1. Why do you publish Exhibitors Only?
2. What do you sell?
3. Do you miss organising events?
Why do you publish Exhibitors Only?
For more than thirty years, I was an exhibition organiser. Yes, that’s me in the picture above and before you ask, yes, colour photography had been invented.
During that time, I was part of teams that organised trade and consumer shows and conferences.
I loved organising events for many reasons.
The challenge of bringing an event to market, the meeting and beating of sales targets and the attraction of audiences, are all up there as high points.
However, the most satisfying reason of all was seeing client companies grow from sales made at our events.
I got a great feeling every time an exhibitor told me how successful an event had been for them.
Many times, that information came from someone who had initially been sceptical about exhibiting at all.
The buzz from those comments was even more gratifying!
However, amidst the successes and highs, I also met companies with doubts.
Often, they didn’t know whether they had been successful or not, even if the event had achieved record attendance.
That was puzzling and frustrating. Here’s an example;
Soon after returning to the office from a record-breaking event for attendance (30,000 visitors at a trade show), I received an angry call from an exhibitor.
He demanded that I meet him at his office to explain why the show had been so poor.
Keep in mind that we had secured a record-breaking re-booking from exhibitors. He was definitely in the minority about how unsuccessful the show had been.
I went to his office within two weeks of the close of the event.
He, by the way, was the sales director for the business.
His office was the most untidy I have ever visited
I don’t think I was ever in such an untidy workspace.
As I sat down, my client launched into a stern reprimand of the show.
His big point was that the leads were low quality, and therefore, he had wasted valuable marketing money.
Before I had a chance to answer or counter in any way, his phone rang.
Both of us could hear the phone, we just couldn’t see it.
He started lifting bits of paper and files, but he still couldn’t find the phone.
His face went red; I started to feel a little embarrassed for him and thought I should help the search.
He started opening the drawers of his desk, and I came around to his side to help.
Then he found his phone in the bottom right-hand drawer. It was under another pile of paper.
As I was about to pull away, I saw lead forms with our show name on them.
They had been underneath the phone at the bottom of the drawer and were neatly bundled together with an elastic band around them.
I noticed that there were quite a lot of these forms.
As my client was now fully engaged with one of his clients and had laid into me so hard, I took those lead forms out of the drawer.
His face, as I sat opposite him, engaged in his call while he could see me flicking through those forms, was a picture.
Once again he was red in the face but now for a very different reason
The leads were excellent. They included top names and job titles from the industries we said the show would attract.
For some unknown reason, he had let them lay unfollowed-up for two-three weeks.
It appeared that he hadn’t even looked at them since the show.
We had a very different sort of conversation when he finished his call.
Suffice to say they re-booked their space for the next event.
The point of this story which I grant you was extreme?
Over time, I realised many exhibitors, didn’t understand how to make the most of exhibiting.
That was because exhibiting was very different from the marketing that was part of their typical day to day work.
So they didn’t always plan or execute their events as thoroughly as they should.
Many, like the hero in our story, didn’t follow-up quickly either.
I came across this frequently enough that I soon started to run training seminars for exhibitors in our events.
I also wrote marketing guides to explain how to make the most of the opportunities that exhibitions and conferences offered.
Following-up quickly was always included in those guides!
Exhibitors Only is a continuation of that education and support work which even today is still needed.
What is your product? What do you sell?
The short answer is knowledge and ideas.
You can translate that as consultancy services for exhibitors, organisers and suppliers.
Each one of those groups is looking for new ideas to move their businesses forward.
I help them to do that by looking at things with an external and creative view.
Also, through Exhibition Concierge, we supply a wide range of exhibiting related products and services.
Concierge products and services are from my trusted supplier list, people and businesses that I know to be excellent at what they do and the service they provide.
For exhibitors, and they are the primary users of Concierge, the service frees up chunks of time in their schedules. It’s a huge benefit.
Plus the quality of the products or people provided, in many cases, helps exhibitors to improve their participation results.
Do you miss organising events?
Often, but working with our clients involves me in many aspects of event organising.
I still get to be on exhibition floors during build-up and open days.
I help organiser clients tweak aspects of their events, and I work with exhibitors and suppliers.
See this page for more on one aspect of this service.
Also, I still get involved in the meticulous planning that is part and parcel of event organising every time we execute a booking for an exhibitor client.
Events are also part of the plan for Exhibitors Only in 2020, so I’ll be back into organising then if all goes according to plan.