In the Aisles —Tom Polischuk
It’s another busy year for trade shows. FTA’s INFO*FLEX took place in early May and CMM International held its every-two-year show earlier this month. Graph Expo (without the postponed PrintPack) and Labelexpo Europe will rule the roost in September, followed by Pack Expo and CPP Expo in October, this year heading back to Las Vegas.
By all accounts, INFO*FLEX had a good showing. This is a targeted flexographic printing event, run by its association, and is typically a good draw for suppliers and printers that are involved with flexography.
Unfortunately, the term “by all accounts” wouldn’t fit for CMM International. The aisles were never too congested and for the most part, the main entrance lobby was devoid of anything close to being called a crowd.
The exhibitors I talked to had mixed reviews. Many saw good traffic at times, but it dropped off throughout the day. One exhibitor lamented on the years gone by when a show such as CMM would have 100,000 visitors, and “we couldn’t carry all the leads we got.” With a little more than two days to go, this exhibitor counted 87 leads.
On the positive side, the idea of quality leads versus quantity seemed to be more than just a cliche. A number of exhibitors felt they were meeting key people—people that were truly interested in what they could offer and could do something about it.
This year’s show was held in Rosemont and although people generally missed the accessibility of downtown Chicago, the smaller venue got favorable reviews. The cavernous McCormick would have only added an unwanted dimension to the lack of crowds, as it did two years ago.
The bright spots for the show were the Technology Centers—Flexible Packaging and Narrow to Mid Web. These were set up to help make sure that attendees would see the heavy equipment in operation that distinguishes trade shows from other means of getting information. During the demonstrations, there was typically a healthy crowd of interested spectators. Companies that participated in these solution centers definitely felt they benefited from their involvement. If there is anything that CMM can build from to move forward in the future, it would stem from these Technology Centers.