Trade Shows, the Buy/Sell Cycle, and Changing Consumer Habits

Over the last months or maybe a year, I’ve watched the trade show discussion as dates have changed, unchanged, and we’ve all tried to figure out the role of trade shows.

We agree, I think, on the following:

  1. We need some trade shows
  2. Right now, there are too many
  3. Face time is a primary benefit
  4. It’s become harder to justify and time and expense of exhibiting or attending
  5. It’s been a long time since the shows were critical to order writing

The people at Emerald Expositions, who “…operate more than 50 trade shows, including 30 of the top 250 trade shows in the country…” and who bring us Outdoor Retailer, Interbike, and Surf Expo, are trying to adapt.  So is Reed Exhibitions, the owner of Agenda, that has “…a growing portfolio of over 500 events in 30 countries…” and SIA, whose show many of us will be off to next week.

I’ve been thinking that all the discussion about when the trade shows should be held was kind of missing the point- changing behavior from our consumers, who are pretty much in charge now, means an internal industry focus on trade show dates that match our production cycle requirements isn’t, well, completely in touch with reality.

I was going to write a really great article on trade shows, the buy sell cycle, and changing consumer habits.  But then somebody I know sent somebody else I know a just excellent article and he sent it to me.  It’s called “The Big Shift” by David Clucas.

On the one hand I was kind of disappointed because I was gearing up to say cogent, insightful things.  On the other hand, now I don’t have to write it, and I can still bask in the glow of David’s smartness by pointing you to it.

Two of my takeaways from David’s article are the changes that are going to have to happen (and are happening) in production and inventory management and the advantages that big companies have.  Those advantages include having less need to exhibit at trade show, though that doesn’t mean trade shows in some form aren’t important to them for other reasons.

Meanwhile, here’s a shorter article on a large mall in in the Pittsburgh area that just sold for $100.00  No, I didn’t leave out any zero.  The buyer, Wells Fargo, already owns the dirt under it.  It opened in 2005 (not great timing) and is about half occupied.  Expect to see more of this.