Tradeshows

It did not surprise me to see Meditech pull out the HIMSS show. I went to their booth last year in Orlando and the spoke with one of their senior people. Seems they were getting lots of traffic from other vendors (especially job seekers) at the show, but not many new client leads. I heard similar stories from other vendors at that show as well as the eHealth show in Vancouver last May.

Vendors who are looking to generate 20 leads in 2 days from real clients are going to be disappointed. This holds especially true of some of the smaller vendors. How can they generate decent leads on the floor if they have limited brand recognition and can only afford a small booth of in the corner. I feel for the folks having to run the booth looking for net new leads.

What I did find interesting, at least at the eHealth show in Vancouver, was that the sessions were packed with leads for vendors, but these same CIOs/health professionals avoided the tradeshow floor like it had leprosy.

My thoughts on the vendor side:

Smaller booths with properly trained staff. Tradeshows are not about used car sales pitches. Maybe they show floor needs to integrated with the sessions, or perhaps the floor needs a different layout?

My thoughts on the organizing side:

Make the CIOs/healthcare professionals at least walk through the floor to get to sessions. You could even have sessions brought to you by “XYZ vendor”  for further brand exposure. Every vendor on the floor gets a free info session sponsorship.

I like to complain about everything (as you well know), but is there a way to tweak the format so everyone wins? What do you think Mike?

P.S. As a guy walking around looking for new vendor contacts, these shows are amazing. Senior vendor folks who are bored and want to talk with anyone…a gold mine for a guy like me, but not exactly the reason the vendor just spent thousands of dollars to attend.

3 responses to “Tradeshows

  1. Mark,
    Tradeshows, like newspapers, are challenged to remain relevant in the face of on-line applications and services like blogs, webex’s, and podcasts. Perhaps it is useful to consider what unique aspects of a tradeshow cannot be replicated using on-line tools. For me, it is the networking opportunities, not just at the booth, but in the halls and at the associated social events.

    Mike

  2. Mike,

    Good point. You can get a month worth of BD done in 3 days at a tradeshow. The value of tradeshow to a guy like me is directly related to my success/failure in setting up facetime meetings at the show itself. As far as blogs and podcasts, they are useful in establishing your domain knowledge, or ability to get “experts” to do a roundtable/interview. I’m not really sold on webex as a medium, but I guess it does save money, especially for widely scattered organizations looking to do internal meetings. I think you lose a lot when doing external Sales/BD with a webex…it works I guess but nothing replaces facetime.

    Mark

    Mark

  3. No question that trade shows and conferences are great venues for sales and business development if you are an attendee. I find that if I just park myself in a main corridor for half a day I can meet many of the people that I want to see. Question is, does it make sense to exhibit? Or, are you better to find shows with great content that attracts your potential customers and attend those to meet people.

    Another approach that I have seen vendors use is a hospitality suite located in a hotel near or at the trade show / convention site. These vendors will use various means to get people to the suite and use the more relaxed environment of the suite to do demos and conduct more in-depth discussions.

    Mike

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