Under Haroutunian’s leadership, the Outdoor Retailer event has developed a content strategy that has provided gains across the board.
In the past year, Haroutunian has focused the Outdoor Group’s strategy on audience development through relevant experiences and unique value.
“We’ve been able to turn out real value for our exhibitors,” he says. “Before last year, we were hyper-focused on the exhibitor base, for good reason—that’s where the revenue comes from. We made those companies believe in our show, which is critical to our financial success. They’re coming because we deliver a qualified audience, but for too long we were not paying much attention to that audience.”
“We developed community zones at our shows—areas in the show that are not under a brand umbrella, but belong to an entire market sector that relates to our show,” Haroutunian says. “The climbing zone or snow sport zone are areas that belong to a market vertical that is part of the outdoor whole, but in that zone, it is hyper-focused on the needs of that particular population of businesses. It includes the athletes, non-profits, retailers and media that all make up that market vertical’s ecosystems. We’ve created these areas and turned them into exciting centers of the show that any retailer that belongs to that community wants to be a part of.”
In addition to rolling out a targeted content strategy on-site, Haroutunian has focused on a multiplatform strategy that extends year-round.
The event broadcasts inside interviews of the show through social media and other online outlets. During the week of the show, the event’s Facebook page got almost 1,000 new “likes” and the show’s page was viewed more than 208,000 times. Two thousand-plus tweets were sent, and there were 63,000-plus visits and 80,000 page views to the show’s website.
“A lot of what Outdoor Retailer does is seen inside the portfolio of Nielsen as cutting-edge,” Haroutunian says. “We’re involving the industry in a forum-style conversation that points to the future and engages hundreds of thousands of people in the industry who are stakeholders and are interested in the outcome. We’re allowing and encouraging their voice to be part of the conversation by using digital tools and technology. That has to be part of the show experience in order for it to be relevant for the maximum number of audience members. Offering digital services helps stretch out the value of our signature brand of Outdoor Retailer.”
Vital Stats: There were about 1,300 exhibiting companies at the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, a 15 percent increase. Outdoor Retailer has 8,891 Facebook fans and 5,684 Twitter followers. Overall, the show 2011 Summer Market had about 25,000 retailers, exhibitors and media partners. Attendee participation was up 10 percent, buyer count was up 13 percent and there was a 17 percent increase for the overall show. The show floor’s overall footprint, which topped 1 million square feet, represents a 7 percent increase.