If you were to ask any event professional what the hot themes in the industry are at the moment, we can guarantee that technology and greening will be high on list. These two topics independently are very important but can often be spoken about in the same breath. The right use of technology can allow for smart techniques that lead to green solutions.
Complete Exhibitions has recently taken this approach with the new Spring Show. In their second year of managing this show, and after extensive exhibitor and visitor research, the decision to re-align the show was made. This traditionally general consumer and entertainment show has always contained a section dedicated to livestock and agriculture that has attracted loyal entrants over many years. This year, the show will focus exclusively on this with resulting in a higher number of participants in the various agricultural competitions and exhibits such as equestrian, cattle, sheep and goats with major events already confirmed for 2012 including both the National Dorper and Boerbok Championships. "This process was always done manually in the past and required a large amount of man-hours and paper, and wasn't an efficient or green solution. Last year alone, we had over 2 500 live stock exhibitors. In 2012, we anticipate an increase in these numbers and so have, over the last few months, developed an online system which allows users to enter the details of their animals and themselves in one seamless process" explains Robert Walker, Business Development Manager for Complete Exhibitions. "The system captures this info and exports it to a database, which can then be sent to convenors or other interested parties in one simple form. The utilisation of this technology further increases the accuracy of the data and is constantly up-to-date and formatted, simply allowing the entries to be checked for authenticity".
The other technological change has been the advent of social media as a powerful marketing tool which allows organisers to talk and market directly to their interested stakeholders. Walker explains, "Facebook gives advertisers the ability to target their ads so finely that out of the millions of users you can advertise to a few thousand that have an interest in your market". Complete Exhibitions has incorporated this functionality to market the re-launched Spring Show as an agricultural tradeshow. "We were able to focus our advertising on some 40 thousand potential customers in South Africa interested in agriculture out of the over 4.7 million Facebook users. This was not only a great 'green' option and cost effective as the wastage was low, but also allowed us to create specific advertisements that brought intended users to the page. We now have a platform to engage one-on-one with stakeholders who are particularly interested in the new show and this has given us a huge insight into the industry."
Walker concludes, "The saying goes that the only certainty in life is change, but I believe that in the event Industry, the only certainty is that these two topics will continue to shape events to come. Any company looking to succeed needs to embrace this change and learn to carve out competitive advantages going forward."