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Trends in EDA-Semi Trade Shows

Lou Covey has a great blog on future trends in EDA-Semi trade shows [State of the Media]. I wonder if the parallel universes of professional society conferences – like the IEEE – are suffering the same dismal fate. One hopes that engineers/managers would still attend these highly technical events, even if the events don’t generate huge revenues for their sponsors. — JB

5 Responses to “Trends in EDA-Semi Trade Shows”

  1. Lou Covey Says:

    JB, From what I’ve seen, the IEEE conferences are not affected by the trends. IEEE keeps those event highly technical and academic. Attendance ranges from the dozens to the hundreds, and they are financed by member dues and attendee fees. While IEEE does participate in larger commercial shows, like DAC, they are not concerned with how many people show up of even if the exhibit is successful. They are only concerned with the content of the conference. Talking to a couple of IEEE muckymucks at DAC in San Diego, they admitted they would actually prefer to see DAC go back to a strictly techincal event without the marketing.

  2. Barbara Kalkis Says:

    Like every other form of marketing communication, trade shows need to change and represent the latest trends in order to survive. Many shows focus on building event revenue and number of exhibitors without considering that technologies, attendees, and the core businesses represented have changed. For example, Comdex thought it could continue to grow simply by adding exhibitors. The show company failed to recognize that its focus on computers had been obsoleted by the “3C” (consumer, communication, computing) convergence that was the heart of CES. Additionally, the sheer expense of the show made it too large for exhibitors to realize any ROI.

    Two other significant factors have also impacted trade shows. The first is that companies can now stage their own events and focus on sales generation versus revenue generation. Working with suppliers, business partners, and customers, these kinds of events will continue to compete against general industry and association events.

    The second factor is that exhibiting companies fail to market their show participation and they are not prepared to attract new prospects. Exhibitors focus on the design and graphics of the booth, the demos and displays — even the giveaways. However, they often fail to do any promotion, publicity or pre-show outreach to let anyone know that they were even exhibiting. When the show fails to live up to their expectations, they are disenchanted with events because they didn’t get any leads. It’s a self-made situation in many cases.

    EG3 (www.eg3.com) has an excellent survey examining embedded company marcom budgets. EG3′s survey indicates that trade show spending increased from 31% in 2006 to 35% of the total average budget in 2007. These results indicate that some form of event is still an important marketing tool to build business.

  3. John Blyler Says:

    Hi Lou. You’re right; the IEEE does focus on “highly technical and academic” content for their conferences. Still, my many years as editor and member of the administrative council for the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society taught me two important lessons that seem to hold for many of the other societies:
    1) Societies want to draw a larger crowd – meaning the working engineer, not just the academic folks.
    2) Societies have made a concerted effort to woo sponsors to help compensate for declining member numbers and offset the increases demanded by the corporate office.

    Regardless, I agree with you that the IEEE criterion for a successful conference is very different from the typical trade show criterion. Still, in this world of shrinking content vehicles, I think both groups will have to work more closely to succeed in any measure. — JB

  4. John Blyler Says:

    Hi Barbara. Good to hear from you. I fully agree that technical conferences must change to fit the times – just like print-online pubs. My experience with both hard-core IEEE shows and technical trade conferences (e.g., Penton’s Wireless Systems Design, Military Electronics conf and others) has taught me that such events need constant tending and pruning. And “hype.?

    Right on the mark in stating that companies can now easily stage “their own events.? Just talked with the nice folks over at Synopsys about this very point. Still, most of these same EDA companies do attend the other trades shows – big ones like DAC and DATE – and small ones like the IEEE shows. But the reasons have less to do with exhibiting their wares and more with presenting technology-related papers and participating on panels.

    Pre-show outreach: Don’t they let their clients know, e.g., in an events page on their homesite. Also, aren’t they listed on the conference website. Guess it’s more of a “pull? approach, i.e., customer can find them if they look.

    Concerning EG3: Who runs this site? Very nebulous. Also, where is the survey? Couldn’t find it. Finally, the site itself needs updating. They list EETimes as a leading pub in the EDA market. As well as a few others that seem equally questionable. IMHO. — JB

  5. Lou Covey Says:

    John,

    EG3 is kinda like Techonline, not really a news site, and they are focused primarily on the embedded space. It’s been around since 1994. While they are concerned with chip design, there is more of a software focus. They generally don’t cover any EDA company because the readers are more likely to buy design software from Fry’s than a $50,000 seat for a Synopsys tool. that’s an oversimplification but if gives you a basic scope.

    Regarding grow-your-own trade shows, I have a client that is pulling away from the larger shows significantly to focus on highly focused regional seminars. And it’s strictly a money issue. When they go to a large trade show, they come back with leads that take a year or two to turn around. Each seminar they do yields a significant sale within 6 months. The ROI for trade shows is 2:1 in 24 months. The ROI for a seminar is 10:1 in 6.

    They still participate in technical conferences, but the exhibits just aren’t making the grade anymore.

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