Last week I returned from a major Canadian meetings industry show with a handful of business cards, having had a few good conversations, but no qualified leads to speak of.
Chatting with fellow exhibitors, I heard a similar refrain. Lucky for me, I own my company so I get to determine whether a particular marketing activity showed return that I'm satisfied with, or not.
Unfortunately my booth neighbours don't have that luxury. Whether they are hotels, destination marketing organizations or other meeting services firms, most of them report to a boss, a set of partners or a Board, none of which are usually known for risk-taking or innovation. Return-on-investment is constantly on their minds.
The problem with that of course is that most of my fellow exhibitors aren't free to really be creative, creating marketing activities that make them stand out. They are marketing like it's Groundhog Day.
They go to a show because the competition will be there. They attend an event because everyone else is doing it. Is it any wonder the meetings industry has become commoditized?
If we are doing things like everyone else, then we will be seen like everyone else. Just one big crowd of undifferentiated, indistinguishable set of vendors. (If you’re a true marketer, that’s a really *bad word*!)
Remember how Phil Connors (a.k.a. Bill Murray) broke out of his predicament and won Rita's heart in the movie Groundhog Day? Once he figured out he was in a rut, he took the opportunity he was given each day to learn a new skill, to exercise a new talent, to do things differently. In the end, it greatly improved his circumstances.
So, eventprofs, ready to break out of Groundhog Day?