TSNN recently published an article on ways to “green” your tradeshow, to which CustomNEWS contributed a few suggestions. But we caution against eliminating all print materials, which is what seems to be the first comment during a “going green” discussion: “print is bad, no more print.” But print has been such a main-stay, both in our daily lives and at conferences, is it really smart to just eliminate all print materials? We recognize that as event technologies become the norm – mobile apps, online planners, etc. – the role of print materials at a conference is changing, but it’s still a necessary component.
Print’s not going away – show dailies are alive and well, CustomNEWS is picking up new clients and seeing ad revenues grow, resulting in bigger issues. Part of that growth is due to organizations taking a strategic look at what print offers their organization (revenue, content marketing channels), attendees and exhibitors. Rather than doing away with print, there could be a more cost-effective path to take. Print show dailies do more than share schedules and exhibitor list – they showcase content, and curate content to repurpose throughout the year.
Reevaluating print materials should be done annually, ideally right after an event when you can track what was leftover, etc.
- If you’re printing a program, was it accurate, or did addendum/s have to be printed to update exhibitor lists, speaker changes, etc. – resulting in more printing costs?
- With the rise in mobile app usage, is it still necessary to print a program – which entails a significant amount of staff time on top of printing and shipping costs. I recommend taking a closer look at the information that’s in the program and see where it can be best housed/distributed.
- If the mobile app/online planner has session descriptions/speakers, and can be updated in real-time, is it necessary to still print this information? Think about the info. that attendees want “on the fly” – daily schedule with room locations, exhibitor list and floor plan, shuttle schedules, etc. This information can be included in a show daily, which is printed nightly so lends itself to last-minute updates, and will still maintain that print ad revenue stream you don’t want to lose. Mobile apps and show dailies really do complement each other.
- If a program book is still required for CE/CME activities, can you cut it down in size, which could also end up lowering costs? Or maybe separate out the exhibits section into an exhibit hall guide? Your exhibitors probably are more interested in the exhibit hall information vs. the program, and could result in needing to print less programs. (Some clients do not print programs for exhibitors, they can receive one if there are extras.)
- Looking for digital and print tie-ins is a given: we create digital versions of all of our publications, and clients share these via email, social media, website archives, etc. It’s another way to give attendees the information they need in the format they want. We’ve had people at 7 am tell us they loved the online version, as they could read it with their coffee in their hotel room. And email newsletters showcasing the show daily can be another source of advertising (banner ads).
- CustomNEWS and CadmiumCD have a number of common clients – we make sure the show daily links are available in the app and photos taken by our show daily team, and sometimes videos too, are showcased in the app. Ask your mobile app developer about more tie-ins between your print and digital communication tools.
Print’s Role in Sponsorships: Think Outside the Box
Are you finding that a lot of your advertising and sponsorships are tied to print products? Think outside the box – attendees love souvenirs, what about either selling or giving away shirts that have the conference logo on the front and the sponsor’s logo on the back. Or if you’re having an onsite show daily, sell this as a distribution sponsorship, where the temps where these t-shirts as they hand out the papers. Speaking from experiences, attendees will notice and ask how they can purchase a shirt. Another show daily-related item – distribution bins. Don’t just have white boards, sell it as an advertising opportunity. Or, if you do have the same bins each year, ask your decorator to re-use them, rather than discarding materials at the end of each conference.
Attending ASAE’S MM&C Conference?
Jenn Waters will be presenting “What? No Program? Reevaluating your Event’s Onsite Print Vehicles,”on Wed., May 3. She will look at how the growth of event technologies has impacted print.