Embrace The Industry!

By Murphy, CEM, National Sales Manager, Fern Expositions

We have the distinct pleasure and advantage of working in a very exciting and fast-paced industry. Our industry is also probably one of the most misunderstood!  There are so many facets to this industry. Have you ever had to explain what your job is only to have someone say, “Oh, all you guys do is plan parties.” Did you just want to choke them?

When I first got involved with this industry, I had no clue of the vastness of it. In fact, my first entré into the industry was as a member of an advisory board for a convention center. It was there that I started learning about what goes into having events, particularly conventions and exhibits. I learned about the efforts of the CVB and their partnerships with hotels, convention centers, destination management companies, transportation companies, caterers, floral providers, and even local musicians and other entertainers.

Eventually, I got a job working for a local supplier in that city, but even then I had no real appreciation for the industry. Like most of us who have been involved with this industry for more than 15 years, it was not something that I studied for in college. In fact, when I was in college there may have been a program for hotel management, but that was it. I actually studied political science and economics, and then bounced around from economic development to banking to finally getting a job with an exposition company.

Even with that, I don’t believe I really started to recognize and appreciate the industry until coming to DC. One of the first bits of advice I received when coming here with my current job was to “get involved with some industry organizations.” That has turned out to be the BEST advice I could ever have been given. It wasn’t until I got involved that I really started to understand the scope of this industry.

Starting with the DC chapter of IAEE, I jumped right in and got involved with committees, community service projects, and special events.

After attending Krakoff Leadership Institute (KLI) as the result of a scholarship from the DC chapter, I was challenged to start CEM training, and I rose to the challenge.  I then volunteered on the special events committee for the chapter, and the rest is HISTORY!

Because of “getting involved,” I now have a deep appreciation for this wonderful industry and the many facets of it. I want to encourage everyone who is thinking about industry involvement to DO IT!  Jump in with any of the many volunteer opportunities that come up.

No matter whether you are on the supplier side or the planner side of this industry or whether you’re just getting started or have a few miles on this road, you will find “It’s Not a Job – It’s an Adventure!”

Why is Social Media Marketing Not Delivering on Its Promise

by Sean Garvey, President, InGo

Sean Head ShotIn the long history of technological innovations that have impacted marketing, social media and the promise it holds seems to be unique. Never before have there been such massive expectations, coupled with a growing sense of under-performance on those expectations.

Earlier innovations, going as far back as the printing press, or telephone, or more recently email, brought with them significant expansions in reach, and significant reductions in cost. For brands looking to reach consumers with their message, these technological advances provided large boosts in marketing activity; they were able to reach more and more people, and at lower and lower cost.  In the early days of adoption, these technological advances were correlated with boosts in sales, and it seemed that all that was required was to adopt the technology and “spray and pray.”  Over time however, as each new marketing channel reached a saturation point, its effectiveness plummeted, as the “noise” factor took the return on the dollar spent down to below single digits, showing that the correlation was better understood as “early adopter advantage.”  Ultimately, the “noise” gets so bad that civilized societies begin to legislate and regulate them in order to protect the consumer (see the TCPA, the CAN-SPAM Act, as examples.)

Besides reach and cost, another aspect of these historical technological advances has been ‘targeting’ – the ability to reach the right consumer, not just any consumer, with one’s message.  Over time, marketing advances have attempted to include greater and greater audience and demographic specificity.  The evolution of television advertising illustrates this well. At first, advertising on broadcast TV was enough; no matter what time of day or which program, you knew you were reaching the more affluent demographic.  As TV became a standard household appliance, certain times of day were designated “prime time” viewing, and certain shows could be relied upon to attract certain ages and sexes of the population.  The advent of cable TV, with its local capabilities and plethora of content-specific options, enabled advertisers to pinpoint zip codes and lower the price point so that smaller, more regional advertisers were able to advertise on TV.  It’s not an accident that beginning every evening at 5pm, the Golf Channel runs ads for erectile dysfunction cures on heavy rotation.

However, throughout these advances, as reach increased and cost decreased and as targeting capabilities got further and further refined, return remained fuzzy at best, and low at worst.  The return on dollars spent by marketing channel remains a highly dubious pseudo-science, with the result that most marketing spend decisions are driven primarily by tradition – “because we have always done it that way.”

Social media marketing seemed like it would solve all that.  Here was a marketer’s paradise: consumers freely sharing the most exact and intimate details about themselves, and not just demographic detail like sex and age, but likes and dislikes, interests and hobbies, etc.  Social media itself had the added benefit of being highly addictive, so people were spending gobs of time on their social network of choice. Add to that the unparalleled instrumentation that digital technology provides, and it is no wonder social media marketing had outsized  expectations.  Never before had there been such a powerful intersection of knowledge about, and access to, the target.  Marketing on social media should literally be like shooting fish in a barrel, except in this case, the fish help load the gun.

But it’s not…..

In a 2013 study, of 750 companies across a wide-spectrum of industries, 88% said they “didn’t feel they could accurately measure the effectiveness of their social media campaigns. Fifty-two percent said that dealing with social media ROI was their biggest frustration.”   With regard to the events industry in particular, a recent Lippman study stated that, while social media is the fastest growing portion of marketing budgets, it is “perceived as providing the worst ROI for events,” right alongside print advertising.  How can this possibly be?  A worse return than direct mail?  Than telemarketing?  Email?  It seems unthinkable, and yet there it is.

One school of thought posits that it is simply a measurement issue; it’s having an effect, we just can’t measure it very well.  But that is difficult to square with the amazing instrumentation that is part of the social media marketing package.  The impressions are tracked, the clicks and click-throughs, more and more sophisticated algorithms measure the trends and eyeballs, and calibrate the “value” of digital advertising space on a moment to moment basis, and yet the sales impact still seems at best vague, at worst, non-existent.  The best we can do so far is to track meta-measurements, counting likes and retweets and followers; what is called “social media engagement.” If the sales results were there to back it up, then no doubt meta-measurements of a campaign’s engagement would be enough to quiet the perception of social media marketing providing the “worst ROI,” and we would rest easy with the explanation that “it’s working, we’re just not sure how.”  But we don’t, and the perception persists, even as we increase our spend.  And the most likely explanation is that the results are not there.

A conclusion one might come to is that what is required is more and better instrumentation.  And based on a whole hatful of emerging companies with product offerings, it seems many have concluded this. Re-targeting, digitally driven consumer profiles compiled real-time, social network and behavior analysis, all tied to more and more perfectly timed message delivery capabilities, indicate that this is the answer in vogue.  But can we reasonably expect dramatically better results from this wave of improved instrumentation?  Given the nature of the case, we might rightly expect incremental improvements, but it is just as likely that this trend may result in “digital stalking” legislation, and no indication that it will produce returns in line with our current expectations of social media.  The answer isn’t more technological capability to improve the same dynamic.  The dynamic itself needs to be changed.  But how?

One of the implicit promises of social media is encompassed in the word social.  Social media, for all its current disappointments as a marketing vehicle, has shown many examples of the incredible cultural power it has: overnight YouTube celebrities, virilization, ice-bucket challenges, etc.  There is no doubt that there is dynamite in social media.  However, the way social media marketing has been adopted to date is with an emphasis on the marketing and a lack of emphasis on the word social.

Everyone knows intuitively that word-of-mouth marketing (trusted resources freely recommending a product or brand to other interested, potential buyers) is the most powerful type of marketing, and all the studies bear that fact out.  But that’s because it really isn’t marketing per se, at least not in the traditional sense.  Marketing is essentially an activity that brands undertake, to get their message in front of as many of the right consumers as possible, and they pay very handsomely, both to craft that message and have it delivered to the right consumer at the right time. The presence of a monetary incentive and the lack of trust in the relationship, make it a subtly but inescapably adversarial one: the brand has a vested interest in convincing the consumer to buy, and the consumer knows this.  Word-of-mouth marketing – ‘person-to-person’ not ‘brand-to-consumer’ – circumvents and cuts through all of that native distrust and natural skepticism.  The only problem is, it can’t be bought.

In fact, to buy it is to neuter it….

So therein lies the oh-so-frustrating rub; a technological advancement that enables word-of-mouth marketing on an unprecedented global scale, that isn’t purchasable or obtainable by brands via the traditional approach.  To square this circle, a change in thinking and a different approach is required.

The first step is to recognize how social media is different than any previous technological advancement.  Unlike TV, email, even the printing press, it is not unidirectional (brand speaking to passive consumer.)  It is bidirectional and even multi-directional.  On social media, the “consumers” have a voice, and they love to use it.  And that leads to our second insight.

The people on social media are not ‘consumers waiting to be marketed to.’  As noted above, they have a voice, and they are talking, a lot.  What are they talking about?  Themselves, their opinions, the things they are passionate about and want the world of their friends and colleagues to know.  Consciously or unconsciously, they are engaged in ‘brand promotion’: the brand of themselves online.

The last insight, is to notice our own behavior on-line. None of us click on the top returns from a Google search, because we know they’ve been paid for. Yet many of us pay for them.  When logged in as ourselves, most of us are completely unaware of the “suggested posts” on Facebook, but again, many of us marketers pay for them.

Once we’ve discovered these three insights, we can change our approach to marketing on social media and better unlock its potential.  My audience is not peopled with consumer targets; it is full of potential co-marketers.  Rather than finding more and better ways to target and track ‘consumers’ like they are game, we can turn our efforts to empowering them to market on our behalf.  This is what we call ‘advocate marketing.’

This change in approach is counter-intuitive, and takes intellectual discipline to implement thoroughly.  However, when done well, the results show beyond the shadow of a doubt, that our most powerful marketing asset is already in our possession.  It is our audience.


Movers and Shakers

Movers & Shakers
Abby Abdala ASIS International
Tatia Alford Sickle Cell Disease Association of America as Donors Relations Specialist
Coryn Alvarez National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Administrative Assistant Exhibits
Darrell Baker, CASE Choose Chicago as Vice President Sales, Trade Show Sales
 Mari Ann Barta Freeman Senior Client Solutions Manager
 Kevin Beall Freeman Client Solutions Manager
Tina M. Bressert, CEM Freeman Client Solutions Manager
 Hannah Buchholz, CEM Paralyzed Veterans of America Senior Meetings Planner
Brenynn Butler Conference Managers Conference Coordinator
Colleen Campbell Conference Managers President
Melissa Charity Conference Managers Exhibits Coordinator
 Bethany Chirico, CMP American Industrial Hygiene Association Director, Global Meetings & Expositions
Gaye Dyer Freeman Client Solutions Manager
Gena Galbraith, CEM Freeman XP Account Director
Claudia Girerd Freeman Business Development Manager
Sierra Grimes National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Manager, Registration
Charlie Hall Freeman Client Solutions Manager
Danny Hardman Freeman Client Solutions Manager
Cheryl Haydel American Federation of Teachers Deputy Director of Convention, Meeting & Travel
 Joshua Haynie Freeman Vice President, Business Development
 Donna Jarvis-Miller, CMP, CEM American Public Human Services Association Director, Membership Operations & Events
 Clint Jones Freeman Senior Director, Client Solutions
Crystal Krason ASIS International Exhibit Sales Manager
Kristjan Kristjansson Freeman Client Solutions Manager
Joanne Kuriyan NAFSA: Association of International Educators Exhibits Director, Logistics
 Kim Laws Conference Managers Exhibits Manager
Abigail Lenahan Freeman Client Solutions Manager
Jennifer Manigross Freeman Director – Client Solutions
 Brian Manoogian Freeman SVP – Regional Team Leader
Jennifer McEwan Freeman Director – Client Solutions
Shannon McFall Freeman Senior Client Solutions Manager
Stephanie Murphy Freeman Client Solutions Manager
 Maggie Pearson Conference Managers Director Events & Business Services
Rachel G. Schley The Joseph E Shaner Company Registration Coordinator
Thomas C. Shaner The Joseph E Shaner Company President & Chief Account Executive
Camille C. Stern SPARGO, Inc Vice President of Strategic Account Management
Kristen Strickland Conference Managers Conference Coordinator
 Mark Szymczak Freeman Business Development VP
Christina Telles Freeman Client Solution Manager
Cici Thompson, CAE Worldwide ERC Senior Vice President, Meetings
Jason Wolf Freeman Client Solutions Manager
Gary Zgorski, CEM Freeman Client Solutions Manager
New Certifications
Kasey R. McNeil, CEM American Academy of Physician Assistants

New Members

Welcome New Members
American Industrial Hygiene Association Bethany Chirico, CMP Director, Global Meetings and Expositions
American Urological Association Michael Sheppard Executive Director
ASIS International Matt Fox Exhibits Sales Manager
Conference Incorporated Elizabeth Dean, CMP Project Manager
The Coulter Companies Natalie Bello
Hannah Wardrop
Freeman Ryan Blackwell Client Development Executive
Lisa LaVoie Client Solutions Manager
Oscar Sandoval Business Development Manager
Marjo Saret-Tablig Client Solutions Manager
Global Cold Chain Alliance Megan Costello VP, Member and Industry Affairs
Catherine Kuber Perry Director, Education & Training
Laura Poko Manager, Membership, Marketing & Communications
James Rogers Director, Business Development
Alice Schneider Manager, Member Services
Richard Tracy VP, International Programs
Hampton Convention Visitors Bureau Mary Fugere Interim Director
Intermodal Association of North America Mason Leon
National Cable & Telecommunications Associaton Chelsea Kelly Marketing Coordinator,
Sarah Klingenberg Administrative Assistant, Industry Affairs
SmithBucklin Corporation Elizabeth Eppinger Event Associate

IAEE HQ Announcement


Would you benefit from IAEE’s 20 Under 30 Program? Nominate yourself or nominate one of your peers!

IAEE’s 20 Under 30 Program is for young-professional exhibition organizer members who may not be supported by their companies to attend Expo! Expo!.

For more information visit http://www.myexpoexpo.com/20under30

Interested in the 20 Under 30 Program? See what two of our DC Chapter Members had to say about being 2014 recipients!  (Originally published in the March 2015 YPConnect)

 2014 Expo! Expo! Recap
2015Q1 YPCONNECT Mayhew Mark
Mark Mayhew
ASIS International

Being a 2014 recipient of IAEE’s 20 Under 30 program
was a tremendous experience for me. Not only was it an honor to be
selected from the many deserving candidates but the knowledge and experiences gained have already helped me in my career. Through the 20 Under 30 program I was given the opportunity to be included in an ASAE article and appear on IAEE TV in a segment about young professionals. I also was able to talk to many industry veterans who approached me about the program.

My best experience from the program was meeting the other 19 recipients. It was nice having a group of peers with set itinerary for Expo! Expo! and to walk away with a shared experience. I hope that our relationships with each other will persist throughout our careers in this industry, and am looking forward to our continued growth as professionals.

My biggest take away from the program was to get involved in the industry at a national and chapter level through networking and education. Attending the chapter parties and IAEE info sessions were very helpful as I plan to start my CEM next year and have begun to regularly attend DC Chapter events throughout the year.

2015Q1 YPCONNECT Orr Marissa
Marissa Orr
American Association for Justice  (AAJ)

that it was my first time attending the IAEE conference I didn’t know what to expect. Everyone was so welcoming, and I made some great connections with my 20 Under 30 peers and with other individuals in the industry.

Attending the educational sessions and exploring the Exhibit Hall was great. I was able to take away new techniques and ideas that I will be implementing in my exhibit hall for our next convention! As a young professional, I really appreciate the opportunity given to me by the 20 under 30 program. I am so grateful that I was able to attend such a successful and informative event.  I plan on attending the IAEE Expo! Expo! for years to come. 

IAEE HQ Announcement

Honorees to be Recognized at Expo! Expo! in Baltimore


DALLAS, 15 September 2015 – The International Association of Exhibitions and Events™ (IAEE) proudly announces this year’s recipients of its individual awards program, which recognizes professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the exhibitions and events industry. The recipients will be honored during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition on 1-3 December 2015 in Baltimore, Md.

“We were very impressed with the nominations we received this year and congratulate these very deserving honorees,” said 2015 IAEE Awards Committee Chairperson Randy Bauler, CEM. “It is very fulfilling to the Awards Committee to know that IAEE members represent the best that the exhibitions and events industry has to offer.”

This year’s award winners were selected after careful consideration and review by the IAEE Awards Committee and approval by the IAEE Board of Directors, following an open call for nominations earlier in the year. The following outstanding individuals were selected for recognition:

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an IAEE member who has rendered distinguished service to IAEE and to the exhibitions and events industry as a whole. This year’s recipient is Tony Lee, President and CEO of Tony Lee International.

The Merit Award recognizes IAEE members whose ideas and/or work have benefited IAEE as an organization in some special way, and is generally reserved for those who have stepped forward at the chapter/local level. This year’s recipients are Larry Grossenbacher, CIO/VP of Training & Safety at Metropolitan Exposition Services; Brad Hobson, CEM, Business Development Manager at Freeman; Rebecca Stevens, CEM, CMP-HC, Director, Business Development at the Texas Medical Association; and Dan Traver, CEM, Business Development Vice President at Freeman.

The Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award honors IAEE members who possess outstanding creativity, a positive attitude and the ability to transfer knowledge through good communication skills and innovative teaching to promote life-long learning to exhibitions and events industry professionals. This year’s recipients are Andrew Fraser, M.Ed., CHE, Professor at Johnson & Wales University and Charlotte Pearson, CEM, Senior Business Development Manager at Freeman.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes IAEE members who have dedicated their time to the progress and fulfillment of the charge of a committee or task force on which they serve. This year’s award recipient is Kristin Barranger, CEM, Manager of Expositions and Communications at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, International Gas & Turbine Institute.

The Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award recognizes IAEE members who have made an extraordinary personal or professional commitment that materially contributes to the advancement of the exhibitions and events industry. This year’s recipient is Janet Sperstad, CMP, Program Director at Madison College.

The Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award recognizes achievement in the creation of new and innovative business solutions. This year’s award recipient is InGo LLC.

The Outstanding Achievement in Marketing & Sales Award recognizes an IAEE member’s outstanding achievement in marketing and sales activities including outstanding performance in total event revenue/profit; advertising revenue; attendance; sponsorship revenue; exhibit space sales; and customer service. This year’s award recipient is Ellen Schwartz, Vice President, Sales and Marketing at the Los Angeles Convention Center, AEG Facilities.

The Young Professional of the Year Award recognizes excellent professional performance by IAEE members 35 years of age or younger who have committed their time to advancing the standing of young professionals in our industry. This year’s award recipient is Cassie Thompson, Manager, Event Services at SmithBucklin.

The Rookie of the Year Award recognizes excellent professional performance by an IAEE member with three or less years of full-time exhibitions and events industry experience. This year’s award recipient is Sarah Bopp, Associate Manager Booth Sales & Operations at the American Pet Products Association.

For more information about the IAEE Individual Awards, visit www.iaee.com/awards. Details about Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2015 can be found at www.myexpoexpo.com.

About IAEE
Trusted since 1928, IAEE provides quality and value to its members through leadership, service, education and strong relationships. IAEE is the largest association of the exhibitions and events industry in the world, with a membership of show organizers, exhibitors and exhibition suppliers. Organizers of more than 20,000 exhibitions and buyer-seller events around the world are members of IAEE, and the organization advocates and promotes the awareness of face-to-face exhibitions and events as the primary medium for business development and growth. IAEE provides relevant, timely and innovative education to its members and the industry. IAEE recognizes its strategic partners: BearCom, Delta Airlines, New Orleans Morial Convention Center, New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, Orange County Convention Center, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, SkyTeam Airline Alliance, Streampoint Solutions, Visit Anaheim, Visit Baltimore, Visit Orlando and VoiceLogic. Visit www.iaee.comfor more information.


Media Inquiries:
Mary Tucker
Sr. PR/Communications Manager
+1 (972) 687-9226

IAEEDC Karaoke Night

IAEEDC presents the Return of KARAOKE Night!

Sponsored by:

Raleigh logo color

Karaoke in Old Town
Wednesday, September 23 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Light hors d’oeuvres with two complimentary drink tickets.

Register Here



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Rock It Grill, 1319 King Street, Alexandria, VA
(Four blocks East of King Street Metro)


Wednesday, September 23 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM


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See you there!


IAEE DC Chapter September Luncheon

IAEE D.C. Chapter Luncheon

Sept. 11, 2015| Sequoia Restaurant | 3000 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Networking Reception

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Luncheon and Education Program

Topic: Exhibitor Engagement and Attendee Satisfaction

Speaker: Mr. Jefferson Davis, President, Competitive Edge

Description: Show organizer’s success is highly dependent upon how well attendees and exhibitors interact. Mr. Davis will present three visually observable areas of exhibitor practices taking participants on a visual journey of what exhibitors can do to make their exhibit more effectively and help attendees have a higher-quality exhibit hall experience..

After the 45-minute networking reception, attendees will be treated to a fun and engaging conversation on the importance and value of a fully-integrated marketing campaign that includes direct mail, social media and mobile marketing for meetings and trade shows.

Are you new to IAEE DC Chapter Luncheons? Attend your first luncheon courtesy of the Chapter! We would like to offer you an opportunity to attend the upcoming IAEE DC Chapter lunch program on a complimentary basis. Through a generous offer from Freeman, the first five Show Organizer/Planner members to enter the Promo Code: ??????? when registering for the March luncheon will be registered free of charge. You may only use this offer once.

Contact Natalie Huso (Natalie.Huso@experient-inc.com) to register for free today!




Important Dates:

Luncheon:            Friday, September 11, 2015

Pre-registration Deadline:          Wednesday, September 9, 2015 (5 p.m. EST)


Pre-register and save!


Pre-Registration Fees:

Chapter Members:          $40.00

Non-members:                $45.00

Onsite Registration Fees:

Chapter Members:          $50.00

Non-members:                $60.00

Please note:  There has been an increase in the onsite registration fees. The price for Chapter Members is now $50, and $60 for for Non-Members.

After the deadline, we will gladly register you onsite; however, please make every attempt to pre-register so the Chapter can provide correct guarantee numbers to the venue. We make every effort to accommodate all onsite registrants, but if the number exceeds the capacity of the venue, we won’t be able to accommodate additional onsite registrations.

Directions Sequoia Restaurant, 3000 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007