Organisers must work harder to understand customers’ brand values and demonstrate ROI to secure exhibitors long-term, BBC Haymarket’s chief claims.
Exhibition MD Laura Biggs told EN BBC Haymarket, a joint venture between Haymarket and the BBC, is investing in a range of initiatives to build better customer profiles and understand how an exhibition ties into a broader brand proposition. The key driver is the organiser’s brand solutions division, which was set-up to talk to agencies about delivering brands through the exhibition medium.
“It’s a different way of talking to our customers and looking at how do we build the relationship and give them the right data,” Biggs explained. “Many of the agencies see exhibitions as an expensive medium.
“Our division is now manned by five full-time staff who actively approach agencies to discuss brands. It’s not just selling a stand, it’s about being more strategic. Long-term we expect to see more reward from this.”
In addition, BBC Haymarket has introduced bespoke microsites for its key show sponsors featuring visitor research and event reporting, real-time video interviews and vox pops capturing the show floor experience.
“We capture the moment for those board members who might not be able to come to the show, so they get to see just how successful and interactive their show activity is,” Biggs said. “It’s about presenting the ROI first-hand.”
Biggs said BBC Haymarket continued to invest in exhibition content and features throughout the recession to ensure each edition adequately represented the BBC TV brands and saw customers returning every year.
“During the recession, face-to-face marketing and how that helps your brand has shone through and we’ve seen tier-one brands coming back to our shows, such as Marks and Spencer,” Biggs said.
“But you can’t just sit on your event – you have to research, reinvest and strive for quality every day.”
BBC Haymarket’s portfolio includes Masterchef Live, which was combined with The Wine Show at London Olympia last November and will be combined again in 2011.
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