Are Trade Shows Extinct Yet?

Art Petty asks, "Marketers, Are Trade Shows Extinct Yet?"

I used to love trade shows, especially the ones in Las Vegas and Reno. Maybe because no one cared if you had a drink at 10am and you could smoke everywhere. Perhaps it's because I'm secretly tacky. In any case, I don't do many trade shows any more. When I do attend, I'm there as a speaker rather than an exhibitor.

That's always been my rule: if we exhibit, we must also speak. Some conferences, like the government, want sponsor's money but not the sponsor. You want my money? Then you get me as a speaker. Don't want me as a speaker? No money for you.

Trade shows are hard to justify based on ROI; webinars are easy to justify.

I love conferences--you are face to face with the industry, competition and customers--but I don't do them much any more; they're too expensive.

I hate webinars--the format is stilted, you can't see facial expressions, the Q&A process is confusing--but I do them all the time because they're rather cheap and usually effective. (I'm doing a webinar on The Four Roles of product management. Join me!)

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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