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The biennial blues

by Nicola Macdonald

Tommy Fisher, marketing manager at Clarion Events and EN 30 Under Thirty member, on keeping a team motivated while working on a biennial event.

Since DSEI finished in September 2017, people generally say one thing to me, ‘Alright for some, two years with nothing to do now’. Although it is true that I do now have more time than I did last year to enjoy life’s luxuries – like sleep and dinner – I do protest that it isn’t quite as relaxed as you may think.

In the immediate aftermath of DSEI (and any event of its size) there is a big focus on Exprom. Although a really good onsite rebook has given us a great start, there is a need to keep momentum going with our outbound marketing across all channels. Simultaneously to this we also conduct a thorough wash-up report so the lessons learnt are still prominent in the company ethos two years later.

After any event you might lose some salespeople, sales teams often have an equal if not better relationship with exhibitors than any other department. After a two-year project, mitigating the loss of customer rapport, expertise and tacit knowledge developed over this time is a challenge in itself.

From an exhibitor’s perspective, they potentially lose their point of contact every event cycle, which can impact their customer satisfaction level. Clarion has recognised this as a potential hazard and has invested in a market-leading CRM platform which records contact with customers.

Another pitfall of a biennial event is the lull in available content between the post-show releases and new features for the next edition being announced. How interested is your audience in your new logo, which is now a slightly different shade of green? Rather than fade into obscurity, we take the DSEI brand and exhibit at competitive events throughout the year, around the world, in the off year to stay fresh in the industry’s mind. This helps with both the Exprom effort and building interest in our next Visprom campaign. I know – all that travel is such a hardship.

Regardless of the above, working on DSEI has been a huge opportunity for my career and to see two years of work culminate in the form of a packed out ExCeL was the most rewarding experience.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for my afternoon nap.

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