Let's Make Face-to-Face IN Your Face!

May 31, 2013

Adam Schaffer

Adam Schaffer is Vice President, Tradeshows and Exhibitions for HelmsBriscoe and a member of the IAEE Senior Executives Programming Task Force.

A lot of time, voice, energy, ink and virtual storage space are used elucidating the ‘Power of Events.’  The industry – and CEIR in particular – has done an excellent job in recent years of backing this up with hard data to get marketers to understand what we collectively have to offer.  We all know that most marketing text books maybe contain a page of information about tradeshows and events – and we are then forced to educate, update, and even campaign for and about the arsenal of amazing marketing and sales tools our events provide.

I say it’s time to take a different approach … more aggressive, in your face, king of the mountain, full of attitude kind of approach.  It’s face-to-face IN your face!

The good folks at Exhibit Surveys recently released a host of data, published at Exhibitor Online, which contains stunning information about the buying power of tradeshow attendees.  This is annual research they produce, and the numbers are trending upward.  Consider:

·         84 percent of tradeshow attendees have the power to recommend or make final purchase decisions


·         38 percent of attendees to ANY event are first-timers to that event, and 30  percent are classified as regulars (being at that same event for the prior four iterations)


·         49 percent of attendees have purchase INTENT at that show


·         The average show attendee spent 2.3 days (9.1 hours) ON the floor visiting exhibits


Come on people.  No other sales or marketing channel will yield these opportunities in such a cost effective manner.  Take these data points and craft the new elevator pitch:

“Excuse me?  You are not considering tradeshows because …?  I’ve got the entire industry on the floor, HALF of whom are ready to BUY, a stunning MAJORITY of which can recommend or approve that buy, almost 40 percent are NEW to the show and don’t know who the heck you are, and they will spend over two days actively engaged with the showfloor. Have you HEARD of face-to-face?  Where did you go to marketing school?” 

Print, direct mail, electronic media and even a carrier pigeon can’t touch this. Friends, it’s time to be incredulous … a bit angry…. teed off!  

Let’s get out in front the message.  We don’t need to demonstrate the power of events, we OWN that.  Let’s show our clients what they are missing when they don’t participate, how they will lose sales and market share, how no one will know they exist anymore.  We dominate the industries we serve. Let’s act like it.

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Partner Voices

Business success — you may think it’s all about the bottom line, but savvy CEOs like those at Apple, Starbucks and IKEA know otherwise. Although profits play a big role, it’s also important for companies to be socially responsible by considering their impact on the environment, their local economy and their customers. One way that companies can practice corporate social responsibility (CSR) is by incorporating it into company events.