Are conferences economically viable during recession?

The following is a letter to BlackBerryCool:

Dear BBCool,

My company did not send me to Mobile World Congress this year because it was not in our budget. This seems to be the case with many of our clients and I was hoping your site could shed some light on the subject.

What usually happens in these times is tradeshow budgets are the first to go except that a lot of the big companies have already purchased their show spaces some years in advance. This is a comment from one of our clients over there:

The show doesn’t seem to have as much content as I’d expected. Although, one of the booths had a classic booth girl.

The show seems to have fewer attendees. I’d say there are 20% to 30% fewer attendees. It seems the economy has had a real impact on the conference.

If above says 20 – 30%, I’d say more likely 40 – 50% smaller. People under exaggerate in that scenario (hope). Thanks BlackBerryCool!

Editor’s Note: So let’s tackle this subject as a community. Here are some things I’d like to discuss:

Has your company cut back on conference attendance? If so, why?
Are conferences integral to your business?
What can a conference do to make itself a more of a viable expense?

4 Responses to “Are conferences economically viable during recession?”

  1. 1 murphy tha dog

    I went to WES last year, it was a great experience, but I just can’t justify going again in this economic climate this year, especially with as many layoffs that we had and will have.

  2. 2 BlackBurryGeek

    Has your company cut back on conference attendance? If so, why?

    Yes. We used to go to WES but we just can’t afford it now. In the past, we went just to have a presence. Now we’ve been mandated that everything must pay for itself in sales.

    Are conferences integral to your business?

    Yes. It’s just a matter of choosing the right one.

    What can a conference do to make itself a more of a viable expense?

    Cut fees. If we’ve been loyal in the past with attendance, reward us with discounts or even a free booth. Give back now and it will pay when the economy clears up. We’ll remember it.

  3. 3 Simon Sage

    Huh, the pic looks familiar. ;)

    I think MWC is probably the biggest show in mobile, and remains a necessity for the vast majority of mid-sized companies and many smaller ones that can afford it. As BBG said, cutting costs are the way that most companies are managing to still come - RIM didn’t have any party this year, for example.

  4. 4 Kyle

    @Simon Sage - Thanks for the pic! I’m surprised RIM is cutting costs to that extent. How much does a party cost anyways? Seems like something that would be easy to squeeze in the budget.

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