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BUSINESS 43Information services group Experian found insolvency rates across UK organisations with 51­100 employees fell from 0.2 per cent to 0.12 per cent in the year to February 2012. Their fi nancial strength score also leapt from 81.68 to 85.41 over the same period.Golf Live has signed an exclusive deal with Virgin Atlantic to become a partner for this year's show. The event will be held at London Golf Club in May. Virgin Atlantic will provide golfers with interactive experiences during the show including prizes for visitors.Alexandra Palace has selected architect and urban designer Terry Farrell and Partners to develop a masterplan for the regeneration of the North London venue. Following a competitive tender process, Terry Farrell and Partners, working with WSP, has been brought on to design options for the venue's future use. The Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh has signed a three-year deal to host the Gardening Scotland show. The event previously had a rolling annual contract with organiser Rural Projects, and has been at the venue since its opening in 2000.Temporary structures provider Neptunus has signed two three-year contracts to supply the annual Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters exhibition. The fi rm will provide 30,000sqm of temporary exhibition space to both annually. Melville GES claims it will be one of the fi rst companies in the exhibition industry to offer cloud-based services to clients after securing an agreement with UK cloud computing specialist Star. Melville will offer real-time registration and ticketing and provide greater data feedback to its clients using the cloud from mid-2012. Earls Court and Olympia Venues has teamed up with transport company Carbon Voyage to address the environmental impact of journeys to and from its venues. The online platform offers a journey-matching service to address the impact of transporting exhibitors, visitors and freight, and save money for users. Event crewing fi rm Showforce has chosen Hewden as its accredited training partner. De Boer has been recruited to supply the Great Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May as well as temporary accommodation for this month's Floriade 2012 World Horticultural Expo, which is staged just once a decade.Jupiter Logistics Europe has been announced as the offi cial logistics partner for the second edition of the London Garments Expo in August. SO Group has been appointed by Media 10 as the show organiser's sole contractor for the next four years. The contractor will be responsible for all services across its portfolio of exhibitions and work on Media 10's new purchases EcoVelocity and 100% Design.Furniture supplier Thorns Group provided equipment for a tea party for 1,400 people during her Majesty the Queen's visit to Manchester Central last month. WINNING BUSINESSIAN PEGLERWas joining Marks & Spencer in 1970. I was there for 12 years. I started with a nylon coat and a broom on a management training course and I ended up being a store manager and a buyer for one of the largest ladies' fashion groups in head offi ce. I learned a lot from M&S; it gave me a grounding in holistic management. The company looked after its people, which was really important, because if you MY BEST DECISIONMY WORST DECISION51-100I don't have many worst decisions, because I don't regret the past, but there is one experience I learned from. I resigned from M&S and bought a thatched pub with seven letting bedrooms in Devon with my wife. It was in 1979 and the start of a recession. Visitor numbers to Devon dwindled drastically because of this coupled with a petrol crisis. However, we got into the Good Food Guide and business picked up. In the meantime the cottage and hairdressing salon next door came up for sale and I bought it. We thought we could let out the cottage attached to it and capture the local and surrounding hairdressing market, but really the loan on the pub and the cottage/hairdressing business just killed the venture. It was a bad decision for my business and my family too. I hadn't done my research properly. I went into it using my heart and my ego, not my head: The business I'd bought was at its maximum at that time and there was little I could do to improve it. So research, ego and head­over­heart were the lessons I took from that experience.CHIEF EXECUTIVE,STONELEIGH PARKvalue people then they value you and give loyalty and better output for the customer. M&S also taught me about quality in everything and that the standard you set is the standard you get; there is no compromise.With in­store operations, everything had to be just so. When you left the store at night, it had to be ready for the next day. The buying experience I had at head offi ce was amazing. I remember the chairman, Teddy Sieff, coming in and handling a garment and asking: 'Why did you buy this fabric? There's not enough cotton in there'. He knew what quality felt like. That was a huge infl uence on me in not accepting second­best.1) Know your competitorsProduct knowledge is all well and good but to really succeed you need to keep updated with your competitors' offers and stay one step ahead. What are they doing well? Who is buying from them? Why? How much? 2) Keep close to your customersGet so close to customers that when they are ready to buy, you will not only be aware but will have anticipated their requirements. How can you add something unexpected that will debit them and want more? Call, meet and use social networking to maintain the dialogue. 3) Reward early commitment Names on a fl oor plan have a galvanising effect upon others. Classify your clients into Korma, Madras and Vindaloo. Get the Vindaloos signed up and watch the others follow suit. Think incentives, extra marketing and publicity and exclusive offers to tempt them in early. 4) Focus on them, not on you Ask more questions. Dig around. Find their true needs before launching into your generic sale pitch. If you truly understand your markets and your customers' needs, you can deliver compelling solutions not just square metres. Added­value services often cost little but are worth huge amounts to the recipients. Make good deals better and great ones irresistible!5) Keep it upSelling is tough at the moment but can only get better. The next call might just be the one. Activity is king.- Simon Naudi is MD of Answers Group.SALES TIPS HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE RIGHT NOW

business clinic44 value challengeIn mature exhibition markets, organisers need strategies that compete more vigorously for a share of visitors' time and, by extension, exhibitor marketing budgets, explains Jonny BaynesExhibitors often assess value in the following terms: 'How much time with quality visitors has my dollar achieved?' This can be represented as:Value= (Visitor numbers × average time in hall × visitor quality) / (Exhibitor dollars spent)AMR defines the combination of visitor numbers and average time in halls as Total Visitor Time (TVT). According to our analysis of the German and US markets between 2000 and 2010, TVT is in long-term decline. Notwithstanding cyclical effects, the hours spent in exhibitions halls are diminishing as pressure on visitors' time increases and the number of resources available to them - particularly online - multiplies. This creates a predicament for organisers, as raising or even maintaining price levels against this backdrop risks impacting exhibitor value, and ultimately square metre sales. Organisers face a dual challenge: Both to deliver and to demonstrate value to exhibitors.Delivering valueFew organisers will choose to drive value by dropping prices; instead they should focus on the top line of the equation and increase their value to exhibitors by maximising share of visitors' time while maintaining or increasing visitor quality. The first step is an optimised marketing approach. With high-powered segmentation tools now at their disposal, enabling the classification of myriad diverse customer personae among their audience (or desired audience), organisers can target visitors that will most drive exhibitor value perceptions. This could be visitors from a geographical region, or by job title, or a given branch of a profession. Audience segmentation should also guide organisers as to the most effective channels for reaching each segment. Having delivered the audience, organisers need to maximise TVT. The key is focus on visitors' return on time. This entails providing tools that increase visitors' productivity and minimise inefficiencies (matchmaking, mobile apps to aid navigation, pre-show planning tools), while delivering resources The hours spent in exhibition halls are diminishing as pressure on visitors' time risesAre Apps FoolprooF?experience design agency Foolproof has released a study looking at how mobile interactions are driving overall brand perceptions of today's consumers. The Going Mobile research study found poor mobile experiences can often deter customers from any further engagement with a brand. Foolproof found 47 per cent of smartphone users ceased dealing with a brand completely as a direct that add substantial value, such as must-have conference content or networking opportunities.Finally, organisers can increase their share of visitor time by extending contact outside the trade show. Resources such as webinars, white papers, email bulletins, online directories, e-magazines, online expert forums, industry portals and social media can meet key visitor needs to browse, evaluate, compare, keep up to date and even to network. While falling short of substituting for face-to-face, they are part of the reason 'old media' has lost its share of visitor time. Organisers should therefore see these resources as platforms for extending their contact with their communities beyond the relatively narrow dates of the trade show itself.The key success driver to developing these resources is a close understanding of the visitor's needs. By developing resources that meet these needs, organisers will be able to engage their audience and create opportunities to monetise these products, be it through sponsorship and advertising or user fees. Demonstrating value As exhibitor needs vary by sector and show, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for proving value. However it will usually involve using data to do two things: To understand what defines value for exhibitors; and to measure and communicate delivery against those goals. We have suggested a generic definition of value above; here we need to go a level deeper than the value equation to understand which specific data points will crystallise exhibitor value perceptions, by exhibitor segment if necessary. Whatever drives value perceptions - it may be anything from the total value of goods signed at or post-show to the number of architects onsite, or London designers who visited a particular stand - organisers have the electronic tools to identify these drivers, to measure delivery and to communicate this to exhibitors. - Jonny Baynes is an associate director at AMR International.Defining valueChief marketing officers (CMOs) are focused more than ever on returns. While the need to make every marketing dollar count has undoubtedly been more acute during the recession, the arrival of digital tools offering transparent measurement has transformed the landscape permanently, and increased the pressure on competing marketing channels to prove their value. At the same time, exhibitions in mature markets appear to be facing a challenge to prove their value.result of its mobile service or app not being good enough. in addition, 81 per cent said a mobile service or app has to make a strong first impression to continue using it, while 73 per cent felt an app or mobile service didn't deserve their loyalty if it failed to meet their needs. Foolproof head of practice and insight caroline Ahmed said mobile devices are changing how consumers think, feel and act. "From shopping and banking to gaming, media and entertainment, mobile is creating valuable opportunities to engage with consumers in new ways, at new times, and in new places," she said. "We have seen how established brands are struggling to fill these new spaces in consumers' lives and how the need for innovation in mobile has become a strategic issue for protecting and growing market share. "but we now know that customer engagement with a mobile platform is fragile. Retailers should be mindful that they may only have one chance to get it right with mobile users."