Posts Tagged ‘macworld’

What If IDG Threw A Conference, And Nobody Came?

December 17, 2008

Veronica Belmont twittered that Apple’s 2009 appearance at Macworld Expo 2009 and will be their last.  This includes both exhibiting and delivering a keynote. (press release)

To quote the Apple press release, “Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers…Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.”

Just last week, Adobe (Macnn) pulled their booth and Belkin (Cult of Mac) pulled out entirely.

Trade shows usually fall into three categories, which are not mutually exclusive (meaning: they can do any or all functions at the same time).

  1. See and be seen: you go because it is “expected” of you and if you’re not there, people will start talking about how you’re maybe going bankrupt.
  2. Knowledge transfer: you have information that your customers or partners need, and the trade show becomes a forum to deliver this information.
  3. Qualified leads: a great way to get a stack of leads for your sales force.

The problem is, that to “see and be seen” is a luxury.  There are more efficient ways to transfer knowledge and qualified leads can sometimes be gotten cheaper, elsewhere.

So where does this leave IDG?  Assuming they even do a 2010 show (which, I’m sure they will try to soldier forward), they’ll be doing without two of the largest vendors in the market.  It’ll be interesting to see if other vendors use this opportunity to grab the spotlight, or if they follow and walk away.

But the real question. What you should be asking yourself is, how does this affect Apple’s marketing budget for 2010? Will the money that was in their “Macworld line item” be distributed to other marketing programs?  Or, will their overall marketing budget reduce?

Are they going to spend the money on something else, or “give it back?” In the press release Apple hints at things like the Retail Stores and the web as possible “alternatives” to their being at the show.  So, I suspect they’ll probably give up some of it and use the reset for something new.  Then pat themselves on the back for all the money they saved the company and write it up as a best practice (that’s how us marketeers roll)

I guess the one thing that kind of sucks about this, and this isn’t anything that Apple is necessarily responsible for, is the devastating impact this will have on the community aspect of the show?  With more people working remotely, trade shows are often the only way that we have face-to-face contact with peers and colleagues.  Reduced attendance by industry professionals from these companies means less interesting people to meet.  It also might mean less people overall attending the conference.

So. Like any Apple announcement, they throw the grenade over the hill.  Cue big Michael Bay-style explosion (IMDB), and now we wait to see what happens after the dust settles.