Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Show Time!

IT Shows. They are like weeds. Cut one down, two more pop up. We have all been to so many shows. It makes you wonder, which ones are worth going to, which ones should you pass on? Well that all depends on what you are looking to get out of these shows.

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Are you a vendor, a provider, an end user? Are you looking for new products, services, customers or ideas? Depending on what you are looking to do or get out of a show, you will be able to fine one for you. Big vendor major shows like the Computer Electronics Show (CES) or the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference, Midsize shows like IT nation or SMB Nation, or local events or roadshows. Multi-vendor, single company, or user group.

Want to know the truth? They all have something to offer. Why are there so many? They work. If they didn’t work, they wouldn’t exist. Now I guess I just have to define “Work”.

It is a good deal for the vendors. Vendors generally get a good opportunity to sell or market to an interested group of people, so the ROI can be very good. Even vendors have to make decisions about which shows match their needs. As a vendor I have been at many shows that didn’t make sense from a sales perspective, but from a marketing and a supporting the channel perspective, was a home run.

It is a good deal for an attendee. The ability to meet with many potential new vendors, if you are looking for that, is huge. The ability to learn. Most IT conferences provide some level of education. Peer panels, experts, certification classes, can often be attended. Hanging out and having a good time with your friends. HUGE! Truth be told this is the reason that many attendees go to shows. Beer. While that is mostly true, the real attraction to hanging out is the face to face social interaction with peers. We live, sell, breath, work with technology, but we want to party with people.

Overall, there are many OK events, several good events, and a few great events. If you ask 100 different IT people, the numbers are the same, the events they think that are OK, good, and great would change. So what this means to you is, if you are looking to attend a show and wonder if it would be a good show for you, ask your like peers what events they have been too that they liked.  Now ask them why they liked it and what they got out of the event. Make sure they were looking to get the same things out of a conference that you are.

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