Why I don’t exhibit at UK audio shows

Howard Popeck writes: I wrote this in 2008 and unearthed it today. My views haven't changed.

It’s not just the many £1,000s exhibitors pay for a decent room, nor the standing up for hours on end talking happily to (in the main) very receptive, enthusiastic decent folk, nor the hernia-inducing activity of lifting, unpacking and so on. It’s not that, not really.

Moreover the rather happy feeling one gets as a successful exhibitor producing under the circumstances a tolerable-to-good sound is just not enough to compensate for the fact that for myself and many of my colleagues, it invariably ends up as a loss-making situation because when one tracks where the profit comes from (exhibition, internet, word of mouth), the exhibition does not bring in sufficient profit to cover the costs – in my direct personal experience.

Obviously my own absence and that of a few others I know will not detract from the generally good feeling to be had by one and all through attending. And I really really want these shows to be a success. And perhaps for some, they are.

There’s no question that meeting customers, friends and family of customers, and so on is a pleasant and in some instances humbling situation. Nothing wrong with a bit of humility from time to time. But it seems to me that show visitors in the main value the experience as a convivial and well deserved day out and not part of the pre-purchase research activity. In the nicest sense, lookers not buyers.

Thus an accountant might take the view ­– and it’s one I find hard to argue with – that an exhibitor is paying for rash self-indulgence with no measurable return on time, effort nor money.

My own view and that of other non-participating exhibitors would change if fresh faces appeared at shows. A influx of new blood. No one it seems, and I include myself in this, knows how to achieve it. Any thoughts?

Why are shows as we currently know them failing to deliver what visitors really want?

If they have been asked, then why haven't shows evolved?