January 31, 2022

The event programme - still a worthwhile investment?

4 min read

The event programme is traditionally the single source of show information for visitors, but with ever evolving digital technologies, can the paper based programme hold its own in today’s modern world?

Show programmes contain a timetable of events, key information about your show, exhibitor adverts and the all important showground map.  But all are easily replicable in a digital and instantly accessible format, so what is the lure in continuing with the use of traditional paper programmes?

‘Traditional’ sums it up, for as far back as events first started, show programmes were the go-to solution for giving your visitors a single source of information.  A timeless keepsake which you could take home and reminisce about your wonderful visit.  Show programmes are collectable, with many returning visitors keeping a full record of their experiences.


Decreasing sales and demographic shifts

All is not rosy however, production costs of show programmes (which events may or may not sell) have increased, the focus on reducing paper waste and lowering carbon emissions has made shows think carefully about their impacts on the environment and a changing demographic has resulted in diminishing sales at long established, traditional shows.

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Event apps and technologies

Event apps are nothing new, but with emerging technologies, could they prove to be a more attractive option than traditional programmes?

Event organisers need to ensure one thing, that their show meets the needs and expectations of their visitors and exhibitors.  They want to create unforgettable experiences that keep everyone returning year on year.  The cost of printing show programmes usually means one thing for visitors, they have to pay for them.  This can be pretty unappealing for visitors, especially if they’ve already parted with a substantial amount of money to get into a show in the first place.  Digitising the content of a show in an event based app most often means zero cost for the visitor.

As for exhibitors, they make large investments when exhibiting at shows.  Will the weather keep the crowds away?  Will visitors find them or see the ads that they’ve spent further money on in the show programme?  These investments represent a significant risk for exhibitors when these questions cannot be assured.

Are event organisers missing a trick?

The 25-44 age bracket of middle app users represent a large and powerful segment with distinctive characteristics.  These rank as the users with the highest engagement with retail apps out of all other user segments.  Taking this into consideration, the ability for exhibitors to promote their products via digital technologies to an audience with the highest level of engagement lets them see the direct result of digital ad investments vs paper based ones.

Pros

  • Being able to update last minute itinerary changes on the fly 
  • Demonstrate effectiveness of in app advertising to exhibitors through analytics
  • Lower production costs and more environmentally friendly, lower carbon emissions
  • New revenue streams from selling in-app advertising to exhibitors
  • Gain insights from interactive map analytics and find out more about your visitors and their interests and movements
  • Foster stronger relationships with exhibitors in giving them a better ROI
  • Visitors can plan their day before they get there, making notes of what they want to see and products they may want to buy

Cons

  • Alienation of older demographic of visitors who do not use apps as frequently as those in younger age groups
  • Visitors can’t keep a memento of the day
  • Some shows may feel like they have lost part of their identity by removing their show programmes
  • Impacts on local businesses who produce programmes, photographers, printers etc.

What do you think?

Has the traditional, paper based programme had its day? Are digital alternatives inevitable? Will show programmes survive the technological revolution that finds its way into every corner of our lives, or can they co-exist? Have your say make your comments on our Linked in post.

Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels