The Business of Meetings – Episode 166 – What You Need to Know About the Exhibition Industry with Danica Tormohlen
We are delighted to speak with Danica Tormohlen today! Danica is a journalist and the VP of Content for the Tarsus Group (now part of Informa).
Danica is an icon in our industry with tons of experience! She has been through many crises in the trade show industry and has been writing about it since 1994. She joins us today to discuss her fascinating career and to share her unique perspective on where the exhibition industry is heading and how we can better use technology.
An award-winning journalist who has reported on the trade show industry since 1994, Danica Tormohlen is VP of Content for Tarsus Group, which was recently acquired by Informa for $940 million. In her role, she oversees content for Trade Show News Network, Corporate Event News, and Exhibitor News Network. These leading media brands publish websites, newsletters, social media channels, videos, podcasts, and online and in-person programming for the trade show, corporate event, and exhibition industries.
Tormohlen is proud to be a founding member of the Women In Exhibitions Network (WIEN) North America chapter and was appointed to serve on its executive committee in March 2023. The mission at WIEN is to empower women in the exhibition industry while helping to nurture the next generation of female leaders. She served as Co-Chair of the Education & Events Committee for the North American Chapter in 2021, hosting and producing monthly Zoom meetings with guest speakers, games, breakouts, Q&As, and more during Covid.
Danica is proud to have been educated at the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. In 1994, she began writing for Expo Magazine and immediately fell in love with the trade show industry, which, for her, is very much like a magazine come to life! She loves how it has allowed her to learn about different industries and keep up with emerging trends!
Danica worked for some great people
Danica was fortunate to have worked for some great people. She worked for Donna Sanford, the Founder of Expo Magazine, for seventeen years and then went to work for Trade Show Executive for the next ten years.
Changes Danica has seen in the trade show industry
Danica has seen the trade show industry experience many changes, including recessions, 9/11, COVID, and the digital revolution. What struck her the most was how resilient the industry is and how much people wanted to get back together with others, face to face. She also believes the ability to use digital tools and data in conjunction with an in-person experience has changed the industry.
Trends in the trade show industry
The trade show industry is driven mainly by products and people wanting to meet with others to do business. The trends Danica has been noticing include the use of technology, flexibility around meetings, and how people have been personalizing and customizing meetings and events to suit their needs.
People are spending less time in the digital space
People have been investing less time in the digital space since the return of in-person events. Danica has seen virtual trade show platforms where people can have an avatar walking through a virtual trade show floor and stopping at booths. But nobody seems to want to do that because the experience is not particularly interactive.
Danica has seen some e-commerce sites doing well lately because people have been doing some discovery first. That means people are looking at and selecting products on the e-commerce websites before meeting with vendors on-site at events to close the deals.
Using data to do better business at events
In the past, obtaining data was cost-prohibitive for many events. Fortunately, the cost of technology is coming down. So people are now using their phones to track where attendees are at events and do sentiment analysis to help them improve their exhibits and make better business decisions.
Verify the source of online content
It is scary to know that some online content is manipulated or fake. To ensure the content you are using is real, fair, and relevant, consider whether or not the source is reputable and trustworthy. If you have any doubts, verify the source.
Women in Exhibitions Network
Danica is a co-founder of the Women in Exhibitions Network. The network is to empower and support women in the exhibition industry and increase their networks. The Women in Exhibitions Network is inclusive, so any woman in the industry can become part of it. The members meet online and in person to talk to one another. They are launching their first in-person global summit in June this year in the Netherlands.
Exhibitor News Network
Danica’s latest project, the Exhibitor News Network, launched recently. It is a media platform for exhibit managers and event marketers. It has a website for sharing daily industry news, educating exhibitors, and helping them do their jobs better.
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Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, by Ryan Holiday