The summer cannabis trade show circuit is in full swing.
Indeed it is – we’ve arrived at the point in the cannabis trade show scheduling where there’s practically a new show nearly every week; there seems to be a decent amount of geographic spacing, but it makes me wonder if we’re looking at a point in the industry lifecycle where a group of people have decided that it’s easier to make money producing trade shows than it is to produce a product or a service in the industry.
So who is attending these shows? If you read my personal blog (unlikely but who knows, lol), I had a bone to pick with one of the Phoenix shows a couple of months ago – it was literally a ghost town. The show producers were from out of state, and they really hadn’t (as far as I could tell) done any real promotion, outside of getting some sponsors – none of whom were very happy with the results.
Here’s a partial list of the cannabis trade shows that are coming up –
Southeast Cannabis Conference – this one is in Florida, first week of June. Produced by the guys who manage the SWCC in Phoenix in the fall. No idea how it did, since it was directly competing with the next show.
NCIA #CannabizSummit – in Oakland, June 12-14. Since that is this week, and I’m writing this entry the day before we leave to attend, it’s not likely that you’ll get an update on this one before the next newsletter. This is a good sized show, it’s in Northern California (arguably THE hub for legal cannabis and all things legal about it), and it should be jam packed.
IndoExpo Portland – (http://indoexpo.com) – we’ll be at this event in early August. Hazel had a great time last year, so we’re both going this time. I went to the January Denver edition (I know, who in the world goes to Denver in January if they don’t ski!) and I think they’re fairly well organized for a cannabis show.
Hempfest Seattle – (http://hempfest.org) – Having seen on social media that Vivian McPeak is very ill, we were surprised to see this happening. Last year the rumors were flying that the city and state wouldn’t be underwriting the costs of the event the way they have previously, due to a status change in event type, but here it is, with a schedule, so I guess it’s a go. We went last year, it was ok, but it’s a big venue, lots of people, and hard to navigate at times.
MaryJane Berlin – (http://maryjane-berlin.com/en/) – Alex Rogers, who produces the ICBC in various locations around the world, speaks highly of this show. Of course, he also spent some time in a Berlin jail on cannabis charges, so I’m not sure how fondly he might actually be of the city.
So who is attending all these cannabis trade show events?
I’m not really sure. Maybe nobody in some cases, since we all tend to pick and choose based on geography, cost, and of course, what other stuff there is to do while we’re there if it’s a travel show. I’m kind of a weirdo in that respect, I spent about 15 years dragging my suitcase around all the time; if it wasn’t for a trade show, it was for a regatta, and now I am pretty much in, out, and done in three days or less. I don’t even go on real vacations any more, just a quick 3 day max, carry-on, get back home kind of thing.
We have a specific list of criteria that help us decide what we are going to attend, and we also have a very specific idea of what we expect to get out of our attendance at each show. It’s hard to determine an overall ROI formula that can be applied to every show the same way – some shows are not geared towards the people that we tend to do business with, so we have to work a lot harder to make new contacts that pay off in the traditional sense, but sometimes we just have to say we’re in it for the networking, and eat the cost without tangible proof that it was a good idea.
And then there are times where we didn’t really get anything out of attending a show. Every now and again it just works out that way. We could have stayed home, on the couch, hanging out in the pool, or just watching paint dry, for all the actual good that attending turned out to be. Luckily those are few and far between for us, since we don’t attend every single show.
If you produce a trade show, you really should talk to us about your mobile presence.
Managing your show’s calendar, notifications, and general info via mobile is critical to producing an event where everyone understands what’s going on, and how to navigate to the events that they are interested in attending. It’s also very helpful when you’re trying to keep speakers, vendors, and sponsors updated in real time with any changes to schedule or venue.