What a Week of Trade Show Madness!

As things return to normal, everyone wants to know how the shows went. That’s a hard question to answer when typical sales cycles range between six and 18 months. Depending on whom you ask, the leads are either weak, or they’re Glengarry leads. I guess we’ll see next year at this same time, if someone shows up in a Cadillac Eldorado.

My week started with the annual pilgrimage to McCormick Place for GRAPH EXPO 2012 and Printing Impressions’ Gold Ink Awards dinner. Along the way, I had the privilege and pleasure of networking with a growing number of familiar faces at the Great Lakes Graphics Association. Then, it was off to the always-glowing lights of Las Vegas to exhibit at the Direct Marketing Assn. (DMA) meeting.

On my way home from Vegas, I had time to reflect on these events. I wondered what happened to decorum, and whether we really accomplish anything in the exhibit halls of these shows.

Prior to the DMA show, I decided against sending out any advance marketing communications for a few reasons:

1. Attendance is down—8,000 attendees was the promoted count, down from previous years (if you even believe that figure).

2. Getting attention in Las Vegas is always a challenge—too many distractions! There is very little a printer can do to compete with some of the more…“enticing” attractions that Vegas has to offer.

3. 80 percent of the attendees opt out of receiving marketing materials!

The last point really blows my mind. These are direct marketers—they make their living by connecting with customers—and they’re declining receipt of the same sorts of materials themselves. If you purchase the show list, it’s about 50 percent vendors. While I like many of my fellow vendors, I’m not always interested in sharing my marketing materials with them.

A third-generation printer, Dustin LeFebvre delivers his vision for Specialty Print Communications as EVP, Marketing through strategy, planning and new product development. With a rich background ranging from sales and marketing to operations, quality control and procurement, Dustin takes a wide-angle approach to SPC

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