ASIS Misrepresents Show Numbers

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 01, 2017

With years of struggling attendance and exhibitors increasingly frustrated, ASIS is gearing up for their 2017 show.

Unfortunately, their 2017 prospectus misrepresents their show numbers.

In this note, we examine the issues, contrast it to ISC West and look at the future for the ASIS show.

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Comments (18)

They should cut membership prices along with booth prices. To below what they were before they raised them a year or two ago would be great. A large membership increase would also help their attendance numbers I would think?

How much pre-show marketing are these unhappy manufacturers doing? At the end of the day it is a company's job to drive traffic to their own booth. There are a large number of people at these shows, if no one comes to your booth that is your fault.

There are a large number of people at these shows, if no one comes to your booth that is your fault.

Adam, it comes down to price.

You buy eggs at the grocery store, if the package has 9 eggs instead of 12, everything else equal, you pay less.

You buy access to attendees at a trade show, if the attendees are 18,000 instead of 22,000, everything else equal, you pay less.

Some cooks are better using eggs. Some manufacturers are better engaging attendees but the price is certainly impacted by the quantity provided.

Unless you are suggesting that sellers can freely misrepresent their offering and that it's all buyer beware?

I guess I diverged from the prime topic of inflating/hiding true attendance numbers which I assume we all agree is BS and needs to stop immediately. I should have led with that.

I also agreed with Ross' comment regarding the reduction of ASIS membership fees and booth rates to increase attendance.

My point was, I always hear a lot of complaining regarding shows, and my reality over the past 16 or so years is you get out what you put in. Just buying the booth and showing up is not enough. You need a product might be interested in. Then you need to spend a significant amount of time and effort reaching your potential customer base to drive them to your booth. Without that effort the show could have 50K attendees and you will still come up empty.

Adam, I agree. Certainly individual success can greatly be impacted by how the sales team prepares meeting, how marketing generates interest and how engineering develops new products, etc.

But look at the ASIS vs ISC West manufacturer survey responses:

It can't just be that manufacturers try harder at ISC West and put no effort into ASIS. To have such a big divergence in satisfaction points to differences in what the shows bring / attract.

As a female and a long-time ASIS member, I find that I am ignored about 90% of the time. I can literally stand in the middle of the booth and no one, and I mean no one, will even say "boo". I typically have to approach someone. This is from both the females and the males in the booth.

Maybe this year I'll wear a hidden camera just to show what I'm talking about. I haven't quite decided if I want to attend or not...

I'm also looking forward to the new changes with the new administration because its long overdue. IMHO.

John, thanks for this. I was wondering about the comparision after ASIS.

ISC has, at least by perception, been targeted to integrators and industry pros not end users. Since ISC has added more education and seems to be increasing the effort to shake that perception, I wonder which show is better at attracting the end user. And does that even matter to the exhibitors? After all, for the most part integrators are their customers, right?

Also, let's not forget that at ISC and ASIS, many exhibitors are also potential customers of other exhibitors. At ASIS 2016, Stanley and Securitas (Diebold) had large booths with lots of staff and many of those folks take the first chance they can to visit the manufacturer booths.

So, what number matters most to the exhibitor I suppose depends on what you are pedaling. Certainly, if I need to make a case to spend the money at only one of these shows I want more information not less. If you can only compare the two totals then wouldn't you want the bigger bang for the buck!

From another perspective, which show do I choose to attend? I used to prefer ISC even as an end user because I wanted to get more technical with the products and found it easier to get more face time with knowledgeable people. At the last ISC I found that most of the booths were staffed with sales and marketing people and less product folks. ISC's heavy attendance makes it hard to compete for the attention of someone to answer questions. I actually got more product knowledge from ASIS than ISC in 2016 which is a first. Maybe it was just bad luck.

ISC's heavy attendance makes it hard to compete for the attention of someone to answer questions. I actually got more product knowledge from ASIS than ISC in 2016 which is a first.

I can believe that.

ISC West definitely has more senior people from manufacturers on both the tech and business side but, as you say, because of how crowded ISC West has been recently, it is harder to reach those people.

Perhaps, that is an ASIS selling point - less attendees mean more time for you ;)

The problem is that many manufacturers either have or are seriously looking at scaling back their ASIS staffing because of the lower attendance levels.

We also prefer ISC due to the tech heavy presence. If that has changed (we haven't gone the last two years) we would probably back out of that one as well. If we can't get issues corrected or at least addressed by the right people face to face the show will have lost its value for us. Much like the ASIS show did years ago.

I like ASIS show better than ISC West, like to go to different places, I don't care for Vegas, long flight, time change. I will continue to go to ASIS shows as long as they have them and hope exhibitors do too!

"The registration number highlighted in the 2017 prospectus is misleading and significantly inflates how many actually attended. For example, in 2015, the registration number was ~17% higher than the attendance number (~21k vs ~17.5k). Using that same percentage for 2016, actual 2016 attendance was likely in the 18,400 range, nearly 4,000 below the headline number."

If the same percentage held true, then why would they not just report both as they have done previously?

Answer: the same percentage did not hold true and that's why they don't want to report it... so actual attendance was likely significantly lower than 18.4K

Answer: the same percentage did not hold true and that's why they don't want to report it...

I don't know their reason.

Or it could be just that 22,000 sounds better than 18,000.

2015 seems to be the exception in terms of reporting two numbers, e.g., the 2014 announcement (19,000), 2013 announcement (20,600) and 2012 announcement (19,500) just report one number, which appears to be physical attendees.

The actual site location of the shows, makes the biggest difference overall - pick a location that is lame, you get lame attendance....

Anaheim for example...... lame location = lame attendance

San Diego..... Nice location = improved attendance

No one manufacturer is going to pull in the attendance for the show, when the location is lame......No manufacture is that good, sorry to say...

From a vendor point of view regarding ISC's staying power: the Vegas aspect - and the convenience of "The Devil you know" cannot be underestimated. There are hotel rooms aplenty (many priced at affordable rates), lots of choice for meeting and/or entertainment venues, all located in a concentrated space. Plus, people like to go there. There, I've said it.

ASIS is reasonably priced. By contrast, ISC is very expensive, which makes it hard for the little guy, and the exhibition hall layout is also unforgiving. The layouts at ASIS used to be a more democratic mix of large and small vendors, but they now seem to have taken a page from the ISC playbook, shunting small companies to the sidelines.

To get a better on-floor location, one option is to share a booth but be forewarned: Reed/ISC has raised their "booth participation fee" from $1000 a few years ago to $3000 - a hefty increase!

ASIS continues to misrepresent its numbers in a new webinar:

ASIS continues to misrepresents its numbers in a new marketing brochure:

This one screencapped below is the worst misrepresentation so far and a clear lie, they are claiming "22,000" "buyers". As explained above, nearly 40% of attendees are exhibitors who, by definition, are sellers, not buyers.

ASIS has removed the 22,000 'buyers' reference in a new version:

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