The general thinking in the US is that as Omicron loosens its grip, the pandemic will also recede to become something a recurring seasonal illness like the flu and colds—annoying but not deadly. Eventually, that probably is what happens but in the meantime, companies are rethinking their marketing strategies.
|2019 was more important than we realized. NAB, IBC, CES, and NAMM all suffered sudden closures due to Covid-19 but they’re coming back in 2022. (Image courtesy of Avid)|
Avid has announced that it has decided to pause its participation in tradeshows throughout 2022. The company says it doesn’t plan to participate in the conferences organized by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), or National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). In short, Avid won’t have an official presence at the major tradeshows for its customers for 2022 but, the company says, they will be sending Avid employees out to talk to folks and to gather news.
|Trade show analysts CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) tracks the decline in trade show revenues in 2020 and 2021 after the arrival of Covid-19. Showing a real talent for looking on the bright side, CEIR says the U.S. business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions industry improved significantly in 2021 after seeing exhibitions drop 100% in Q2 2020.|
More important, though, is that the company is rethinking the ways in which it wants to connect with its customers. Avid, which has gone through a very difficult rebuilding period has regained its equilibrium. The company was an early pioneer in enabling remote workflows to serve its news and broadcasting businesses. It pivoted to remote and now it’s pivoting to cloud-based workflows.
In a statement, Avid CEO and President, Jeff Rosica said:
“In the two years since we’ve exhibited at large trade shows, Avid has been successfully reinventing how we engage and interact with colleagues around the world. The community’s resilience amid the pandemic, and our collective progress in spite of it, is extremely encouraging. That’s why across Avid we’re confident we can continue the momentum through our mix of small, focused events and digital programs. We also remain true believers in the reach and connectivity that the industry’s professional organizations can deliver and we look forward to collaborating with them in new and exciting ways.”
Avid has used NAB as the site of its Connect users’ conference to present information on its latest products and the trends it’s seeing and get feedback from the user community. The company also uses NAB to meet with investors. Traditionally the company has also had a huge booth at tradeshows. In fact, NAB has several anchor exhibitors holding down significant chunks of real estate on the show flow. The whole commitment is very expensive.
Looking forward, as Rosica’s statement makes clear, the company is not abandoning trade shows and meetings, but they’re more carefully picking their fights and they are delivering much more online. It makes a lot of sense and tradeshows are also having to adjust to present more content online, and freely. What then becomes the product is not the information, but access. The ability to bring specific problems to a meeting, or to meet with company representatives and ask about future trends or get advice about spending.
What do we think?
If this had been written a couple of weeks ago I might have said that trade shows will forever be smaller with more online content, but now I’m not so sure. Even in several days, it’s taken me to write this, I’ve seen invitations and announcements come for large company meetings and trade shows. Companies get lonely too, and now they’re very excited to be in contact with their customers. Avid is wise to look at smaller meetings and targeted get-togethers though. There may be a lot of moths in the crowded show booth and even potential clients might need a little breathing space to ask the right questions.