IAEM'S MID-YEAR: A 'NEW WAY' IN A BIG WAY "Out with the old and in with the new" could have been the theme for The International Association of Exhibition Management's (IAEM) Mid-Year Meeting in Baltimore, June 6 to 8. A new name, a new marketplace, and a new partnership with Westport, Conn.-based b-there.com marked the event, which drew a record 1,086 attendees. Last year's meeting in Chicago drew 748.

The lure? Very likely the IAEM Marketplace, according to Steven Hacker, CAE, president of IAEM. The Marketplace was limited to 65 exhibitors in 85 booths and sold out almost immediately, according to Hacker.

Keynote speaker Roger Blackwell, PhD, marketing professor at Ohio State University, author, and consumer guru, exhorted IAEM members at the general session to be change agents for their industry. "Trade associations used to be meeting organizations mainly for fun and festivities. Then education skyrocketed in importance, and now they'll have a new role: associations will be the facilitating organizations involving e-commerce services, layered on top of what we had before."

It's all about the Internet, Blackwell says, and he forecasted new association and trade show business models based on the b-to-b structure, but, he says, " associations are still trying to figure out how it all works." The most important things associations need for success in the new economy? Branding, says Blackwell, and listening to the membership.

Other news from IAEM's Mid-Year event:

* IAEM's membership voted by ballot to change the organization's name from the International Association for Exposition Management to the International Association for Exhibition Management.

* IAEM signed a reciprocity agreement with Great Britain's Association of Exhibition Organisers. The pact allows members to register for each other's events at member prices and, according to Hacker, solidifies IAEM's international reach.