A UK events company is busily recruiting vendors and end-users for a digital signage matchmaking event in greater London this fall.
The Digital Signage & Interactive Solutions Summit is one of those specialized events that sees vendors paying for access – both focused and relaxed – with interested, engaged buyers. So the organizers put it all together and manufacturers and solutions providers bankroll it.
Attendee delegates are invited to be at the event at no charge, and are put up in a nice hotel, fed, drinked, entertained, etc, with the understanding and agreement they’ll do a series of 25-minute one-to-ones with vendors who match their interests.
There was an event in 2018, and presumably it went well enough that the summit is on again at the same venue: the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted. The dates are September 23-24.
I’ve seen these kinds of events, and know that Exponation (which stages DSE) did them for a few years as getaway resort weekend things. More broadly, this is an oft-used format. I know there are a couple of events like this for retail – one fairly intimate and I can never remember the name, and then the ginormous ShopTalk show, which has a vast area at the back of its exhibit hall dedicated to vendor:end-user speed dating.
The curated match-up thing is important. I spoke at at event like this years ago and watched, amused, as a guy responsible for store design for a fashion retailer had to sit through 15-minute pitch/presentations from mounting bracket vendors and Intel, as everyone who attended as end-users was obligated to meet with every sponsoring vendor.
The UK event is open to 50 or so qualified purchasers of digital signage & interactive solutions, and 30 supplier/sponsors. The vertical markets span across retail, education, transport, hotels, restaurants, sports and commercial properties.
I know vendors who do these kinds of events – notably ComQi – and come away quite happy. It’s the polar opposite of a full trade show. No booth needed, and none of the associated work and time needed to pull that off. One or two people travel, instead of a team. And the meetings are pre-arranged.
On the other hand, I don’t know what the sponsorships for this event cost, and the cost per lead might be high versus a trade show that costs a vendor $50K but generates 75 warm leads, or whatever.
I would think the solutions guys out there – who can take someone like a QSR from strategy through execution and management – are probably better suited to these kinds of events than companies peddling specific hardware (like players) or specialized functionality software. Analytics might be the exception there.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.