As we start a New Year, we all think of resolutions and how we are all going to change for the better. Fitness is normally high on the agenda in this regard and I for one, have decided to have a dry month (I’m already cheating a bit though because I’m not starting until 10 January but ending on 10 February...so please leave me alone until then!). This dedication to get leaner and meaner might also be a good project for visitor numbers at exhibitions. I know that goes against the grain a little in that we should always be striving to look for more visitors, and of course I agree that we want to expand numbers to shows in general. But, in order to do that efficiently I believe that it is time that we stepped off the numbers spiral that has been in existence for as long as I can remember with exhibitions. What is the number spiral game? Sounds like an unwanted Christmas gift but in reality this is a state of mind that the exhibition organising community has been sucked into. It starts with how many people visited your show last year? Answer: XXX thousand Next step...how many people will be coming next year? Answer: YYY thousand; whatever this number is, it has to be more than XXX...but why? Firstly most people have no idea what XXX thousand looks like, so it is almost impossible for exhibitors to really judge how many people came to an exhibition but we seem to have made our exhibitors greedy by always telling them that we gave them more. I don’t believe this is necessary. It is too easy for a show that supposedly delivered 5,000 visitors last year, to claim 5,650 for the next year...but is it what our exhibiting community now expects? Organisers should not feel the pressure to increase numbers in this way – we all want visitors, of course, but only if it’s real. As it happens, we are looking to increase the circulation of some of our magazines this year but this is the first time for a number of years. Our advertisers don’t expect a continual uplift - just a quality audience - which you all are of course! That’s the same for many trade magazines, so why should exhibitions be any different? Exhibitors too get carried with the numbers without any real thought. If asked how many people they want to attend the show, it is always: “There has to be at least XXX thousand to make it worth our while.” Why is this? Have you ever thought of the maths on this? Here’s some ‘back of fag packet’ calculations: Let’s say a decent conversation to create a lead from an exhibition takes 10 minutes (minimum)... - Four people on a stand. Even if they worked flat out for three days – no breaks and continual stream of relevant prospects.... - At six people per hour per person...that is: 6 x 8 (hours) x 3(days) x 4 (people) = 576 visitors Now I accept that they all have to walk past the stand but there really isn’t a need to get carried away with our numbers. Just deliver the right buyers and everyone will be very busy.
So if we all reset our numbers to lean and mean, we can then start building something with a little more substance. Now that’s a resolution.
Happy New Year!
The IEI is supported by the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Perton Signs, N200, Moyne Exhibitions, Earls Court and Olympia Venues, Compass Group, ASP and Peterborough Arena. If you’d like to know more about the IEI or want to support it, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org