PRINT 13 and What’s Wrong with Trade Shows

Billed as the largest print trade show in North America, PRINT 13 took up most of the south hall of McCormick Place. Most vendors I spoke with called it a good show, but admit that the real analysis comes after they follow up the leads and see how many deals actually close.

Throughout the four and a half days, the flow of attendees moved in fits and starts—crowded, then sparse, fairly packed in the stands of the big players but less apparent in many smaller booths. The “Weave Factor,” my personal measure of floor traffic, was not all that high because I could move easily through the milling hordes while crossing the show floor. Still, vendors said many people coming to see them were in buying mode, looking for information and getting ready to pull the trigger on software and equipment. A consistent feeling from execs at several companies was, “There’s a lot of pent-up demand at this show. People want to buy, they see the value of newer technologies.” And no wonder. After a few years of not buying, many print providers need new machines and software, and see that the gains in productivity and performance over stuff that’s five or more years old can be substantial. Checkbooks are being opened, which is a very good thing.

This pent-up demand fed the vibe of eagerness at McCormick, giving off a sense that the industry, along with those who survived the Great Recession and the ongoing decline of print are ready and willing to move forward. These survivors are focused on the future and are figuring out how to grow and thrive in the new age of print and cross-media communications. This attitude and the vibe of the show affirm that print continues to rock!

That was the good part. Now for the stuff that will generate critical calls and e-mails from a variety of people.

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  • David McCharles

    Well said.