Weak ASIS 2016 Upsets Manufacturers, ASIS Working On Improvements

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Sep 19, 2016

Manufacturer dissatisfaction with ASIS intensified this year. With survey results from 80+ manufacturers, the trend of diminishing returns from ASIS was clearly visible in the results.

In this report we share detailed feedback from exhibitors, and their growing concerns about the future of ASIS. Plus, we provide extensive feedback from ASIS on how they are working to improve the exhibits.

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Comments (17)

One factor that can "slew" attendance numbers...as a rep, we are frequently sent badges from several of our manufacturers, which we have printed at the show. I wonder if ASIS counts the number of badges printed/issued without filtering out the duplicates this causes?

Typically I wander about for hours at the show. But not this time around. I just get so tired of waiting around for one of the "reps" to come over to me that usually after a few minutes of wandering in and around their booth ignored, I move on. This gets old and after years of it, I'm done not getting noticed or being ignored/overlooked. Yes, I'm female... maybe the reps should get up to speed and realize that women make executive purchasing decisions as well... not to mention that as an integrator, I might just select their product to present to my clients. Not to mention that I am almost never given any prior invitations to meet with them. So I think it goes both ways... they need to make it a point to meet with the people WHO DO stop by their booths.

I wouldn't completely blame the traffic on low attendance... I know of a few people who normally attend could not due to budget constraints.

I agree. And it happens to guys, too, though I would think more so to women. I get irritated seeing 12 or 15 reps chatting with each other while attendees are ignored. The major manufacturers are the most egregious in this manner.

Monday was the worst ASIS show day I had seen in a while. I am glad they are addressing the Tuesday start. As a manufacturer, it is tough to say how bad ASIS 2016 was without analyzing the activity from the leads at least a year later. I am actually confident that we will see very good sales from our leads that were either initiated during the show or pushed through from pre-show sales activity.

The ASIS conference is primarily about three things: 1) the educational sessions for professional development 2) networking with peers and 3) the opportunity to meet with current providers in preparation for the coming year without having to travel all over the country to various locales to meet or renegotiate contracts. The exhibits are informative if attendees are seeking new providers or new technology for a purpose but it's still a secondary consideration.

The exhibits are of less importance to attendees now that so much information is available on providers' websites and it's not always necessary to go to a trade show to gain information. A decade ago (or more) a manufacturer's brochure was often about all you could get via the Web but that has changed dramatically. The end user can learn almost as much in diligent research from an office chair as from a trade show unless prior arrangements have been made in advance for a Proof of Concept for a particular purpose at the show.

Exhibitors fund much of the cost but if it doesn't generate an ROI then it's not the show for many. Better return can be gained from other efforts or venues.

If they don't take steps to address the ASIS membership issues the show will not be well attended and it will slowly wither and die. Their publications are grossly overpriced as is the actual membership cost. Lowering the price to make membership actually WORTH it would go a long way to improving attendance.

We went from having twelve of our team that were ASIS members to only one. No one misses it one little bit. Granted we are a 30-45 minute drive away from where the local chapter has their meetings so we did not attend, but not sure that would really make a difference.

It's odd in a post-9/11 environment that ASIS' membership numbers haven't exploded. They must be doing many things wrong.

I stopped pursuing the CPP and let my membership lapse; lack of perceived value for the price.

There is one thing that ASIS has right in their business plan: they hit up manufacturers to book their booths for the next year before the show.

We have cut back our booth space year over year based upon our ASIS experiences in the years prior, but if we would have experienced the 2016 show before booking we might have cut back on 2017 even more.

Their best and first fix should be to limit the exhibitions to 2 days maximum. If folks want to visit the booths, this is plenty of time. If they don't then the golden goose for this outfit does not have to waste valuable time. I have been to 27 of these ASIS shows and watched it decline. If they continue to require 3 days and only offer any degree of traffic for two,...it will be dead, or morphed dramatically by 2018.

IMO it's a hard sell to invest what ASIS requires for a 2-day show. I think many manufacturers would just back out at that point.

ASIS needs to draw the crowds to justify the travel time, exhibits costs, and 3 day show floor. Basically build up the crowd to match the showfloor, not cut the showfloor back to match the crowd.

If they continue to require 3 days and only offer any degree of traffic for two

In fairness, is that not the same issue for ISC West? Day 3 is generally dead at ISC West.

Btw, one other difference is that ASIS starts at 9am while ISC West starts at 10am. I really like the 9am start but that is because I am morning person and do not go out at night. By contrast, ASIS seems to struggle from 9am to 10am and I would suspect that more people would prefer a later start. Thoughts?

I thought traffic was great. Good leads, good meetings - I couldn't have been happier with ASIS. You get from ASIS what you put into ASIS especially from a marketing/networking perspective. If you plan to just sit in your booth and have people come over and ask you about your product, you are at the wrong show. That has definitely changed ovet the last 10 years or so.

Sean, thanks. Can you elaborate? Did you set up meetings beforehand with leads you already had or?

Most appointments were set up before the show. The networking events (patner parties) after the show were a good chance to see people, make coonections and drive traffic back to your booth. The days of collecting good leads by just having a booth are over. You have to work these events and all of the functions around them to make meaningful ROI.

Most appointments were set up before the show.

The days of collecting good leads by just having a booth are over.

Sean, thanks! That makes sense though many manufacturers argue that this is a reason to reduce spending on premium booth space / positions. If you already know the people and just want a place to meet with them, why buy a big booth in the front of the floor?

If the days of collecting good leads by just having a booth are over, it implies that ASIS booths generate less value than they used to, because of the value of those walk-in leads, yes/no?

You can actually see the evidence of this already in many of the large booth designs, in particular for the big integrators. They allocate a significant proportion of their booth space to meeting rooms or areas that are in fairly heavy use, and many of the senior execs are in those rooms but rarely seen on the floor. That makes more sense for a show like ASIS, and I would expect integrators will get a lot more value than manufacturers due to the attendee profile.

Just guessing, but I'd assume manufacturers like Arecont (big booth, full of static product towers and bored looking sales people) will be the most disappointed with ASIS.

Interesting comment "You get from ASIS what you put into ASIS". As a rep, we track attendees of past shows whom we have relationships with (or wish to), reach out to them in advance of forthcoming shows, and set up appointments. This year's ASIS was a disappoint to us in that some people, both integrators and manufacturers, who had attended previous ASIS shows were not planning to attend this year, and as a result we reduced the number of our staff attending the show. Shows are expensive to attend, and this year's ASIS ROI was not as good as past events, especially when compared to a typical ISC West show.

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