I read Frank Romano’s interesting opinion article last Friday concerning both Heidelberg and Komori deciding not to exhibit at Graph Expo this year. Frank puts the reasons for this down to the changing industry and timelines for different technologies. While in most cases Frank and I sing from the same song sheet, in this case I have to disagree with him. If it was changes in technology that forced this move by Heidelberg and Komori, then why have they not pulled out of other print shows like Ipex this year.

I believe the reason is not to do with technology and the timelines of change, but relates to the rationale I gave in my recent article “Do We Need a Graph Expo Each Year.” At that time I was pretty certain that Heidelberg would not be at Graph Expo in 2010. I believe their reasons were that they saw little return from the costs of attending this show in the way it was being run. I am also pretty certain that there are other major companies, some of whom are in the digital printing market, who at present are considering withdrawal from this year’s Graph Expo.

Today there are alternatives for major vendors in how they present their messages to potential customers that appear to give a better financial return. I am not saying we don’t need trade shows, far from it. We need trade shows in various forms that provide the vendors with the best opportunities for getting their messages to both customers and prospects. Trade shows should no longer be a means of financing trade organizations, and such organizations need to restructure themselves to meet the changing marketplace that Frank so eloquently describes.