2012 Preview: A Trade Show Redefined
"Companies can't sit back—not attend events like Graph Expo—and say that they'll invest when the economy gets better," notes Ralph Nappi, president of GASC, which produces the Graph Expo and PRINT shows. "Whether they're commercial printers, photo imagers or transactional printers, they all realize this is the new reality, the new normal. And that's why, despite the fact that the industry is still struggling, we were up 12 percent on company attendance and 7 percent in individual attendees last year. And, I believe we'll see increases again this year."
GASC made substantial changes to its Must See 'ems product/technology awards, a fixture of the Executive Outlook conference held the day prior to Graph Expo's opening. The overview of these not-to-be-missed technologies will be announced in a pre-show Webinar. At the conclusion of Executive Outlook, the Best in Category awards will be chosen among the Must See 'ems selections. Also new is the Legacy award, which will be presented to a 10-year-old technology (a former Must See 'ems) that has had the greatest impact on the industry. Back for a third year is the Positively Print award given to the entity that effectively promotes the power of print message through its organization's campaign.
Must See 'ems is not leaving Executive Outlook; it was felt that by getting word of the lauded technologies out to attendees earlier, they could better prepare their agendas. "In the past, I don't think we leveraged the value and potential of the Must See 'ems enough," Nappi relates. "By revealing the winners in advance, we believe it will not only spark more interest in the show, but also help attendees make the most of their time onsite by planning their booth visits in advance."
The co-located growth trend continues this year; the last three shows will have brought in 22, 34 and 48, respectively. CPP Expo will be the first co-located show at PRINT 13 next year, occupying the front of the North Hall. The influx of users and dealer groups, award ceremonies, association meetings, workshops and the like only validates Graph Expo as the "place to be," according to Nappi.