Wait a Second … Print and Digital Support Each Other!

June 10, 2016

A few weeks ago, TSNN’s blog featured a post by Jay Tokosch of Core-Apps. His overall message – print is a waste of time and money, so stop printing and go digital-only, right now.

I say, wait a second, Mr. Tokosch. Before you kick print into the recycling bin, perhaps it might be worthwhile to look at this from a different perspective.

Though I must first congratulate him on reaching one of his objectives – he got my blood boiling, for sure!

As publishers of show dailies and other conference-related materials, CustomNEWS’ primary focus has historically been print products. But we recognized a few years ago that the landscape is changing – digital is here to stay, video is hot and social media is trending.

So CustomNEWS began looking for ways digital and print services can work TOGETHER. For example, could videography enhance a client’s onsite communications strategy? If so, we have experienced videography teams ready to start shooting. And we’ll incorporate these videos in the digital versions of our show dailies.

Or, looking to expand the reach of your show daily? Send out a daily email promoting each issue to your members and prospects. And don’t forget social media – article snippets, photos and show daily links will enhance your onsite social media strategy.

One of the first things we ask when speaking to a potential new client – do you have a mobile app? If they say yes, we suggest they look into ways to incorporate the show daily into their app. Another mobile app vendor that shares a few clients with us has created a news section in their app to showcase photos and show daily links each day. And don’t forget to use the first issue of your show daily to remind attendees to download the app. Adding new features to the app this year? Include a Q&A feature in the show daily too!

Ok, back to Jay’s post - I feel he was short-sighted with his observations about the ‘pros’ of a digital-only approach.

·         Immediacy and efficiency: Yes, digital components such as a mobile app can be updated on the fly. (More about this in a minute.) But show dailies are printed on an overnight basis – and will be another useful way to share program updates, publish updated exhibitor lists (most program books are printed before exhibitor and sponsorship lists are final) and reach those that may not be accessing their phones 24-7.

·         Going green: Don’t eliminate print materials, look for ways to print smarter. Rather than printing a conference book, look for other ways to share this information:

o   Move overall conference information, lengthy session descriptions, maps and continuing education information to the mobile app. Encourage attendees to download the app prior to your conference so they know where to find the information they seek.

o   Treat your show daily as part conference newspaper and part program book by turning your centerspread into a mini-program. Include daily schedules, an updated exhibitor list/floor plan and important reminders in this pull-out section, and remind them to turn to the app for session descriptions, etc.

·         Statistics: If your distribution team hands out 80-90% of the day’s conference newspaper supply, guess what:  it’s being read.

·         Less cost: Yes, print can be expensive. That’s why we try to show clients how they can combine materials to cut down on printing costs. 

·         Sponsorship Sales: We disagree 100%. Print advertising is still a big draw for exhibitors, and our projects’ growth supports this statement. Look for ways to combine print and digital offerings that complement each other. Thank your mobile app sponsor in an on page one of your show daily. Package show daily and email advertising together.

·         365-experience: Show daily content has a much longer shelf-life than you may think. Look at ways to repurpose the content in association publications, blogs and other social media channels and marketing materials. Use the show daily to show those not attending what they missed. We suggest creating an archive on your website that features digital links to your show daily, as well as stories and photos from each issue.

o   Quick tip: At the end of a session recap article in your show daily, include a small box that ties into a future event, webinar or publication on the same topic.

Bottom Line: rather than trying to eliminate print, we urge clients to look for ways to integrate print with digital. It’s a popular topic on our blog and something we brainstorm daily with our clients.

We are realists, and know that digital may be more appealing. But show dailies have a lot to offer too, such as onsite content curation (with our experienced reporters, videographers and photographers) and unique sponsorships (t-shirts on temps). Lastly, publishing a show daily will elevate the feel of your meeting.

Mr. Tokosch, you may have thrown down the gauntlet, but print is not going anywhere, I promise you, and definitely not without a fight!

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.