The only constant is change

Analysis of the 2017 FIT Show marketing campaign proves one thing, says FIT Show event director Nickie West: that nothing ever stays the same in marketing.

Although just in its fourth outing the 2017 FIT Show was brought to market with one of the most intensive and complex marketing campaigns that the UK window and door industry had ever seen; and almost certainly the largest.

Plans are being laid for the next event and, while the doors won’t open until May 2019, the campaign will begin within the next few weeks. And crucial to that campaign is close analysis of what has gone before and especially what worked – and didn’t work – for 2017, the most successful FIT Show so far and by some considerable margin.

As we approach the beginning of the campaign for the next show we thought we would share some of the data. Interestingly, what worked so well for one year, proved to be less effective even within a few months.

FIT Show 2017 followed a very successful 2016 event after a year’s gap in 2015. Having outgrown the Telford venue, a move to the NEC became inevitable, which presented the challenge of convincing (some) exhibitors and visitors that this was a good decision; for many the move was not a given.

The experience of 2014 was also considered in the planning and, while it is sometimes difficult to analyse statistics on a like-for-like basis due to differences in recording data between the events, it is possible to get a view of how the market can change in a very short space of time. We cannot assume that just because something worked for one campaign that it would automatically work for the following show.

For example, in 2014, registration information showed that print publications were the most effective, with the show’s email campaign following closely behind. In 2016 the gap between these elements widened, and visitors who said they heard through print advertising was down 10% between 2013 and 2014, a figure that has further reduced from 2014 to 2016.

In 2016 the email campaign and exhibitor invitations had an impressive impact, and the recommendation for this to be the main driver for the 2017 campaign paid off as a massive 24% of visitors heard about the show from an exhibitor invitation. Word of mouth attributed for a huge 34% of visitors illustrating that the show was very topical.

In the 12 months preceding the 2017 FIT Show we produced 83 FIT Show specific releases and features to directly promote the event, including exhibitor information. We distributed this information conventionally through the press but also through Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In.

This information reached 2.3 million readers through the core trade press, with an additional combined circulation of non-core media totaling 492,00 monthly. The reach of this material through social media added a further 6.3 million people.

Responses to and through Twitter climbed massively as the world and their family decided they needed to learn what was going on in just 140 (and now 280) characters.

For the 2017 campaign the key stats are:
Impressions – 301,145
Clicks – 992
Retweets – 87
Likes – 125

Context is given by these figures by comparing the figures from the 2016 event, just a year earlier:
Impressions – 125,470
Clicks – 263
Retweets – 83
Likes – 68

Even to the uninitiated, it is clear that the importance of Twitter in the lives of people – and therefore as a means of reaching our target audiences – has grown considerably. Twitter, and indeed social media generally, will play a bigger part in future promotions although what is certain with social media is that nothing is certain; it is a constantly moving feast and a great deal of skill and energy is required to keep track of it.

That skill and energy will be at the core of the 2019 campaign.