User Groups —Polischuk
In today's economic environment, many businesses are watching their spending drop to draconian levels. For some, it's a necessary part of what needs to be done to survive what is likely the worst recession in 80 years.With the trade-show season coming up, show management companies are making it as attractive as possible for companies to exhibit and people to attend. Incentives notwithstanding, shows such as CMM International, PRINT 09/PackPrint, and CPP Expo/Pack Expo are keeping their expectations grounded in reality.
One encouraging sign has been the attendance and participation at several recently held user group meetings. Since the beginning of the year, the 2009 Dscoop Annual Conference for HP Indigo users, the Kodak Graphic Users' Association, and the EskoArtwork User Group International all held what can be considered very successful events.
What gives user group meetings a leg up is that they are typically run by the user community—customers that are using products and/or services from a specific company. The user group meetings end up being a healthy combination of training, problem solving, product introductions, networking, and a relatively captive focus group for the host company.
EskoArtwork's user conference, held in May in Orlando, followed a relatively common format for events such as these. The company presented more than 60 conference sessions organized around topics such as structural packaging, digital flexo, and packaging workflow automation. Many of EskoArtwork's conference sessions were designed to present its latest product and service offerings as a training tool for its customers. This year, it held sessions covering its new HD Flexo technology, its Backstage/Nexus integration, and its EskoArtwork Tools 10 package of color tools, along with a demonstration center that included its new Kongberg XP samplemaking system.
The value of the conference sessions really stems from the two-way interaction between presenters and attendees. Many times the discussions revolve around problems the users have experienced and the types of features/capabilities they need to do their jobs better. EskoArtwork typically includes members of its product development team in the conference sessions to both help answer questions and to take note of those things the company needs to provide in the next generation of product enhancements.