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Advocacy Isn’t About Force

by Jessica Sibila

If you look up “advocacy” in the dictionary, it will describe the word as, “the act or process of supporting a cause.” To “advocate” for something is to “plead in favor of” that cause. It is not about persuading someone to believe what you do. It is not about aggressively storming the castle to make someone do what you want. It is not about force. Advocacy is about standing up for something you believe in. It’s about speaking up for someone who can’t speak for themselves. This is why our organization is called The Exhibitor Advocate. For too long, exhibitors have been without a voice in the exhibitions and events industry. We believe in this industry, and we believe exhibitors deserve a seat at the table. The team at The Exhibitor Advocate is a passionate group. We are also a reasonable group. We are a group that loves this industry and wants to ensure a sustainable future for all stakeholders. For us, the way to ensure that future is to ensure the exhibitors have a voice.

In partnership with Exhibit City News, we’re excited to share the exhibitors’ voice with the industry. This is the first of a regularly occurring article that we hope will raise awareness of exhibitor needs and spark a conversation. We welcome your feedback and input, and we hope that you will keep an open mind with the intent to simply understand the exhibitors’ perspective. Should you feel compelled to take action for the betterment of the industry, we welcome that too! 

In the coming months, The Exhibitor Advocate will regularly share research and data regarding exhibitor pain points, best practices that support exhibitor initiatives and innovation that strengthens our industry for the future. Our inaugural piece of research is a resurrection of the Annual Labor & Material Handling Rate Survey, previously conducted by Tradeshow Week magazine and then the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA). Understanding labor rates across the US is incredibly important for exhibitors and can be a valuable tool for other stakeholders in the industry. For exhibitors, having access to an updated summary of labor rates helps us budget appropriately and effectively plan for our events. We have the opportunity to factor show services costs into our decision-making for what shows we will exhibit at and determine the right size booth space. Show managers can use this information to evaluate and compare current exhibitor rates to city averages. Facilities and general contractors can use this information to benchmark rates of their services to ensure competitiveness compared to other cities. And so much more! This research will be available in early January 2023. You can access the full Labor & Material Handling Rate Survey on our website at 

We hope that you will join The Exhibitor Advocate and follow us on social media. As an Advocate, you will be the first to hear about and have access to critical data and research. Join the conversation and tell us what you want to share with exhibitors and what questions you have for us. We are committed to amplifying the voice of exhibitors and providing valuable feedback and insights to the industry stakeholders who hold the power to maximize exhibitor ROI. Together, we can ensure the enduring success of exhibitions. 

To learn more about The Exhibitor Advocate, visit our website, and become an Advocate today!

Jessica Sibila is the executive director of The Exhibitor Advocate.

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