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MacWorld isn’t A Trade Show!


Excuse me but I have to rant for a moment. First Robert Scoble posts that Apple pulling out of Mac World is a sign that Social Media is killing trade shows. Which was bad enough but in Robert’s defense he is a tech blogger not a trade show expert.  But then Expo Magazine posts this:

Why does a trade show have to have a grid of booth spaces? Why can’t a trade show also be a film festival?

Well because that’s what makes it a trade show. According to Websters:

: a large exposition to promote awareness and sales of especially new products within an industry <a computer trade show>
Now a trade show can be lots of other things as well including a film festival but having booths, or tables, or exhibits of some sort is what makes it a trade show by definition.
That point aside MacWorld isn’t a trade show, it’s a consumer show with a trade element to it. Which is exactly why the end of the article mentions this:
Apple’s decision to pull out of Macworld is part of a larger corporate strategy de-emphasizing trade shows in favor of reaching customers directly through its retail outlets.
You see consumers visit retail stores to buy things. Wholesale distributors and retailers attend trade shows to select products to sell in their retail outlets. Most trade shows do not let consumers in (officially) they sneak in (in big numbers at events like NAMM, CES and the now defunct E3). Exhibitors at trade shows do not build their booths to see consumers, in fact they hate dealing with them because that is not their purpose for exhibiting.
/rant off


  • Dave Taylor

    Great point, Rick. Trade shows, from my experience, are a combination of exhibit and speaker sessions. Some are heavily biased towards one or another (nascent conferences might have tiny exhibit spaces, while massive conferences like CES are 95% trade show, 5% speakers) but a film festival is a festival, not a trade show. Now, a trade show that featured services and products to help filmmakers, speakers and panels featuring film makers and viewers, and also had a film fest would be quite viable. Sounds like SXSW, actually, doesn’t it? 🙂

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