Another Idea For Tradeshows: Co-Location

When three farm industry associations joined forces earlier this year to create the International Production & Processing Expo, the combined event became one of the country's largest tradeshows.

It was a match made in farm animal heaven. This year in Atlanta, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, American Feed Industry Association, and American Meat Institute joined forces to create the International Production & Processing Expo. The three shows operated under one structure, creating one of the 50 largest tradeshows in the United States, with more than 1,000 exhibitors.

“We thought integrating the shows made sense, and the response was even better than imagined,” says John Starkey, president of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. He says the integrated show benefited exhibitors and members whose work spans multiple protein sectors. “The expanded education program further enhanced the value of the show for our attendees.”

As tradeshows try to cut costs and maximize exposure, sharing show space—called co-locating—has become a viable option for some associations. More popular in down economies, co-locating can be especially beneficial when two associations complement each other. In addition to sharing space, they can share education sessions, meals, and special events. To ensure success, a key first step is doing market research to determine attendee subject matter and buying interests at each show.

PCMA Education Foundation Chair Gregg Talley, CAE, says a ­number of associations are ­experimenting with co-locating, although the trend has not accelerated as quickly as some in the industry predicted. “It’s a tough decision to make,” he says.

“It gets into a lot of sticky stuff between the associations—financial, organizational, contractual. The devil’s in the details.”—M.K.

(Sack: Dave White/Getty Images)

Melanie D.G. Kaplan

By Melanie D.G. Kaplan

Melanie D.G. Kaplan writes regularly for the Washington Post and is a contributing editor at Smart Planet/CBS Interactive. MORE

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