2013 – The Race is ON!…wait…What?

running gypsyJanuary 2013 is here!! Yippee, whahoo, can’t wait to get started, last year was so stressful!

ZZZZIPPPP…did you hear that?  Yup, that was that beautiful new rug that was underneath those ready to dance feet that was just snatched away and packed back into the cart!  There seems to be new challenges for the gypsy coming into play; the addition of figuring out where the cuts have taken place and in which market segments (all is not as it appears); tighter venue schedules, switching staff, and the latest electronic shuffle game is in play! Yes, those dreaded nuts out there shifting from it’s a good thing to it’s a bad thing; the speculators of the world economy and outlook! This makes for a fast year of switching from show to show and making the most out of one gypsy!

So, here we go! This year is going to require that a gypsy have magic at the ready because things can change in a flash.  Make sure to commit early and save money in all early-bird cases, this is critical and so is extending those dollars to include extra marketing initiatives. Get those executives or technical specialists to speak and keep involved in their respective industries, too many changes occur and this is one way to make sure everyone has the same information.  Get the best communicators out on the road and that includes some of the R&D and engineering folks as well; if they are going to survive the uncertainty they need to support the company by getting in on the “what’s really happening” conversations so they know what to develop and how fast!  Times like this call for smart/creative “LEADERS”, people that have the vision and guts to take on the world and say, “not only are we going to try we are going to succeed; we are smart and innovative and we are going to work together and make it happen!”

As a gypsy, sometimes the feeling is that this type of issue is for the upper management teams to decide, but if you are a keen gypsy you know that you can not only help get things done, but put out into the world at large the innovation taking place in your company with exuberance and confidence. Make the dollars count so that there is enough to get as many events in as you can and make sure you are not going because you have been doing an event for years, expand and review other events that may have come into the market/industry.  Don’t shy away from suggesting that you hold your own event, and get the industry together to have an “innovator’s day” or and internal “success meeting”.  This takes you gypsy to plant the seeds and nurture them to make sure you have a great garden come the end of the year, of well spent dollars, excellent customer service, and new business growth.

The 2013 kick-off show for this gypsy is next week and this show always gives me a gauge as to how the year through at least mid-summer will go.  Last year true-to-form people were anxious and wanted to know more, more, more as if they could not get enough information because time was running out, the squirrels had found the nuts and were hoarding for a long year. Watch your audience and feel their energy, find out what they are thinking and if it is not what you want at your show or event, make the necessary adjustments and get it going in the right direction, make it more personal, talk to people, make appointments, get the right people together and set press appointments. COMMUNICATE!

All gypsies on deck, and make sure you are ready to move quickly and that all of your equipment/show collateral is in order, organized, and packed extra careful (shipping/receiving will be extra aggressive to keep up), this show year is going to be a fast paced race to the finish! Make sure you stay in good health and keep your wits about you when that shuffle game appears; you have the magic, use it!




I think I found one!….wait What?

I think there’s one over here!

During this time of year everyone is super busy in the show gypsy gig!With budgets being put in place by potential speakers/sponsors;  organizers are in the trenches figuring out schedules and working with hotels/convention/conference venues!

The show organizer dance of trying not to collide with other events can be a huge challenge; more large organizations are hosting their own events as well as a variety of new organizers hosting vertical events. The key is to know your market segments and figure out if there are east and west coast events in the U.S.; spring or fall show season; and if you add in International shows that throws in a whole different perspective of attendee base vs conference speakers/exhibitor resources and money available.  Organizers have to know all of this to determine if the event they want to host will be cost-effective and still meet the needs of Sponsors/Attendees.

With so many variables, securing dates early is critical to getting your event set so others are dancing around your event.  There seems to be a number of events that are going in more vertical directions to draw those sponsorship organizations that are moving business objectives into more vertical products/services.
Sponsors/exhibitors are doing less of the multi-purpose events that target entire market segments. This does allow for quite a bit of cross over with more events popping up that target a variety of verticals with small differentiators thus going after the same sponsors for more events, even though they may be smaller.

The competition is quite active and venues are struggling as well, having to manage more events instead of the week long events of days gone by that would fill hotels to the brim and allow for less bookings!  Negotiations are quite a bit of work to secure meeting the needs of everyone involved:  a venue at a price organizers can afford; hotels that need to meet a quota and still make money; conference centers/convention centers can pay for their facility maintenance and insurance costs that go up every year.  Organizers have to be extremely savvy in negotiations in order to keep costs down for the event and be able to pay for the costs associated and still keep in business. Not an easy task!

So enough gloom and doom – there are ways to succeed for the organizer dancing through the swamp lands with the various critters lurking, disguise of the quicksand, and voodoo mysteries going on in the background!  (Almost Halloween after all)!

Supplies: Shot gun (Pen), rope (Calculator), and gypsy protection dust (same)! (I’m sure there is something like that in those trade show boxes at this point) J

  1. Get schedules set early
  2. Negotiate immediately once the decision is made to host the event
  3. Find a venue that will work with you on attrition rates and book conservatively – these days much better to error on the short side than the over book/catering
  4. Team – with so many small events look for synergy between shows and team even if there is just a turn-over of the show hall for events – or if once a show finishes the other one starts in another part of the venue or close to it; and then work on co marketing efforts!
  5. Get your bid into your sponsors NOW – this is budget season and Sponsors need time to get a review of your event and determine their financials
  6. Secure support vendors/contractors as well – there are fewer and they are busier with more events as well.
  7. Find your differentiator – whether it is your Sponsors/Speakers or venue, marketing, make your event stand out and promote early

Yes, the key word through all of this is EARLY – money is tight and the lean and mean machines are out in full-force thus cutting resources to support events in all manners.

No doubt we all have hopes that the economic picture will look up and hiring will commence once again as burnout is at an all-time high for people with jobs and they really could use a few more staff to keep their sanity and their health! A show is a very good way to give staff some relief by meeting with their peers and regenerating enthusiasm to innovate. However, travel funds are being tightened also, so make sure your events have more than just the normal speakers…get some training or dynamic speakers into your events to make it worth it for attendees.

Value-add has to be justified at all levels and organizers have to work on negotiations and venue to keep audiences/sponsors/exhibitors engaged and make your event the one to support/attend.

Get that dousing stick out – we need to find a great venue, sponsor group, exhibitor, speaker, attendee, and oh yeah… MONEY!

I know you can do it – you are a trade show gypsy after all!