Do exhibitions work? (3)

Last year I mused on the value of exhibitions as a B2B promotional vehicle for IT vendors. This followed a poor experience at the PropIT show at London’s Olympia, but my faith was partly restored by a more positive experience at the Construction Computing Show (see 9 November post) – an event which I understand will again take place in November 2006 (exact dates to be confirmed).

Across the Atlantic it seems some organisers are also wondering about the future of IT shows. At PR, Marketing and the Business of CAD, Rachael Dalton-Taggart discusses Reed’s decision to sell up its CAD exhibition business. I agree with her two-pronged analysis of why shows began to suffer: (a) “acceptance of the internet as a tool to understand, research and even buy products”, and (b) “the ongoing avarice of event owners” who kept prices high even after the tech bubble popped in 2001.

If trade shows are not the answer, then let’s support relevant conferences – what Rachael describes as “events where people question what the vendors are doing”:

“Vendors that are scared of honest, albeit blunt, questions, need to face up to the fact that there are perhaps areas in their technology that need more attention. No one is perfect. No software is perfect. But the only way it can get close to perfect is through questioning and discussion.”

With this in mind, think about attending some of these forthcoming events:

  • Online Collaboration and Project Management Technologies Exposed, at Harvard University (see previous post), 8-9 March 2006
  • The UK IT Construction Forum annual conference, 24 May 2006. Few details have been published anywhere as far as I know (it’s normally run by Emap’s events team), but it’s usually a good chance to meet some of the main UK collaboration vendors. (By the way, will the (tired) ITCF website by adopting the new look of the Constructing Excellence website – launched this week?)
  • The second NCCTP annual conference – no date set as yet, but likely to be in October 2006. Last year’s was (OK, I am biassed!) excellent.

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  1. […] a postscript to Wednesday’s post, I got a mailshot today from CMP regarding The Building Performance show, this year to be run […]

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