Are Trade Shows really dead?

While reading various stories and comments tonight on the news that Apple won’t be participating at Macworld Expo after 2009, I noticed one sentiment that kept popping up on website after website. The idea that trade shows are an archaic, 20th century, form of marketing that are either dead, or dying. I’ve never heard this before, is this really true?

I actually have both a personal and professional interest in this. On a personal level, I enjoy going to trade shows. They’re a great way to get some face-to-face time with the companies that make the products I use, or am interested in using. I think it’s time well spent, by both sides.

On a professional level, I create trade show materials for some of my clients. Everything from Video attract loops, to booth graphics, to handouts. It’s not a huge part of my business, but it definitely contributes to my income.

Other than current problems due to the general state of the economy, I haven’t heard anything specific about trade shows dying as a format. And, I’m curious if this sentiment is directed specifically at computer-related trade shows, or do people think trade shows of all types are on their way out.

Anyone care to comment on this?

2 thoughts on “Are Trade Shows really dead?”

  1. Yeah… we used to participate in trade shows 8-10 years ago. When they’re not local they are a big expense for vendors and attendees. The cost of doing business long distance via a trade show, really plays into alternative technology’s hand as a cost effective way to connect.

    In the mid ’90s it was amazing to go to Internet World in NYC and see the no expense spared sales tactics in a truly vast show. It didn’t last long though.

    I do think shows are becoming dinosaurs but I’m on the fence about how I feel. It’s great to get out there and meet people, see products, see competitors products and marketing strategies, but dollars are dollars and reality is here to stay. There will always be some shows, but I think for many industries they will be a luxury.

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