What Does Your Show’s Competition Look Like?

An article last week in The Art Newspaper, entitled “Battle for private selling shows”, caught my attention, not just because of my marketing agency’s work on several expositions in the art industry, but also because its implications are much wider than this industry.

The article focuses on how major auction houses are adjusting their business models and holding more private selling shows, which is increasing competition with art dealers as these events are traditionally part of their territory. These exhibitions “are very much like what you would see in a gallery, and their number and global scope is increasing fast.”

Why should you care about this if you are not in the art industry? Because change is an inevitable reality in competitive industries, and if a major player in one of the markets you serve makes a decision at a strategic level to pursue events, or aggregate buyers and sellers in another way, it can certainly affect your show.

Keep track of all types of buyer-seller gatherings. This includes exhibitions and related matchmaking events. It includes conferences. It includes electronic marketplaces, online communities and virtual shows. It includes user groups and corporate events. It includes both pure-play hosted buyer events, and tradeshow-hosted buyer marketing programs.

While the above art industry example involves major companies, don’t ignore smaller players, as that could prove costly. Dreamforce started as a simple user group meeting 10 years ago. Last month’s event in San Francisco had 350 exhibitors, 750 conference sessions and more than 90,000 attendees from 65-plus countries.

Cristopher Levy is managing partner of
Encore Media Partners. Encore is an audience strategy, marketing and media buying agency covering traditional, digital and mobile platforms,which specializes in local, national and global trade and consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences. Reach him at clevy@encoremediapartners.com