The CorpComm Expo and EduComm Expo – both of them spin-offs from the mother ship Digital Signage Expo – were run for the first time last week in Atlanta, at the Georgia World Congress Center. I didn’t go, and was off all last week, so I sent a few emails around to get a sense of how the events came off.
The feedback: smallish attendee and exhibit numbers, as expected for a first-time event. But the old quality-over-quantity argument apparently has some teeth to it with this event. I talked to one industry vet who didn’t know what to expect, but came away impressed – rattling off a list of big banks, investment houses and major schools who came by the company booth.
He was also impressed that the event hosts, Exponation, were busting their butts putting qualified buyers in front of exhibitors on the show floor.
I talked to a speaker who said his audiences were not huge, by any means, but were very engaged, and he felt it was worth his effort and time to be there. My Preset partner Pat Hellberg was there talking to the higher ed crowd about their ugly baby content strategies, and also said it was a worthwhile effort flying out from Portland,
The co-located shows were positioned by show organizer Exponation as a way to educate C-level and middle management professionals in corporate communications and higher education on digital communications technologies, and put them together with vendors that are somewhat or wholly focused on those areas.
It makes a lot of sense, in at least a couple of ways:
1 – The big DSE show each year is a catch-all event that tilts a fair bit to retail technologies and messaging, and that retail bent doesn’t always have a whole pile of relevance to business and campus communicators;
2 – Corporate comms was somewhat overlooked as a vertical, but has grown into a very active market, and there are a LOT of schools out there, at all levels.
Andrea Varrone of Exponation (and now DSE’s show director) confirmed the show aisles weren’t jammed, but the attendee quality was indeed high. “The feedback from the advisory board and the attendees that we met with was really positive,” says Varrone, “and they expressed the need for this type of show for their industry.”
The response was good enough that Exponation plans to do it again, 13 months from now in Chicago. Brrr. But Chicago makes sense in a bunch of ways. Two of the big display companies are based there, and O’Hare is nicely central to get in and out of (weather permitting).