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Posts Tagged ‘E2MA’

You Can’t Fix Stupid — Material Handling

August 20th, 2014 1 COMMENT
Special Handling Charges? Really!

Special Handling Charges? Really!

Rising Drayage and Material Handling Costs

If you are a fan of the comedian Ron White, you know his signature line, “You Can’t Fix Stupid.” I was reminded of this line three weeks ago while attending a material handling session by Amanda Helgemoe from NuVista and Sue Huff from Medtronic at the Red Diamond Congress in Chicago. The presentation was based on a 2013 study endorsed by the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association (E2MA) Advocacy Committee.

In short, it’s disturbing.

The presentation consists of 50 informative slides, mostly case studies between 1996 and 2007, and an analysis of rising, comparative costs. I won’t summarize the full presentation because:  a) the summary would be longer than the study, and b) You’re not stupid. You can read it and draw your own conclusions. That said . . . I strongly encourage you to devote 20-30 minutes to reviewing it. Secondly, you need to share your concerns, opinions, and solutions with industry associations and show management.

Finally, if you work directly with exhibitors regularly, you need to encourage them to speak to the associations sponsoring the trade shows. I believe, and I’m going to be a little naive here, that they don’t fully understand the ramifications of their no-cost contracts with the General Show Contractors or Show Management. Costs are rising, in particular drayage, at a rate that’s unsustainable to our industry. Whatever your political bent, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the foundational middle is crumbling in the trade show industry. This tainted concentration of power is doing what power always does – corrupts.

Advocacy_2

Some Highlights:

  1. Exhibitors are downsizing or cancelling programs, not because face-to-face marketing is ineffective, but because rising costs are squeezing their exhibit budgets.
  2. Exhibitors DO NOT KNOW 30% of their final costs headed into a show. No other marketing medium has the same cost uncertainty/surprises.
  3. Don’t blame labor. I&D costs have increased, but those costs pale in comparison to exclusive services such as material handling.
  4. At one show material handling increased 307% between 1997 and 2009. And there were two recessions during this time.
  5. Show Organizers are not doing their homework. There is often a wide variance in costs between similar shows in the same city within 6 months.
  6. Here’s how crazy it’s gotten (example): Drayage: $116.70/cwt, One crate = 1100 lbs., Drayage cost = $1,283.70, Associated GSC labor cost = 37 hours ($35.00/hour), NOW HOLD YOUR BREATH – That equals 1 person, working 4 ½ days for one crate.
  7. From 2009-2013, the Consumer Price Index increased 8.2%. General Contractor Labor Costs increased 12.56%. Drayage increased 121%.
  8. Material Handling has (purposely) gotten more opaque. In some situations, there are 24 material handling categories. Opacity makes it much harder for exhibitors to challenge drayage charges or make fiscally sound decisions when scheduling freight. This is not an accident.
  9. General Service Contractors are shifting costs to exhibitors who do not use them for non-exclusive services, resulting in uneven application of exclusive service charges. All too often, exhibitors are paying the drayage for the exhibitor right next to them when the GSC shifts expenses.
  10. Growing use of bundling by GSCs by offering discounts/rebates to win the entire corporate program, such as waiving material handling if client rents from the GSC. The EDPA and E2MA have gone on record as stating this practice (bundling) is unethical and anti-competitive.


The study proposes solutions beginning on slide 44, which I strongly encourage you to review. Those include Best Practices on slide 49. On a personal note, I cannot emphasize enough how much your voice matters to trade show industry associations, such as E2MA and EDPA. Let them hear from you. In addition, if you are an exhibitor, please voice your concerns directly with the association sponsoring the show and show management. I believe that associations do not understand how existing contracts undermine their ability to grow the shows they sponsor. Show management, however, does understand the impact of rising material handling costs, but (many) have not felt enough financial pain to recommend changes.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you share my passion and concern for our industry. Collectively, I believe we can fix stupid. We have no other choice.

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–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

E2MA Red Diamond Congress | Day 2 Notes

July 31st, 2014 2 COMMENTS
Photo courtesy of Deja Views

Photo courtesy of Deja Views

Day 2 (RDC Innovation Day)

It was a day of epiphanies about the trade show industry. Bob McClintock, COO of SMG, gave the morning keynote:  A New Facility Model: Facility as Service Provider. I know. The title sounds pretty boring, but the topic and the speaker were anything but. SMG manages McCormick Place, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and 70 other venues.

A. Evolution of Convention Center Service.

  1. Originally convention center managers were “Landlords.” And Convention Center design could be described as “prison architecture,” or in the trade as “Boxes with Docks.”
  2. Competition has forced them to adapt to become “Service Providers” with the goal of Hotel Quality Experiences.
  3. Those include local, fresh, and healthy culinary experiences, shopping and dining experiences, and updated, contemporary buildings. The new model is designed to keep attendees in the building.
  4. Labor changed as well, adopting a service provider mentality instead of a rights holder attitude.
  5. Finally, he shared three in-progress success stories:  Cobo Center, McCormick Place, and Philadelphia.
  6. I even learned a new acronym to describe the new business model:  WISMBR — What’s in Sight Must Be Right.

As with Day 1, there were more sessions than I could attend, but let me touch briefly on three. Here’s a link to the full Day 2 Schedule.

Photo courtesy of Deja Views

Photo courtesy of Deja Views

B. The Event Forecasting/Measurement Tool, by Bob Hughes. Bob’s company, The Hughes Group, has developed a new event forecasting and management tool that not only allows marketers to validate their exhibit and event spends, but also provides instruction on how marketing, sales, and operations can collaborate to optimize exhibit and event outcomes. It’s a deceptively simple online tool with a powerful database and analytical tools. It’s still in final stages of development, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready. It’s perfect for any trade show manager who wants a clear path to measuring ROI and collaboration with sales and marketing.

C. Driving Business Using Social Media, by Glass Mountain Media. Just a couple of comments from the session and then a very entertaining video about digital media.

  1. Social Media must tell a story about your business and reinforce your culture.
  2. Social Media must have a purpose and data to measure to its effectiveness.
  3. All companies must think of themselves as publishers in a world dominated by digital content.
  4. Quote:  It’s never been easier to reach customers. It’s never been harder to engage customers.
  5. Encourage, not discourage, your employees to use Social Media, but coach them on how to use it for your company.

D. Closing Keynote:  Enhancing Exhibitor Value Enables Show Growth, Amanda Helgemoe and Sue Huff. There’s no possible way I could do justice to this enlightening and informative presentation about the ongoing economic pressures in our industry. Let’s just say that not everyone takes a long-term view about creating a healthy, sustainable face-to-face community. Take time to review the slide show (click on the image). You will see an obvious disparity in rising costs. You will and you won’t be surprised by the results (hint: see the chart below).

Advocacy_2

Last but not least, a generous thanks to Jim Wurm and his team at E2MA for a terrific conference. If you didn’t attend, you missed something special.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

E2MA Red Diamond Congress | Day 1 Notes

July 30th, 2014 COMMENTS

red_diamondDay 1

I’m in Chicago this week for the E2MA Red Diamond Congress. For those unfamiliar with the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association and the RDC . . .

The E2MA is a community of exhibit and event marketers driven to benchmark the value of face-to face marketing. By facilitating discussions among all industry stakeholders, the E2MA’s Red Diamond Congress develops actionable ideas and solutions that can provide for industry growth and success.

What makes the RDC different from other exhibit industry events is the blending of exhibit managers, show organizers, labor contractors, union associations, and exhibit builders and distributors. There are no silos. The RDC brings everyone together to discuss shared concerns. In an industry with a history of finger pointing, it’s a refreshing and practical conference.

For those not here, I took a few notes. Not great notes admittedly, but notes.

WP_001962A. Exhibit and Event Issues:

  1. Competition for marketing budget dollars is increasing, which is . . .
  2. Creating evolving strategies
  3. Mixing tradeshows and events (48% of companies are doing private events)
  4. Forcing cost reduction pressures
  5. Putting even more focus on measurement and ROI

B. Research shows that the more engagement on the show floor, the more successful the purchase intent. Not a surprise.

C. Overall Exhibitor Retention — Average 80% (which means 1 of 5 exhibitors don’t return)

D. Exhibits and Events represent 42% of media spending for companies, second only to digital. That was a surprise to me.

E. 15 consecutive quarters of industry growth with attendance as the leading metric. Good news.

F. Average international attendance at North American shows — 15% of all attendees (at major shows). Is your client prepared for this attendee?

G. $80 billion dollar industry in the U.S.

WP_001959Kudos to the All Industry Panel. A very informative session (which could have been twice as long). It was beneficial to hear the perspectives of these industry leaders.

  • Skip Cox, Exhibit Surveys
  • Jeff Provost, Exhibit Designers and Producers Assn. (EDPA)
  • Brian Casey, Convention and Exhibition Research (CEIR)
  • Larry Arnaudet, Exhibition Service Contractors Assn. (ESCA)
  • Mike Pennington, Healthcare Convention and Exhibition Assn. (HCEA)
  • David DuBois, Intl. Assn. of Exhibits and Events (IAEE)
  • Lew Shomer, Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO)
  • Jim Wurn, Exhibit and Event Marketers Assn. (E2MA)

Special kudos to the Bridging the Generational Gap breakout session hosted by Amy Yag, Amanda Helgemoe, and Pat Friedlander. It was a lively and interactive session on how Baby Boomers, GenX, and Millennials communicate and in particular, how Millennials view the workplace (i.e., corporate culture is big, collaboration is even bigger, and they need and want a clear job description and career path).

The RDC afternoon schedule featured multiple breakout sessions, including the Generational Gap. See the link for the full Day 1 agenda. I attended Developing Your Team and DIY Research, which were both well-presented and informative.

Finally, to my fellow “Dinner with Strangers” at Seasons 22, thank you for the enjoyable evening. I’ve already done a search on the FBI Most Wanted list. No one is in the Top 10 . . . yet.

Day 2 begins in about two hours.

Oh yes, most of the sessions are being recorded, so I’m assuming they’ll be available on the E2MA website at some point.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

 

2014 Red Diamond Congress | July 28-31

June 17th, 2014 COMMENTS

Building Bridges in the Exhibit & Event Industry

The 2014 Red Diamond Congress (RDC), the third annual meeting of the Exhibit & Event Marketers Association, takes place July 28 – 31, 2014 at the Oak Brook Hills Resort in Oak Brook, Illinois. The RDC brings together all of the major players from the exhibit marketing industry to engage in thought leadership, best practice exchanges, and education aligned with business and marketing metrics and strategy.

oakbrookhillsresort

Why RDC?

The E2MA is a community of exhibit and event marketers driven to benchmark the business value of face-to face marketing events and explore new tools, new technologies, and new techniques that can optimize face-to-face marketing. By facilitating discussions among all industry stakeholders about those issues, the E2MA’s Red Diamond Congress is dedicated to develop actionable ideas and solutions that can provide for industry growth and success.

While there are many other outstanding exhibit and event industry conferences, almost all are organized to address the needs of a single stakeholder group, and are often absent the input of key players in the exhibit and event industry. The E2MA Red Diamond Congress (RDC), by design, is a true congress of industry stakeholders that invites input from all points of view and values the collective experience of all industry professionals, no matter what segment you represent or what role you play. For in the final analysis, while it takes many different stakeholders and interest groups to produce a successful event – there is no “they,” there is only “us.”

Register NOW.

An Outstanding Program Mix

RDC_banquet_awardsThe RDC program will advance top level discussions and facilitate deep examinations into the issues that challenge us while cultivating conversations that can build better bridges of collaboration and partnership between:

  • Marketing and Sales
  • Exhibitors and Show Organizers
  • Show Organizers and Facilities
  • Contractors and Unions
  • Official Contractors and EACs

The Exhibit & Event Marketer Association invites its members, and all industry stakeholders – exhibitors, show organizers, facility management, exhibit service companies, general contractors and union personnel – to take part in this landmark event, our 3rd Annual Conference, at Oak Brook Hills in Oak Brook, IL. This is your opportunity to be part of an event where the most vexing challenges are addressed and actionable solutions are devised. The E2MA Red Diamond Congress will include:

  1. Keynote presentations from industry and marketing thought leaders
  2. “E2 Talks”, thought provoking briefs from industry innovators
  3. Case Studies, a thorough examination of new event models
  4. CME Educational programs, obtain credit toward your certification
  5. Workgroup Roundtables, show professionals collaborating on challenging issues
  6. New Product demonstrations
  7. Face-to-Face Connections, one-to-one appointments and Focus Group sessions
  8. Team Challenges, fun-filled friendly competitions between industry stakeholders
  9. And, much more!

Register NOW for the E2MA Red Diamond Congress. I’ll see you there.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

What You Missed at The Red Diamond Congress

August 3rd, 2013 1 COMMENT

Red Diamond CongressLast week, I attended the E2MA Red Diamond Congress in Chicago. Now, in my head I can hear you saying, “What the heck is the Red Diamond Congress (RDC) and how does it compare to the more famous White Diamond Festival? Or the regional Purple Diamond Jamboree.” I’ll explore those comparisons in a future white paper.

First, a little explanation — The E2MA, or the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association, was formed about two years ago when the Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association (EACA) merged with the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA). Merged, the E2MA represents all stakeholders in the event and trade show community:  exhibitors, labor contractors, show managers, and suppliers. As you can imagine, it’s a brilliant concept where all parties depend on and interact with one another . . .  yet all have an ax to grind and incriminating information on the others. Basically, your typical dysfunctional family (i.e., every family). While other industry organizations represent a subset of these groups, and do so for a valid reason, E2MA is the only one that does a collective bear hug. Scary, wonderful fun.

McCormick Place Chicago

The Red Diamond Congress is the association’s annual three-day meeting. It was my first. Kevin Carty attended last year on behalf of Classic Exhibits. So what’s the RDC. It’s not a trade show like EXHIBITOR. Nor is it a meeting with colleagues held at a resort like EDPA Access. Instead, it’s in Chicago at McCormick Place. About 200+ attended, which meant it was nearly impossible not to meet everyone. That was two-thirds of the fun.

During those three days, I attended educational sessions (65%), listened to keynote speakers (10%), and ate, partied, and socialized (25%). The percentages may have been skewed higher or lower for others (and yes, I’m talking about you Chuck). One night I went to a “Dinner with Strangers.” Something I’ve never done at EXHIBITOR, but did at RDC. All together, including the keynote speakers and breakout sessions, there were 49 opportunities to learn about our industry. For example:

  • Integrating Social Media into Live Events
  • Branding for Exhibits and Events
  • Why Your RFP Isn’t Getting the Results You Want
  • International Must See Trends
  • Selecting the Right Trade Show
  • Basics of Lead Management
  • Does this Yarn Make My Carpet Look Fat (great session)

What made the session and speakers relevant and beneficial, at least to me, was the mixed audience. I don’t often get the chance to interact with show managers, association directors, union labor, and event managers. Their perspective on industry issues and trends was refreshing and often surprising. We often forget that they have frustrations too, ones that impact how we do business with them. What surprised me was that their frustrations mirrored mine:  drayage, excessive regulation, a poor understanding of exhibit marketing by CMO’s, and a lack of transparency and predictability on all levels. These were people who have devoted their lives to the exhibit and event industry. They have a passion for it and are sincere in their efforts to improve and reform it.

So, why weren’t you there? Seriously . . . Why Weren’t You There? Chicago is close and convenient. The price of the event and the rooms at the Hyatt were reasonable. The food was mostly included. Ditto the booze. And the education and the social events were very, very worthwhile. I’ll give you a pass this year — but not next. I strongly encourage you to attend the Red Diamond Congress. The educational sessions will benefit you. And when did you ever turn down an open bar with tasty appetizers?

2013 Red Diamond Congress

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Next year . . . Chicago . . . McCormick Place . . . July . . . 3 Days . . . Red Diamond Congress. See you there.

My compliments to Jim Wurm, Executive Director of E2MA, and his team for all their hard work on this successful event.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.