Bear Analytics own Vice President of Business Development, Eric Misic (@EricMisic) sat down with Michael Hart from Expo Magazine (@ExpoMagazine) to talk about new approaches to improving your trade show.

Michael Hart is an Executive Editor for EXPO, a multi-platform content provider that covers the trade show industry with a quarterly print magazine, daily e-newsletter, website and multiple events and conferences. You can read his discussion with Eric below, or check it out here.

Many trade show sales staffs have been doing things the same way for years: Getting repeat customers signed up early and then looking for new business if and when there’s time. Segregating sponsorship and exhibit sales. Not paying much attention to attendee data, if any at all.

Some of the more successful sales managers—of shows of every size—acknowledge that there’s got to be a better way.

Eric Misic, vice president of business development for Bear Analytics, is one of them. He’ll talk about this at a workshop session he’s leading at ExpoNext 2013 June 25-27 in Baltimore.

Meantime, he spoke to Expo Executive Editor Michael Hart about it as well.

Expo: What’s going on in the exhibit and sponsorship sales world today?

Eric Misic: The sales landscape has changed a lot in the last couple of years. It’s not a dialing-for-dollars exercise anymore. It’s now about being strategic, not only in how you approach the client, but also in terms of what you’re actually offering the client.

You need to discover what their wants are and what their needs are, measuring the success of your event by what it means to exhibitors and sponsors. You’ve got to ask yourself what are the innovative things that are out there. How can we make it actionable for the audience?

Expo: How has the sales landscape changed?

Misic: Back in 2006, the exercise was very much, “Let’s look at last year’s exhibitors and sponsors and call them first. Then let’s figure out what’s missing and how else we can fill the pipeline.”

While that still works for some events, it doesn’t necessarily work as well as possible for a lot of folks. Today it’s all about strategically setting up what the conversation is based on what’s happening in the marketplace.

There’s less head-to-head competition with events right now. Mainly, people are trying to self-identify with certain events. So you need to ask how I can tell the story about my event strategically when I get on the phone with these folks. Whether it’s a 1,000-attendee event or a 100,000-attendee event, here’s what you’re going to get. Here’s what it’s going to mean to you.

Expo: Are shows competing against other mediums?

Misic: There’s a bit of that happening. You hear all this talk about people not needing face-to-face events or wondering how they define ROI.

People need to meet people. There are other ways to do that but, at the end of the day, you’re getting all the people together in one place and you’re getting the right audience. That’s the opportunity.

What we’re dealing with here is how you can get the right audience, the right exhibitor and the right messaging for the right sponsor. That’s kind of the holy grail of what people are looking for.

Gone are the days when just putting up a banner was enough.

Posted by Michael Hart

Michael Hart is the executive editor of Expo. Reach him at mhart@accessintel.com

Photo By: Clarita

@Bearanalytics