Proprietary Information – Who owns it?

Proprietary Information:  In the digital age we live in, information is king and one of your most valuable assets as a Convention organizer or association is your proprietary information.  When your proprietary information is in the care and custody of parties you have contracted for services, (Exposition Service Contractor, Registration company, 3rd party Meeting planner, etc..) your organization must control the how, what, where and who has access and what can or cannot be disseminated.  After all, your exhibitor lists, sponsor lists and membership lists and full contact details are your life blood to monetizing your group of attendees and exhibiting participants.  As a B2B Trade Show or Association Conference, you must guard your proprietary data carefully, with caveats and codicils that prevent and limit its dissemination.

Whether you are sharing lists with suppliers or opening up your books for possible sale or merger, there should be parameters regarding how this data can be used in the process of pre-show marketing or due diligence prior to sale and after the sale.  This highly valuable information is directly related to assign-ability rights and of your association or firm’s ownership of this information which you have invested hard and soft resources into compiling and creating its value.

Proprietary information such as exhibitor list contact info is extremely valuable.  You will need to limit the scope and duration that a contractor can use this information.  Some might say you can get all of this information via web searches via search engines such as Google; that is not necessarily true since not everyone makes all of the various components of this information available.  Why would you put everything out into the public domain when you can limit the dissemination of this data to attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and supporting organizations?  It is also vital that suppliers need to be limited in their use of proprietary information for solicitation after the event.  Contractual clauses should be written to prohibit the sale or sharing of this information without prior written consent outlining the whom, what, where and why.

If a Show Manager grants you access to their database, it definitely should be stipulated about how to use this info.  You certainly don’t want to grant blanket license to market to anyone for anything.  Keep it limited to show specific, association specific communication.  You might think this protection reeks of paranoia but you would be foolish to have invested so much time into building an event only to hand the keys to the candy store over to anyone without establishing strict guidelines for the use of the data you own.

The goal for any established event is to maintain existing exhibiting companies, attract new business to the event and grow revenues through increased sponsorship, supporting organizations and wider demographics for attendees.  Your proprietary data is the road map to these objectives.  Why in the world would you give it to a supplier or affiliated group without limits of its use?  If your suppliers, vendors or anyone balks at the limits you are imposing, then it’s best to be safe (not sorry) and find an alternate vendor.

At Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services your proprietary information is always treated with care and only used as it is intended…….to assist us in providing the highest caliber of service to your exhibitors.

Mitch Isaacs, Sales & Marketing Manager, Las Vegas Expo, mitch@lvexpo.com

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