Face-to-Face Report : November 2009
New Research Joins Library of CEIR Resources Available Free for ABM Members
As one of ABM’s ongoing initiatives to deliver valuable products and services to its members participating in the events space, the Association has partnered with the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) to provide important, timely information on the world of face-to-face … all at no cost to ABM members.
CEIR's landmark study on the attendance habits, attitudes and opinions of young professionals regarding exhibitions and events has just been released. Entitled “The Power of Exhibitions in the 21st Century – Identify, Discover and Embrace Change from the Point of View of Young Professionals,” this must-read report offers a wealth of insight into how new generations of attendees want to connect, learn and network at events. Contact Kate Patton to request a FREE copy of the study.
Amongst dozens of major findings, both enlightening and encouraging, CEIR discovered that the vast majority of survey respondents who had an opportunity to attend an exhibition chose to do so. The research also uncovered the differences in attitudes and expectations of Generation X attendees and Millennial attendees in the areas of education, exhibitor interaction, technology and networking.
Another important addition to CEIR’s research library was recently released. Entitled “Effective Methods for Visitor Promotion (Part II: Exhibitors),” the report analyzes the most and least effective tools for attracting visitors and reveals the average spending on pre- and post-exhibition promotion by exhibiting companies.
These new additions join the variety of free CEIR research already available for ABM members, including:
- How Digital Marketing Affects Exhibition and Event Performance
- Looking Past the Recession: Exhibition Strategies for the Interim
- The Cost Effectiveness of Exhibition Participation
Contact Kate Patton with your request(s), and the research will be sent to you directly.
Case Study: Virtual Trade Shows Address Audience Needs, Build Magazine Readership
Futures Magazine Group serves a highly-skilled audience of individual traders, who constantly seek new products and services, trading strategies and networking opportunities. Futures sought to meet these needs while recognizing the fact that traders are scattered around the globe and prefer not to leave their trading desks and the markets to attend physical trade shows.
Futures launched a series of “I-Trade Shows,” which allow traders to learn from expert presentations and keynote addresses, shop for products and services, and exchange ideas with their peers from all over the world, all at no cost and without leaving their desks. “The educational portion is an important tool as we have real traders who generously provide in-depth strategies and trading tips attendees can implement instantly,” said Ginger Szala, Futures’ group editorial director. Powered by InXpo’s technology, the virtual events attract high-quality speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, which provides for a highly-interactive experience.
In comparing the publication’s December 2008 I-Trade Show with its May 2009 show, attendance increased by 39%; attendees increased the amount of time spent interacting with exhibitors by 25%; and attendees spent more time engaging with each other, with average one-on-one chat lengths increasing by 119%. And through an integrated promotional approach, Szala added, the success of Futures’ virtual events continues to build the magazine’s readership.
Latest ‘ABM Vital Guide’ Explores Online Event Models, Strategies
Through a new partnership with Vital Business Media’s eMedia Vitals, an online publication covering e-media strategies, ABM is proud to deliver the “ABM Vital Guide,” a weekly newsletter containing high-quality, actionable content on the hottest digital media trends affecting the b-to-b industry.
Each week, the ABM Vital Guide will tackle one specific digital media trend or product with the potential to dramatically influence members’ digital revenues. Last week’s issue provided resources to help marketing, sales and editorial teams improve the impact of a publication's events. Whether you're hosting b-to-b webinars, virtual trade shows or breakfasts for local residents, a blend of in-person and digital elements can help you create a winning formula.
‘It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again’
Opening Executive Forum workshop delivers keys to virtual event success
John Failla, CEO of Tesoro Events, kicked off the Executive Forum Virtual Events Workshop with the above infamous Yogi Berra quote, which accurately describes the major challenge confronting event organizers as they figure out the role digital media will play in the transition of physical events.
Failla, along with panelists Bob Felsenthal, VP/publisher of BtoB magazine, and Michael Kushner, director of streaming media for Nielsen Business Media, delivered insights on current industry trends and activity, showcased success stories, and provided a framework for attendees to evaluate opportunities for their own companies. (Weren’t able to attend? Click here to watch the Virtual Events workshop on-demand.)
While event organizers are confronting five quarters of negative trends – diminishing travel budgets are forcing attendees to be more selective and exhibitors continue to seek greater ROI – those organizers with a background in publishing have the clear advantage as content becomes a more important component of events.
Failla introduced the wide array of platforms available today, including teleconferencing, collaboration tools like WebEx and video conferencing, webinars, webcasts and virtual environments, while warning the audience that deciding on technology or platform before content is a tremendous mistake. He then explored the various models (stand-alone vs. physical event extensions, educational conferences, trade shows, job fairs, etc.), revenue streams (registration, sponsorship and booth fees) and benefits (incremental profit, extended reach) of virtual events for organizers.
Failla also offered tips for creating blended (or “hybrid”) events, which provide attendees with the option to participate either physically or online. While the needs served are similar to those of physical events (education, sourcing of products, networking and collaboration), there’s the objective of creating value for attendees, sponsors and organizers that consists of both in-person and online experiences. Blended event models include simulcast, on-demand, on-demand with enhanced content, niche extensions and multipoint.
Felsenthal then guided attendees through the launch process and success of BtoB’s June 2009 Leading Edge webcast, which saw more than 4,700 registrants, 2,300 attendees and 12 exhibit booths. The event generated an overwhelming response and positive feedback from attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. Before beginning production on your own webinar or webcast, Felsenthal suggested the following steps: Determine both market and audience demand; Research your competition; Allocate the necessary resources and infrastructure; Set pricing; Create a marketing plan.
Kushner followed up with the workshop’s final session, on best practices. While there are numerous strategic approaches, he believes that content development is at the core. His tips for getting started include selecting an experienced service provider, defining goals, training and educating an integrated internal sales team, and developing focused and relevant content.
The number of people who cannot, and do not, attend physical shows is increasing each year, Kushner said, and virtual events help bridge the gap. While face-to-face contact is too essential for business and social interactions to be completely replaced, a wise marketing professional will use virtual environment technologies as another tool in the arsenal to reach out to customers and prospects. Satisfy the end user’s needs, he says, and everything else will fall into place.
ABM's 2009 Executive Forum was sponsored by Aequor Technologies, Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, BBN Networks, Booz & Company, BPA Worldwide, BtoB Media Business, CDS Global, The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., Readex Research, SRDS, and Worldcolor.
Click here to follow ABM on Twitter!
Click here to become a fan of ABM on Facebook!