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Digital will be exhibition's largest revenue growth factor, says Feathr

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Feathr co-founder and president Aidan Augustin has told EW that exhibitions in mature markets’ single largest revenue growth factor over the next five years will be digital.

From a pure monetisation standpoint, exhibitions are sitting on a goldmine.

"They have cultivated incredibly valuable B2B audiences that marketers would give their left arm for. Not only are they very well-categorised and industry-specific, but event attendees represent literally the most valuable buyers of any given industry," he said.

"Facebook makes a fortune off allowing advertisers to target based on the fact that users indicate interest via a mere ‘like’ click. Events could allow advertisers to target based on the fact that I bought an event ticket and a flight and a hotel and spent three days in-person connecting about a very specific topic or industry."

He added that information handed over by attendees is worth a fortune, but event organisers have been giving it away.

"I strongly believe that the digital assets of live events are severely under utilised, and significant amounts of money and value are being left on the table as a result. This is essentially the entire premise for our creation of Feathr.

"If you think about it, an organiser’s primary value-add is the cultivation of their audiences; for any given industry, organisers maintain the active interest of both sides of the marketplace (buyers and suppliers) and bring them together in a way that is valuable and for all parties. Buyers attend to learn and to find solutions to their needs, suppliers exhibit to get exposure and ultimately new customers. These goals are only accomplished because the organiser puts in the leg work to attract the right people and companies.

"But business occurs year-round, and while a three-day exhibition is excellent for accelerating business conversations in a brief period of time, those attendees and exhibitors still exist the other three hundred and sixty-two days of the year, and continue to conduct their business. I believe that exhibition organisers should broaden their role in these relationships and find ways to add value to both parties all twelve months of the year."