Countdown to the Collocation: Managing Great Expectations

Editor’s note: In the run-up to Design and Construction Week Feb. 4-6, Emerald Expositions Vice President Brian Pagel is reporting weekly as his show, KBIS, collocates for the first time with IBS in Las Vegas.)

As show managers, we all understand the importance of managing market expectations in and around our events. Regardless of the size of your show or the market you serve, transparency with your stakeholders and consistency in your message should be a top priority. As the old saying goes, under-promise and over-deliver. In most situations, your ability to set the bar and exceed expectations is the key to event success.

As we fast approach the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and our inaugural collocation with the International Builders Show (IBS), this philosophy has taken on even greater importance. There are exponentially more stakeholders involved, all with a different view of this collocation, the value proposition and the anticipated outcome. The interesting thing is that, while all of our messaging on the collocation has been consistent across all channels, personal filters and other professional biases can come into play. As such, a general marketing message about the larger, broader event experience can now take on multiple meanings.

To avoid market confusion, or worse, to leave things open to interpretation, we have made conscious effort to adapt our approach to the market. To ensure the success of the co-location, and specifically KBIS, we have implemented the following strategies:

Consistency in Show Policies—We have gone to great lengths with the National Association of Homebuilders to ensure everything from registration rates to show hours to overall access is consistent across both events. While there are areas that we might differ in our policies, the goal was to create a seamless attendee, exhibitor and press experience.

Defining the Collocation—Collocation is really more of an institutional term that has little meaning to our audience. That said, we have been referring to the collocation as Design and Construction Week, which embodies the fabric of both events. This has been the glue that brings our joint marketing on the collocation to life.

Revamped Marketing Plans—The collocation really forced us to evaluate our overall marketing approach. Instead of sending a message exclusive to just KBIS, we needed to bring to life the benefits of the collocation, but ultimately bring it back to why someone would want to participate at KBIS. IBS has taken a similar approach. To take this a step further, we have segmented our audience into roughly five different buckets, each of which receives a targeted message on virtually all of our outreach.

Leverage the Power of Social Media—One of the benefits of a strong social media strategy is that you can leverage the power of multiples. A perfect case in point would be our approach to Google+. We host a weekly G+ hangout every Friday to promote different aspects of the event. (For those not familiar with the platform, this is a live video chat.) This video is archived on our G+ page and our dedicated YouTube channel. We aggressively promote the video on Facebook and Twitter, which has been great for community building and a strong communications tool.

Even with all of this effort and focus on market communications, there will still be some level of confusion on Design and Construction Week in a few weeks, but the goal is to minimize this as much as possible.

Brian Pagel is a vice president at Emerald Expositions, where he runs The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. Since re-joining Emerald Expositions (formerly Nielsen) in 2001, Pagel has also served as a vice president in the Decorated Apparel Group. A 15-year veteran of the publishing, convention and exposition industries, Pagel has produced over 75 events, championed several strategic co-locations and is a frequent industry speaker.

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