What if they held a trade show and nobody came? Well, if every company followed Husky’s marketing plan for 2013, that’s exactly what would happen. After announcing its intention to do a “Husky World Tour” in 2013 that would focus on existing and potential customers around the globe, the company noted that it would be foregoing its participation in tradeshows this year, including Drinktec and K 2013.
In the grand scheme of business, that’s a pretty big announcement. Of course it’s not the first time that a major plastics industry machinery manufacturer has bypassed a major industry trade show. Milacron did it back in 2003 when they decided not to haul molding presses to Chicago, but chose instead to have more of a “virtual” booth display. According to one source after the show, Milacron saved an estimated $2 million with that game plan.
We all know that the big plastics industry trade shows such as NPE and K are quite expensive. It involves setting up a manufacturing plant in a trade show venue—no easy (or cheap) task. And with the global economy in the tank over the past couple of years, many companies are evaluating where best to spend their marketing and promotional dollars.
Some trade show exhibitors have always complained that trade shows are filled with “tire kickers” rather than buyers. Still, when I’ve talked to them during and after the show, most seem happy noting that one good sale from a company they might not have encountered in any other way makes trade shows worth the money and the effort.
Another way to look at it is: at a trade show they’re sharing their customers and prospective customers with all their competitors. They don’t get their customers and prospective customers all to themselves. And the customers and potential customers don’t give the big machinery manufacturers their undivided attention.
‘Shotgun’ marketing – which is what trade shows are because there’s no control over who attends or who will show up at your booth – is less attractive than the targeted ‘rifle’ approach. In today’s global business climate, knowing your customers – and their requirements – intimately is critical to growing your business.
When a company does a “World Tour” and sets up a “trade show” of its own, it doesn’t have to share the attention, and it probably gets fewer ‘tire kickers’ and more actual buyers. It can target the exact customers and potential customers in the specific market being targeted. It also, as Husky points out, gives current and prospective customers “more direct access to Husky’s latest technologies at a local level.”
It’s a way to showcase Husky’s new technology with presentations and technical demonstrations offering what the company calls “targeted solutions” to its customers in core markets. That could ultimately result in bigger sales and better revenues.
Still, there are costs involved. With the company planning World Tour customer events in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, globe-hopping can get expensive and time-consuming. The advantage of a show like K-2013 is that the world comes to you so you don’t have to go to the world.
It seems that with the advent of the “Virtual World” anyone can be “virtually” anywhere at any time. The same goes for trade shows. Geographic location isn’t as key as it once was. Milacron proved that in 2003 when it chose a “virtual” trade show booth. And there have been projections by some that the “Virtual Trade Show” is the trend of the future. Yet, the fun thing about live plastics industry trade shows is being awed by these huge injection molding presses running 196-cavity molds raining parts by the thousands per minute; standing next to them, hearing the mold cycle, the ejectors knocking out parts, and feeling the thunderous vibration the machinery makes as it operates. That’s cool!
And we can be forgiven for being "tire kickers" because we do remember those booths with the spectacular machinery running amazing cycle times right before our very eyes. Not that Husky’s customers and prospects won’t be wowed by what they see. Husky always puts on a good show.
But, gee—the rest of us who expect Husky to be one of the main attractions at K with their large-tonnage presses and high-cavity packaging molds will sure miss them.