More thoughts on the current state of dental trade shows

April 16, 2012

By Kevin Henry
Editor, Proofs

My editor's note in the last Proofs e-newsletter (Do we really need all of these dental trade shows?) caused a bit of a stir. And I must say ... that's a good thing in my opinion. Thanks to all of you who sent me e-mails and comments on the topic. It's always great to hear from you, and refreshing to hear some different thoughts and ideas on the current state of local and national dental meetings.

As I alluded to in my last editor's note, I spent last Thursday and Friday speaking at and attending the New Orleans Dental Conference/Louisiana Dental Association meeting in the Big Easy. The weather was gorgeous, the jazz music in the French Quarter couldn't be beat, and the dental assistants who attended my course were pretty awesome. The festive mood, however, was different inside the exhibit hall where the hustle and bustle of New Orleans was nowhere to be found. I was there for both days during the lunch break, which was supposed to be the busiest time for the exhibit hall (as morning classes stopped at 11:30 and afternoon classes began at 1).

"So this is the busiest time?" I asked one exhibitor.

"Yeah," he scoffed. "Can't you tell?"

Actually, no, I couldn't. It was almost as quiet at noon as it was when the show floor first opened.

While I'm using the meeting in New Orleans as an example, I'm certainly not singling it out nor saying it's the only dental meeting in the country that is truly at a crossroads. The lack of traffic on the show floor is a problem that every dental trade show from New Orleans to Seattle to Boston is trying to figure out ... how in the world do we get those dentists into the trade hall? And if we get them in there, how do we get them to actually stop at more than the Colgate booth?

It's a problem that dental companies are trying to solve as well. How can you get the highest return on investment from exhibiting at a trade show? Is it really worth the cost?

These are some of the questions that we'll be exploring and trying to answer in the June print issue of Proofs. You've spoken loudly that trade shows are a huge concern to you and your company. We're going to bring you different ideas and opinions on the subject from all sides, so keep an eye out for that.

One final thought ... Sometimes we do things the same way just because they've always been done that way. While tradition is certainly something to honor and respect, it also shouldn't be something that enslaves people and keeps them from wondering if doing something different might be not just different, but better.

It's time we all work together to see how we can make dental trade shows different and better. Our industry needs that desperately.

Read on, this is your e-newsletter...