As I write this there’s definitely a bit of a buzz in the air surrounding this month’s ETO Show. It’s easy to be cynical about trade shows, and some people are – regardless of which event they are visiting. “Same old shit but in a different box,” one retailer said to me last year at a European show. It was an outrageously unfair comment but that was how he saw it. I thought of him when I was putting together the ETO Show preview in the June issue. Part of that feature includes some tips for getting the most out of the show and I (rather pointedly, I thought) used the phrase, ‘the benefit you get out of the show will be in direct proportion to the effort you put into it’.
Trade shows, whether they are in America, Germany, the UK or elsewhere, are actually the lifeblood of the industry. They are where all sectors of the business come together, compare notes, see how the competition is doing and source the next big thing. And the social side should not be underestimated either – for once, you can talk about ‘work’ over a few beers without worrying that the conversation will shock or upset the people on the next table, even when you drop the name of a Pipedream Mega Masturbator. And with AITA wrapped up, trade shows provide us with a rare opportunity to socialise with and get the goss’ on our frenemies.
There’s only one trade show in the UK this year so I hope you won’t let it pass you by.
Something else I have noticed over the last few months is that there appears to be more confidence in the market, which augers well for the future. The major players have become very slick operations indeed over the last few years yet we are still seeing ambitious new start-ups entering the market, often with innovative new ideas and a different way of doing things based on their experiences in other sectors. As an example, almost 20 of the exhibitors at this month’s ETO Show are attending their very first UK trade event.
Same old shit but in a different box? I don’t think so.
See you at the NEC!