Exhibitions and Trade ShowsExhibitions are more than just trade shows. They are the gathering points where an industry comes together. With that fact in mind, raising awareness of the importance of exhibitions and the key issues impacting the B2B exhibitions industry is of the utmost importance to AEM and its members.

With Global Exhibitions Day having been held earlier this week, AEM sat down with three of its exhibitions leaders, all of whom weighed in on the value of in-person trade shows and events, how AEM leverages that value to serve its 1,000-plus members and much, much more.

AEM: Why are in-person exhibitions and events so valuable to AEM’s members?  

Nicole Hallada, AEM Senior Vice President of Exhibitions and Marketing: When it comes down to it, the answer is a simple one: People coming together to make better business. Whether it’s the contractor looking for something to increase productivity through talking to a technical expert, or an OEM or service provider looking to sell, people seek out and build relationships with others when they need something. I believe people are relying on those relationships more than ever, as difficult times necessitate community.

Dana Wuesthoff, AEM Vice President of Exhibitions and Event Services and CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 Show Director: Exhibitions and events also allow our members to gain insights and feedback directly from equipment end users on what their business challenges are and what potential solutions they seek. Absolutely nothing can replace the experience of connecting with others in-person, and our industry has shown us this is how they want to meet.

John Rozum, AEM Senior Director of Ag and Utility Exhibitions and Events and IFPE 2023 Show Director: AEM’s events are all about connections. It’s that focus on connecting that makes all the difference – connecting with customers, peers and the industry. Now that in-person events are happening again, there’s a new enthusiasm to be together and see, touch and experience what attendees have been missing. 

 

"Whether it’s the contractor looking for something to increase productivity through talking to a technical expert, or an OEM or service provider looking to sell, people seek out and build relationships with others when they need something. I believe people are relying on those relationships more than ever, as difficult times necessitate community." -- AEM's Nicole Hallada

 

 

AEM: How does AEM support the exhibitions and events-related interests for our members (and the equipment manufacturing industry as a whole)?

Rozum: AEM’s focus on our exhibitors is fairly unique in the exhibitions industry. Show committees made up of exhibitors ensure that the association's shows continue to exceed the expectations of the industry and provide a solid return on investment (ROI) for exhibitors and attendees alike. The one-of-a-kind upcoming CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE Exhibitor Meeting is a great example of innovative support we provide to give exhibitors the tools they need to succeed at the event.

Registration is now open for the upcoming CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE Exhibitor Meeting. Learn more

Hallada: We have an exhibitions and events team that works to support our members and the equipment manufacturing industry is a variety of ways. And, in coming together, we ensure we’re staying on top of cutting-edge trends and building relationships that make our events even better. As a result, we’re often looked to for our outlook on exhibitions and events, and we share that perspective with our peers. After all, a high tide raises all boats.

Wuesthoff: We also participate in client-advisory groups for a number of exhibition and event-related vendors and venues. In these settings, AEM is championing topics and issues to support continuing to deliver high-quality exhibitions and events that are safe, well-produced and focus on ROI and return on time (ROT) for both attendees and exhibitors.

 

John Rozum

 

"AEM’s events are all about connections. It’s that focus on connecting that makes all the difference – connecting with customers, peers and the industry." -- AEM's John Rozum

 

 

AEM: Is there a certain exhibition or event that you’ve attended during your career that you find particularly memorable? If so, what was the event, and why was it memorable?   

HalladaI recall years back the band Coldplay syncing flashing bracelets to the beat of its music, which was amazing. There really is so much runway on where events can go with the right technology. Also, CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, when we held meet-ups with industry influencers and attendees, was also particularly notable. AEM approaches its events as if they’re the ecosystem of our industry. We want end users to see them as their space, too. To watch that come alive is just excellent.

Rozum: The easy answer is CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2020, as it was the most stressful show I’ve ever worked with – literally on the very edge of a global pandemic and the last show to happen before the world shut down for awhile. On a much lighter note, I can honestly say that I will never forget The Utility Expo in 2021. For many in the industry, it was the first major show to return as COVID-19 was receding, and it served as proof that people were ready to get together to do business once again.

 

Dana Wuesthoff

 

"AEM is championing topics and issues to support continuing to deliver high-quality exhibitions and events that are safe, well-produced and focus on ROI and ROT for both attendees and exhibitors."  -- AEM's Dana Wuesthoff

 

 

AEM: Are there any key issues of importance or relevant topics within the exhibitions and events industry that are particularly notable today? 

Wuesthoff: Companies in the exhibitions and events related industry are facing similar issues as our members – issues with supply chain, workforce and sustainability, to name a few. In our post-pandemic world, robust planning for security, crisis-management and communications are also ongoing key items of importance.

Hallada: ROI. ROI. ROI. We see a future that extends the trade show investment beyond the floor, thereby expanding the ROI of the exhibitor. We know marketers have tools that provide more data than a trade show has in the past. We’re working hard on offering ways exhibitors can amplify their story to our audience year-round while providing them more data to help them get more leads and understand more about the ones they already have.  

AEM: How can AEM members ensure that their voices are heard regarding these exhibitions and events-related issues and topics that they find important?  

Hallada: Talk to us, early and often. We like to keep our ear to the ground and value the relationships we have with members. This is a large reason our events are so successful. If you really want to shape the future of events, reach out to get on a committee through our member reps or through the volunteer page on the AEM website.

Rozum: Get involved! Whether you are part of a show committee, complete a post-show survey, or talk with our Customer Success Team – every bit of feedback we hear goes back to the show team to help make AEM’s events even stronger. 

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