WHY EXHIBITION JOB TITLES ARE DUE A CHANGE
I’ll be honest, I normally meet new job titles with a certain level of derision and I am bored with the commentary about gurus ninjas, overloads and prophets.
Thankfully the exhibition industry has largely escaped this ridiculous trend and whilst I am sure there are some self-acknowledged tossers floating about – I have had the good fortune to avoid them.
Nope, as a rule, job titles in the exhibition industry are pretty standard and have stood the test of time. Over the last forty years and despite the advent of home computing, internet and mobile communications, these beasts have been unshaken in their function.
- Portfolio Director
- Event Director
- Sales Director
- Marketing Director
- Ops Director
And it’s not just the directors, I’ll mix it up.
Marketing Manager, Marketing Executive, Ops Manager, Ops Exec, Sales Manager, Sales Executive, Event Manager, Event Co-ordinator.
The list of perennial job titles in the exhibition industry goes on and the reason for their longevity is the focus on the four key functions of making an exhibition happen – sales, marketing, event management and ops.
More recently organisers have jazzed things up by introducing next-generation titles that centre on data, insight, CRM, digital and content.
And rightly so.
However, even with the new-age job titles, there is a fundamental problem and it doesn’t matter whether it is as a sales director or an automation campaign manager.
The problem is the focus on internal frameworks, structures and processes of the organisations, not the customers; and it has something the big dogs have locked on to.
Recently household names such as John Lewis, British Airways, River Island, Asda and Tesco have started to revamp their traditional titles and it has been well publicised that all have ditched their Marketing Directors roles and replaced them with Customer Directors.
Is it just a trend?
Maybe, maybe not.
Either way I don’t think the likes of Rob Nathan et al will be sweating their P45s anytime soon.
It’s up for debate whether it’s a trend or not but one thing that cannot be disputed is anything helping a business focus purely on the customer can’t be a bad thing.
The title shift amongst the big companies marks an acknowledgement to put the customer experience at the heart of the business and it indicates how we are increasingly driving a more connected approach to product, experience and marketing.
In exhibitions we have two customers, visitors and exhibitors.
And here’s the rub, there are no organisers or suppliers employing anyone to look after the exhibitor experience from acquisition to engagement right through to retention and growth.
There is no CEO and by that I mean– a Chief Exhibitor Officer.
A few would argue they are – but I would argue they are not.
Some would argue it falls under the ED role, but we can all have a different opinion right?
Much like I don’t regard exhibitor marketing as the management of the exhibitor experience.
In the current framework, we are all very good at our jobs – sales, marketing and ops; but when it comes to the exhibitor there are big gaps between the divisions in which exhibitors fall down.
It would be interesting to see how the rest of the deck plays out if an organiser wanted to protect and enhance their biggest revenue stream and start with the exhibitor experience when it comes to job titles.
Drop me a line.
Alternatively, we can just create an exhibition version of this website: http://siliconvalleyjobtitlegenerator.tumblr.com/
Exhibitor Smarts is a specialist exhibitor agency working alongside organisers and suppliers to maximise exhibitor revenue and performance.
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