Thursday, April 20, 2017

Trade Show Organizer: Is Your Agency Giving You a Bum Steer?

March's edition of Trade Show Executive includes an article by a marketing agency head who claims direct mail, the perennial attendance-acquisition "workhorse," is dying.

"Direct mail isn't dead," she writes. "Yet. Savvy event marketers are, however, anticipating and preparing for the moment the direct mail death knell finally rings."

In the same edition of the magazine, another writer claims, "Telemarketing as a marketing tool appears to be on its way to the 'outdated' bin."

Direct mail dying? Telemarketing outdated?


In terms of marketing spend, in fact, both channels have held steady during the past four years, according to the latest survey of organizers by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.

During the same period, the survey shows, email's effectiveness as an attendance-acquisition tool has declined.

Wrong-headed pronouncements like these―regardless of the intentions behind them―pose a real danger to any show organizer who buys into them.

They amount to what our grandfathers and great grandfathers would have called a "bum steer."

That expression―meaning bad advice intentionally given―came into fashion during World War I, when American troops fought alongside Australian ones on the Western Front.

Australians would call defective advice (which "steered" you) "bum," an Old English word referring to the buttocks.

Trade show organizer: Beware the bum steer.
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