INTERVIEWwww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 17works as you end up with visitors in the wrong shows for the wrong reasons. Those shows might be busier but exhibitors do the numbers and often find they have sold the same as they would have without the co-location. Are visitor numbers the most importAnt score cArd?You need both - the right people and quality, but in consumer shows particularly you need numbers as well. When you're advertising for someone to come to an exhibition, they have to first see the advert, go to the website, decide to spend the money and take that day out of their lives, get the kids and pets looked after, find a friend or partner to go along with, travel right across London to get to the show in the time they've got available. It's a big ask. However, when they make those decisions, you've got the best person for whatever industry they've come along to see. With Ideal Home Show, we call those people 'homers' because we know they're the best customers you're going to get.direction is too difficult. We still make mistakes but hopefully less than we would otherwise. WhAt Are your key priorities this yeAr? We launched three shows last year - Ideal Home Scotland, Ideal Home at Christmas and Grand Designs Live in Australia - and each one was a success. The Grand Designs brand for example is very strong and our partner in Australia, Diversified, is a perfect partner. That show will be much bigger this year and we are launching a second show in Australia, so that business is growing for us.is there more groWth in ideAl home shoW?Yes definitely. We bought the show, put it right again, then launched in Scotland and at Christmas in 2011. We also launched Ideal Home Insurance last year and we've revived the Ideal Home Show credit card. We're now looking at pet and car insurance with a third-party partner and trying to find things that add value to the brand. Over the years there have been too many things and people using the Ideal Home Show brand to sell or promote below-par products in whatever area it might be. We decided everything we add to the brand must be the best in market and the best value. We're also setting up online Ideal Home Show shops, but again we're being really fussy about the kind of products we launch. When we first bought the show, we were offered so many deals in those first few months ranging from tea towels to kettles. We initially thought it was fantastic as we'd get our money back, but realised quickly that we shouldn't do anything initially and take our time with it. Whatever we attach the name to, it has to be right. Why is ideAl home so successful todAy?We were very lucky to buy the Ideal Home Show brand. We knew it was a strong brand and we'd seen something the other organisers hadn't seen and an opportunity in the things others were seeing negatives in. An example is the strength of the brand. There was such a great history behind it spanning more than 100 years. We couldn't believe that reputation had disappeared in recent years. Other organisers, however, thought it was dead or old-fashioned. The majority of products in the home sector are things you want to touch, sit on and interact with, so an event is still the right place to do that. We also spoke to a lot of Ideal Home exhibitors and although the events industry looked down on the show, those exhibitors still took millions of pounds onsite. We were already in the industry with Grand Designs Live and knew there were exhibitors who would not come to Grand Designs from Ideal Home, so the brand still had something. We believed it came down to how the show was being run and we were right. With a new team, doing the obvious and by throwing out the rubbish exhibitors, it worked. We saw the wood through the trees and made the brand king again.is there more opportunity for ideAl home shoW internAtionAlly?I'd like to take it around the world and we're in South Africa already. It's one of the oldest shows in the world and there aren't many that old still going on or that have gone through three major recessions or depressions and two world wars and lived on. It's had every member of the UK Royal Family in attendance since it started and should travel well into emerging markets such as China. It's an easy name to translate into any language and means the same thing wherever you take it. And it's got such history and pedigree. The first of so many things we use today were launched at the show.Ideal Home could be different things in different countries - it doesn't have to be a mass, middle-class consumer event like it is in the UK - but it could still use the history and royal connections to help build the brand overseas. The products being launched today at the show might not always look as ground-breaking as the washing machine, but they are the next generation of what is out there. Will mediA 10 build An internAtionAl business like others from the uk mArket?We launched two shows overseas because they came along and we were there to pick them up. Partners have definitely been important, however we're not averse to setting someone up internationally if it looked to be the right thing to do. We're currently in conversations regarding two overseas launches, one with an active partner and one without, and we see benefits in both models. Will mediA 10 remAin focused on its key design And home sectors?Things will come our way because we are in certain sectors. Clerkenwell Design Week for example, which we launched two years ago, is a great design trade street show. We also have our own cash and we're looking at acquisitions. We will look at ideas in any market, whether that's events, magazines or add-ons to events. We like people with the courage to take an idea forward. most mediA 10 events Are tied to existing tv or celebrity brAnds. is celebrity the key ingredient for success?Whether you're running a consumer or B2B show, you should be running some kind of content such as seminar programmes, demonstrations or debates. If that's in the trade market, it should involve 'celebrities', or people well-known and admired in that industry that other people want to listen to. Every show does that, whether it's food or mining. We're not doing anything different to any other shows. What we'd say is they will bring along a percentage of the audience, but they don't just come for the celebrity. A show has to tick a series of boxes and celebrity is just one of them. One thing I would say about the influence of celebrity is that the person you've got talking, presenting or representing the show will then set the level of that show. For example, if we had a consumer interior designs event, you could either go Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen for a mass market level, or Norman Foster, a top-end architect. It sets the level without you having to explain it. A very important part of every show we do is ensuring the audience understands what the event is about using the quickest route possible. If you can use a celebrity to illustrate that without having to say it, you've saved space on the page. Overall, what you want to do is match the audience with the exhibitors so that they find what they are looking for, but you also want to stretch their imaginations and put some risky stuff in there too. That's another one of the boxes we want to check. WhAt does the exhibition of the future look like? They aren't going to Earls Court, which is a shame. I don't think the format will change as much as you think. In the majority of cases, people still need live events to touch and feel products and to meet people. Looking 20 years ahead, events will be similar to today. I think some will be smaller and disappear from the events world as others appear and grow. There is a lot of co-locating going on, and I'm not sure that always Earls Court, London267,450 visitors (ABC audited)Next show: 16 March - 1 April 2012Earls Court, London84,000 visitors (pending ABC audit)Next Show: 14 - 18 November 2012Top 3 showsExcel London100,164 visitors (ABC audited)Next show: 5 -13 May 2012Grand Designs LiveIdeal Home Show at ChristmasIdeal Home Show
18 www.exhibitionnews.co.ukFOOD FOR THOUGHTevery visitor countsGetting visitors to your show is a delicate, crucial task and one that requires a clever mix of marketing. We asked three show organisers: What does a successful visitor promotion campaign look like?michael seamanevent director, national Home improvement SHow, centaurThe answer to this question depends on who is judging it: The organiser, the exhibitor or the visitor.To the exhibitor or organiser, the common thinking around what constitutes a successful promotional campaign used to be based on the number of visitors that attended. That may have been the majority view five to 10 years ago, but today a successful promotional campaign is judged not just by visitor numbers but also on the quality, relevance and spending power of the audience you attract. To the visitor, a successful promotional campaign is one that does what it says on the tin and one that delivers what you have promised. The National Home Improvement Show prides itself on not only delivering significant numbers through the doors, but also on delivering significant numbers that are relevant, engaged and willing to spend money with our exhibitors.As you can imagine, a huge chunk of the UK population could be deemed relevant to a home improvement show. However, our exhibitors are only interested in meeting with visitors that have a significant and imminent home improvement project. We run an extensive multi-channel marketing campaign to attract visitors and we then use specific messaging, content and features, (reflecting our value proposition) to qualify that interest and to ensure the right people choose to attend.The key focus for our visitor promotion campaign is relevance. Once we have attracted a visitor (i.e. they have purchased a ticket) we then tailor our ongoing communications to ensure it matches their reasons for attending. We highlight relevant content, experts, features and exhibitors at the show so that they can get the most out of their visit. This means a lot of work in the background by the marketing team to ensure there is a sufficient range of relevant messaging but it helps to prove to the visitor that the show is worth attending. It also helps to ensure the right visitors meet with the right exhibitors and that the overall show experience is a valuable one.helen GeGanmarketing manager, Spirit SHow clarion eventSIn order to create a successful campaign, the key audience must be defined in terms of relevance and responsiveness. At Spirit of Christmas for example, we focus on being consumer-centric and having a strong understanding of our market. The fair has a loyal and niche audience, the majority falling into high net-worth females who live in west London and the Home Counties. Therefore we tailor the fair to reflect their needs and expectations.Our database is our most valuable tool and we heavily focus on direct marketing as they respond well. Feedback is essential; you need to know exactly what your key visitor's expectations are and what drives them to attend. Key content is defined by comprehensive research, focus groups and regular communication to develop brand loyalty and ensure fair content, including the exhibitor mix, matches expectations. We also work with associate brand partners who promote a 'shop, dine, socialise' atmosphere that resonates well with our audience. Our PR works hand-in-hand with marketing and has a targeted strategy to ensure the right nationals, consumer and regional press echo the extensive marketing research.A level of awareness must be maintained with visitors to keep the brand front-of-mind through continued, relevant and engaging communications. An example is the rise of social media within our focus demographic, which is now key in our marketing strategy.2010 and 2011 saw record visitor numbers to Spirit of Christmas at Olympia, which reflects an audience less affected by economic conditions. However, continued improvements across all areas of our shows have ensured the Spirit brand is in the best position to weather tough market conditions.We always weight the promotions campaign towards returning visitors; these loyal visitors are our core audience and encourage new visitors through word-of-mouth. They are in effect our brand ambassadors. A consumer-centric campaign is vital for success. This in turn not only maintains your loyal visitor base, but increases penetration into your core market through word-of-mouth. It also ensures we always deliver for our 800 exhibitors.archana shama marketing manager, induStrial groupreed exHibitionSEach visitor marketing campaign is individual but as we are all aware, there are some key fundamentals. Pre-show, it's identifying the core campaign message, media outreach and the individual online, offline, PR and editorial campaigns we run with the publications. This involves identifying who the direct mail campaign will target and segmenting key messages to ensure the best return. Emails and e-newsletters are important pre-, during and post-show as the most 'live' way for us to engage with our audience. Strategic planning is needed to ensure we execute these in the most effective way. It's also important to get our exhibitors to promote the show to their databases. Research shows those that do are the ones that have successful shows. All collateral is also tracked so we can look at what campaign elements were and weren't successful.Social media (SM) is surrounding us now and we are always looking at ways to incorporate it into our promotion. Again, how well SM can be utilised comes down to industry sector. I manage Reed's packaging portfolio and most of our visitors aren't SM savvy. We find Twitter and LinkedIn the most useful tools. I don't look at this as a deterrent but a challenge to get my audience to engage with new media. It's also about educating them so they can build it into in-house campaigns and mirror our work. A key example of this was at the PPMA Show 2011, where we introduced QR codes to all printed collateral for prospects to scan the barcode and register online via their smartphones. This proved successful and led to one of our exhibitors using QR codes on top of his machinery to generate lead emails. The economic climate has affected marketing spend, but it just means we have to be creative. We all want to attract senior decision-makers and those with purchasing power, so it's best to interact in a more engaging way. Other channels of communication being integrated into our campaigns are apps, video and interactive PDFs. The best part is we get to play with the marketing mix year-on-year and are always challenged.