Trade shows: Go or stay home in 2009?

With trade show budgets tight, PR pros get selective.

With trade show budgets tight, PR pros get selective

When Apple Computer announced that it would no longer attend MacWorld Expo—the event at which Steve Jobs held sway for so many years—it raised the question of how many other companies might forgo large and costly trade shows in a weak economy.

“Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers,” said the company in a press release about its departure from MacWorld Expo. This news was followed in January by word that attendance at the Consumer Electronics show, or CES, was down almost 20 percent.

So will trade shows go the way of the fax machine as a marketing and media relations tool? Depending on the industry, many PR professionals say trade shows still offer plenty of value—but they’ll think hard about which ones deserve precious funds this year.

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