Trade shows come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and broad in scope, while others are targeted, niche affairs. You can’t be at all of them, or even most of them, but you have us – the media – and the L&NW staff has logged some miles this spring.
While conferences, users group meetings and some open houses are not necessarily “trade shows,” I tend to lump them all together, because whether I’m attending one or the other, my job as a journalist stays the same – sharing with readers what transpired. Many of these events feature comprehensive educational programs, and oftentimes industry suppliers use shows and expos as a forum for officially introducing a new product or technology. This is a solid sales strategy, as pre- and post-show coverage in industry news outlets will focus on what’s new and different.
Many label converters enjoy exhibiting at trade shows for the markets they serve. Wine, specialty foods, health and beauty, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals – if you print a label for it, chances are there’s an event where you can exhibit. Over the years, several label printers have shared with me tales of trade show success, where solid prospects and sales leads were generated. For many of you, exhibiting regularly is a key part of your sales and marketing programs.
Giving up time and resources to exhibit and attend trade shows is not always feasible, however. When it comes to being an attendee, in many cases, the personnel that would attend – the person with the checkbook – is needed at work to run the company.
Labelexpo is our industry’s signature event, and I imagine if you’re going to attend one show every two years, you’re going to Chicago or Brussels. It’s said that trade shows are a great way to gauge the health of an industry, and judging by a recent report stating that the 2013 Brussels show will be the biggest one to date, we can feel good about the industry we’re in.
Location can play a major role in an event’s success. One thing I like about the FTA Forum is that each year it is held in a different
city. Exploring a new city can give prospective attendees some added incentive when deciding whether or not to attend. (San Diego was a great choice, FTA.) This is not to say that Chicago and Brussels have become humdrum. There is something to be said for being centrally located and knowing what to expect, particularly at Labelexpo, where millions of dollars are spent on transporting and setting up machinery.
As the summer arrives, we can enjoy a break in what is sometimes a hectic travel schedule, and we can rest up for a busy September – the TLMI Technical Conference and Labelexpo Europe are right around the corner.
See you there?
Steve Katz, Editor