It’s always amazing at 3D print trade shows [Source: Fabbaloo]
This week we, or at least I, will be onsite in Birmingham UK at the annual TCT Show.
Large 3D print trade shows are critically important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that many vendors take the opportunity to make announcements on new products and services. If you’re physically attending, you might even have the opportunity to take a first look at a new device or material.
That’s my plan.
3D Print Trade Show Growth
There’s only one problem: time. The growth of our favorite technology has similarly resulted in the expansion of trade shows, particularly the key events where vendors vie for media and attendee attention. Consequently, our visits at such events are often quite frantic as we attempt to visit as many vendors as possible.
Sometimes it simply is not possible, as the grim arithmetic of trade shows takes hold: for example, to see 352 vendors in 18 show opening hours means you have only about three minutes each. That’s not a lot of time, and it gets worse at larger events and when you consider breaks for various bodily functions.
Sometimes we are simply unable to meet with vendors because of this.
TCT Show 2019
Nevertheless, I’m eager to see what’s happens at TCT Show 2019. I have a very strong suspicion there will be several key announcements taking place, and I’m looking forward to seeing any new equipment.
There’s another important aspect to such events, and that’s the action taking place in between the exhibitors and after opening hours. As you might imagine, there’s a significant amount of networking taking place between all parties.
I very often see CEOs of 3D print companies strolling the floor to examine competitors’ offerings — and sometimes chatting CEO to CEO. Our experience has been that many 3D print companies are woefully ignorant of competitor activities, usually to their detriment. Many times I’ve been introduced by a vendor to the “world’s first” something-or-other, only to inform them that there are already three other companies doing the same thing, one of which is across the aisle at the show.
3D Print Guerrilla Marketing
Another strange phenomenon that takes place at trade shows is the tactic of guerrilla marketing. This is done by companies that don’t have the funds to properly participate in the show itself or those registering too late to obtain a proper stand, but come as an attendee. They essentially exhibit their products off their back as they walk around.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been approached by a guerrilla marketer, who opens their long coat to pull out a large print sample to show me. The classic case of guerrilla marketing I’ve seen was many years ago, when Ultimaker roamed around Euromold, then the largest show for 3D printing, with a printer in a backpack. Periodically they would stop walking to set up the printer on the floor and show people how it worked.
For Ultimaker, those days are long gone, but it does demonstrate the tremendous possibilities available to anyone attending a trade show. I take the time to talk to the guerrilla marketeers, as who knows where they might end up years from now?
In any case, fire us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like have a chat in Birmingham.