Microsoft Deals Punch to the Tradeshow Industry and Other Thoughts

Jack Blog

December 22nd, 2011 By Jack Morton

The highly debated value of tradeshows may have just been dealt another punch by Microsoft’s announcement that the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show will be it’s last.  Does this mean the death of one of the largest, most highly attended, and most publicized shows on the planet?  Maybe not immediate death, but it does remind us that tradeshows are under intense examination.  I personally question how the tradeshow industry – including associations, corporations, and brands – will evolve and maintain value for its constituents and attendees.

Some things associations and brands should consider:

  • – what brings attendees to the show?
  • – what are you offering that they can’t get online, in-store, or closer to home?
  • – how are business transactions taking place for your product or service?  and how can a face-to-face interaction encourage, finalize, sustain, and/or increase those transactions?
  • – does the tradeshow experience deliver the appropriate return on your investment?

These are all pretty basic questions, but questions Microsoft asked themselves to determine that their presence at CES was no longer valuable (stating that the event’s timing did not coincide with Microsoft’s product announcements and other needs).

As for my predictions, I think we will see a movement toward smaller, more frequent, and more geographically diverse shows, whose attendance will be driven by experience brands who will create unique experiences on and off the tradeshow floor that attendees absolutely cannot have unless they’re there.

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