With the kickoff of 2014, many organizations involved in the exhibition industry reflected on the previous year.
Jim Wurm, executive director of E2MA, gave his thoughts of 2013:
Full association name: Exhibit and Event Marketers Association (E2MA)
Date of establishment: Feb. 29, 2012
Role in the tradeshow, exhibition and convention industry: The Exhibit & Event Marketers Association (E2MA) is the premier thought leader and content development organization for corporate marketers and their suppliers in the face-to-face marketing medium. Driven to benchmark and promote the business value of trade shows and events, the E2MA evaluates and identifies best practices, new tools, new technologies and new techniques that enable marketers to optimize their event marketing programs.
Q: What significant thing happened to the tradeshow industry in 2013?
E2MA partnered with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, a 6000-member global organization of senior marketers, and surveyed them on their perspectives and feedback on exhibit and event marketing.
The resulting study findings provide a roadmap for improvement throughout the entire industry. We need to assist marketers to control their costs, and, more importantly, measure their outcomes from their exhibit and event marketing efforts.
Should we continuously help marketers improve in these two areas, our industry will have a bright future. If we should choose to ignore these findings, our industry’s future will be in question.
Q: What was the most important thing this year that directly affected your membership?
The CMO Study strategically positions E2MA as the leading content and data provider for exhibit and event marketers, and creates the opportunity for us to attract top-line marketing management to our association.
Q: Did the economy in 2013 improve significantly enough to directly impact the tradeshow industry?
The economy is definitely on the upswing if business activity levels of tradeshow suppliers are any indication. However, the upturn in business activity has not, yet, led to significant employment opportunity increases. Employers are still running their businesses like it’s 2008.
Q: Overall, how much more active was the tradeshow industry in 2012 vs. 2013? What developments in 2013 have made you optimistic about 2014?
We don’t have a quantitative answer here. But in terms of anecdotal evidence, I would say that tradeshow industry professionals have more demands on their time now than at any time I can remember in my 30 years in the industry.
Of late, I have noticed that companies are starting to hire, which is good for a couple reasons. First, it takes the pressure off existing staff that, in some cases, are approaching burnout status. Secondly, it brings in a badly needed new generation of tradeshow professionals who will ultimately replace the ‘baby boom’ generation of industry professionals who will be retiring in the next five to 10 years.
See related article: Year in review part three: SISO