Graph EXPO and Converting expo 2003 -- Value-Added Opportunities
Attendance Numbers Only Part of Story
Can a trade show maintain and even increase its value as a marketing tool, even in an era of constant change and uncertainty in all industries?
GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO seems to be doing just that. Despite a tough economy and broad industry consolidation, America's leading printing, publishing and converting expo has maintained both its exhibitor base and its audience among top industry executives, according to its manager, the Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC).
The trade show environment, though, has definitely changed. Hank Brandtjen, president of Brandtjen & Kluge, observes, "We no longer go to these shows on hope. We do pre-show mailers and take advantage of the Website offers that GASC makes available. Before the show opens, we now have an idea of who to expect and, in many cases, we have pre-planned demonstrations set up for just before or just after show hours.
"We also do a better job of budgeting and controlling the costs of a show, and of tracking the return," he adds. "We now have the numbers to prove that a well-planned show has a significant return on the investment."
David Reny, vice president and managing director of Standard Finishing Systems, adds, "The key difference is that today we put a lot more effort into getting our customers to come to see us at the exhibition. We do not just expect them to show up like they used to."
In terms of exhibit size, GASC points out that the show has remained pretty constant since 1993. Square footage "spiked" in 1999-2000 with the influx of dotcom companies making their debuts in large exhibit spaces. But many of those companies also disappeared quickly.
The other four shows in the time period (1993, 1995, 1998 and 2002) averaged 365,000 net square feet.