Competing and Winning with Growth Strategies

Competing and Winning with Growth Strategies

By Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, CEO, CEIR

In January, I wrote a blog based on an article I read in a McKinsey and Company post. I read another article, “Where stores can compete – and win, “ also a McKinsey and Company article. You can tell I like what they write….

This article addressed how brick and mortar retailers can find growth in an environment where Amazon rules. Retailers are examining their value proposition and finding ways to set themselves apart from online.  Just like retail, there is a great deal of competition in the trade show industry. Just like the article, we are creating collaborations and partnerships, either domestically or with partners in other countries.

The article goes on to look at the different elements of the value proposition of brick and mortar versus online. The seven elements listed can also apply to trade shows:

  1. Value and price: Is your pricing reasonable and one the market will bear?
  2. Convenience and ease: How easy do you make it for both your exhibitors and attendees?
  3. Breadth and depth of assortment: For instance, are product categories robust and meet the desires of the attendee buyer?
  4. Omnichannel at scale: How easy is it for exhibitors and attendees to match with one another?
  5. Product vetting / touch and feel: Traditionally, trade shows provided an element not found in other channels – touch and feeling the product. How are you helping your exhibitors when they can now demonstrate a product via AI/VR?
  6. Consultation and styling / authority: How are you helping exhibitors understand how attendees want to engage on the show floor. Do they want to engage with the sales people or the industry experts in the booth?
  7. Experiences and community: This is certainly an element that the industry seems to be embracing. Trade shows provide a community where people want to gather and experience the newest trends face-to-face. Our jobs as organizers is to create and nurture the community.

Consider these elements and how a show provides value in each, and then measure your event’s value against your competitors to create a sound strategy.

Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). Her opinions are her own. Visit CEIR at Contact Cathy at


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