Being Special - FIT Show 2017
18 May 2017
With the FIT Show looming, Chris Coxon, Head of Marketing Manager at Eurocell; believes there is a great role for the show – especially with in the face of mega-shows like Ecobuild.
Thinking relating to exhibitions changes – almost as a fashion. For some manufacturers, they are fantastic ways of showcasing new products, meeting new and potential customers face-to-face and communicating – through the stand and the company’s people – a feel for the business, services and ethic of a company beyond simply its products.
For others, they are a waste of time and money that might be ‘better’ spent. They often believe, for instance, that in this brave new world the future – and the only future – is digital and virtual.
Yet: for installers, fabricators and others in the sector, there are few better opportunities to touch, try, taste (and even buy) a wealth of materials in one place in a relatively short period of time; meet suppliers and catch up with colleagues – even competitors – away from the ‘day job’.
The ‘noes’ to exhibitions are largely, in my humble opinion, mistaken – because for exhibitor and visitor alike; exhibitions, and the FIT Show in particular, are what you make them. My company – Eurocell – decided some time ago that we would support it properly and have done so now for a few years now (I have no idea – last year could have been the first time. Ask CC please).
This was for a combination of reasons, but underlying the decision was the sense, regardless of the time and money argument, that these shows are still unbeatable for what they do. Not that all other forms of marketing aren’t extremely valuable, or that some – the Internet is a classic example – have rendered exhibitions obsolete; but because all the good reasons – for both installer, fabricator and manufacturer – stated in the first few sentences still apply in spades.
As one of the biggest system companies exhibiting, I am surprised that the others don’t seem to have the confidence in themselves or the marketplace (or their budgets) to make this commitment. For Eurocell, exhibiting at the FIT Show is further evidence of our commitment to reaching and servicing the ‘true professional’.
Do we need monster shows such as Ecobuild of UK Construction Week and are they useful? The first question a visitor must ask is “Can I afford to go”? Will a show be worth sacrificing a day or two for – especially if working a five, five and a half or six day a week already? Will the show repay the loss of time with new products, information and contacts? In these cases, probably not.
The days of the giant shows are possibly over in the UK, because of the cost to the exhibitor, and because the lack of focus and super-size make it difficult for the visitor to get sufficient value out of the ‘lost’ time. The wastage – space, time, resource – of these mega-shows can be incredible.
As professionals, you obviously receive magazines and a blizzard of industry communications. A wealth of information on issues, new technology, techniques and brands is provided. You may be a member of an industry body which will provide you with courses, seminars or socials – with a bit of business thrown in.
You hold most brochures you need; suppliers and distributors are (hopefully) falling over themselves to get you involved with new products, breakfasts, competitions or other promotions. Direct mail litters your doormat, and, of course, the Internet is quietly asking to be searched.
And so why then bother with exhibitions at all. Well: still the great thing about something like the FIT Show is that so much there is ‘necessary’. There is so much information, so much to see, so many to talk to, and so much to help make informed decisions in a finite area over a finite period of time; that it would be daft – for exhibitor and visitor – not to go.
If you weren’t at FIT Telford last year, you truly missed out.
It really was quite special – as is our industry. The attendance was very healthy; the visitors were engaged – and engaging; the exhibitors had treated the show with due respect and there were many impressive stands; and the organization was excellent. Overall, there was just a great vibe to it. Of course, the move to the NEC may change the dynamic, but let’s hope not – and so then: another trip to FIT, Sir? I should say so!