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April 08, 2005


I still think it depends on where you are on the continuum. Some companies are still thinking that they have to be in with the in crowd, that if they stick with the alpha companies, they'll get results, too.

But I do think this mentality is changing, and the examples you cite are good ones. The quality of the content will draw quality attendees/buyers, and that's what it's really all about, isn't it?

Successful Meetings has been good to me over the years. Not as good as your blog, but pretty good. Although I've had three calls from them already trying to sell me reprints... they won't provide a pdf.

Alas, there is only so much you can discuss in a little more than one printed page. And it is "Successful Meetings", which is for planners, not EXPO.

On the tradeshow screen, "who's coming" is a relatively important consideration, although not as important as "who's saying what". Influencers don't necessarily have to attend this year's event to endorse it.

One of the fallacies of shows is that you have to have big names attending to get big exhibitors to exhibit. Not true at all. Savvy 'big' exhibitors know how to attract big name attendees, and tradeshows have little to do with that. I think it's called "golfing and drinking".

It's the attendees that want to become big that exhibitors should be concerned about. They're the ones that don't yet have their own buying events or strict negotiating policies for new vendors. They're the ones who reward exhibitors with larger and larger orders as they grow.

Attendee networking? If you're good at networking, you'll get results whatever the event is. If you're not good at it, planned networking events aren't going to help very much unless steps are taken to actually MAKE you talk to someone.

As far as exhibitors wanting to see bigger exhibitors in the show before they commit to space, it happens, but not as much as people think. A good show organizer knows how to handle it. Surfaces overcame the loss of four or five dominant carpet exhibitors (about 60,000 sf of exhibits) over two years. MacWorld in Boston goes on with the show despite Apple not exhibiting. There are many other examples, none of which include the word "Comdex".

So to contradict popular opinion, it's not the size that matters.

Nice article, but you should have written it for us instead! That's ok, we forgive you. We remain clean and serene, whatever that means.

Good points about content being king, queen, and high court. I'd also like to know how important you think the "who else is coming" factor is? I tend to think it's pretty important--especially on the exhibitor side, where you can lose a bunch of exhibitors if you can't land those two or three key companies. Also for attendees--the mix and mingle thing is huge, and they want to rub shoulders with the right folks.

How do you make sure the "right folks" show up? Or do you? Or maybe this isn't as big a factor as I think it is?

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