August 13, 2010 by Dave Lutz
Note from Jeff: Dave Lutz is on a rant. A good one in my opinion and all meeting and event professionals, nonprofit organizations and associations, and tradeshow organizers should heed his advice. It’s time for the meetings and tradeshow industry to be more transparent about add-on fees, kickbacks, payouts and relationships. Here’s his post that first appeared on TSNN.
Read Dave’s rant. If you dare.
Have you been paying attention to what’s going on over at the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA)? In late April, they held their inaugural Red Diamond Congress, bringing together many industry leaders. They discussed several key issues that keep exhibitors up at night and create distrust between organizers, facilities, general service contractors and other key suppliers. You can download the white paper here. (Unfortunately, they require your contact info instead of letting it run wild and free. Not smart on their part.)
TSEA is giving show organizers a wake-up call. Trade shows need to clean up their act.
Some trade shows have lost their credibility. Their customers don’t trust show management and their chosen suppliers. That distrust is spreading … and will result in major decline.
Our model is broken. We have more threats than ever. If you want to sustain and grow your show, you’re going to need to get a lot more transparent. And fast!
1. Accurate Attendance Numbers?
Make sure that you can back up and prove every number you publish. No one cares about the number of attendees that preregistered. All they want to know is who showed up. Lots of folks say get an audit. I say, you don’t need an audit if you always tell the truth. You have a bigger trust issue if your exhibitors are demanding an audit.
2. Guard Attendees’ Privacy
How often do you sell your attendees’ data ? Do they have an opportunity to opt-in for those data sales or trade-outs? If you are working in an opt-out vs. opt-in world, it’s a matter of time before your attendees get sick and tired of being sold. Yes, you make money from data sales. Sure, you want to allow exhibitors to do preshow marketing. Yet, attendees have moved from a push to a pull world. They want to decide who can solicit to them.
Read the rest of the post at TSNN.
Filed Under: Sponsorship & Exhibits
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When I attend a trade show, I HATE all of the pre show marketing that I get from exhibitors. For a recent trade show I attended in Germany, I received over 300 email messages (in about a 3 week time period) asking me to visit their booth. None of them had any value to me, or offered anything other than “come see what is new in Botswana, visit us at stand G1088”. None of them managed to be creative or stand out in any way. I especially liked those that inverted my first and last name.
I think companies who pay for attendee lists should take the time to customize their marketing or at least make it about the attendee. One well written, creative email message would have stood out like an ethical congressman.
I also am very amused by the numbers that are published by the organizations who host trade shows. Really, 7000 people attended the show? Only if you count attendees, exhibitors, workers, servers, bus drivers, and maintenance staff. Please do not forget that we can count, and in this industry, can estimate the size of a crowd with pretty good accuracy.
‘@Tim, thanks for adding your thoughts! What’s interesting about your comments is that I know it was also a hosted buyer event. If you qualify as a hosted buyer, the last thing an organization should do is to dishearten you with e-marketing from exhibitors.
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