Through the Grapevine: Chaos, confusion and cost

By Steve Frothingham

Editor’s note: This column appeared first in the April 1 edition of BRAIN.

Chaos, confusion and cost: It would be a superb exercise in mathematical calculation to divine how much money the industry will spend this year on trade shows, consumer expos, dealer events and other similarly aligned gatherings of bros and gals. Such counting of dollars is way beyond my ability — and time — but collectively it’s in the many millions. It also raises this question: How does any company, large or small, make money today even if they exhibit at only a few targeted events? Frankly, it boggles the mind. I’ve now had this conversation with more than a few folks, and most agree there’s a dizzy diaspora of events on the calendar, each of which has its own reason for being. Of course, each organizer promises fantastic reach to a given audience — and, amazingly, they usually deliver. Or they’re shading their attendance numbers, a charge which I choose to dismiss since most of these events — trade and consumer — have been around for years. Organizers must be doing something right. It’s either that or exhibitors are deluding themselves over that acronym we …read more

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