Always Good Advice, “Trust but verify”—Trade Show Hype

I love our industry’s showcase events;  IWF and AWFS. What a wonderful opportunity to see our manufacturing community at its best. The world of manufacturing expertise comes to the US at these trade shows and shares their wealth of experience with anyone willing to take the time and effort to visit their booth. In addition to the hardware, software, and machinery, are the education classes and industry stakeholders such as our university programs and industry trade association.

For the most part, the value of your visit is in satisfying your agenda and ferreting out that tool or process that can make a difference. What I don’t like, on the other hand, is the ill advised “noise” of the so called gallery of excellent products otherwise known as the trade shows best of the best. The trade show organizers indulge in much fanfare as they select, through an “independent body of industry experts” those products deserving of your attention and commercial consideration. The entire process is flawed and is no more “independent” than a beauty pageant! I hope you realize that only those products that participate by submitting their information well in advance and with every detail and argument, are those that are considered. The perception that these items were picked off the floor deserving of an award by their overwhelming contribution to the industry is ill conceived. The same way that Miss America showed up that night with her ballgown in hand with hopes of being singled out on the merits of her looks and personality.

Therefore I offer the advice of, “Trust but verify.” Or even, “Not all that is true is marketing and not all marketing is the truth.” So, beware the fanfare of these contests, and determine for yourself which products offer you the features and benefits you demand. Look beyond the hype to those suppliers that understand what it’s like to be in your shoes. If anyone has the time they should go back over the years and see which of these best of best products actually contributed to our industry’s success, or even made a difference!

Thank you for reading my Sticky Note and good luck.