Life was simpler when I wrote my first article on trade shows in the mid-90s. We went to trade shows because it was the only place to see, and to make, complete product presentations, and discover new, meaningful, features and products. There were also a lot more specialty retailers. The shows were the only place they and brands could efficiently connect and do business- by which I mean write orders.
All that’s changed. It’s not that it doesn’t still go on, but it doesn’t have to happen at trade shows like it used to. There are other choices caused by consolidation, the internet, and changing consumer behavior.