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Event Spotlight

Trade shows must ‘add value’ to industry

Attending trade shows requires more consideration than ever before, says print industry journalist Karis Copp.

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Dallas Convention Centre will host America’s newest event, PRINTING United, next October

“It’s a highly competitive time for the industry, and a more cynical person might describe it as ‘diversify or die’. A more positive person such as myself chooses to view it as an exciting opportunity to broaden your services and stay ahead of the competition.

“Every event, no matter how relevant to your business, is time away from your day-to-day responsibilities, therefore every event you attend needs to be worth the time and money you are investing. The trend for growing offerings means a myriad of segment-specific shows could now be pertinent to your business – that’s a lot of time out of the office for an event that isn’t guaranteed to add value. However, growing and adapting to economic challenges, increases in customer demand and the need to keep abreast of emerging technologies are all but essential to survival in the wide-format print industry, which means missing an event could be just as detrimental.”

Trade shows are essential for businesses to connect with industry peers

She continues: “As ever, the industry votes with its feet; a number of shows in the UK graphics and wide-format print market over the past few years (some smaller, more niche events, others larger and long-established) have closed their doors due to dwindling interest and an inability to capture and cater to the industry’s current needs. As it stands, The Print Show remains the UK market’s leading exhibition, having come along at the right time following a smart assessment of what businesses want from an annual show, and accommodating the entire spectrum of the industry under one roof.

“In the US market, a similar trend appears to be emerging. A recent study conducted by NAPCO Research found that 95 percent of printers believe there is an opportunity for expansion, are looking into their own expansion, or have already taken steps to grow their offering. 93 percent believe convergence is happening within the industry as a whole. These indicators go some way toward informing the ethos behind America’s newest event, PRINTING United, kicking off in Dallas, Texas next October.”

She explains that the show is a joint venture between NAPCO Media and the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), which supports wide-format printers in the US.

Launching an event for the sake of it or for the purpose of self-promotion isn’t going to cut it anymore; the focus needs to be squarely on whether it is adding value to the industry

She continues: “This year’s SGIA Expo in Las Vegas will be the last, making way for the new, timely event with a stronger focus on the opportunities for diversification into new areas of the industry. The event will be a chance for all print professionals in the western hemisphere to see the latest in technology, equipment, supplies, software and applications on offer in one location – that means one out-of-office trip, one set of travel and accommodation arrangements, and a guarantee that their market segments, and any they are considering looking into, will be covered.

“Drupa will remain the ‘must attend’ event pretty much internationally, but outside of that there is a need for consolidated shows in respective markets, allowing businesses to stay up-to-date with industry developments, explore opportunities and new technologies, and have the chance to connect face to face with industry peers, without committing to regular time out of the workplace that they can ill afford.

“Launching an event for the sake of it or for the purpose of self-promotion isn’t going to cut it anymore; the focus needs to be squarely on whether it is adding value to the industry, regardless of which geographical market it’s in. Like The Print Show, it will be the events that recognise where the industry is heading, as opposed to where it has been – in this case, shifting further towards expansion into new areas and segments – that will have staying power.”

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