Hit by change: Graphic Communication Trade Shows

Mike Hilton, Publisher of Graphic Repro Online, published a great comment on the future of trade shows. Please read. And comment yourself.



Dear Andreas,

Backtracking slightly, but also show-related is the announcement leading Tuesday’s news from Informa Exhibitions, organisers of Ipex 2014 which I mentioned last week, following the withdrawal of HP, Heidelberg, Agfa and Kolbus. I have tried to consider carefully what Informa is now planning, in the form of an investment of one million pounds in a Hosted Buyer Programme. It would appear to be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction and again, I think they have misread and misunderstood what perhaps needs to be done. The way our major manufacturers need to do business successfully is changing and has changed dramatically in recent years, and to provide a freebie trip to equipment buyers is not an answer.


They would go anyway, so I really do think it’s a waste of money which could be better spent in getting the exhibitors’ customers’ customers to the event – the print buyers and the creatives and the marketing people from the corporates and the leading brand owners, who drive the ever changing demands made upon printers, in order to better inform them and to better educate them and to get them to better understand what the machinery manufacturers and software developers really have to offer printers today to boost print production and quality and to bring down turnaround times – from which they ultimately benefit. At the end of the day, this will then result in machinery sales, surely?


Hardly anyone these days actually goes to a show to buy a machine unless it’s been pre-arranged to provide show news. The process tends to be much more involved and take a lot longer over an extended period of time, unlike shopping in a supermarket. The initial thrust and attraction has to be beyond the traditional printer or print service provider – however large or small – and to get away from all the hype and to boost print on paper, board and other substrates and to then show how this can be extended further to multi-media… but it obviously has to start with or be centred around print!


A post-drupa article from Andreas Weber also highlighted this need after drupa in May, entitled: ‘Oops! Where have all the clients for print production gone?’  If you read the article (in our drupa Newsroom) and then combine Andreas’ analysis with what I have briefly tried to say in the paragraph above – then perhaps you will understand what I am driving at… and why I am critical. I just think that the show’s organisers are a little off-track and still do not understand what needs to be done – not just by them – but by all show organisers. I also don’t profess to know all the answers either, but it should not start with providing freebie trips for buyers! It’s been done before by many of the major machinery manufacturers and their distributors and has failed rather dismally at times.There’s a lot of other good news again this week covering a host of subjects from sales successes and installations to the latest developments and upgrades in software and inks, and much more for you to check out.


That’s it again from me until next week.

My best regards,

Mike Hilton

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