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IFES networking in action

The value and importance of international tradeshow marketing continues to evolve as a strong topic of interest for corporate marketing managers as well as for their exhibit suppliers. In the end, the good experiences, and value received, from exhibiting companies and the visitors who attend creates a stronger desire to do it again, do it right and grow their business reach. Exhibitors also expect that the right audience will attend.

Photo courtesy of Larry Kulchawik
Photo courtesy of Larry Kulchawik

We as a global community of exhibit suppliers want nothing more than to be the expert consultants for our customers to create tradeshow strategies that are effective beyond our borders.

Many IFES members are also members of their own country associations as well as other organizations like UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry. They often reach beyond their local regions to discover and learn about new ways for effective tradeshow marketing.

On Apr. 10, IFES members Maciej Witkowiak of Intermark and Mr. and Mrs. Melinski of Minuth Melinski sponsored and organized the third IFES Networking Dinner in Poland near the Polzen Fairgrounds. Polish exhibit companies, together with Marzenna Lukaszewicz, executive director, PCEI; Annette Slotty, director, Messe München; Rowena Arzt, director, UFI with members of UFI Operations & Services Committee; and Bruno Meissner, president, IFES and member of UFI Operations & Services Committee, were guests at this networking event.

The Networking dinner was followed by a full day of presentations on the future of the Expo Industry, organized by UFI. The topic of this year’s UFI Operations & Services Meeting focused around the “Visitor Experience.”

Simon Naudi from the UK asked in his first presentation of the day, “What are the key changes in the mindset and behavior of buyers and attendees to tradeshow events?”

The client’s client – the visitor of a trade fair – was put into the center of this discussion. Simon noted that there are six changes in the mindset of the visitors at tradeshow events:

  • Late decisions;
  • Justify ROI;
  • Fewer events and smaller footprints;
  • Increase in cold calls;
  • More barriers to get the person you want; and
  • More sophisticated buyers.

For the visitors, Simon noted that we have to understand that:

  • Visitors are time poor;
  • Visitors have more choices;
  • Visitors expect “immediacy”; and
  • Visitors have a dedicated discount and value mentality.

For the exhibitors, the crucial criteria when exhibiting are:

  • Require less space;
  • Participate in fewer events;
  • Have a lower budget; and
  • ROI measurement methods.

A panel discussion then followed and centered around these questions. All in attendance came to the conclusion that a much more intense collaboration between organizers, venue owners and service providers is needed to bring better results for our mutual client – the exhibitor. Show organizers have to help exhibitors to attract their clients to attend the tradeshows and events!

This discussion was followed by other presentations that opened eyes and to learn from other industry strategies: marketing events and shopping malls.

“It became evident to me that we as exhibit suppliers must do more for our customers than to simply build the exhibit. We need to develop our own expertise and level of understand about the event and the needs our clients – the exhibitors. We need to become competent trade fair and event marketing advisers beyond the structure,” remarked Bruno Meissner, president, IFES.

IFES has developed a close collaboration and cooperation with UFI. IFES members need to take greater advantage of the many event topics organized by UFI. The IFES/UFI relationship allows IFES members an opportunity to expand their services offered to customers through their added marketing knowledge beyond the exhibit structure.

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