Sustainable, successful events and businesses achieve systematic consistency, and this reliability and predictability is certainly apparent at Construct Canada. The concept: Melding a variety of events, activities and programs into a concentrated three-day conference (including coverage of allied fields and professions such as interior design and property management) with extensive association support and media co-operation to create a critical-mass program.
This structure reflects the successful business sweet spot. You know what works, you have systems to manage things, and then you can test variations and enhancements, and extend the concept to make it more effective.
Yesterday, for example, the Construct Canada show organizers announced they had arranged with another show — representing architects and designers — to merge the events into a newly named The Buildings Show this time next year. The overall show will occupy even more convention centre space.
Other events and specialized activities time their programs to co-ordinate with the show. For example, yesterday afternoon I attended the CERBA International Construction and Infrastructure Conference. CERBA is an acronym for Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association. At the event I attended, on sustainable construction, business owners and representatives explained their services and initiatives. I yawned as they outlined their specialized accomplishments — these were not polished speakers, and they were full of “I/me” observations.
But wait . . . I wasn’t the intended audience. The room was full of people from Russia and eastern Europe, and the audience heard everything through simultaneous translation. And, to the long-distance travellers, there were ideas and issues relevant to their interests in these discussions (to be followed by one-on-one meetings with the commercial business representatives.)
We’ve of course simplified our expectations at this show. If you have a single trade-out booth, you won’t have too much marketing power or clout. We’ve been creative in developing a draw to our booth. A safety consultant joins us, and hands out calendars with scantily clad women. (I know, this is a throw-back approach, but you can certainly see the traffic at our booth increase when people realize they can pick up the calendars.).
We’ve measured our achievements at the show over the years, and most of our success, reflecting the nature of our business, arises less from the physical booth/exhibit than to our ability to communicate and connect with other exhibitors and meet with clients and association representatives, often in informal gatherings. You can easily dump thousands of dollars into shows like this, and achieve little in the way of results. Or you can develop your systems and plans, and then measure how well you’ve done. (Trade shows are probably the most effective and immediate opportunities to introduce a metrics program. Track your leads obtained during the show, and follow through with them to access the conversion rates.)
I’ll reflect our approach, by spending some time at our booth 3027, but most of it informally, visiting the overall show with my media pass in hand. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cellular at (613) 292-3973 if you will be at the event and would like to connect.