CEW Trade Show Discontinued

December 29, 2014 by Dave Haynes


I saw news elsewhere online that Customer Engagement World – the annual trade show in New York – had been shut down, but wanted to get direct confirmation myself before relaying it here.

Joel Davis, the JD in show manager JD Events, confirmed for me via email that the news is accurate:

“JD Events has chosen to discontinue the CEW event franchise at this time,” says Davis, “in order to focus on new trade show opportunities in other emerging markets.”

So the show that went from being Kioskcom to Customer Engagement Technology World to (this year) Customer Engagement World is no more. I’m not sure where that leaves Lawrence Dvorchik, the passionate guy behind the show for many, many years.

It’s not all that much of a shock. I walked the show back in early November and was done within 2-3 hours. The event was clearly smaller than in past years and draped off in such a way to neuter any impression that the big convention center floor was only partially occupied.

I always liked the way JD Events ran the show, and appreciated the knowledge and enthusiasm Dvorchik brought to it. But the company clearly struggled with the show’s identity and mandate. Being just a kiosk show was too narrow, and bolting on a digital signage element (The Digital Signage Show, I think, was the handle for a while) made it look and feel added on.

I “got” the idea and mission behind re-branding as Customer Engagement Technology World, but it was SUCH a mouthful, as well as open-ended and kinda nebulous. Something simple like In-Store Digital would have worked for me, but maybe that’s something that already exists.

I also found, walking the show, that the vendors were ALL over the place in the last couple of years. You’d have some cloud-based companies with very progressive mobile and interactive retail tech, and then you’d have a row of booths with guys peddling things like thermal printers and the mechanical bits inside vending machines.

These last couple of years I also popped in next door at the Ad:Tech show, and the contrast in energy and crowd-count was staggering. I also sensed the lines were getting a little blurred between what was in the CEW hall and the Ad:Tech hall, and indeed there were at least two digital signage vendors at Ad:Tech instead of CEW.

That’s NOT, by the way, me suggesting DS vendors need to show at Ad:Tech (I wouldn’t).

The whole trade show thing is evolving, like most businesses. It’s so easy to demo things and sell online now, and producing demo videos and making them available on demand is something most people can now pull off. One to one conversations and in-person demos are still optimal, as is the efficiency of seeing a bunch of clients, partners and/or vendors in one concentrated spot and time. But CEW’s struggle and now demise is a compelling reminder that running events – even in a world capital and in a sector on a big uptick cycle – is anything but easy.

Thanks for some great events and conversations through the years Lawrence, and crew.

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