BtoB Media Business - November 2011 - (Page 27)

Events Training days Webinars help exhibitors develop effective strategies, maximize return on investment BY CHARLOTTE WOOLARD T he New York International Gift Fair has earned a reputation as a place where orders are written. “It is the only show that has proven itself to me,” said longtime exhibitor Wilma Wabnitz, president and founder of wholesale company Wabnitz Editions. “You see revenue.” That revenue provides a demonstrable return on investment. But as George Little Management prepared for its 2009 summer show, organizers noticed that industry buying habits were shifting. In the pinch of the recession, buyers were decreasing the volume of their at-show purchases. They still made buying decisions based on what they saw on the floor, but often opted to spread a series of smaller orders over time, said Christian Falkenberg, VP-show manager at GLM. “The landscape changed,” he said. “In the past, you had hard numbers; suddenly, it was more than that. It was more important than ever to get your name out there 365 days a year.” It’s a challenge that many show organiz- ers have encountered as the economy has moved market behavior and in some cases even redefined the methods by which exhibitors measure and achieve ROI. GLM introduced a webinar training series to help exhibitors develop effective strategies. “We noticed that those exhibitors that had the biggest success were those that did a lot of work leading up to the show,” Falkenberg said. The webinars underscore the importance not only of making and maintaining connections with attendees but also of maximizing exposure through an evolving array of marketing opportunities that include digital directories and mobile apps. In the leadup to each show, about 150 exhibitors attend a webinar, he said. The majority are first-time exhibitors, but longtime participants like Wabnitz said they also find value in a program designed to help control exhibition costs, promote lead development and increase visibility. “Smaller companies with no marketing department … are the companies that are going to get the most attendance and the ability to network. We are able to connect with executives from our [existing customer base] that can otherwise be difficult to get in touch with.” Breakdown: Pack Expo broke records this year, reporting double-digit attendee, exhibitor and floor space increases. The growth strategy centers on the understanding that the vast bustle of the trade show floor can be both the best and worst feature of the event, Pittas said. The association has focused on cultivating a comprehensive environment and then carving out a categorical definition that makes it easier for attendees and exhibitors to connect on a crowded floor. An expansion to include the processing industry attributed about 20% of the growth seen this year, he said. PMMI increased attendee promotions through traditional channels and also increased global outreach, a move that helped international attendance jump more than 30%. The association invested $1 million in from the webinars,” Falkenberg said. Preshow webinars will help exhibitors prepare for the winter NYIGF. The format is a simple slide show presentation with live audio and question-and-answer interaction. The first session, held last month, focused on pre-show marketing opportunities and the development of promotions to be offered during the event. This month, a webinar will focus on booth design, lead generation and sales strategies. In December, the GLM operations team will provide tips to reduce set-up costs. Webinar attendees can request free 15-minute in-booth consultations. In addition, a postshow webinar focuses on lead management and the use of year-round tools like the online catalog. “You can’t just put up a booth and expect to have a good show,” said Stu Teller, managing partner at Right Angle Strategies, a business development services company that partners with GLM to produce the training sessions. While about 35,000 attendees are expected to flood the aisles, buyers on average have shaved about a day off the time they spend at the event, he said. Demand for the webinars has grown since the 2009 inception, Falkenberg said. “We want to put as many tools as possible in [exhibitors’] hands.” EVENTS Pack Expo Las Vegas Producer/Owner: Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute What: Trade show held in Las Vegas every other year to connect buyers and sellers in the packaging and processing supply chain Where: Las Vegas Convention Center Date 2013: Sept. 23–25 Date 2011: Sept. 26–28 2011 floor space: 627,853 sq. ft. 2009 floor space: 521,147 sq. ft. No. of attendees, 2011: 26,084 No. of attendees, 2009: 22,721 No. of exhibitors, 2011: 1,559 No. of exhibitors, 2009: 1,140 Producer comment: “We spent a lot of money this year,” said Jim Pittas, VPtrade shows at PMMI. “We’re in a competitive industry, and we tried a ton of new things to see what would work.” Exhibitor comment: “The show is a relationship activity for us,” said Bill Crist, chairman-CEO of Kliklok-Woodman. “It’s about high-quality SHOW SPOTLIGHT experimental strategies that included the engagement of former Secretary of State Colin Powell as the event’s inaugural marquee speaker, as well as the development of three vertically focused face-to-face and online lounges. Attendees could visit niche lounges on the show floor to network, attend categoryspecific lectures and register for access to vertically focused digital communities. Those communities, launched at the event, will provide a year-round online extension. Pittas reported success on all three fronts and said PMMI will expand the number of verticals served next year. —C.W. | November 2011 | Media Business | 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BtoB Media Business - November 2011

BtoB Media Business - November 2011
Cover Story
Resource Guide
Sales & Marketing
Audience Development

BtoB Media Business - November 2011