The future of the trade show has been mulled over in the OP industry for some time now. Times change, industries change and, most importantly, so do people’s attitudes. So now it appears that the trade show and what people expect from it is coming under closer scrutiny. Too much show and not enough business seems to be the increasingly prevalent viewpoint.
Recently, IT shows have felt the brunt of the drop in enthusiasm for these events with a rash of cancellations. That was one thing, but the clutch of high profile pull-outs from Frankfurt’s Paperworld event has really raised eyebrows in the OP world.
Paperworld is and remains the industry’s most important event; it is the Holy Grail of OP shows. A look through the reasons given for non-participation from the likes of Esselte and Fellowes shows a shift in marketing strategy. In particular, the catchword is "focus".
Essentially, it all comes down again to return on financial investment and time investment. Companies want to get their message across in a more direct and focused manner – the personal touch, if you will. The mentality of "my stand is bigger than yours" seems to be less in vogue nowadays.
Of course, Paperworld’s Ruth Lorenz is absolutely right when she says in our news analysis (see ‘Absent Friends’, page 28) that marketing strategies change and that some may well return next year to bolster the army of 2,700 exhibitors still expected to cram into the show.
Certainly OPI will be at Paperworld in 2006 again, with the European Office Products Awards taking place on 26 January with the usual gala dinner celebrations. But should those marketing strategies not shift back where will companies go to interact with their customers? One solution launched in reaction to this growing trend is OPI‘s own OPISource, which has been created following the success of its predecessor AsiaSource. Specifically created to provide that vital double whammy of return on financial investment and time investment, this expanded business forum for top OP vendors and buyers will take place in March 2006.
Attendees will be given the opportunity to meet up to 50 key buyers (global purchasing professionals with bona fide procurement budgets) over two days during private one-to-one meetings. The buyers will represent all channels in an event which features an extensive programme of networking opportunities.
So, if a stay in a luxury hotel in vibrant Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympics, and the opportunity to meet with the industry’s most influential buyers is what you are looking for, contact Heidi Rose on heidi.rose@ opi.net or call +44 (0)20 7634 9442.