May 23 2024


Getting the Most from Industry Associations and Events

An Interview with Anne Goyer, President at Goyer Management International   

Tradeshows and Industry Events 

There are thousands of tradeshows every year, and in 2022 in the U.S., the B2B tradeshow market value was over $10 billion and is expected to rise to over $14 billion by 2027. Businesses can spend thousands on these events to gain new customers, but the organizations behind events also offer networking, education, business development, market insights, and professional development in a variety of formats.  

Being a member of an industry association brings professionals these benefits year-round both in-person and via online resources. That’s where Anne Goyer and her company Goyer Management International come in. Her team specializes in manufacturing trade associations and industry event management. We spoke to Mrs. Goyer about how industrial associations operate, their benefits beyond events and tradeshows, and how to get the most from both association membership and event attendance. 

Meet Anne Goyer 

Goyer studied journalism and worked for weekly newspapers after college. Goyer’s incredible tenure in industrial association and event management started when she went to work for an industrial magazine that focused on the finishing industry. Within the first week, the door to industry events opened when her boss flung a folder on her desk. She would be managing a new event, which forged a new career path and passion for the industry.  

Meeting with key players in the industry from major companies like PPG and Sherwin Williams, she learned about the finishing space and later became involved with the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) as a board member and later became their executive director in 1988, still serving in that role today.  

CCAI supports industrial finishing from corporate members (suppliers to the industry) and members who apply coatings to products (primarily metal). Through this involvement and experience, she started her association and event management company in 1990, finding a needed niche in the event marketing space. CCAI was their first client to sign on for association management services.  

“Associations play a critical role in relaying information, providing training, and leading our next generation in manufacturing jobs. We need this to stay competitive as a country.” 

She helped launch and continues to manage events for the Powder Coating Institute (PCI) and now provides their association management services. Her company also manages The Industrial Heating Equipment Association (IHEA) and its events. Along with CCAI, all three associations are linked due to the curing or heat process, with many members involved in one or more of these associations.  

In 2010, Goyer went to FABTECH and asked the event organizers, “What about finishing?” Since then, her team has managed the event’s CCAI FINISHING Pavilion and FAB to Finish project, where they partner with a business that designs and cuts a part that participants can finish on the show floor.  

Managing Industrial Associations that Make a Difference 

When managing associations, Goyer’s common goal for members is education, and this comes in many forms. These organizations have tenured experts from a range of specialties who offer industry knowledge and share important information to help members and their companies learn and improve their manufacturing processes, facilities, and careers. Whether supplier-based or customer-based, the goal is to stay on top of the industry, its evolving technologies, and outside factors like the economy to keep members successful. She shares the “members as customers” mentality with PMA President David Klotz

The challenge to trade or industrial associations like these is member involvement, especially at the smaller meetings and events. Goyer manages a variety of educational events and trainings like technology and safety seminars. They also host regular meetups to encourage networking, and her group looks for new ways to generate participation beyond the big events. By covering various relevant topics, members have multiple outlets for participation and knowledge share. 

Goyer notes that people shouldn’t join just to add the organization to their resume or LinkedIn but to make a difference in the industry. Membership is an investment in the industry’s future and its companies. Her organizations are involved with Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs Summer Camps for students, and looks to spread the benefits of a career in the trades. They also support women in the industry, helping foster them in leadership roles with events like Women in Finishing.  

Managing Industrial Events that Make a Difference 

Goyer is excited about a new initiative with IHEA, the Industrial Heating Decarbonization SUMMIT. This is an example of event management aimed at making a difference. Everyone involved in manufacturing is aware of sustainability and decarbonization efforts throughout the industry, however, there are many questions and uncertainties. This event is designed to walk upper management through what they can do now to reduce emissions, presenting all the options to make the best decisions for their processes.  

It’s addressing issues like these that keep companies large and small competitive. It’s also about good news, something we often miss when looking at the industry at a higher level or from national media outlets. Things like emissions have been improving in the industry, and the more we spread what works, the better.  

The typical process for preparing one of these events depends on the size of the event. Goyer’s team typically starts working on events six months to a year out, pending the event’s size. Her team creates production and promotion schedules, develops programming, and creates promotional materials. Good planning is key. Her team measures the success of events via attendee and exhibitor evaluations.   

“We keep our list of improvements from every event, and we take attendee comments seriously to ensure we improve and implement them in the future.  Of course, we don’t want events to lose money, either. So, showing a profit helps, too”. 

Goyer is very aware of inflation, seeing costs rise when working with hotels and facilities. This also comes into play for attendees as budgets for travel and event attendance become tighter. Her team looks to ensure money goes back into the association and future events. 

Getting the Most Out of These Opportunities 

Event promotion has changed drastically over the 43 years Goyer has been putting on events. Before, promotions were mass mailings of postcards and brochures, but today nearly all promotions are through digital channels (email, website, and social media). They utilize their member databases to distribute the details and much of this is available to attendees and exhibitors to promote their presence at the event. 

Goyer suggests promoting your business’ event presence just as her team promotes the event itself, utilizing your customer database and the materials her team provides. She recommends rallying your team to get involved in the details and offer help to any team member participating.  

“Individuals and their companies need to thoroughly review what each event is offering and determine if that’s something of value that will help their company. We do our best to put out programs that deliver a strong return on company investments.” 

She notes again that good planning is key: 

  • Decide early what you plan to show, what staff needs to know about the products and services displayed, and save money by booking hotels early.  
  • Be sure you understand your display needs like electricity and carefully plan how to ship equipment to display—technologies are a big draw for attendees. 
  • Most importantly, have a serious training session with staff before arriving and then again in the booth before the show opens. 

Goyer strongly believes the more people you can connect with to grow your business network, the more successful you will be. So, consider investing not only membership dues but also your time into those smaller industry events. You’ll be investing in the industry and making an impact by sharing your knowledge, gaining knowledge, and addressing industry challenges while promoting yourself and your business. 

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