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Gazing Beyond Graph Expo --Sherburne

December 2008
HAVING RECENTLY returned from Graph Expo, I felt it was important to highlight a few things that came out of the show that might not have been covered elsewhere. First, as might be expected in the current economic situation, it did appear that attendance was a bit lower than the show company and exhibitors had hoped. Some booths were very busy; others less so. 

This year for the first time, though, the show company (GASC) conducted an integrated cross-media marketing campaign to drive attendance. Initially, three target markets out of a possible seven were targeted. In the end, however, all seven were included, since it wasn’t that much more work to do so.

The show company had two objectives in conducting this campaign. First, was to drive attendance to the 2008 show. But, secondly, there was a desire to build a library of e-mail addresses that could be used in promoting PRINT 09 and to test the efficacy of this type of promotion prior to that show. This is a clear indicator that the GASC has its eye on the long-term ball and plans to use this strategy into the future—a strategy its customers (the exhibitors) encourage their customers to use.

While specific results weren’t available as of this writing, GASC did express satisfaction with the results. One wonders whether attendance might have been even lighter without this campaign.

PURL Opportunities

The campaign included personalized URLs (PURLs) for the more than 200,000 addresses included in the campaign. These PURLs allowed visitors to register online for a free gas giveaway—a powerful incentive during the period when gasoline in the United States was running at or near $4 a gallon! The personalized URL also offered the opportunity for visitors to register for the show and to easily gain access to the Personal Attendee Assistant to begin networking with others in their special areas of interest. 

GASC has begun to describe Graph Expo as several shows within a show, and it has made it easy for attendees to focus on specific areas of interest. Special audiences included book printers and publishers, creative professionals, transactional printers, in-plant printers, mailing and fulfillment companies, and quick printers.

The Personal Attendee Assistant, a form of social networking, was also new this year. The site invited visitors to “create a profile, share their challenges and tap into the collective wisdom of the graphic arts industry.”

 

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