It was announced that Reed Business was closing down Trade Show Week (TSW). I’m sure it was a dollar and cents decision, more money out than in. But was shutting down a necessity? Did it have to be an all or nothing decision?
It is very difficult for organizations as large as RBI to truly innovate and reinvent B-to-B marketing, themselves, or their brands. I’m not implying I have the answer to all publishing woes, but in this particular case, is there anything they could have done differently, yet still be profitable? Would going only online have helped, or was the business model so stuffed, that there is absolutely nothing they could have done? Chris Brogan just wrote about publishing and pricing. Would that have been the answer? …It reminds me of something I read once about Windows (the operating system). It became so big, bulky, and vulnerable because they kept building on top of it to ensure backward compatibility…This was around the time Apple launched OS X. Apple started from scratch with their new operating system. They came up with a plan to phase out OS 9 and migrate their users to a much stronger and stable platform. Does the publishing industry just keep building on top of itself? Does anyone know of publishers that reinvented themselves like Apple did with OS X?
Now, many organizations are coming in and offering alternative news sources for the event industry, but what are they offering that’s different? Or are they doomed to repeat history? In speaking with TSNN, they are reinventing themselves to fill the TSW void. Looking to leverage social media as a key component to reaching the market. They demonstrate this by having bloggers and thought leaders like Chris Brogan contribute and move our industry forward.
When faced with challenges at your organization, take a step back. Evaluate the problem or need facing your event/business. Don’t try to fit your product or event to meet a need, but understand the need and reinvent your product or event to solve the problem. And most importantly, commit to it. Don’t try to be backwards compatible.