rAVe: Kayye On Extron’s Opting Out Of Major Pro AV Shows

March 14, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Since breaking the news that Extron is no longer exhibiting at the InfoComm USA or Integrated Systems Europe shows two weeks ago, we’ve had a deluge of comments on our website, our LinkedIn page, our Facebook page and even ourTwitter feed. And, the opinions have been all over the place.

On one side are those that think this is simply a bad decision. Why? Well, they point out everything from, there’s no way they will have time to research all the new products Extron debuts over the course of a year and they’ve always used InfoComm as the venue to catch themselves up on all that’s new, to comments hovering around the absence of the big Extron party on night one of the show.

On the other side, there are some that believe that trade shows are a dying breed and that if Apple and Microsoft can live on without exhibiting, so can Extron.

But, one comment made me think (and forced me to write this blog). It came from someone who is somewhat anonymous – someone who goes by the name “Dylan.” But, he wrote, “Gary, many look to you for insight into the workings of the AV Industry and your blog here offers no analysis of this decision. While it is interesting to note your personal connection, I think many are looking for an in depth look.

I disagree. What I think isn’t as important as what YOU think. The readers of rAVe are Extron’s clients. So, let’s do both!

Although I don’t think my opinion is more important than the industry’s, you can listen to today’s Daily rAVe podcast to hear more about what I think: http://bit.ly/zhqr6H

As you can see, I truly see both sides of this issue as valid. On the one hand, Extron will most certainly be missed at InfoComm. They not only had a killer party each year – the one that most people attended annually – but they also provided an anchor presence to the show with their giant reflex-blue logo and ZERO-brand booth structure. It was familiar and wowing to see them just keep growing and growing.

On the other hand, do they really still need to be at a trade show? Their website is among the most viewed in our industry – with hits rivaling consumer companies. They had more Twitter followers before sending out a single tweet than all but a handful of manufacturers in the AV industry, and they have not only posted product spec sheets on their website on every single product they make, but also videos on many, as well as users manuals, product CAD drawings and applications pieces, too. This is way, way more information than you could ever get on a product while seeing it for 15 minutes at a trade show.

But, maybe the real loss here is the personal connection. Without a booth, will they be able to duplicate their personal networking accomplished at the shows?

Well, according to Extron, they hired 425 people in 2011 – probably one of the worst years economically for the AV industry (not as bad as 2010, but darn bad). That was nearly a 30 percent increase in employees for them – in one year. They said they’re opening up more regional offices all over the world, and they’re ramping up to handle more on-site education than ever before.

Certainly they can’t fly in and train all that normally attend InfoComm annually. But, with a staff of nearly 2,000 people, Extron can certainly talk to them pretty darn often and make sure they know what’s coming.

And, with new social media tools, you might be surprised at how personal they can get.

And, fair is fair. Here is what you think (these are the comments, so far, on our InfoComm 2012 LinkedIn Group (you can simply read them here, or click the blue JOIN GROUP and add you own comment of vote in our poll): http://linkd.in/zbaRc7

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