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76 The PCB Magazine • October 2016 Editor's Note: This column was originally pub- lished as a blog on the Launch Communications website and is reprinted here with permission of the author. Trade show mania...it's still here. We com- plain, criticize, and whine (yep...that's me!) about the financial and human expense, while feeling an odd, inner excitement and anticipa- tion as the date of the big event approaches. Yet to quote the ever put-upon George Costan- za, this "unstoppable force" seemingly has a life of its own. Some companies have reduced or in some cases completely eliminated trade shows from their marcomm plans, whereas many others find it difficult to right-size their participation with a requirement to meet defined, measurable objectives. Decisions to participate at a given show are sometimes made without the collabo- ration of marketing, industry and communica- tions teams that should be key stakeholders and driving the decision process, with deliverables that include a launch program, benchmarking, and pre/post-event monitoring. Although trade shows are perceived as a di- nosaur by some and a necessary evil by oth- ers (e.g., "our competitors will be there, so..."), this veteran of the media mix is often deemed guilty without conclusive data that reflects a well thought-out plan. It's astonishing that given trade shows are one of the largest bud- geted areas of the marcomm pie, it is com- monly overlooked when it comes to measuring ROI. Poor old guy...you're not evil, just misun- derstood. by Barry Lee Cohen LAUNCH COMMUNICATIONS Trade Shows: The Unstoppable Force LAUNCH LETTERS

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