For those of a certain age, the image of the Fonz jumping a shark tank in a leather jacket is a defining moment in pop culture. The jumping episode highlighted the truism that everything peaks at some point. Happy Days peaked as a show during this episode, and what I’m wondering is has the eHealth show in its current form already jumped the shark?
I’ve been going on an off to this show since about 2000, and every year I hear the same variation from the vendors on the tradeshow floor “I’m not meeting any customers, and all I speak with are vendors”. The comments stay the same from year to year, but what is worrying to me is the ever increasing amount year after year.
Are vendor expectations are out of wack, or does the eHealth show format need a change? I have always seen the show as a great networking opportunity, but if I owned a company I would have a hard time seeing any sales value in having a booth. There may be some value in terms of reinforcing your brand, but unlike the HIMSS show in the US, this is not a direct sales opportunity.
I’ve always felt that more value could be generated for booth buying vendors, if all the attendees had to either pass through the tradeshow floor between sessions. Another somewhat cheesy alternative is to have a big prize give away at the end. To qualify each attendee would have to get a stamp on a card from each vendor booth. I saw this in action at a Medical Office Assistant show in BC, and although some people try and game the system it did lead to a lot of interesting sales conversations.
We have to keep in mind, that the vendors who buys booth space are paying a large portion of the bill for everyone else. If they don’t get some value for their marketing/sales dollars then this event will wither away.