Advanstar Technology Group in early March tapped Christina Condos as group show director of its IT and Content Management events group, which includes the AIIM ON DEMAND Conference & Expo.
The move marks a return to Advanstar for Condos, who served as national sales director for iEC and ON DEMAND, the Digital Printing and Production Event, in 1996 and 1997. (ON DEMAND was co-located with AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Event, in 2003, to form AIIM ON DEMAND.)
Condos was most recently show director for PC EXPO and TECHXNY at CMP Media. She spoke with BtoB about her new post, the death of horizontal shows and the next phase in events.
BtoB: How does your experience at CMP prepare you for your new role?
Condos: I worked on TECHXNY and PC Expo since 1988 [PC Expo was renamed TECHXNY]. This event has gone through a lot of evolution. It was such a horizontal event that we tended to focus on technologies that were hot and prevalent at that time. That was pre-Internet. People used to come to events to learn and see products. [Now,] they're less interested in seeing the technology-they can get all that on the Internet-and more interested in seeing solutions. They want to speak to the players one on one. Exhibitors are so ROI-focused.
BtoB: What is your primary objective?
Condos: We're focused on content management in the digital printing arena, but I'm interested in expanding. I'm looking at new opportunities, new exhibitors and new activities on-site. We're looking at launching [additional] events around this event, as well as getting the on-demand message out to other areas of the country and other constituents we're not [currently] reaching.
BtoB: What are the biggest challenges you anticipate?
Condos: The only challenge I see, and something I learned a lot about at CMP ... is don't expand in areas that don't make sense. The days of the horizontal event seem to be over. You need to be focused on the right attendees. It needs to be a very focused package. Don't pull something in just to pull it in. It's obvious this team [at AIIM ON DEMAND] is very aware of that. There may be some horizontal events that will make it, but it is definitely a challenging market.
BtoB: How will you market and promote the show?
Condos: Traditional [direct mail] pieces ... and e-mail blasts, but we're also working on very focused marketing to make sure to reach key segments. We're trying to partner with exhibitors and different associations. We work with everybody and try to pull their list in. That's the way to bring in the best audience. We work with several different lists in addition to last year's attendees. PR is another avenue. I want to look into doing different types of PR opportunities on site.
BtoB: How does the death of so many big technology shows in the past few years affect your show?
Condos: We're not a horizontal event. We're so strong and focused that it helps events like ours to grow. Just because these [big, horizontal] events have gone away doesn't mean people don't want to meet face to face. I think being a focused event helps us give exhibitors what they need: a good return on investment. This is an opportunity for us to fill an IT event void. There just aren't a lot of [large] IT events out there anymore. Between COMDEX and CeBIT and TECHXNY going away, what's left?