ABM Tradeshow Summit stresses power is in attendee hands

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New York—A major shift has occurred in the business media trade show arena, where the balance of power now sits with the attendee rather than the exhibitor, according to executives who spoke at American Business Media’s Trade Show Summit on Wednesday.

“A fundamental shift has been on the attendee,” said Margaret Pederson, president of Prism Events and host of the one-day summit. “It has had significant impact on strategic and technical aspects of event marketing.”

Speakers at the event concurred.

“There’s a dramatic power shift going on,” said Michael Hughes, associate publisher of Tradeshow Week. “Attendee marketing gets almost 11% [of the producer’s marketing budget],” he said. “That’s up 1% to 2% over the last few years.”

Some business media companies have recognized and adjusted to the change. “We focus exclusively on attendees from a marketing standpoint,” said Sonya Ruff-Jarvis, marketing director for Reed Exhibitions’ National Hardware Show. She has identified top retail customers attending the hardware show and designed custom marketing programs for them during the show. “We customize programs to meet buyer needs,” she said.

—Carol Krol

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