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4 Biggest Changes For Exhibit Marketers

exhibit marketers are going through major changesThe steep economic downturn made exhibit marketers’ stressful jobs even more stressful.  That’s what they related about their jobs in a survey for the landmark study, The Evolving Role of Exhibit Marketers.

How Have Trade Show Exhibit Marketers’ Jobs Changed In The Last Two Years?
Exhibit marketers are on the front lines of today’s new business reality.  When asked how their jobs had changed, exhibit marketers gave us over 130 answers.  They told us that they have to do the same or bigger jobs with less help, and demonstrate their work produced profitable results. 

Here are the 4 biggest changes exhibit marketers reported about their jobs, and several answers for each in their own words:
1.  Increased online / Email / Social Networks:  16.8%

  • “The marketplace requires us to contact more people with more information every day.  We are forced to learn and use the newest contact technology as it comes out in order to stay ahead of our competition.”
  • “We are doing less print advertising and more e-commerce which requires a great deal of time designing and implementing email campaigns.”
  • “It is becoming more Internet-oriented and moving away from traditional media. Evaluating is becoming more important (and harder to do) with additional channels.  We are just learning the ins and outs of social media.”
  • “Doing more with web & email marketing vs. direct mailings and printed. Must show metrics for everything we do.”

2.  Generally doing more with less: 15.3%

  • “Do more with less help.”
  • “Economy has gotten worse leading to a smaller team.”
  • “Try to produce more with fewer resources.”
  • “I am the only person in the marketing department now.”
  • “Less help more work.”
  • “More work, less people!”

3.  Wider range of responsibilities: 14.5% (very similar to “doing more with less”!)

  • “Busier, more diverse, more strategic.”
  • “More responsibility for more shows.”
  • “Same amount of work – more options of how to accomplish and to measure what is and is not working.”
  • “Increased responsibilities due to workforce reductions.”
  • “Taken on the entire trade show project.”
  • “One-man show to managing a team.”
  • “Doubled in responsibility.”

4.  Focus on cost / ROI / Budgets: 9.2%

  • “I have had to really fine tune our show selection process so we are only attending the shows that give us the most in return.”
  • “Moved more towards ROI research on a show-by-show basis.  Cutting cost and budgets and finding cost-saving measures.”
  • “Spend more time analyzing data from an event as to ROI.”
  • “Only been in role for 1 year, but the emphasis on budget control is the most important.”
  • “VPs looking for more immediate results.”
  • “More stress on proving that marketing and specifically trade shows generate results.”

New Responsibilities for Exhibit Marketers
Exhibit marketers also shared what new responsibilities they added over the last two years:

  • The most common new responsibilities include more time on email marketing (45.3%), product marketing (42.2%) and sales (39.1%).
  • About a quarter of exhibit marketers also said they are spending more time on corporate communications, market research, public relations, and social media.

For the next 12 months, exhibit marketers expect to spend more time on sales (15.3%), online social networks (12.2%), and strategic planning (8.2%).  But there is still also much uncertainty about the future, as exhibit marketers’ largest group of answers (24.5%) was categorized as “nothing new / not sure.”

Exhibit marketers have greater responsibility, less help, and more scrutiny than ever.  But that also means they have greater opportunity to shine while in the spotlight.  By delivering the marketing results with their trade show displays that businesses crave, exhibit marketers can make a change for the better. 

Learn more about how exhibit marketers like you have adapted to today’s changes by getting your own copy of The Evolving Role Of Exhibit Marketers , the new 36-page White Paper from Skyline Exhibits and Tradeshow Week Magazine.  Get your free copy by clicking here now.

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

6 responses to “4 Biggest Changes For Exhibit Marketers

    1. Mark,

      Trade shows in the last two years have been affected by the economic downturn and by their competition from electronic media. However, there are numerous shows that have bounced back on their attendance numbers in 2010. The question is will the exhibitors follow them back in 2011…or is that hunk of cheese smaller for good.

  1. Good article.

    In CeBIT 2006, even before the current economic down-turn, the trend that you described here was visible. As a product provider we are extremely sensitive to the net cost and ROI of all promotion operations. The landscape has definitely changed in the past few years and it is still changing.

    Rob Liu

    1. Thanks, Rob. I agree with you about 2006. I think that as a by-product of the big, three-year downturn of the dot-bomb era, for many years we have marketed within a filter of economic vigilance. It’s been tempting to get a tattoo that says “ROI”.

  2. Focusing on Return on Investment ( ROI ) is more important than ever. Often the follow up and lead generating efforts somehow fall short of the intensive efforts that went into preparing the show. Be sure to include shipping, storage fees, time spent by your staff and production of collateral when calculating your total costs. Sometimes it will be apparent that your dollars may have been spent more wisely for another initiative.

    Mike Kirner

  3. Very interesting article. With the right trade show booth and knowledgeable staff, you will definitely get the results you are looking for!

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