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Just after we recently heard from the cancellation of major exhibitions like Fespa in March, a message that came unfortunately just after the publication of our issue 4-2020 of our printed quarterly magazine SignPro Europe, and the more recent news that also InPrint Munich 2021, originally to be held from 9 to 11 March 2021, will be postponed (and now will run) from 22 – 24 June 2021, we could say that – together with the cancellation of major trade events and exhibitions already in 2020 -, we have become in a situation where companies try to opt for webinars to showcase their products and galvanize their relationship with their customers and prospects, a development that will be perhaps even become much stronger present in the first half of the coming year.
But with the birth of online drupa events, even online exhibitions, and also online Fespa events, to mention just a view, to try to fill the gap of real life face-to-face exhibitions, companies dealing with the development and/or the selling of equipment for the wide format print industry are also organizing their own online events.
In the second half of this year we at SignPro Europe already had our hands full with online events, presentations of new products, online marketing studies and marketing and development events, and/or online trade exhibitions. Webinars mushroomed in the virtual world and it could almost become the de facto mode of communication in our industry.
What these companies and organisations sometimes seem to forget, is that there’s a simple remedy against the lack of objective communication between you and your customer: online and even printed trade magazines! The benefits are clear: we have a much bigger audience than most of those companies, and we even have potential buyers – prospects who’ve never even heard of some of those companies.
We guess that most of those online events do attract less than hundred, sometimes even less than fifty or twenty people watching at a one or two hours presentation. Major manufacturers launched webinars loaded with information, new technologies and meaningful discussions and panels. But it is impossible to sit there, behind your screen, looking to your screen, from early in the morning till the night is falling from the sky. So far, so good, but you probably feel there’s something missing…
What I mean is that there’s almost no personal view, no comparisons, no technical discussion, no critical sound regarding all what is been told on these online events. Most of it is one way traffic towards the prospects.
Like what was the case before and still is, trade magazines are in the middle of the producer and the user of all those tools being developed. If they are critical enough, future buyers and users of products for the graphic arts production industry do have a real platform for objective discussion and knowledge where products are being compared and being analysed by well-informed journalists with an overview of more or less all the other possibilities that are being developed in the same market segment and with more or less the same functionality, in the end to provide the reader with a range of questions he or she could ask in case of buying or selling.
We are still there, and we hope you will feel and see the power of our publications also in the coming year. We wish you all the best!
Ton Rombout – Editor-in-Chief SignPro Europe