I read Bill Carlino's editorial on trade shows ("Trade-show graybeard," Oct. 5-18, 2009, page 8) with some interest. However, you may be off a little on some of your facts.
The 2009 Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase was great, and increased attendance and exhibit sales in 2009 over 2008.
Many factors contributed to this increased activity in 2009:
1. The economy had moved into a more optimistic mode beginning about August 1. Case in point: We had 13 new exhibitors deciding to exhibit in the last 30 days prior to the show.
2. Show attendance increased from the previous year, to over 2,300. We did have a pick-up in attendance because it was a CPE reporting year, with September 30 being the deadline for Illinois CPAs.
3. Flagg Management Inc. managed and produced the show for the first time. We had wonderful support, cooperation and collaboration from the Illinois CPA Society.
You were accurate in stating that during April/May 2009 of the economic crisis, trade-show exhibit sales were off. Surprisingly attendance was up for 2009 shows in New York, New Jersey in May, and California.
CPAs want to know what new technology is available, and they can do it efficiently at shows with exhibitor demonstrations and active on-the-show-floor operations. CPAs also want networking opportunities and live CPE presentations where they can give and take on technology and accounting issues.
We want you to be proactive in talking about trade shows as mechanisms for face-to-face relationships. Blackberries are fine. But weddings, birthdays and trade shows require people-to-people relationships.
Flagg Management Inc.
New York City
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