Survey: Two-thirds of event producers not embracing Web 2.0 tools

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New York—Two out of three event producers do not currently include user-generated content on their Web sites, according to a survey released Friday at the 2007 SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers) Executive Conference.

According to the study, most event producers (82%) continue to rely on “internal show staff” to provide the content and oversee operations of their event Web sites.

“The general information we serve [for trade shows] is insufficient,” said Sal Fuentes, president-CEO of Decision Counsel, during a panel discussion on trade show trends. In order to grow event portfolios, “you’re going to have to buy, build or rent applications and tools that create more interaction” with customers and prospects, he added.

Aaron Kahlow, CEO of BusinessOnline, said that when it comes to promoting events online “most Web sites are not up to snuff.”

Kahlow said that too many event producers remain steeped in the old ways of doing business. “We’re still doing the ‘push’ in terms of running print ads [to promote a trade show],” he said. “But none of us is doing a good job of aligning the ads with finding the right information. You need to stop and think about how trade shows fit into your overall marketing efforts.”

Just 12% of event producers currently do any mobile marketing, such as sending messages to cell phones, iPods or PDAs, the survey found.

The online survey, sponsored by media investment bank Jordan, Edmiston Group, SISO and Tradeshow Week, was distributed to nearly 800 leading event producers. More than 100 people responded, including executives from top exhibition companies Advanstar Communications, Nielsen Business Media, Questex Media and Reed Exhibitions.

—Matthew Schwartz

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