Posted by Barry Siskind

UFI’s Community Manager

This year’s UFI Open Seminar in Europe will be held June 15-17 in Istanbul, Turkey. Andre Hoeben, Chief Operating Officer for Netherlands based Gielissen Exhibition and Event Services will moderate the event.  The theme this year is “Competing for the marketing budget – the future position of exhibitions in the marketing mix.” Andre will also be leading a panel discussion focused on marketing trends and exhibitor behaviour. I reached Andre in his office and asked him, from his perspective, what trends members of our industry need to be watching.

Here is what he said:

The first trend is a shift from exhibitions to corporate events. Specifically, in the ICT, this trend is most noticeable. This is a big threat for  the traditional exhibitions (organizers), as companies which choose to invest in corporate events will target their audience carefully and widely and also do major product introductions  at their own events. Participation in exhibitions will be limited. Social media will continue to play an increasingly important role because it seems to be more effective for dedicated corporate events, compared to “mass” exhibitions.

A second trend is the focus on customer journey. More and more exhibitors need to analyze their customer’s journey. Most companies go multichannel, for sales as well as promotion. Choices on how to spend the marketing funds is more and more linked to the specific customer journeys. We still come across exhibitors who have no clue about their customer’s journey. This of course offers us an opportunity, helping them to discover what the real journey is. But it also means that media companies / organizers need to be aware of their customers (the exhibitors) journey.

Number three is resources (money and people) which are deployed year over year and will be linked to actual economic balance. Reduction of profitability will immediately cut budgets for exhibitions. “A” exhibitions will not be impacted that much, as reduction of funds will mainly be on “B” and “C” shows. The vast number of exhibitions and events they can choose from leads to fragmentation. High-end brands (e.g. automobile industry) will reduce the number of shows in which they participate rather than lower their brand image by diluting their marketing resources.

The forth trend is the “fight” between corporate identity and local brand recognition. Central marketing departments are increasingly focused on getting the corporate message across, claiming funds from local brands and pushing for uniformity. On the other hand each brand is looking to maximizing its own identity, even being competitive with another brand from the same corporation.

Andre’s perspective should open the door to a lively discussion in Istanbul but we don’t have to wait until June to comment. What do you think the key trends our industry faces today are?

For more information on UFI’s Open Seminar in Europe click here: