"Old shows are going to die. New shows are going to come. And there's a change of guard in the event business as well. We are going to see privateevents become dominant in our business," said Robert Singer, Intel Corp.'s manager, corporate marketing events, from the stage during CEMA Sum- mit '98, the Computer Event Marketing Association's annual meeting held in mid-July at the Westin Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Private marketing events, which allow companies to manage their message, acknowledge their partners, and control attendance in a wayparticipation can't, are being recognized as attractive alternatives to traditional shows, and are changing the role CEMA's members play in the meeting and events business.
CEMA used to stand for Computer Exhibit Management Association, but the group changed its name a few years ago, broadening its agenda beyond trade show management as more and more members were handed responsibility for user group meetings, developer conferences, and other customer events. The CEMA annual is still dominated by trade show issues, but private events get a healthy share of discussion. This year's program refected the changing role of the CEMA member, with sessions on new ways to use the Internet to register attendees, a sales seminar program at Apple Computer, and using exhibit management skills to move into customer event management.
CEMA drew 249 attendees (half planners, half suppliers) to Hilton Head, 24 percent of whom were first timers. Attendance was 53 percent higher than at the 1997 Summit, a new record for this Sudbury, Mass.-based association. Given the growth of the IT industry, the professionalism of the association, and powerful role meetings can play in the marketing effort, this is a record CEMA is likely to break again. For more infomation on CEMA, call (978) 443-3330, ext. 1222 or visit its Web site at www.cemaonline.com.