1st April 2009
Business communities as well as Joe Public are voting with their feet despite the downturn, because the total sensory medium of live event marketing continues to deliver.
A fine example of the power of the channel is the record 25,064 consumers that attended The Baby Show with Prima Baby, at Excel London 27 February to 1 March, up six percent on 2008.
“The Baby Show is a brand that our visitor audience trusts, both for the consistent delivery of an educational and entertaining experience and also value,” explained organiser Leah Tidy, of Clarion Events. “Often a vast amount of research is done beforehand with visitors committed to purchasing at the show knowing that significant savings can be made. Equally our exhibitors are able to cost-effectively reach a huge number of this ever-changing demographic of new parents and parents to be.”
Avril Deane from exhibiting company Tommee Tippee says, “like many companies at this time we were full of trepidation before the show wondering if - in spite of a booming birth rate - people would turn up. We needn't have worried. We were showcasing our new Closer to Nature BPA-free range and by the end of Saturday we had sold out of nearly everything. At times the Tommee Tippee stand was practically under siege with the queues to pay right round the stand and plenty of £50 notes in evidence.”
Fuel Up 6%
A six percent rise, this time in B2B visitor numbers was also recorded at the annual International Forecourt and Fuel Equipment Show too which took place at the NEC from 1 to 3 March. William Reed’s event director, Matthew Butler put the increase down to a “stellar line up of exhibitors” and a new incentive new voucher booklet containing tens of thousands of pounds-worth of offers which he says, “was a huge hit with retailers.” BP franchise offer development manager, Carl Osbourn enjoyed the success confirming, “we had a very busy show and it has been very productive. We’ve had a good number of leads to follow up and we’ve had enquiries for franchise as well as the fuel.”
Practice What They Preach
Event organisers themselves turned out in record numbers as well last month for the 26th International Confex event, which took place at Earls Court 24-26 February. More than 11,140 professionals from around the world had made a beeline for the annual industry event, an increase of five percent on last year.
“In the months leading up to Confex there was a climate of fear paralysing the industry,” admits event director, Duncan Reid, “but a significant amount of business has been conducted at the show and I can see a real confidence returning to the market.”
“Over the last three years Confex has enjoyed double digit, year on year growth and in the current economic climate where staying the same is moving forward, a five per cent increase is a fantastic achievement. However, we have also recognised that the phenomenal growth of the show we have seen previously is something that would be difficult to achieve even in better economic circumstances.
“There was a real feeling of exhibitors looking to maximise the potential of the show and that they were serious about doing business having brought only their best sales professionals to Confex.” Duncan
“Trust, especially in the current environment, is a very valued commodity. Meeting and interacting with real people at events engenders trust in the hundreds of thousands of brands that use live event marketing every year, as the three examples aptly demonstrate. Visitors to B2C shows, trade buyers and event industry professionals themselves, attend events for many and varied reasons, but on a purely practical level, there is simply no substitute for talking face to face with people that can answer questions directly. No matter how much online research is undertaken, there is no better medium than a live encounter to seal the critical 'trust factor' and confirm confidence in a business, brand or product.
On the other side of the fence, suppliers enjoy the benefits of exhibiting because it allows them to get product into the hands of potential buyers, and to deliver that all important ‘brand experience’ through direct ‘engagement’ – two current marketing mantras. While many routes to market are suffering, live event marketing is more than holding its own, as consumers and the business community invest their valuable time and money in proven methods that deliver real results.”