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Keith Warburton talks about the decline of the national reseller expos, and applauds the new smaller events that have replaced them...

Small events can create bigger business

Those of us with long memories can recall the heady days of the Computer Trade Show which peaked with 6,000 visitors, most of whom were genuine resellers, but with a healthy sprinkling of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs (students). Contrast that with the last showing of Channel Expo when exhibitors had to dodge the tumbleweed blowing along the aisles.

But as game-changing technology matured into relatively minor enhancements, and as the massive growth in the market slowed, there was less incentive to visit ‘national’ shows. With today’s ever-tighter margins, resellers feel they cannot spare time out to attend a national event when there is little likelihood of seeing or learning something new.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the position of distributors in the market, and their relationships with their resellers has become an increasingly important part of the equation. And let’s not underestimate the impact of ‘the communities’. Whether it’s CompTIA, Brigantia, NBG, Integra or Synaxon the information and communication services these organisations provide reduces the need and viability of large events.

But it is not all doom and gloom on the events front. What works today is any combination of the following: local networking for resellers by resellers; distributor roadshows in different parts of the country; Special Interest Groups in vertical applications or specific technologies; and seminars on new technology (provided the resellers don’t have to travel too far).

So we can give a big welcome to Synaxon’s Reseller Conference, EntaTech Live and CompTIA’s Channel Community events. They might be small, but they are perfectly formed to suit the needs of today’s marketplace.

Keith Warburton edits Telepresence and Videoconferencing Insight news at www.vcinsight.com, and is a director of CloudPresence, the global community for the VC market, as well as Ordermakers, a sales and marketing consultancy. He invites his industry contacts to keep in touch via LinkedIn.

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