Trade Shows... My Perspective. What's Yours?
"I think inviting end buyers to our industry trade shows is hurtful to our industry in the long run. In the short run, it may feel enticing and will likely create an extra order or two. But ultimately, when we invite clients into our 'trade' shows, we are in essence saying, 'Look around, shop around, and see what catches your eye.' Even if escorted, and even if attempting to focus on a particular client project, when we include our clients in the 'shopping' process, we are (1) emphasizing the 'product' nature of our industry rather than the 'consultative solution' aspect (and 'product' focus tends to result in 'product-at-price' focus), and (2) even worse, by encouraging end buyers to shop and pick items out that they're attracted to, we take them one step closer to their 'shopping on their own' on the internet next time, without even including the distributor because they are in 'control' of product choice. This moves distributors one step closer to becoming dinosaurs."
Ron Baron, An Inspired Life
I am reserving judgment about this decision until I find out more information. On the one hand, I commend PPAI for at least trying to address something that has been happening "in secret" for years. Whether this is a good idea or a bad idea will remain to be seen. I can see the problems. I can see the benefits. What I think concerns people, and it rightfully should, is the blurring of supplier/distributor lines. But that's a topic for another time.
So, what is your opinion on trade shows and the new Hosted-Buyer program at The PPAI Expo? Will you be taking advantage of this opening and bringing a client? Why or why not? We welcome your opinion!
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