The premier resource for exhibition and event industry professionals

IAEE Spotlight on 2022 IAEE Outstanding Marketing & Sales Award Winner RX | JCK Sales & Marketing Team

The Sales and Marketing Team for RX’s JCK show met the challenges of the pandemic head on, achieving record-breaking performance in attendance and exhibit space revenue when most shows struggled to regain their footing. Get inspired by the award-winning strategies they employed.

By Mary Tucker, Sr. Communications & Content Manager

JCK has become the crown jewel of jewelry trade, drawing together a broad international community of globally sourced exhibitors and buyers. In 2022, RX’s JCK Sales and Marketing team not only exceeded the 2019 pre-pandemic performance of JCK but had a record-breaking show regarding attendance goals and exhibit space revenue, as well as delivering the most energized and memorable JCK yet.

A Year to Remember – JCK Show Turns 30 with Record Breaking Attendance and Revenue

JCK celebrated 30 years by returning to 2019 pre-pandemic levels sooner than expected and sooner than most trade shows.

By the Numbers

On 10-13 June 2022, JCK brought the industry together with its typical day pattern that included the Luxury show, which opened two days earlier. The outcome was more than the team could have imagined – exceeding pre-pandemic attendance goals and exhibit space revenue as well as delivering the most energized and memorable JCK yet. The team also increased overall show satisfaction, loyalty and promoter scores to levels beyond 2019.

Attendance exceeded 2019 by 6% and Exhibit Revenue was $1.9M over 2019. NPS scores for exhibitors were 32 points higher than in 2019 and, for visitors, 20 points higher with loyalty and satisfaction also both increasing tremendously for both groups.

Overcoming Obstacles

Due to a shift from June to August with JCK’s 2021 show, there was a shorter runway than normal to the 2022 show, which correlated with JCK’s 30th anniversary. However, with the work of the entire JCK team, 2022 became a record-breaking year.

The JCK Sales team delivered booth and sponsorship sales increases, exceeding revenue goals and 2019 levels. As the Sales team was exceeding all targets, the importance of matching the exhibitor growth with attendance became a critical focus for the Marketing team. The efforts of the JCK Marketing team to increase attendance brought JCK full circle to deliver overall record-breaking revenue and attendance. Through omnichannel campaigns and emphasizing dedicated, customer-centric values, retailers continued to register and verification increased overall.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

JCK’s continued focus on creating a diverse and inclusive space for everyone was also showcased. For the first time, JCK sponsored the Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC), featuring exhibitors in the show’s Design Collective neighborhood.

“History was made at this JCK event,” said Adrianne Sanogo, Co-Founder of BIJC. “I want to personally thank JCK for being a visionary and being committed to changing the narrative. This will always be a part of your legacy and ours, for bringing about change and ensuring that everyone in the industry shines together.”

“It truly was a spectacular show and, in my three years of attending JCK, there was a noticeable difference this year in the amount of diversity and level of comradery among the exhibitors,” added BIJC Board Member Nellie Barrett. “It was spectacular to see and be a part of; and this is just the beginning.”

JCK Talks – the curated conference program opening a day before the show floor – featured a panel discussion, Attract and Reach New Customers Through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, that led attendees through a discussion on developing awareness in DE&I. The focus on DE&I speaks to the RX and RELX global mission of inclusion and diversity because at RX events, everyone belongs.

2022 IAEE Awards Chairperson Daniel McKinnon, CEM (left) and IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP-F, CAE, FASAE, CTA (right) present the IAEE Outstanding Marketing & Sales Award to RX Marketing Director MJ McGrath (middle) during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2022 in Louisville, KY.

The team’s efforts were recognized with the IAEE Outstanding Marketing & Sales Award this past December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Louisville, KY (watch Group Vice President, RX Jewelry Portfolio Sarin Bachmann’s acceptance speech here).

Here, Sarin shares with IAEE how the JCK Sales and Marketing Team not only exceeded all expectations, but are keeping the upward momentum they created for continued success.

Like all show organizers, RX faced making very tough decisions as it navigated the effects of the pandemic on its operations. What were some of the best lessons that surfaced during this process, and how have these affected RX’s approach in planning its events in a post-pandemic environment?

Some of the best lessons we’ve learned in navigating the pandemic was that our customers needed a face-to-face experience and a platform to continue to remain successful – and we were that platform for them. During 2020 when face-to-face events could not run, JCK held a virtual show, and learned the lesson that virtual cannot come close to replacing the benefits and business that gets done in true face-to-face interactions. In 2021, in the height of the Delta variant and surging Covid-19 levels, JCK ran a live event despite many questioning if we should, since so many businesses in the jewelry industry needed the show to come back for their businesses to survive. Based on having run JIS already in March of 2021, we and our industry knew we had protocols in place to be able to hold the show safely, so the team forged ahead as one of the first large shows to return and had amazing success. We persevered through the time and came out stronger.

Aside from just JCK, at RX, we celebrate taking risks and celebrating not only our wins but our bets that may “fail.” We seek to inspire creative thinking that pushes the limit. With this thinking comes the safety to take risks, collaborate and inspire new ideas and value for our customers. 

To achieve the level of success JCK reached in 2022, the Sales and Marketing teams had to collaborate seamlessly. What were some of the biggest challenges they faced and how did they work together to overcome them?

Some of the biggest challenges faced in 2022 were the shorter runway to the event, with the 2021 day pattern taking place more than two months after the typical timeframe (late August vs. early June). This meant teeing up both internal and external processes and conversations seamlessly and quickly to keep everything on track. An incredible testament to the talent and exceptional leadership of the JCK team was the fact that many of the team members were new to the team in 2022, including our special events and conference manager, retailer account manager for our Luxury Show accounts, the Luxury event director, and the JCK and Luxury marketing director. The work done and quick rapport built by the team was noticed and made all the difference in delivering the results we saw for 2022.

Another positive challenge the team faced came as the JCK Sales team was exceeding all targets; the importance of matching the exhibitor growth with attendance became a critical focus for the Marketing team. The efforts of the JCK Marketing team to increase attendance brought JCK full circle to deliver overall record-breaking revenue and attendance.

The 2023 JCK show was held just a few weeks ago. Did the success from last year carry over into this year’s event? And, were there any direct correlations you can make between the strategies implemented at last year’s show to the outcome of this year’s show?

Amazingly yes, the success did continue into our 2023 event, 2023 exceeded 2022’s accomplishments! JCK once again beat pre-pandemic levels of 2019 AND the already exceptional 2022 that rose above all expectations. We had a sold-out show floor, with international exhibitors also returning to pre-pandemic levels, and attendance increased 8% over 2022. This year’s strategies built upon the success of 2022.

To start, we focused on bringing new attendees to the show. The momentum built upon from the 2022 show made for an incredible story that really showed lapsed and brand-new attendees that JCK is THE industry event they need, but also one they would look forward to attending.

The next focus was on innovation. The industry is at a time where innovative thinking, processes and technologies are paving the way for new connections and change – and it was the 2023 theme of JCK. We increased the size of the Innovation Hub neighborhood on the show floor, added an education stage (The Social Stage) for cutting-edge content, and brought back the best of activations and “instagrammable” moments to really engage our audience and create that sticky show floor.

Finally, we were consistent, thoughtful, and creative with our messaging. We built upon our success and showed every segment of our audiences from the early start of the year why JCK is something you won’t want to miss.

RX places strong emphasis on DE&I at its events, promoting an environment in which everyone belongs. What serves as the inspiration for these initiatives and what has been the response from attendees to DE&I-focused programming?

As you mentioned, at JCK and all RX events, everyone belongs. JCK prides itself in being a platform to highlight the talents and creativity that is emerging in our industry through the many different people that make that happen. We’ve been inspired by the Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC), whose group of emerging brands and designers are featured in the Design Collective neighborhood of JCK. BIJC has also been a recipient of a grant from the JCK Industry Fund for its support and promotion of emerging designers. The grant allows them to receive new networking and reach a new audience at JCK.

We also believe that bringing this message full circle is the key to making a difference in any industry. JCK focuses on creating diverse panels and education topics that showcase how – and most Importantly, why – this initiative is critical for your business. The JCK Talks Education Conference focused on DE&I along with sustainability, marketing trends and more.

We recently received a thank you email from BIJC Board Member Annie Doresca in which she stated, “Being able to give our BIJC members the opportunity to showcase their products and connect with industry professionals at the JCK Vegas Show was an extremely significant moment for BIJC as well as the industry. The JCK grant showed JCK’s commitment to diversify the industry and support emerging businesses. Your contribution not only demonstrated your commitment to fostering growth within the industry but also served as an opportunity for many to know about BIJC and its initiatives.”

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the exhibitions industry is tracking to reach full recovery in 2024 with most shows expected to achieve their pre-pandemic performance levels by then. But JCK has already achieved this, so how does your exceptional success factor into the goals you set forth for 2024?

We’ve not only met, but we’ve exceeded, this goal for two show editions now – and we are looking forward to continuing to raise the bar for the trade show and jewelry industry again. Through innovation and new experiences, we’re excited about the bright future that JCK has in its path – and the business connections and memories we create for our customers.

The Call for Nominations for this year’s IAEE Awards is now open! Check out all of the award categories here and be sure to submit your nominations by 31 August!

Share Post

Stay Up To Date

Related Posts

iaee blog station logo

Stay Up To Date

Join over 15,000 followers dedicated to learning the ins and outs of the exhibition and event industry!