If you run a trade association event or series of events, there’s a good chance that a portion of your event success is dependent on the success of your industry. If public companies are doing well and start-ups are introducing new ideas and technologies that have the markets excited, that optimism and high-flying attitude can carry over to your event. This momentum can manifest itself in increased registrations, sponsorships and new exhibitors.
This effect can of course be a double-edged sword: Despite executing a flawless event with top-notch content, you may have a down year if your industry’s macroeconomics aren’t so hot. If you are looking for industry and market indicators, that can impact your event’s performance, start with the following factors:
- Public company performance. How is your sector performing relative to the overall market? An industry that is outperforming the general market will likely be drawing investor attention, M&A activity, and early-stage investment. This means that additional investment will be flowing into and around the industry, a scenario in which your exhibitors and attendees may be able to spend more freely on your event. Industry-specific indices like the BTK for biotechnology can help you track your industry’s performance against the market as a whole.
- Early Innovation. Markets churn and new companies come and go on a seemingly daily basis. Innovation often enters an industry in the form of new companies; spin offs, and emerging technologies. Tracking all of this early-stage movement in your industry can seem daunting, but if you can secure the participation of your industry’s rising stars and bring innovative, buzz-generating ideas to your event, you will reap rewards.
Look for early innovation at university business plan competitions. These are a great source of local or regional innovation centers and showcase burgeoning entrepreneurs with the earliest ideas and disruptive technologies. Many universities also have technology transfer offices working to help commercialize new discoveries and technologies that have come from their students and faculty.
Private company venture funding is also a space to watch. As the old adage says, “Follow the money.” Companies that have drawn early investment, particularly those with new technologies, can form the backbone of an emerging company or technology zone at your event. If you’re unsure about where to start, here are a couple of terrific resources for identifying how your industry is fairing with VC and angel investment:
- AngelList – AngelList is a wealth of startup company information, complete with the angels and syndicates that have invested in them.
- National Venture Capital Association – The NVCA publishes a terrific amount of content on the health, trends, and growth of venture capital investment in the US.
To understand how your tradeshow’s success may depend on your industry’s market performance, try using a combination of the above data sources and asking the following questions:
- How many public companies in my index attend my event?
- Is my industry viewed as high-risk or “safe” for investors?
- How many new technologies are launched, announced, or displayed at my event annually?
- Can early-stage companies find value at my event?
Market momentum can work for your event or against it. As your industry churns, remember to use these public and private sector cues to gain insights into the impact they can have on your event. The benefits of aligning your event with your market’s momentum can help drive growth and loyalty for years to come.
Disclosure: Culture That Works (Maddie and Jamie) work very closely with Bear Analytics on several association projects where we combine awesome data analytics with deep qualitative and strategic value exchange and engagement strategies. Contact us for more information.