Should I attend distributors' open days? It's well worth going the extra mile
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
24 October 2011
Open days might not attract vast numbers but those who do attend are normally seriously interested
In recent times there's been a spate of open days, road shows and other events all acting as spurs off the main trade show circuit with each attempting to lure potential and existing customers along for a different, more concentrated type of viewing. From the viewpoint of a manufacturer, unlike an exhibition where it's a bit of a free-for-all working out who actually goes to see what, these smaller options can be tailored more to local print shops and sign-makers, and often incorporate collaboration with complementary suppliers.
We've all read about the successes of HP's latex bus as it's done its rounds of Europe and finally making its way over to the UK. These road shows have been particularly successful because they house a very specific technology in one place, making it easy for visitors to glean more information about what's being demonstrated. Likewise, open house events held at customers' premises are also proving to be popular and, having attended some of these this year both at home and abroad, they give a fascinating insight into how display producers run their businesses as well as displaying the equipment they're using.
These smaller events are often positioned to gain maximum attendance in different parts of the country, thus making it easier for visitors to give up a few hours of their working day to go and have a look. Others are held in their main offices which, while not having the advantage of showing what goes on behind the doors of a typical print and sign company, benefit from a showroom environment which, increasingly, is used to demonstrate a complete workflow and not just one type of printing machine.
Nonetheless, reasons for holding open days aren't purely altruistic even though they tend not to be pressurised selling environments. Of course manufacturers and suppliers want to promote their solutions, in the same way that PSPs opening their doors to potential customers want to win their orders. But a non-pushy environment where visitors can be left to wander and to network is a good follow-through from a conventional exhibition platform where there's often a scrum to see the intended print solutions and little time for an in-depth inspection.
Open days tend to attract the seriously interested, too, rather than the tyre-kickers. We all dutifully trudge off to trade shows because our intention is to cram as much information as possible into our visit between flights or lengthy drives to and from the venue. On the other side of the coin, specialist graphic and printing events are now proving worthwhile for people who want to go the extra mile and spend quality time with the printing technology and the people who drive it.
Comments in chronological order (Total 1 comments)
26 October 2011 4:40PM
I believe Open Days are a good opportunity for Suppliers to give dedicated time to customers when they are looking at investing in hardware. At DPI our aim is to allow customers to make a choice between the products we sell and service, to be able to compare technologies and put the machine through it's paces. When the Digital Print Innovation Centre is fully up and running we will be able to show everything from a Grand Format Production workhorse such as the Virtu RS25 Quantum, a mid range Jetrix UV Flatbed, eco solv roll to roll solutions from Seiko and Epson as well as a production cutting solution from Esko. In addition we will demonstrate work flow and rip solutions.