22nd February 2007

Of course, the trouble is…

Cutting edge, incisive dissection of our industry or ludicrous sweeping statements, you decide as you read ten things our roving reporters were told this week at Confex…

1 Most marketers in this industry are actually carrying out visitor promotion rather than careful brand building

2 It’s very clear that whether we like it or not, London is the place in which the overwhelming majority of people want to run their events

3 The number of different towns and cities at Confex shows that there are some very real, viable, exciting and better alternatives to London

4 If we want to get to the big world-brand companies we’ve got to realise that these guys work years ahead and have targets set for then, not some sort of piecemeal short term solution that a lot of us are offering

5 You’ve got to feel sorry for the organisers, they’ve put in a lot of effort and have created a really worthy show where a lot of people seem to be doing some good business. But, as always, there are the sandwich eaters, sitting at the back of their stands, eating and drinking all day, not engaging with anyone, preparing their list of complaints about how poor the show was

6 There were people offering croissants and pain au chocolat at the entrance, one guy came up to me and said “croissant sir”. “I know, you’re right,” I replied.

7 Don’t get me wrong, I love exhibitions, after all, I’m in the industry and thoroughly enjoy it. But, I’m sometimes not sure that if I were doing something else I’d actually want to go to one. That’s the reality that we all must face.

8 I came into this industry knowing absolutely nothing about it and thought, why would they want me. I then realised that it doesn’t matter what you do, there are certain core values that apply to any industry and, if you have a plentiful supply, you should be able to turn your hand to most things

9 Opening morning and I’m feeling lousy, went out for a couple last night and it turned into several. Still, five bottles of red and a bottle of champagne later, the guy I was with and I agreed a very handy and lucrative deal. Yes, it’s the face to face aspect of this industry that’s important.

10 We’ve got to beware of complacency. I’ve just spent several years working on various projects around the world and it’s clear that some of those people are streets ahead of us while others are catching up very fast indeed. The trouble is that when you’re at a show like this where things are clearly going well, visitors and exhibitors are happy and there’s clearly a buzz in the air, it’s easy to think that everything in the UK is fine and to forget that we’re facing some very intriguing, but at the same time dangerous, problems

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