Yesterday’s conversation on #printchat dabbled on the topic of trade shows.
Some thought that graphic arts trade shows would be better as more intimate gatherings that do not focus on canned show and tell. Others thought we should observe and adopt what is working from other gatherings like TED, SXSW, and user groups like Dscoop. Still others wanted to see more educational opportunities.
What would you like to see from trade shows? Why do you attend?
Since I could not be part of the chat, I’ll leave my 2¢ here:
- The physical world costs in terms of time and money (for all parties). The digital world costs less in time and money but also has “hidden” costs. Digital masks the opportunity cost of face-to-face and group interaction. You decide how and when to spend your money based off the intended payback.
- If you have no clearly defined plan or purpose, stay at home. There is a quote that states, “Success is where preparation meets opportunity.” You need to have a trade show game plan. Want to learn? Attend user group meetings, seminars, or schedule informal meetups with your peers. Want to buy? Research before you get to the show floor via press releases, industry media outlets, etc. Want to network? Show schedules are busy times, so plan in advance and reach out to those you want to meet via any channels (social media works particularly well for this).
- On the organizer and vendor side, the focus should be on value instead of show. Organizers can add more value by bringing in more vendors and organizations. The GASC has done this with Graph Expo from all of the special segments and co-hosted events. More importantly, they can vet the seminar/training session to make sure they are independent and educate (not a sales pitch).
- From the vendor side, more value can be added by hosting community events. This could come in the form of user groups, narrow topic workshops, informal mixers, etc. Social media can be used to inform during the show and a way to carry the conversation after the show has ended, both on and offline.