I have a smouldering dislike for bankers. It’s a multi-faceted grudge and one that won’t be disappearing anytime soon*.

One facet of the grudge is underpinned by the notoriously low service levels they provide to customers from whom they profit and when I say low… I mean gutter low. Other sectors that operate in that particular service level cesspit are energy suppliers and broadband providers.

It’s a standard to avoid and one that would get anyone twisting their heels and running in the opposite direction…. very, very fast.

The low service levels stem from a myriad (hate that word) of reasons including limited competition, customer apathy, poor customer processes and maintaining the status quo.

Unfortunately for the exhibition industry it seems that bankers are our benchmark buddies and that’s bad news all round.

A few weeks ago a statistic slipped out (purposely, I may add) that went pretty much unnoticed amongst exhibition professionals. It was in a N200 video interview between Matt Coyne and Mark Brewster; and they talk about my favourite thing – exhibitors.

I’ve embedded the video below

Mark heads up Explori which is a research company holding a repository of event benchmarking data and insight. In the video Mark highlighted a stand out statistic from his vaults which is the negative exhibitor satisfaction as measured by the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

The worst thing is that the number Mark quoted was the average NPS score based on 1,000 trade shows held around the world. It came in at a jaw dropping -18 and that sort of score puts the organiser-exhibitor loyalty rating in the league of the derided banks.

It means that we have a serious problem when it comes to exhibitors which is exacerbated when Mark highlighted that the statistics means 50% of the trade shows had a score worse than that…

Worse than -18…

Of course, the outliers inform the mean cuts both ways and last month I was sitting in the office of one organiser who is enjoying an exhibitor NPS of +58 which is great news.

But by that rule – someone else is sitting in another office with an absolute stinker.

Clearly we have an industry and individual organisational problem that needs addressing – and fast.

I’m not predicting apocalyptic collapse of the exhibition industry, far from it, how could I when organisers are maintaining enviable margins which has attracted massive PE cash injections in the last two years?

But I do think the top and bottom lines are masking an underlying problem in how we handle the primary revenue source of the industry – exhibitors.

For the last two years I have been espousing the need for organisers and suppliers to seriously review the processes and pathways they enforce on the exhibiting customer.

Some get it, some don’t.

The biggest level of resistance when you introduce a new thinking or a new way working is that people try to group you in a familiar subset. In this instance, Exhibitor Smarts is associated with exhibitor training, content and advice. That sort of output is only a by-product of the service Exhibitor Smarts provide.

The core service of Exhibitor Smarts puts the industry’s number one revenue contributor – the exhibitor – at the heart of the projects and measures not only NPS but looks at key metrics within key categories of exhibition retention, engagement, growth and acquisition.

Once you profile exhibitors against those metrics that’s when the opportunities to improve the advocacy and loyalty present themselves.

*Obviously my opinion of bankers would change if a big hitting bank needed a trade show consultancy service. I’m financially persuadable – contact details below.

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Exhibitor Smarts is a specialist exhibitor agency working alongside organisers and suppliers to maximise exhibitor revenue and performance.

We also work directly with exhibitors saving more than 30% off their investments.
Email: jim@exhibitorsmarts.com

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