• By Annette Kilzer

CWIEME Chicago relies again upon w+t – and provides trade fair marketing concepts worth considering

W+t once again took on the tasks of sales and creating the exhibitor directory (both print and online) for the just-finished CWIEME Chicago.

Two measures in particular in the trade fair’s self-presentation struck us as rather interesting with regard to the current general discussion about strategic trade fair marketing: on the one hand, the use of testimonials to win exhibitors (Influencer Marketing avant la lettre), and on the other hand, a freely accessible online collection of technical presentations, seminars, and talks in the Knowledge Hub, which allows for a discussion on the part of the entire interested community: exhibitors and visitors, those present at the fair and those not.

Testimonials from the technology community and Tesla demonstrate the possibilities for trade fair marketing

In the course of the current hype about Influencer Marketing, the tried-and-true testimonial is a bit neglected. That’s not the case, however, for the just-finished CWIEME Chicago, for which w+t was once again commissioned to take care of sales as well as the creation of the exhibitor directory (print and online).

The trade fair for technologies of the future – which this year extended its duration in Chicago from two days to three – with its use of extended testimonials has relied upon a very traditional medium of exhibitor acquisition. Now, admittedly, Tesla Motors is not just any exhibitor, and the idea of advertising Tesla’s participation is not exactly a far-fetched one. But one has to first be able to do it.

Thus, already on its landing page, CWIEME Chicago quotes Anderson Ricardo Pacheco, Staff Manufacturing Engineer at Tesla, on why he hasn’t missed a fair since 2008, initially out of personal interest and then as a representative of his firm: ”I would definitely recommend CWIEME to any company. Nowhere else will you find such a concentration of new products, industry knowledge and experience (…) Many of Tesla's orders start at CWIEME.” In addition, an elaborate two-page Visitor Case Study was posted online.

Whereas in Influencer Marketing, the border with covert advertising rapidly becomes blurry and it becomes difficult to dispel the scent of paid applause, a good business-to-business testimonial constitutes a recommendation between professionals, and thus reliable promotion of the sort that cannot be bought.

A further measure of CWIEME Chicago made an impact upon us and also seemed interesting with regard to the current discussion about the strategic orientation of up-to-date trade fair marketing: on its website, the fair compiled a collection of numerous, freely accessible links on technical presentations at the fair, on positions and talks from the accompanying seminar program, as well as editorial content from the so-called Knowledge Hub, which served the entire community of interest – regardless of whether one was an exhibitor or visitor, present at the fair or not – round the clock as a source of information and a foundation for discussion.

w+t also regards such communities of interest as an important field for future engagement at trade fairs, a space which needs to already be occupied now: “The community forms we’re developing, however, place a stronger emphasis upon user-generated content and thus the decisive exchange of knowledge, professional opinion, and questions and answers between the members themselves,” explains w+t Director Jens Wohlgemuth. “Ultimately, participants themselves know best what their interests are.”