In September I was asked to speak and represent the equipment sector at a conference in New York for the exhibition industry. The topic was what was GASC doing to adapt and respond to market conditions in our industry. The audience consisted of 125 exhibition industry leaders, primarily independent show organizers.
Ralph J. Nappi, CAE was named President of NPES and GASC in January, 2006. He brings 30 years of experience in association management, distribution and manufacturing to these roles. Prior to joining NPES and GASC, Nappi worked for 19 years at the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA) serving as its President from 1993 to 2005. AMTDA represents manufacturers, distributors and importers of machine tools and manufacturing technology. Nappi also serves as the General Secretary to Global Print which is an international federation of printing equipment associations from the world’s ten largest manufacturing countries. In October of 2008 Nappi was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Walter E. Soderstrom Society which recognizes leaders in the graphics industry.
It provided me a great opportunity to consider what GASC has done to respond to the challenges that our industry has faced for some time. While few would argue the structural trends impacting our industry, there are still opportunities in certain sectors, and NPES and GASC have had to adapt to that environment. As I developed an outline for the presentation I realized that despite these pressures, GASC has responded to, and provided support for our exhibitors, which is vital to the success of the show. When asked how, I noted seven key strategies that GASC is executing to which other shows in our industry have not responded:
1. Making it ‘THE’ Industry Event.
Expanded and formalized co-located events; in 2010 we began with 22 co-located events such as association meetings, award programs, user group sessions, and annual meetings to name a few; in 2011 that number increased to 34; and in 2012 GRAPH EXPO has sponsored 48 co-located events.
2. Transparency in Attendee Reporting.
Today GASC provides an extensive amount of attendance reporting from verified registrations, to the number of buyer companies, and even the market share that the total number of participants represents. Many shows in the printing industry don’t provide verified numbers, much less the detail we do.
3. Financial Incentives.
Discounting booth space has never been an option that GASC has offered to our exhibitors; but providing incentives like machinery-hosted packages that encourage equipment are huge and rare offerings from other show producers.
4. Reducing the Number of Show Days.
Many recognize that PRINT will move to be a five-day show. The market has clearly dictated that less is better for the number of days to meet customers.
5. Delaying the Commitment Date and Financial Deposits.
As our industry dynamics have tightened so have the belts of companies to make commitments and provide deposits for shows far in advance. Over the last few years, GASC has shortened the amount of time necessary to commit to a show and also decreased the amount of a deposit.
6. Reducing the Cost at the Venue.
It has been well documented over the last two years how involved GASC has been in working with McCormick Place and the city of Chicago to reduce the costs of all aspects of move-in, moveout, electrical, and food and beverage. Today Chicago is competitive with any major city in the country when it comes to venue costs and less expensive than many international cities.
7. Co-located Show.
As previously announced, CPP will be our first colocated industry show joining us for PRINT 2013. This provides more opportunity for leads in the growing and all-important package printing market.
NPES and GASC are interested in continuing to execute steps that add value to GRAPH EXPO and PRINT and reduce overall cost. Compared to other shows in our industry, both nationally and internationally, it was acknowledged by participants at this conference that WE are on the cutting edge in the industry.