A shift in strategy in recent years is starting to pay off for I.M.T.S.—the International Manufacturing Technology Show. The show last September in Chicago attracted more than 100,000 people for the six-day event, a nearly 22 percent increase over 2010. Organizers attribute the growth in part to their effort to make the biennial show a must-attend event by offering a “window into the future” along with the traditional trade show filled with new products and technologies.
“We pick what we would identify as trends in the industry and then figure out a way to show them to the industry,” said Peter Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and communications for the Association for Manufacturing Technology. In 2012, collaborative engineering and 3-D printing were the two trends showcased through demonstrations on the show floor. “Throughout our marketing cycle we talked about them and built a case for attending the show even if you didn’t need to go see the rest of the million feet of exhibits,” Eelman said. “We are starting to serve more than the need of the person who comes to the show with an immediate buying need.”