The Center for Exhibition Industry Research summit proved insightful once again. Here we share six takeaways that can augment your business decisions.
The industry overall is growing consistent with GDP, which it has done since 2010, and is forecasted to stay that way for some time. Growth in the exhibitions space is between 2% and 3% the rate of the broader economy. Food is one of the overperforming sectors, business services an underperformer.
The pressure to grow show attendance is immense. “How do I grow my show?” was the overwhelming sentiment of those at the event. This has been top-of-mind for several quarters even though overall industry attendance was down only slightly, about 2% in the most recent CEIR-provided report.
The interest in how to better leverage data is growing, slowly, but must be a real initiative for smart show organizers. The ability to turn to already trusted partners for help in creating evidence-based data to inform decisions is one way out of the conundrum many have about how to harness all that data, exactly.
CEIR now offers members two new products available at ceir.org:
- The Trade Show Economic Impact Calculator – helps calculate the economic impact of an exhibition in the city in which the event is held.
- The CEIR Index Event Performance Analyzer – designed to provide organizers a benchmark for how their exhibition is performing.
The group at the summit is concerned by isolationist political rhetoric. The strain of isolationist populism touted by some through the presidential election season could dampen growth in what is a global economy.
Organizers continue to struggle with how best to engage younger audiences particularly as they move into decision-making roles. The role of social media and the propensity for social interaction cannot be ignored. Engagement techniques must often be tried and tested based on vision first, with measurement coming behind to tweak what’s working and what is not.
What’s underlying these takeaways? Technology.
Technology is now about coordination. We have moved beyond an Internet built for communication and technology to power commerce. With coordination across technologies, show organizers can deliver content to guide attendees through a personalized, memorable conference/trade show experience.
Data could inform marketing messages that drive attendees to engage more quickly with each other and more easily with your brand and the content available both in conference sessions and across the exhibition. Technology can coordinate the personal touch attendees crave.