March 1 Proofs Note from the Editor

Feb. 28, 2011

By Kevin Henry
Editor, Proofs

Another Chicago Midwinter has come and gone. It was a fast-paced, meeting-filled trip to the Windy City, and I was thankful to see so many good friends during my time on the show floor. I asked several of those friends for their impressions of the show, and many of the responses seemed the same … slow first day followed by a busy Friday and Saturday. The overall response I heard from my straw poll of exhibitor friends was positive, with one calling it the best show he’d seen in the last year.

Apparently though, one exhibitor had had enough of trade shows … even before the 2011 trade show season began. Darby says in a widely sent letter, beginning with last month's Yankee Dental Congress, they are no longer attending the “big six” meetings. Rather, they will focus on study clubs and smaller, more intimate meetings. Their perception is that dentists don’t have to attend the show to receive special pricing, so why spend all of that money to exhibit?

Also in the letter, Darby states its belief that there is no ROI for most companies and that was a major reason for not exhibiting. Darby also cites a perceived lack of interest among the dental societies to generate the much-needed floor traffic.

Honestly, it’s fascinating timing for me as I have devoted a large part of the March print issue of Proofs to the current state of trade shows and whether they’re still a vital part of the dental industry. After speaking with trade show representatives, the Dental Trade Alliance, exhibitors, and attendees, I daresay it’s one of the most in-depth articles presented on the subject. Darby’s letter adds another element to the story. Will this begin a domino effect for other companies, or is this just an isolated incident? Time will tell, but among the people I spoke to at Chicago, everyone is interested to see the next step for everyone involved.

Speaking of trade shows, the IDS meeting in Cologne is just three weeks from opening its doors. It promises to be another huge (literally and figuratively) show filled with new technologies and products. Make sure you check out my video interview on IDS in this issue by clicking here. If you’re heading to Cologne, please let me know. I’ll be there, providing daily updates to you on what I see on the IDS show floor. I’d love to sit down and talk with you over a Kolsch.

Keep an eye out for the March issue of Proofs. I’m not giving away too much, but I believe the cover will definitely grab your attention.

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