Trade shows can be a lot of fun. Trade shows can be a lot of work. Trade shows can educate and entertain. For many of us, trade shows are a reflection of where our industry is and where it is going.
We have written what a waste of time and money it is for any optical shop owner to pay for their employees to go to a trade show and find them spending an hour or two waiting in line for a video game, a celebrity photo, or an embroidered t-shirt. Yet, those attractions continue to draw crowds, east or west, so the companies must feel they are getting something out of all that.
For most, a trade show is the place to look at new brands, new styles, new equipment, and new software. For many others, it is a place to continue their education, whether by necessity or curiosity. For most of us, it is a place to network. To see old friends and make new ones.
As a marketer, I go to trade shows to look at how our industry markets themselves to their customers, the ECPs of their given markets and how they feel they should market as well to the end consumer. I go to the shows to look at the booths, the displays, the signage, the lighting, the ambiance, ever bit as much as the product that each vendor is trying to sell.
I have been lucky enough this year to attend both Vision Expos, in New York City and Las Vegas. I attended another After Party, this time in San Francisco. The highlights of my 2019 were my first visits to both MIDO in Milan and SILMO in Paris.
At every trade show, you can find me walking up one aisle and down another with my gimbal, broadcasting live on Facebook. I get a large number of people who not only watch but thank me for sharing the shows that they were unable to attend.
Earlier this year we gathered all the MIDO videos in one story and the Vision Expo East videos in another. We want to present all our SILMO videos here for your viewing.
We believe EVERY optical shop owner or employee who wants to be an integral part of any practice should regularly attend trade shows. We advocate that you attend an international trade show every few years as well to get a new and different outlook on our industry. Traveling to MIDO, SILMO, opti, or 100% Optical isn’t that much more than traveling to New York or Las Vegas (depending on where you live of course), and the rewards for seeing something new and different and experiencing all that an international city can provide is well worth being crammed into a small airline seat for 6-8 hours.
We hope you will stay tuned in 2020 as we bring you even more videos from trade shows and events. There is much to learn about how people everywhere market their products that I believe we can all take something from.