Too many shows, too little time...and money

SSN Staff  - 
Saturday, November 1, 2003

Your editorial (see SSN October 2003) regarding trade shows was quite timely. After spending way too much time out of the office at shows in the last few weeks, I can tell you some reductions are in order.

ASIS International is without a doubt the premier show. National Summit on Security or what ever it will be called in the future, really has no chance of success if the floor traffic was any indication of its prosperity. The vendors are all fed up with the ongoing expense and the back to back shows.

The 2004 show schedule will be a back breaker. Two New York shows? What a joke. There needs to be a one day “drive in” show in the New York area but two shows (at the Jacob Javits Convention Center), that’s a laugh. Consider this - both NEACC’s Northeast Security Systems Expo and Cygnus Business Media’s Security and Systems Solutions Expo in June, are a week apart. Is anyone in New England going to New York? Why would they? Reed in New York on a presidential election day, oh, I forgot, these are alarm installers who don’t vote... How about this spring - NSCA (National Systems Contractors Association) & ISC West two weeks apart in Las Vegas, talk about poor timing. Those poor vendors!

Maybe Reed should do two Las Vegas shows; they’d get great attendance twice a year and forget the East Coast. A New York show is a necessary evil, but you could do it close to the city and keep the costs for everyone reasonable. ASIS will always be the big gun and they are smart to keep moving it around. Their only problem is that they have gotten so big that they are going to have difficulties finding large enough locations.

I think that the “trade show gurus” have lost sight of what the dealer-installer-end user are looking for. We all enjoy running off to some exciting location for a little research and education a couple of times a year, but we’re not all going to travel to every big show. We can’t afford the time or the expense that is required. We need shows that cater to specific segments of the industry. ASIS is a great show for end users and integrators. ISC/NSS serves the larger installing dealer that is either local to the show or who can afford to travel. Small regional shows like NEACC provide a great opportunity for vendors to show their wares to their local customers in a much more intimate atmosphere. You can spend 10 or 15 minutes with a prospect or vendor without getting overwhelmed by the crowd.

I question the logic in the number of shows and the size of the venues that they require. I’m sure the gurus will spout off about the demographic surveys they use to do their marketing and planning but the reality is that there are just too many New York shows. I know that in theory competition is healthy but in reality, the industry just won’t support the number of shows that are planned for 2004.

Well, that’s my Monday morning quarterbacking.

Daniel W. Budinoff
Security Specialists
Greenwich, CT