bservant readers may have noticed a change in this month's issue of EXHIBITOR magazine. After nearly six years of printing "Best Practices in Trade Show Marketing" on every cover of every magazine, our tagline has evolved. Beginning
with this issue, we now cover "Best Practices in Trade Shows and Events."
The subtle but significant evolution
is driven by an equally significant shift in the exhibit industry: Many of the same people managing their companies' presence at trade shows are now being asked to oversee corporate events. Why? It's likely due to a number of factors, ranging from corporate downsizing to drops in trade show attendance over the past two years.
Some companies cut trade shows from their exhibit-marketing calendars, replacing them with multivenue road shows and mobile-marketing programs
traveling directly to current clients and prospects. Others temporarily shifted portions of their marketing dollars from live trade shows to proprietary virtual events produced in-house or with the help of third-party vendors. Still others are supplementing their efforts at trade shows with additional off-site events and parties in an attempt to forge stronger relationships with clients.
Regardless of the impetus behind the noticeable shift, it appears more exhibit professionals are being tasked with managing face-to-face marketing efforts that extend beyond the trade show floor and into a variety of live and digital "event" venues around the world.
Take marketers with the title "exhibit manager" or "trade show manager," for example. According to our research, in 2008 and 2009, nearly 30 percent of respondents worked exclusively on their companies' trade show exhibits. In 2010, however, only 22 percent worked exclusively on exhibits, while six out of 10 devoted 10 percent or more of their time to managing corporate events.
What does that mean for you? Well, it means you might need to acquire a new skill set. Managing an exhibit is not the same - logistically or strategically - as planning and executing a user group, a road show, or a virtual experience. And convincing someone to stop by your booth who has already allocated time and money to attend a show is not the same as convincing
someone to spend a weekend at your corporate headquarters. But have no fear, EXHIBITOR is here.
First off, this issue is dedicated to the winners of our annual Corporate Event Awards. Featuring a variety of event types from a small-scale media event to a mature user conference to a massive multivenue road show of sorts, the winners illustrate how companies are using corporate events to reach new markets, forge stronger bonds with clients, and enhance their brand awareness.
Moving forward, you will see a smattering of event-related features, columns, and how-to articles to help you transition into this new role where you might be overseeing an exhibit one day and orchestrating a 13-city sales tour the next. And if at any time you don't feel we're living up to our new mission statement of providing you the tools and education to produce high-performance exhibit and event programs with measurable results, let us know what we can provide to better facilitate your success.
Evolution is a funny thing: Changes that seem monumental at first quickly become the accepted norm. But evolution is necessary for survival. As your role continues to evolve, you can count on EXHIBITOR to evolve with it. So to start our evolutionary journey together, check out the Corporate Event Awards section, starting on page 17, to see how some of your peers successfully evolved their own marketing efforts. Then begin thinking of your own evolution and how EXHIBITOR can help ease the various challenges associated with change. e