4 Things to Consider Before a New Show Launch

In October 2013, BNP Media’s ASSEMBLY Magazine successfully launched its ASSEMBLY SHOW, an event focused exclusively on the assembly technology associated with manufacturing, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. Taking a cue from its sibling business unit, BNP’s QUALITY Magazine recently announced the launch of The QUALITY SHOW, an event geared to the quality assurance and process improvement segment of manufacturing that will take place Oct. 27-29, 2015, also in Rosemont.

Scott Wolters, director of tradeshows and conferences for BNP Media, says his company wants to be more active in the trade show business.

“BNP has 32 live events and only five are real trade shows,” he says. “We are working hard to build up the trade show side.”

To do that, Wolters will repeat the launch formula that proved successful with the ASSEMBLY SHOW. One of the key components is the vetting process.

  • Hold the reins tightly. Media brand publishers, top association management, board members and others will come up with ideas for new trade shows and, inevitably, they’ll want to hold them sooner rather than later. Wolters notes, “We have processes and procedures to follow to vet ideas so that only the best ones get our full support.” To make sure the event has the greatest chance of success, then, BNP’s events group will commit time to developing it, sometimes years.
  • Invest in market research. Wolters uses BNP Media’s market research division to survey the potential audience and vendor community before making the decision to launch. Armed with those results, Wolters meets with the publishing leaders of the BNP magazine who will lend its brand to the event to decide whether they believe there is a case for a new show.
  • Talk to the vendors. “We get the vendor community’s pulse through our [media brand] salespeople,” he notes. This is critical not only because the vendors monetize the show through sponsorships and exhibiting, but also because they provide perspective on competing shows. Such conversations led BNP to include drayage fees in the space rates for the ASSEMBLY SHOW, a practice that will be repeated for the QUALITY SHOW. By eliminating a separate expense, BNP paved the way for exhibitors to bring major equipment to the show, making the event more engaging for attendees and, consequently, more effective for exhibitors.
  • Evaluate total impact. BNP leverages the equity of its media brands by using their names—such as ASSEMBLY and QUALITY—for tradeshows. Over the years, though, those media brands have built relationships with other event organizers that resulted in advertising and related opportunities. “Those will dry up fairly quickly now that we’re in the trade show business,” Wolters says. By including a lost revenue estimate during the vetting process, BNP gains a more accurate picture of the downside, as well as the upside, of a tradeshow launch.