Tuesday, 01 March 2011 13:16

Are Trade Shows Going to Take Us Back to the Future?

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I admit I used to be a trade show junkie.  I loved seeing all the new contact center products in one place and meeting with company executives that I rarely got to see otherwise.  I met with customer service professionals from many different industries and never failed to learn something.  It was time well spent.

I used to chair conferences in London, Amsterdam and Toronto every year and was a regular speaker at conferences all over the country.  I hosted or attended dinners every night and made the most of every minute running from appointment to appointment and meeting as many people as I could.  Those were productive and educational times.  Then they went away.

The changes began in about 2007.  Trade show booths were replaced by table tops.  Company executives stopped coming and sent local sales reps instead.  And the buyers?  They just stopped showing up.  The last trade show conference I participated in was ICCM Canada in 2008.  The last trade show I went to was the ACCE show in Phoenix and it was a waste of time.

I didn’t go to Enterprise Connect, formerly VoiceCon, this week because I haven’t yet seen any evidence that trade shows have improved since they took their 2007 nose dive, but I was surprised to see press releases this week touting company “booths” on the show floor and appearances by company executives, like Mike Sheridan from Aspect.  I know a few other execs, like Tim Kraskey from Calabrio, will also be there.  Does this signal a turnaround in contact center trade events – perhaps even a throwback?

I’m looking forward to hearing about the Enterprise Connect from those who attended.  I’d like to think that the return of the industry event, where we speak to each other face-to-face instead of over Facebook, is making a comeback.  I hope so.
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