DIR Jan. 22, 2018 Editor’s Note: Are Trade Shows Worth It?

DIR Jan. 22, 2018 Editor’s Note: Are Trade Shows Worth It?


Now that we’re looking back on another CES, it comes back to the same question: Was it worth the trip? Our industry is full of trade shows that appeal to different audiences and segments.

Jerry Grossman

In fact, I’m writing this note on a break from the Imaging USA show in Nashville, which fell right at the end of CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Next up is: WPPI (Vegas); NAB (Vegas again); photokina (Cologne); PhotoPlus Expo (New York City); and a host of other trade-related events, including PRO and IPI. The events just keep on coming.

Trade shows are gathering places that offer great opportunities to attend educational seminars, learn about new products, make business contacts and network with friends and competitors. I have to admit that it’s fun to walk from booth to booth to not only see what’s new and exciting but also to understand how each company is positioning themselves to their audiences.

These shows go from overwhelming (CES and photokina) and intimate (Imaging USA and WPPI) to electric (PhotoPlus Expo) as well as all business (PRO and IPI). And manufacturers must decide whether to invest their resources on show booth construction, employee travel and time commitments. Each show takes months to plan to make that all-important impression.

As we wrap up CES 2018 in this issue, we look forward this year to expanding our show coverage. We also will be publishing special issues at the NAB show and WPPI in the coming months. Those issues will bring you the news from the show floors.

Trade Shows + Consumers?

While I believe in the value of most of these shows, I also believe there is a need to grow beyond trade events. We should entertain expanding shows for consumers.

Many retailers have consumer-selling shows in their regions that are always popular. However, other than PhotoPlus Expo, the industry is missing an opportunity to expand beyond New York City. We could also be demonstrating the excitement of photography in cities like Austin, Portland, Chicago or Seattle. Inviting the public to experience what these shows offer can only be good for our industry.