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Views from the trade show floors: Part two

In part two of our trade show feature, we find out more about the targets being set and met at recent shows, as well as some of the pleasant surprises that only in-person events can conjure

Describe the show(s) from a business perspective; what targets did you set and were you able to meet/exceed them? Any surprises along the way (chance meetings that led to business/leads/prospects)? 

Craig Bury, CTO, Three Media
Our objectives for this year were different to previous years, especially given that the show was on a much smaller scale, and we did not have our own booth this time around. Usually, we have meetings booked throughout the show, where we would talk to current clients, broadcasters and service providers but 2022 has seen a significant reduction in numbers of this type of attendee, both visiting and exhibiting.

One of the primary aims was to re-establish contacts and to meet with select vendors that we knew would be in attendance. Secondary to that, our focus was on picking up new clients through our consultancy services and XEN:Pipeline product as well as push some of the new technologies we have been working on over the past couple of years. With registrations down the show floor was less busy, so it was much easier to get around. 

The newly opened Las Vegas Convention Center Loop system was a welcome addition to quickly get from the North/Central halls across to the new West hall.  I came away from the show having met my objectives… and then some.

The crowds were back for ISE 2022 in Barcelona

James Kirby, senior market analyst, pro audio, Futuresource Consulting
Speaking for the professional audio team at Futuresource, ISE this year demonstrated big change for us. We’ve been working in the pro audio sector now for about six years, but the support we’ve provided to both clients and contacts over the past few years has not gone unnoticed. We always said we’d be here through ‘thick and thin’, but I think going the extra mile during the pandemic made us a lot of new friends. It was great to see the result of this in both our conversations and the breadth of companies we spoke with; both long-standing clients and new contacts.

One thing that did surprise us, and maybe meant we didn’t speak with everyone we should have, was just how in-depth our conversations were. We definitely had to spend more time with individual clients at the show than in previous years, but that was a good thing and much needed after the two-year hiatus.

Laura Cabarcos, senior account director, Bubble Agency
There was much uncertainty around the return of trade shows, and from a business perspective, Bubble has invested a lot of time and effort planning for the right strategy for their return.

The cancellation of IBC in December 2021 acted as a catalyst in our decision to invest resources in NAB, being Bubble’s first big international show on the agenda. Here we hosted Bubble House, which was very well attended both by clients and industry professionals (from press to analysts and industry bodies). This was our way to celebrate the official return to shows and the enthusiasm for it exceeded our expectations. 

Margaret Travis, global head of marketing and communications, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services
Coming back to in-person trade shows after two full years, with a brand that is still relatively new to the UK and European market (although we’ve been serving the market for 40 years), our business goal was to get a foothold of awareness for our brand and our experts in tape restoration, digitisation, and digital preservation; and based on the heavy traffic to our stand and quality conversations we had there, we feel we were able to do that in a very targeted way at the show that might not be possible with online-only. The leads we were able to generate from the stand were fantastic, but for this first show out, they were icing on the cake rather than the main course.

Hans-Juergen Desor, CEO, iWedia
There was much uncertainty around the return of trade shows and from a business perspective we’ve invested a lot of time and effort planning for the right strategy for their return. For NAB, being the first show on the agenda, we opted for a smaller presence, with a suite at the Westgate and it was later for Convergence India Expo that we confirmed shows were back in full bloom and opted for a stand. We can now successfully confirm that both business decisions were the right strategy to follow and so far every show has met our expectations. It has been great to reconnect with customers, partners, press and analysts. 

Daniel Haikin, chief marketing officer, Cooke Optics
Exhibitions are expensive on a per person basis, clearly. But one needs to consider the depth of experience they facilitate, not just the customer numbers. For Cooke, we make products which are chosen on the basis of highly nuanced subjective characteristics so face-to-face contact is really essential to that culture.

Cees van Versendaal, COO, MwareTV
MwareTV exhibits at trade shows around the world with a focus on meeting with new prospects to talk to about our turnkey multi-tenant cloud middleware TV platform. We also connect with current customers and in some cases we sign deals with ongoing potential customers, which was actually the case at NAB. Only time will tell if the new leads generated will turn into a success story for all parties, but so far it’s looking very promising with some great post show conversations.

Alexandra Jakins IDS inside sales executive, Densitron
From a business perspective, we had a record number of pre-booked meetings. However, our stand also attracted a lot of spontaneous interest and meetings. Some of our big target customers came back on numerous occasions in order to show our solutions to their colleagues and key decision makers, which was great to see. As a result of that, we are now in continued discussions with our customers and do expect some great outcomes. I personally feel that expectations have been exceeded by attending and showcasing our solutions at NAB 2022. 

Georgiana Verdonk-Sim, director, global marketing, Caton Technology
In advance of the show, we had pre-booked meetings with key potential clients and partners. But you can’t beat those opportune moments when walking around the show floor, bumping into existing contacts and the introductions that they can bring. The likes of Zoom and Teams cannot ever replace that and it’s why we attend as many shows as we do.

Martin Mulligan, SVP sales and operations, PHABRIX
PHABRIX had lowered expectations of attendee numbers at each show as trade shows returned after a two-year absence. We planned to have a good presence but mindful of the costs if attendance was low. At each show, we collected contacts and leads as normal, and we’re amazed to see the numbers obtained were mostly new leads, meeting and exceeding the same show levels pre-Covid.  

Alison Pavitt, sales and marketing director, Pebble
We hit our targets for the number of organisations we wanted to engage with and leads generated. Delivering innovative solutions for hybrid cloud playout and supporting broadcasters as they make the transition to more flexible IP-based technologies, means we have long sales cycles. Our core customer base are broadcasters and service providers and we also work with channel partners to leverage their knowledge of local markets on a global scale. So for us trade shows are about generating quality leads, and the start of building long lasting relationships based on trust and transparency, as well as providing current customers updates on our vision for the next few years.

Paolo Pescatore, technology, media and telecoms analyst
My role as an analyst is largely to be the eyes and ears on the ground; what’s the buzz on the show floor, what are the key themes, the weird, wonderful and crazy. However, with fewer exhibitors and in turn visitors it was a wonderful opportunity to spend more time on the show floor. Also, bump into people who I haven’t seen in a few years. This in turn has led to new connections and other opportunities.

Dan Pike chief product officer, Covatic
The biggest surprise – or unknown – was winning an NAB Product of the Year Award. We’ve never really prioritised gongs but it was fantastic to receive such hallowed industry recognition for what we’ve achieved with A-Type. And I’ll admit it was fun to find myself on-stage picking up a statuette on behalf of the team. It certainly beat a virtual event on Zoom. In terms of targets, our aim ahead of the show was quality leads over quantity. We certainly got the quality leads we were seeking and the show exceeded our expectations in terms of buzz and footfall.

Dorota Bouskela, senior marcom manager, Ateme
We actually did a lot better than expected. The number of leads was great; possibly because we now demo a wider range of solutions than we did pre-pandemic, with complete streaming solutions including packaging, CDN and dynamic ad insertion, as well as a solution for media supply chain. The nice surprise was that, whereas pre-pandemic people would come to our booth only for scheduled meetings, now we are seeing more people passing by. The serendipity is very positive! 

Nicole Corbin, senior director, Utelogy
As an organisation, we were unsure going into ISE what the turnout would be this year as it was our first large event that we have exhibited at since 2020. Our main goals were to set up meetings with prospective customers, set up press interviews, and test the waters at the new Barcelona location so we could better prepare for the years to come. The number of qualified visitors that came to our booth exceeded our expectations for this event. We were also pleased with the quality of on-site press and the amount of social media traction we received.

Rachel Archibald, director of marketing, Clear-Com
Our primary goal was to simply re-connect with people and have a chance to catch up. We realise that many business models have changed during the pandemic, and we wanted to learn more about how our partners and users were working in today’s market environment. Secondly, we wanted to give people a chance to try out our latest products, the FreeSpeak Edge Base Station and Arcadia Central Station. We were gratified by how many people came to the stand asking for Arcadia by name! I think we were also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the projects being brought forward by the attendees, and the amount of business happening in the industry.

Gergely Vida, CEO, Lightware Visual Engineering
At this year’s ISE, our main goal was to finally meet our partners again in person after a long time, to introduce them to the new developments through our live demos. Secondly, to expand our recently launched AV Integration business model with additional business partners. Last year we officially became Cisco Official solution partners, and we are cooperating with more and more industry companies to further develop this model. It was great to see that this mission is not only important to us, but individual companies are also looking for opportunities to work with Lightware.

In addition, we wanted to connect with press and we’re pleased with the quality and amount of press in attendance. And it’s already icing on the cake that we won a Best of Show award with our flagship product, Taurus. 

John Wastcoat, SVP alliances and marketing, Zixi
In order to push projects forward, create new business and partnerships, the immediate short-term goal of 100 meetings is the target that we like to set for an event like NAB, and have everybody booked from start to finish each day. Target achieved. The show started on a Sunday this year for the first time, and the assumption was that people would be there from the start, but the reality was that a lot of individuals didn’t fly until Saturday so the first day was slower than Monday or Tuesday.

Deidre Joubert, head of market development, Telstra Broadcast Services
We didn’t set strict targets, as it’s hard to predict how things will go around trade shows now. We went into NAB with lower expectations, but we were very encouraged by the overall attendance, but also that a great number of attendees were from the C-suite. We had a full calendar of media, analyst, and new business meetings. Great to reconnect with journalists to discuss the market and provide them with an update of what TBS has been doing and our ongoing plans for the rest of the year. We also had some really exciting commercial discussions and qualified a great number of leads. From a business perspective, NAB was really worthwhile.