Emerald Letter Tries to Nail Down Remaining Exhibitors
On Wednesday, Emerald emailed a letter to exhibitors that appears to be an attempt to stem the outflow of companies that have canceled their participation in the CEDIA Expo 2021 – 42 brands according to Strata-gee’s tracking – and encourage those exhibitors that have not yet abandoned the show from leaving. Signed by Emerald executives Brian Pagel and Jason McGraw, the letter declared “the show is still very much on as planned.”
See more on the Emerald attempt to stem the tide leaving Expo
While Emerald’s letter would go on to purport to offer incentives for exhibitors to encourage them to ignore the risk to their safety due to the surging Delta variant of COVID-19, pay no attention to the dozens of major brands who have already chosen to leave the show, ignore the looming historically low attendance number which will kill their shot at any kind of return on their show investment…and stay the course.
To me, it felt as though the letter’s tone vacillated from understanding to authoritative to solicitous. It was as if the writer dug deep into the influential toolkit to cover all the bases in trying to convince all remaining exhibitors to stick with the new, smaller, less meaningful show – at the same price they paid for a larger, market significant, more meaningful show.
A Tough Sell
It was a tough sell, and most of the exhibitors weren’t buying it. A few told me they were actually insulted by what they viewed as a lame effort to tie them to what they believe to be a losing effort.
While we support each brand’s decision wholeheartedly [referring to the brands that have pulled out], and we recognize difficult decisions have been made, we equally support your decision to exhibit at CEDIA Expo in just a few short weeks. There have been no other events this year that will offer an opportunity for the residential technology industry to connect with your peers, customers and partners. While the show will undoubtedly be smaller, it also presents something unique: More time for quality, one-on-one relationship building.”Brian Pagel, Emerald Executive Vice President, and Jason McGraw, Emerald Group Vice President, CEDIA Expo & KBIS; Emerald email, Looking ahead to CEDIA Expo
Is Low Attendance Good News?
Suggesting that low attendance is good news, is too much of a stretch for many of the exhibitors. Several told me that they’d rather have more attendees than “more quality, one-on-one time” with a relative handful that shows up.
The letter goes on to note that Emerald has already “successfully and safely produced eleven (11) events in 2021.” Another 9 events, the executives tell exhibitors, will take place over the next 10 days. The letter seems to suggest that everything is fine…nothing to worry about.
The Incentives to Encourage Remaining Exhibitors to Stay at the Expo
To sweeten the pot, Emerald offered three new benefits to those exhibitors who continue to participate in CEDIA Expo 2021. Just what were those benefits you ask?
- No Exhibit Rate Increase Next Year – Depending on how big of a price increase Emerald plans for 2022, this could be a significant savings, but it is not quantified so it remains unknown just how valuable it really is.
- 50 Bonus Priority Points – Exhibitors accumulate Priority Points over the years that give them access to better booth spaces and sometimes other benefits as well.
- Gold Level Access to New CEDIA Expo Connect Matchmaking Platform – Most of the exhibitors I spoke with were not really aware of just what this matchmaking platform is. Apparently, like a business version of Tinder, Emerald will offer those who stay in the Expo “50 additional complimentary appointment requests” for engagement with “your top matches.” I guess these are dealers attending who have “swiped right” on your company. Again, not clear if this is meaningful.
These incentives apparently seemed really powerful, in the minds of Emerald’s executives anyway. But I couldn’t find any exhibitor who found them meaningful. Some said they were a joke.
Many Exhibitors are Not Happy
In a comment on my post, List of Exhibitors Pulling Out of CEDIA Expo 2021, Jamie W. spoke for a lot of the exhibitors who made similar comments to me:
Listen, we all get it – Emerald won’t cancel if the insurance isn’t going to pay and it doesn’t matter how much it hurts the small exhibitors. The idiotic suggestions they tried to sweeten the pot to stay – same cost to exhibit NEXT year, “bonus points,” and whatever – it’s insulting. They would have been better off to not even try that.”Jamie W, Commenting on post, List of Exhibitors Pulling Out of CEDIA Expo 2021
But I see no signs of Emerald recognizing the issues that most exhibitors have brought to my attention. They closed their letter with, “We remain steadfast in our belief that there is no better place or time to invest in the future success of your business than CEDIA Expo.”
Exhibitors: Cancel the Expo and Refund Our Space Fees
What do exhibitors want? Most tell me they want Emerald to cancel the event and refund all booth fees. Anything less than this will be a continued sore spot that exhibitors tell me they will remember when Emerald wants them to sign up for Expo 2022.
Empty threat? Maybe. But raw emotions nonetheless.
Emerald, short and sweet, simply step up to the plate and CANCEL… Spending good money, time and resources for a show expecting <2,000 attendees with <100 exhibitors is not worth it to the exhibitors nor the attendees.
Emerald is being greedy….”Fred Richards, Commenter on List of Exhibitors Pulling Out of CEDIA Expo 2021
Many exhibitors are still holding out hope that Emerald will come to their senses and take the long view. But so far Emerald is sticking with “The Show Will Go On!”
Learn more about Emerald at: emeraldx.com.