Do exhibitions work?

Two Asite guys were at the CE conference yesterday and we had a chat over coffee. I learned Asite will be at the PropIT show at London’s Olympia in early October (the second year they have attended the exhibition) – the other vendors from last year (including BIW, 4projects and Aconex) decided the event’s low attendance did not justify a return.

After PropIT 2004, I talked to Duncan Mactear of 4Projects about the value of exhibitions to IT vendors such as BIW and its fellow NCCTP members. On the positive side, we agreed that they could be useful in promoting awareness of, and interest in, construction collaboration technologies, but how useful would depend on the organisers abilities to get the right audience to attend the event and in sufficient numbers to make it worth our while (Last October, unfortunately, my final day memories include people scavenging for whatever freebies were on offer, filling carrier bags with pens, mouse-mats, mugs, key-rings and just about anything else that wasn’t nailed down!).

These days, many more of our sales leads seem to come from personal recommendations and from internet searches. Where events do yield sales leads, they tend to be conference or seminar-type events – where you can perhaps predict more accurately the likely interests of people attending the event.

I hope I am proved wrong. BIW is to be part of an NCCTP stand at the Construction Computing Show at the Barbican in London in November. This will be the first time that NCCTP members – five of them, on this occasion – will have done a joint marketing initiative, and the event (which used to be aimed mainly at CAD users) should attract a lot of AEC IT users. The question remains, though, will these visitors be the kind of people who make decisions about using collaboration technologies? I am a little sceptical, but the event will be an opportunity to promote the NCCTP’s conference the following week (and – who knows – I might even get a few people interested in buying my book!).

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