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Welcomewww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 5EditorialPublishing Director Liz AgostiniManaging Editor Nadia Cameron Deputy Editor Antony Reeve-CrookSenior Journalist Domenic DonatantoniodigitalOnline Editor Sarah O'DonnellAdvertising Manager Jamie LininSubScriptionSCirculation Executive Tim Pardingtonproduction & dESign Production Manager Luke SpaldingDesigner Sarah GarlandProduction Assistant Julia Ball contact uSSubscriptions 020 8971 8268Editorial 020 8971 8292Sales 020 8971 8265 Production 020 8971 8272Published by Mash Media 4th Floor, Sterling House6-10 St George's Road London SW19 4DPTel: +44 (0)20 8971 82821 year's subscription cost is UK £95+VAT p/a Europe £112+VAT ROW £130+VAT.Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the publishers.Printed by Pensord Press Ltd. uring a face-to-face interview in CloserStill Media's London offices last month, MD Andy Center and I got talking about what it takes to run successful exhibitions in an economically challenged, digitally savvy and ROI-led world. The question I asked Andy was whether he thought exhibitions had changed over the 25 years he has been in the industry. His response makes me wonder what it means to be an exhibition organiser today and how we communicate it. For Andy, an "exhibition" is merely the platform we use to serve communities and create commerce by introducing buyers to sellers while finding increasingly diverse ways for people to interact. Yes, he agreed, shows today don't look like those he ran 25 years ago, as many have a higher level of content and features. Technology and mobile delivery innovations are offering new ways to enhance how we serve and grow communities and create business opportunities. But the purpose of our industry hasn't changed at all from yesterday to today and is as important as ever. So long as we can prove it. Our Show Case in this month's issue on Internet World is a great example of how an exhibition brand has managed to remain relevant even as its exhibitor base and the technology market it serves changed beyond all recognition. What is different for organisers today, Andy said, is exhibitor and visitor perceptions of what we do, and how we go about asserting and demonstrating our worth. I don't think I need to remind anyone that visitors - both trade and consumer - have become more demanding in terms of sensory experiences and interactivity, and are time-poor and cash-strapped. Nor do I think organisers are missing the point of the shows they run. The real problem lies in our message.As Andy puts it, things have become harder for organisers because they've been 'found out': As an industry, we fail to provide customers with sufficient and tangible ROIs, data and intelligence, even as other media including print, TV, radio and online introduce metric after metric which demonstrate their influence. As a result, it's more difficult today than it ever was to convince new companies and individuals to support our business model. Our industry needs to become more sophisticated in displaying its effectiveness. Even as our model matures and the list of competing shows gets ever more global, many organisers fall back on the lowest common denominator. Why don't we all audit our shows? Better yet, conduct full brand reviews? Or if the visitor-based audit of old isn't the right tool, can't we devise something better? Why do we continue to shy away from having an industry-wide standard? To put it bluntly, why don't more organisers spend money to make money? Don't we want to prove our success as a marketing and branding medium?In Andy's opinion, calling yourself an exhibition organiser is like a publisher calling themselves a printer. I get what he means. On the one hand, my job at Exhibition News is to compile this magazine together each month. But what it's really about is sourcing valuable information our readers want. And this is because we're trying to grow our community.As an organiser, it's imperative to demonstrate the value of the environment you create, the sales you help generate and the community you build and support. Face-to-face is as valuable as ever and exhibitions remain a viable business model. So let's make sure more people know about it. An exhibition is merely the platform we use to serve communities and create commerceNADIA CAMERON MANAGING EDITORncameron@mashmedia.netTHE MEDIuM AND THE MESSAGEd