloor, with a booth that spanned 6,750 sq. ft. and at least 80 logistics and sales personnel working on and in the booth, according to Mark Sullivan, director of global marketing.

 “This is our flagship event. We time most of our product launches at the show,” he added, pointing out the company was unveiling its digital hybrid technology at this year’s event.  

New at this year’s event on the last day of the show was a Craft Beverage Workshop in which craft beer and wineries were invited to take part in a Labels 101 Session for their industries, as well as a lunch and Q&A with label beverage experts.

“The feedback has been excellent,” Ventimiglia said, adding that they hope to expand the program even more in 2016.

Even though the next show is two years away, Labelexpo Americas 2016 already is off to a good start with 83 percent of the showfloor booked onsite at this year’s event.

“The show’s success underlines just how much confidence has returned to the American label and package printing industry,” Ventimiglia said.

She added, “People were there to do serious business and from the feedback we’ve had, we know many exhibitors have enjoyed healthy sales as well as generating a high volume of good quality sales leads.”

UBM Confirms in Talks for Possible Advanstar Acquisition

September 18, 2014
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

U.K.-based UBM confirmed that it is in talks to acquire Advanstar Communications that “may, or may not, lead to a transaction.”

The statement was made after Reuters reported that UBM was in advanced stages to buy Advanstar for a $900 million pricetag. Representatives for Advanstar declined to comment.

Advanstar serves the fashion, licensing, life sciences and powersports industries with its portfolio of 54 trade shows, 100 conferences, 30 publications, and nearly 200 electronic products and Web sites, as well as educational and direct marketing products and services.

It runs the two largest fashion shows in the U.S. – Magic Market Week – held biannually in Las Vegas.

Last year’s Magic Market Week in February was ranked No. 5 on TSNN’s 2013 Top 250 Trade Show List and drew 70,000 attendees to more than 1 million net square feet in several venues across the city.

The August show last year ranked No. 8 and had more than 66,000 attendees to 952,741 net sq. ft. of space.

The company also has 600 employees, with its headquarters based in Santa Monica, Calif., and offices throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Advanstar is controlled by hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group and private equity firms Ares Management LP and Veronis Suhler Stevenson and generates approximately $95 million annually in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Just more than a year ago was another large deal in the trade show industry, with Nielsen Expositions selling to private equity firm ONEX for $950 million and renamed Emerald Expositions.