Istanbul hosted exhibition industry professionals on the occasion of UFI Open Seminar in Europe 2015

After almost seven years, the UFI, the global asociation of the exhibition industry returned to Istanbul for a major event. The previous UFI event held in Istanbul was the 75th UFI’s annual Congress, organized in Turkisch metropolis in the autumn of 2008. The participants of the UFI Open Seminar in Europe 2015, held between 15 and 17 of June were given another opportunity to change experiences and share their expertise on „Competing for the marketing budget – the future position of exhibitios in the marketing mix”. Urgent and fascinating issues were explored in presentations and discussions. The focus was on the competition for budgets between trade fairs and other marketing instruments, in the face of the current changes in the exhibition industry. What trends can we currently see in marketing? How do companies spend their marketing budgets today and how will this change in the near future? Is exhibitor behaviour changing? Will exhibitors continue to use exhibitions in the same way as they did in the past? These were the issues discussed in Istanbul. Andre Hoeben was the moderator of the UFI seminar. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Gielissen Interiors Exhibitions, which has been in the trade show business since 1937. With around 270 professionals, offices in 7 countries and partnerships on all continents Gielissen has a truly global reach. Andre is an expert in new business development and change management. Among his core competencies are entrepreneurial orientation, visionary thinking and drive for results. One of the really key issues currently is the digital revolution. It is being compared to tsunami engulfing traditional marketing channels. On the one hand, trade fairs are also affected by this overwhelming wave. At the same time, however, organizers take advantage of this wave of digitalization and turn it into an opportunity. The keynote speech „How to survive the digital tsunami – marketing trends and opportunities for face-to-face” was given by Nicklas Bergen, a Swedish futurist, a serial entrepreneur and inwestor with a broad experience on emerging markets and technologies. He talked on how companies spend their marketing budgets today, how this will change in the near future and how the exhibition organizers cant turn digitalization into an opportunity. An interesting panel discussion on marketing trends and exhibitor behaviour, was another point on the seminar agenda. Pannelists, including Brian Casey, president and CEO of CEIR – Center for Exhibition Industry Research from USA, stressed that the way the marketing budget is distributed always depends to a certain extend on the spirit of the Times and the trends that are postulated. They presented their opinions on how the exhibitor behaviour is changing now and whether they will continue to use exhibitions in the same way as they did in the past. The delegates in Istanbul were also considering the role of marketing agencies, which often influence the decisions of their clients and therefore their ability toopen and/or close doors should never be underestimated. Jens Welin, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Starcom (USA) invited the UFI seminar participants to think over the intermediary role of marketing agencies when it comes to spending the marketing budget. What is their advice to customers? When do they recommend face-to-face marketing tools, and when do they prefer digital marketing? The industry professionals learned that not only will the marketing mix change for exhibitors and visitors, but also exhibition organizers will have to rethink their marketing strategy. So, how to measure the ROI of trade show marketing? What are the key performance indicators for a show? How should exhibition organisers spend their marketing budget in order to reach out to their attendees in the most efficient way? Accurate control of marketing will become increasingly important. So, which tools and measures are most effective to help judge your own marketing performance? The above mentioned questions were answered by Eyal knol, Partner from jwc, a globally leading consulting company in the trade fair and conference business. Almost 200 delegates, including representatives of Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry, CENTREX – International Exhibition Statisctic Union, AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, participated in the Seminar. The Conference programme included also UFI Executive Committee meeting, Associations’ Committee meeting, Auditing meeting forUFI member auditors and associations and UFI European Chapter meeting. Source: