Book me a room at a big show

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Comdex may be off the calendar, but don’t for a second underestimate the power of trade shows and event marketing.
As our Page 1 story on the demise of Comdex—show producer MediaLive International says the fall event has merely been "postponed"—reports, marketers still have a great deal of faith in events, which many find to be a superb mechanism for collecting qualified leads.

And I wouldn’t count mega-shows out of the picture, either. As I wrote last August: "Look at it this way: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey wouldn’t have ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ if it put on a series of small, elephant-only circuses. Audiences are drawn to big events that aggregate a diversity of products and people."

Big, horizontal shows let attentive attendees inspect products and meet people outside their usual sphere. One danger of niche events—say, the 27th year of the Cable Splicing Professionals Association—is that they become much too predictable. Businesspeople aren’t that different from toddlers in this respect: Exposure to new stimuli causes excitement, learning and new ideas.

A word here about Webcasts. About a month ago, I moderated a live Webinar on IT marketing for CMP Media. I was startled by how sophisticated Webcasting has become. Not only was the quality of the video stream excellent, but the New York studio featured two cameras, a director, Teleprompters and a real-time, online interface for collecting and sorting audience questions. To begin your investigation into the marketing possibilities of Webcasting, start by searching our story archives at

Finally, there’s a coming Renaissance in event marketing. It will be driven by technologies, both for generating attendance and measuring impact before, during and after the show. Read more in our August issue, which will feature a special report on conference and event marketing strategies.

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