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Firms being ‘conscious’ about who attends events is positive

Firms being more “conscious” about who they send to tradeshows is a benefit for the events industry, according to an association leader.

Kinsey Fabrizio, new president of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), highlighted how companies selecting key decision-makers and senior leaders to send to tradeshows means they can get the most out of their participation.

CTA’s flagship event CES saw more than 138,000 people attend in January  – up from 118,000 in 2023 but not quite pre-pandemic levels.

Kinsey told ExpoPlatform: “Companies are more conscious about who they send and they’re more intentional about who they send. 

“We had 138,000 attendees at CES 2024 and we know that there were a lot of decision-makers in that group of attendees. 

“Companies are just being very intentional about who they send and why those individuals are coming. 

“That’s good – companies should make those decisions about who to send and why they send them.”

She added: “Of course we want to continue to grow and bring meaningful people from across the world for our exhibitors – and for our content and for our keynoters – but we’ve definitely seen growth from 2023 to 2024.”

CTA provides research and advocacy across North America for industries which utilize technological innovation.

It has organized CES since 1967 and is now an event which brings brands together from all over the globe to unveil their latest releases and breakthroughs.

One thing that separates CES from almost all other major tradeshows is that it carries out an attendee audit, something it has been doing since 1996.

The association follows UFI  guidelines for auditing its annual event. 

Using a third-party auditor means the association can confidently report numbers and apply to become a UFI Approved International Event.

Kinsey believes this significantly helps in providing evidence for its exhibitors about what value they get from attending CES.

She said: “As an organization that produces live events, we’re always competing for marketing dollars. 

“We’re competing to get exhibitors to invest in the show, to get attendees to come to the show. 

“We are always working hard to create value – create value as a business event, create value as a world-renowned media event. 

“We do that in many ways. We’re about to release our attendee audit. CTA and CES is very unique, because we are one of the only major trade shows that actually audits our attendees. 

“What that means is if you come to CES, we count you as one person. We don’t count you every day that you’re at the show. We will just count you one time.

“So we have a really true number of attendees and that’s very valuable to exhibitors, because the data that they get from trade shows is really instrumental to their success and their business plans throughout the rest of the year. 

“CES happening in January allows them to make a lot of great connections and then focus on that all year round.”

Kinsey joined the association in 2008 in the membership department. 

She quickly grew in the position and led successful efforts to expand CTA into several new areas including disruptive innovation, content and digital health. 

In 2019 she was promoted to vice president of membership, leading a major restructure in 2021. 

She became senior vice president in 2022 and soon added responsibility overseeing CES sales, which expanded dramatically under her leadership. 

Her new role as president – which she took on in February – involves responsibility for CES, CTA membership, CTA conferences as well as marketing and communications. 

Kinsey believes having the right segmentation for participant data is crucial to CTA’s success in engaging with its members and event participants.

The association does this by looking at positions, influence, type of organization, any previous attendance and more so they can personalize campaigns to increase the chance of registration for CES.

She said: “It’s really important to communicate by segment – and because CES is so big and so broad, we have to be very segmented about our marketing. 

“So when we put out communication, we want to make sure it goes to the right people so that they understand what it means for them and what the value is for them.

“Then they can take action, whether that’s to attend or to exhibit or to sponsor or if you’re the media.”

The CTA’s membership is North America-based and includes more than 1,300 companies, with its advocacy work focusing on the United States.

Efforts are made to represent the tech industry and industries utilizing technology. 

It also creates market research and industry forecasting in the tech segments.

The association side is also an accredited standards organization, putting forward rules that make technology function in a way that enhances the consumer experience. 

Kinsey said: “We don’t just have technology companies as members – we have companies in every industry as members.

“Think of John Deere, that’s an agriculture company. They are a member of CTA because they’re using technology in a meaningful way.

“We just have the most unique and diverse set of members because of our core mission, which is technology and innovation. 

“That is always going to create growth and we’re always looking to expand into these different areas, as AI technologies and solutions become more prominent. 

“Those companies are joining CTA. I think quantum is going to be a category of promise in the future where we’ll see some growth.“

Meanwhile, the CES event is global – with 161 different countries represented at the show in January.

At CES 2024, more than 50,000 of the attendees were from outside of the US and exhibitors were from many different nations. 

Kinsey highlighted how the association takes guidance from its members and key participants to shape the content at the event in Las Vegas.

She said: “When you come to CES you’re going to see so many amazing technologies that you never even dreamed of – so it is definitely a look into the future. 

“But it comes from the direction of the current and who’s participating, who’s involved with our organization.

“We take a lot of guidance from them – we have an advisory group that helps with our conference content development and curation.

“Even though sometimes you’ll have a core group of exhibitors who are amazing but are not members, it’s the same industry – so it does all work very harmoniously.” CTA counts only technology companies with a business presence in North America among its members, though CES exhibitors span the globe.

Meanwhile, Kinsey told how AI-powered tools helped with many areas of marketing and engagement with the show.

The association has now developed a “roadmap” for how it will continue to grow its use of this fast-growing evolving technology at CES.

She said: “AI is going to create a lot of really great opportunities in the live event space.

“It’s going to give event organizers the ability to have better business intelligence on who’s coming to their show – who their exhibitors are, who their customers are – so that they can then tailor and curate a better value proposition to those groups of customers. 

“On the attendee side, I think it’s going to make attendees have a more personalized, really focused experience.

“It’s going to help them be more efficient at the shows – especially at a show like ours.

“You can’t possibly see everything at CES, but you probably want to see 75% of it.

“AI can help you create your plan to do that, so I think there’s great promise there.”

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