Getting FIT… again

The great challenge with the FIT Show, according to MD Paul Godwin, is how to surpass what went before.

The inaugural FIT Show in 2013 received widespread acclaim; one or two plaques and trophies awarded for its marketing provide testament that we had done a pretty good job.

What characterised the event from the launch was how we used the very people that made up the core of the exhibition to promote it. The message was simple, a little cheeky and tongue-in-cheek: ‘Everyone’s going’ was the boast, and it became a catchphrase because it came from the exhibitors themselves.

Campaign two was not, in the wash up, regarded as successful as the first, but what an act to follow, The exhibitors were still in the front line but they were asked to become movie characters, which may have been a lot of fun in the making but failed to leave as bold a mark as the first campaign. Nonetheless, the 2014 FIT Show continued the success of the 2013, spurred on by momentum.

For 2016 and 2017, we returned to the theme of exhibitors having fun; the moody and sometimes dark images of 2014 replaced with bright, smiling faces of people happy to be a part of FIT.

But where crowd scenes were the style last year, for this the size of the event – as it moved to the NEC – was ‘big’. Everything was bigger and better and celebrated with giant props, with people literally leaning and sitting on their products.

The net effect was that more exhibitors took part (254), more visitors came (9,935) and more, much more space was occupied (11,600); the FIT Show fulfilled its big theme with the exhibitors once again delivering the key messages.

The creative theme was delivered through a massive campaign which, though almost impossible to confirm, must again represent one of the biggest to be staged in the UK window, door and conservatory market, based upon the criteria of spread and market penetration.

The statistics are impressive: 78 advertisements in 19 print magazines combining to give a total circulation of 2,048,728; online media included 18 titles with our email newsletter banners appearing on a further 10 titles; and interactive magazine advertising reached 86,500 readers.

While we use digital media as a core mechanism through which to reach as many potential visitors as possible, our experience over four campaigns is that good old-fashioned ink and paper still produces excellent results. Invitation tickets formed the core of this with a total of almost 200,000 distributed through a range of channels.

Tickets ordered and distributed by exhibitors totalled 15,000 with an additional 20,000 VIP tickets also being sent to known movers and shakers, via exhibitors and to our own FIT Show mailing list. The FIT list is now one of the most effective current lists available after three intensive campaigns.

Our campaigns are always tracked using unique urls but for the first time, in an effort to better identify the most effective media, we used coded printed invitations either tipped on or loose inserted in a range of trade and professional press. I look forward to that analysis with great interest.

Numerically, email marketing had the furthest reach with no less than 95 e-shots sent to a massive circulation of nearly three million inboxes. This was extended through the circulations of five journals reaching a further 100,000.

A poster and ticket campaign was also mounted through trade counters, in addition to a great deal of peripheral advertising and promotion.

This massive effort was topped in the days leading to the show with a TalkSport radio campaign, the first we have ever undertaken for the FIT Show. The eight-day campaign reached 1.75 million people (1.48m men) who each heard the advert, on average, 4.3 times. Again, analysis of that will be intriguing over the coming weeks.

We must also include the intensive public relations campaign staged by our own office and the FIT Show exhibitors. The preview issues of the core window and door industry magazines, including Glass Times, have been magnificent and must surely have set pagination records for each of the titles.

All of this worked to produce yet another great FIT Show. But at the core of everything we did, once again, were the exhibitors themselves, who took what we created and multiplied it many, many times.