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editorial




 
oday's exhibit and event marketers face some potentially daunting challenges: The economy is flat lining, Wall Street has crumbled, and the price of, well, practically
everything seems to be in flux. Exhibitors are increasingly required to do more with less, and justify their companies' investments in trade shows and corporate events like never before. Meanwhile, management is watching dollars and cents more carefully, as clients and prospects are becoming more elusive and difficult to attract with the same old shtick. And while there's optimism about the industry's ability to overcome it all, there's also a degree of caution and concern, which, in many companies, has manifested itself in a tightening of the marketing purse strings.

As if those weren't daunting enough obstacles to navigate, marketers are having to evolve themselves, their programs, and their way of thinking, as consumers continue to avoid traditional marketing vehicles, and Web 2.0 becomes Web 3.0 quicker than you can say Wikipedia. The world is changing, and marketers must change with it. Otherwise their bag of tricks will grow stale, and they'll find themselves feeling a little like a discarded designer on "Project Runway," as host and super model Heidi Klum says, "One day you're in, and the next day you're out." Auf wiedersehen, indeed.

But exhibit and event marketers are a rare breed. They don't roll over and play dead when they encounter obstacles. They tend to see challenges as opportunities to try new, creative approaches. And the best of them subscribe to the theory that when the going gets tough, the tough get smarter.

That's why thousands of industry movers and shakers make an annual pilgrimage to EXHIBITOR Show, the world conference for exhibit and event professionals. They come to "connect with their species," but also to network, to learn new tactics, to brainstorm new solutions, to stay on the cutting edge of exhibit marketing. And they walk away inspired and armed with a new bag of tricks and tactics that will help them re-energize their programs for another 12 months, until they reconvene again. Be there, or beware.

You see, many industries understand the value of regular educational updates, and require attendance at certain workshops, or accrual of continuing education credits to stay licensed, not to mention relevant. In our industry, that requirement is - for the most part - self-imposed and self-regulated. But opting out of educational opportunities such as EXHIBITOR2009 puts you at risk of becoming a relic of the past in our uber-dynamic industry.

Just over a month from now, the crème de la crème of face-to-face marketers will descend upon the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, where more than 200 educational sessions, nearly 300 exhibitors, 92 roundtable discussions, and eight Profiles in Excellence await them. No other industry event delivers anywhere near the breadth and depth of educational offerings, networking opportunities, and exhibiting vendors. And no other networking or educational conference will assist you in reaching your professional potential the way EXHIBITOR2009 will, whether it's suppliers providing new solutions, presenters arming you with information,
or fellow exhibit managers sharing their tricks of the trade.

But above all that, we're offering you an opportunity to connect with your species and, quite literally, save yourself from extinction. Because if you're not at EXHIBITOR2009, refilling your bag of tricks, learning how to stay relevant, and finding new ways to overcome your current challenges, your species might just evolve without you. e

Travis Stanton, editor;
tstanton@exhibitormagazine.com

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