Positive visibility at the executive level of the company is a quest for many trade show and event marketing managers. It seems that the trade show or events program often receives less attention and respect than does advertising, PR or developing the brand. Recently, accomplishments at a major, international trade show became the topic of focus during the second quarter earnings call with the CEO of a multi-billion dollar, multi-national firm. A quarterly earnings call is a teleconference in which a public company discusses the financial results of a reporting period with financial analysts and other stakeholders. The call resulted in a high level of visibility and respect for the manager of that company’s trade show program, a pinnacle achievement for any event manager.
Excerpts from the earnings call demonstrate how key trade show accomplishments (meetings, countries represented, etc.) can become key financial inputs:
Chairman – “During the recent (very large international) show, I had the opportunity to meet with many of our U.S. and international customers -- in fact, we had more customer meetings at this event than ever before, with over 1000 meetings… including 45 delegations from 38 countries. I was encouraged by what I heard about our company -- and the level of interest in what we do."
First Analyst – “I would like to ask about the recent contract cancellation in the UAE.”
Chairman- “The project cancellation was in marked contrast to what I saw at the recent show . . . We saw a number of customers from Turkey, UAE, Israel, Saudi, . . . we saw tremendous opportunity. We showed new digital, three dimensional demonstrations of our new products at the show. A top Japanese group visiting told us they were “very encouraged by what they saw.”
Second Analyst - “I learned about new capabilities for your ‘Hotspot’ project during your press briefing and at your exhibition at the show. Would you tell us more about those?” The chairman described the new capabilities without hesitation, in some detail. This made a very good impression on the analysts and others on the call.
It was clear the customer interaction at the recent trade show provided the chairman and other top executives with up- to-date, personalized market feedback that affected how they dealt with analysts and others. The customer and prospect interactions at the event gave them factual information and perspectives to share with analysts regarding market attitudes and demand. Event managers should consider “Executive Involvement” as one of their event planning criteria.
It was also clear that the event had a strong impact on analysts who visited the company’s marketing venues. Their visits shaped their perceptions of the company, its performance and value. Likewise, event managers should also consider “managing press and analysts relations” as a planning objective. This is also a clear example of why it is critical to be consistent with brand, advertising, PR efforts and exhibit and event related messaging, signage and demos. You never know who is watching!
Ed Jones is president of Constellation Communication Corp., specialists in event and trade show measurement, helping clients obtain positive return on investment in marketing and other types of events. If you have any questions please contact Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1.770.391.0015