do you like me?

This is the question on every exhibit manager’s mind when they are deciding whether or not to exhibit at your event.  Or, more specifically, they’re asking: Are your attendees interested in my products?  How many of them are interested?

And if the answers are “yes” and “enough of them”, then an educated exhibitor will typically decide to invest in your event, according to Lee Knight, editor-in-chief for EXHIBITOR Magazine, in his March 2008 column regarding the Audience Interest Factor or AIF.

Exhibit Surveys, Inc. has been researching expos since the 1970s, and its founder, Richard Swanby, is the originator of the AIF metric.  Exhibit Surveys has developed some fantastic trend reports that have been made available to anyone smart enough to visit their website.  You can even select your industry (i.e. Medical/Pharmaceutical) from their drop down menu to see these same reports, customized for that industry.

Yes, yes…  All of this is very interesting.  But what does a planner do with this information?  The International Association of Expositions and Events (IAEE) directed planners to Mr. Knight’s column because event organizers should be providing this information to potential exhibitors.

Survey your attendees and find out what products they’re interested in.  Offer this information to potential exhibitors so they can make informed decisions about whether to participate in your event and how much money to invest in it.

Educate your exhibitors about AIF and how it affects their ROI, and you’ll CYA when it comes time to sell them next year’s event.

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One thought on “do you like me?

  1. John Mikstay, CEM says:

    One of the items missing in this column is attendance audits. Mr. Knight points out that to get to the AIF and to use this information effectively before an event occurs, exhibitors first need to ask show organizers for verified, third-party audited attendance numbers and demographics.

    This information contained within an audit will allow exhibitors to begin to really justify their investment and find out just how many people are attending a specific show and if the demographics of those folks actually match up to their sales “sweet spot”. The research provided to the exhibitors by the organizer will enhance this audit data to really give character to the attendees and create a comprehensive profile on which exhibitors and their management can base important budget and marketing decisions.

    In the April issue of Exhibitor, Mr. Knight really hits the nail on the head with regards to what is happening with exhibitors and the show attendance data they could so effectively be using.

    Print circulation numbers were and are audited because advertisers demanded it and said they wouldn’t buy ad space unless they were given verified, third-party audited figures. Trade shows are the opposite. Exhibitors continue to purchase space in shows that are not offering audited attendance data. The person responsible for the marketing budget may need to decide between a print campaign and face-to-face. If one is offering verified third-party data and the other isn’t, the decision would be an easy one based on justification of the spend, especially in a tight economy.

    The AIF and all of the other metrics are amazingly accurate and effective in use, if established through good numbers. One cannot use the metrics being touted in our industry unless verified, third-party audited numbers are being plugged in first. You know what they say, “Garbage in, garbage out”.

    Ask your organizers for audited attendance figures and demographics. You’ll be glad you did.

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