Change for the good; Keith Jepson talks Core 2018

As we recently discussed in the latest edition of BikeBiz Magazine, trade events are a massively important element of the trade calendar. When researching the piece, we talked to many different events teams including Keith Jepson of the Core Bike Show, which is one of the first key dates of the year. Below you’ll find the full interview with Jepson, in which we discuss the concept of relevant and useful trade events at length.

Hi Keith, thanks for speaking to us.

What makes an event truly immersive for dealers?

A truly great trade event is all about the product; If you have excellent product displayed in an interesting, creative and relaxed environment, that is the perfect combination for the dealers. Core has always been really strong from a quality of brands and product perspective, which is ultimately what entices and ‘immerses’ the dealers. If you ally this with unique access to product people, brand managers, distributors and the sales representatives it really feels like the show is invested in the dealers and they respond to this partnership.

Do you think a lot of events in the UK calendar miss the mark in keeping their audiences captivated?
Possibly, I do think it’s hard, as there are large number of events in the calendar now. The most successful, whether it be L’Eroica, Ard Rock, Ride London or the NEC Cycle Show for example, offer a balance between features that the public or dealers can participate in and amazing product on show. Creating great riding or interactive ideas alongside show stopping product is key. Whether the focus is demoing product, direct sales or offering a unique ride experience you have to make it memorable. Offering variety is essential, I think, whether it be variety in trade stands or activities for riders and families to do!

Core obviously provides dealers with a great environment to meet and discuss business, was this key in its planning?
Oh yes, Core was first created as a relaxed environment to meet, discuss business and to hang out with contacts and friends in the industry. It was deliberately created with more of a conference feel that just a standard Expo. The individual exhibition rooms give the dealers unique access to brands and the individuals behind them. This "private" space allows both the dealer and exhibitor more time to go through the range and engage with the product. This continues today, even with the growth of Core from both a visitor numbers perspective and participating exhibitors, the show still retains it’s "family" like atmosphere. This ethos was key in the early years planning and remains today and I believe that’s why we have so many visitors and exhibitors returning each year…plus new blood!

Core was first created as a relaxed environment to meet, discuss business and to hang out with contacts and friends in the industry.

How do you ensure that the show is always engaging?

The key to this, is again the product! We encourage exhibitors to display new and exciting product from the worlds leading manufacturers…if you continue to do this, in an environment that is relaxed and enjoyable then the dealers will be engaged. We work hard to create an event that is fun, informative and useful for both dealer and exhibitor. Whether, show casing, filling order books or sending dealers away with all the information they need to go back to store and use B2B sites, Core has always been a strong environment for sales and promotion. Many of the exhibitors launch new product at the show, have show offers and organise special hospitality for their dealers at the show, making it more "hands on" than other events.

Do you think a casual atmosphere is essential for the cycling industry?
Essential? I’m not sure…but it certainly helps with Core…with hospitality provided by the Core group in a relaxed and hi-quality conference hotel setting the event still offers something unique.

You’ve shaken things up a bit this year, what can we expect from the next installment of Core?
Yes, for 2018 we have engaged the help of Upper Street Events the organisers of The NEC Cycle Show. We really want to take Core to the next level and believe that through working with Chris Holman and his team we can bring more dealers and exhibitors to the event, while at the same time retaining the events Core values. I will still be the ‘Face of Core’ at the show and will be representing the Core Group, working closely with Upper Street Events, who bring their expertise, man power and promotional clout to the event.

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