Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Digital Signage Show makes much-anticipated industry debut

Much anticipated? By whom? Still, I read it in a press release, so it must be true. As it notes:

"The Digital Signage Show debuts in 2008 at KioskCom Self Service Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Both shows will be co-located at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from April 16 – 17, providing attendees with access to like-minded colleagues and thought leaders, new technologies, forums and case studies.

"'The Digital Signage Show is debuting after extensive research over the last 12 months, including meeting with industry leaders, companies that have deployed digital signage initiatives, current attendees and digital signage exhibitors. It became clear to us that our attendees made the final decisions on digital signage purchases, and they requested that we enable them to meet with more of these suppliers by bringing them to the event,' said Lawrence Dvorchik, General Manager, KioskCom Self Service Expo and The Digital Signage Show. 'They are excited about now being able to fill their short list of suppliers and address all of their buying needs under one roof at one time.'
I'll be honest. I really, really, really hate trade shows. I don't like attending them and I don't like exhibiting at them. The return on investment for all parties is questionable at best, and as a source of research and information, even the best trade show will pale in comparison to some heavy-duty research on the web and a couple of well-planned day trips (and if you're the customer, you can usually get the vendor to come over for free, and on your schedule). However, I've been to a number of "The Kiosk Show" shows in the past, and they're fairly well done. The audience is reasonably-well qualified to keep out the riffraff and hobbyists (though some always slip through anyway), and traffic is typically high enough to keep you busy (as an exhibitor), but low enough that well-qualified attendees feel comfortable talking for a while if they want to.

I agree with Dave Hayne's take, though. Do we really need any more of these things? There's already DSE, a bunch of Strategy Institute conferences, more conferences by IntertechPira, an existing slate of kiosk shows, GlobalShop, NRF, Infocomm, etc., etc. I'm thinking of getting out of the software business and starting a calendar of digital signage-oriented shows and events, since there must be a lot of money in it.

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4 comments:

Lawrence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lawrence Dvorchik said...

Please allow me to address some of the above comments.

“Much anticipated? By Whom?” you ask.

The Digital Signage Show was developed in response to demand from our existing audience, so this event is something that the more than 3,000 pre-qualified buyers who attend our shows have been looking forward to for some time. Over 77 percent of the surveyed audience purchase digital signage and they asked for more digital signage products on the floor and more digital signage news and education from our organizers.

While some people may personally dislike trade shows, Forrester Research and the American Business Media (which measures effectiveness of all business to business media formats) have independently concluded that in-person events (trade shows) are the most effective means for building brand image and generating qualified leads (surpasses trade magazines, public relations, online marketing, more)

“The audience is reasonably-well qualified to keep out the riffraff and hobbyists (though some always slip through anyway), and traffic is typically high enough to keep you busy (as an exhibitor), but low enough that well-qualified attendees feel comfortable talking for a while if they want to.”

The show’s audience is actually completely pre-qualified, with non-exhibiting sellers being denied free admission. This has been the case since 2006, and exhibitors have said that this helps make the shows highly productive and more profitable for them. The two events deliver high quality education to attendees directly from top notch buyers, with the exhibition focusing on delivering pre-qualified buyers for quality meetings with exhibitors.

Do we really need any more of these things?

Actually, The Digital Signage Show is a brand extension of KioskCom Self Service Expo, which was first introduced twelve (12) years ago. The show’s goal then, as it is now, is delivering high-quality education for high-level buyers. The companies that have been involved with this event for years recognize that buyers are what matter and have stayed with us because we consistently deliver the buyers and information they need.

I welcome your comments and questions.

mini_sid said...

I agree with you Bill, and it seems like the people that make the decisions here at Minicom do also. We selected about half the regular shows we usually attend in 2007 compared to 2006. With all the international shows that take place now, I think most companies need to make the decision to attend more carefully. There was the new show in India last month, and now this new one - I wish they would all get together and make one big annual event. It would be so much easier from my point of view (marketing department).

Bill Gerba said...

First, perhaps it would be more accurate to say you're expanding the current kiosk-oriented show to include more digital signage offerings, since the current audience has in interest in both. Thus as for your survey, it was probably redundant... after all, who wouldn't want to see more stuff at the show they're already planning to attend? It's always in the attendee's best interests to have access to as much as possible during a show, so that seems to only make sense.

Next, while I treat all research from analysis firms with a general degree of suspicion, and while such "soft" conclusions as being the best at "building brand image" might be defensible, there's no way they can claim that shows are the best marketing strategy for any company. I have my own data that shows that it isn't for mine, at least. In fact, my own conclusion in talking to about 15 related business owners is that trade show leads, on average, cost about 4x as much as web leads for the same level of qualification and a worse conversion rate.

Finally, I agree you do a reasonably good job of pre-qualifying your audience, probably the best of any industry show today. But I've both attended and exhibited at The Kiosk Show in the past. The system is by no means perfect.

I'll stand by my general conclusion. Trade shows are a necessary evil for some and a marketing luxury for others. Either way, they're more or less past their prime.