Attendee and Content Focus Overarching Themes at ABM’s 2006 Tradeshow Summit
Dan Hanover, editor and publisher Event Marketer and Event Design, speaking on a panel on building brand through events, said publishers too often focus on the expo side at the expense of programming. "If they focus on content to attract attendees they’ll raise numbers across the board," he said (Event Marketer and Event Design are published by Red7 Media, the publisher of this newsletter). Hanover also touched on the rising importance of show audits. "The concept of attendance auditing will become a requirement over the next couple years," he says. "Publishers have been playing the game of showing exhibitors plumped up numbers and audits will allow the better shows to stand out from the weaker ones.
"Ennen pointed out that tradeshow producers need to stay innovative — another key point made at the show. "It’s very important for people to offer something new each year and be creative." The results of two reports were discussed in two sessions, each giving some insight into the current state of tradeshows as economic and marketing platforms: the ABM/SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers) Cost Report and a Forrester Research report analyzing the power of in-person events. The SISO report, a combination of ABM and SISO member data on tradeshow business from barter expense to operating revenues released last fall, noted that gross trade show revenues increased from $153 million in 2003 to $536 million in 2004. Forrester’s report, presented by Mark Rothman, ABM’s CMO, measured where 867 marketer’s minds are in terms of purchase power, brand building and budgeting across all media categories. Trade shows, however, were singled out as rated highest among surveyed marketers as the strongest way to build a brand.