Metal Cutting Will Be at Booth 2442 — Will You?
Metal Cutting Corporation will be heading to California next month to attend the trade show and conference that bills itself as North America’s largest annual medtech event — Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West, being held February 6-8, 2018, at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. You can get more information and connect to MD&M West 2018 via our website.
In addition to hosting thousands of industry professionals, a wide range of educational tracks, and a huge expo of suppliers, MD&M West 2018 will offer ample opportunities to catch up with familiar faces and network with colleagues. But in today’s changing business scene, are events such as this becoming a thing of the past? Will YOU be attending MD&M West 2018?
Drastic Changes in Trade Publishing
Of course, with the advent of the Internet and social media, the ways in which people get and share information is changing across virtually every industry. Print as a medium is certainly shrinking, with trade magazines getting thinner and thinner, and many of them getting shut down entirely. When they get turned into online publications, they are clamoring for readers’ attention as always — but in addition they are also clamoring to be found via the search function and to be actually read by an audience with both limited time and ever more competition for their attention.
Some print resources have thrived and been able to transform into go-to websites that are happily bookmarked and referred to repeatedly. But others have simply slipped into the background, a shadow of their former selves. The advantages of reading on a screen are clear: embedded videos, easy links to other resources, the ability to forward and search content. But for readers, another huge advantage is the ability to click “delete” when a newsletter is pushed to them or simply never again pull up a bookmarked link.
Reports of Death Have Been (Maybe) Greatly Exaggerated
As for industry events such as MD&M West and other trade shows, the theory is that people will always want to physically go somewhere and gather together. However, often the biggest promoters of trade shows are trade show promoters. Some shows seem to be must-attend events with an obvious buzz, while others happen in half-empty aisles so devoid of attendees that a bowling ball rolled down the middle wouldn’t hit anyone. On Wednesday!
Change can come in a cycle, with an initial shock and premature predictions of doom that for a while prove unfounded, but then subsequent events confirm the downward trend, sometimes with remarkable pace. For example, online content and digital downloading was going to depopulate movie theaters, which for a time seemed resilient, perhaps (it was theorized) because people want to congregate regardless. However, with relentless increases in bandwidth and advances by content providers such as Amazon and Netflix, streaming by a new generation does seem to portend an accelerating downward trend for theaters (and physical retail locations generally). Is the trend for going to the movies the same for going to a trade show?
Our Theory About People
We do have a theory about people — and it is that they like annual events. Who doesn’t enjoy celebrating someone’s birthday? But imagine trying to convince your friends and family to celebrate your presence on the earth more than once a year! Religions have many different holidays, but most only occur annually. On the U.S. calendar, we have a few national holidays but none that repeat more than once a year.
We conclude from all this that people are comfortable with an annual schedule. Yes, people do look forward to catching up with industry peers — but maybe not more than annually. We can call, email, and even meet as needed during the year, but convening en masse, annual events seems to be the typical cycle. If you serve different industries (as Metal Cutting does), you might find yourself at a few different shows every year, but those address different topics, with different colleagues. To us, a penchant for annual events explains why some annual trade shows are a good thing and others are simply too much of a good thing.
We at Metal Cutting Corporation hope to see you at the annual MD&M West 2018 in Anaheim, as we think it is one of the most important yearly events for the medical device manufacturing community — a great opportunity to see customers, colleagues, and friends in the medical device business. We look forward to the warmer weather in Southern California, in what is the height of winter for us in our Minnesota and New Jersey locations. But we are also a little bit grateful that this gathering is not more than once a year!
What do you think? How relevant are trade shows to your business? How many times a year do you attend conferences? Please comment below — and while you’re at it, let us know if you will be at MD&M West 2018!
This week’s blogger, Joshua Jablons, is the President of Metal Cutting Corporation.