Digiexpo (Helsinki), a yearly consumer electronics trade fair aimed towards consumers, was still, without any doubt complete idiocy when I went to check it out last weekend. I don’t know how failtastic electronics centered trade shows to which non-journalists are allowed are in other parts of the world, but this was sloppy enough to make me unwilling to spend time writing about it until now.
The last time I honored the event with my presence was two years ago, and I regret to say that I paid for entrance then. This year, some unknown benefactor, presumably the publishers of a magazine, sent a friend two invites by mail in an unmarked envelope (you’ll know that someone’s desperate to get visitors when they start handing out tickets anonymously), so we decided to meet and visit the place.
I won’t bore you, dear search engine bots (you are obviously my target audience) with too many details, but piling up some DVRs and laptops in a small hall in the Helsinki Fair Centre, and making said hall as noisy as possible by allowing loud music in mini-events arranged by the larger brands, is not a recipe for success. I’d have liked to ask some smaller exhibitors about digital SLR cameras, but the soundscape at the location made it impossible to follow a conversation. Some of these larger brands were represented by quickly recruited, clueless sales persons and/or didn’t receive up to date products from their multinational mother ships.
To be more specific: the only fascinating product line this year is a type of headless Windows powered, easy to use home servers, sometimes built with hot-swappable drives. These are a bit tricky to market: it’s a backup and media storage solution for both enthusiasts and people who don’t know that they could use a dedicated backup system. At HP’s booth they had no idea of what I was talking about when I asked them, and a more experienced guy from Fujitsu-Siemens could only apologize on behalf of the folks at his company who didn’t want to ship a machine from Germany.
Also, why on earth does Nokia insist on showing off yet another Windows Media DRM’d music store that won’t open in Finland until [some date I couldn’t care less about]. What’s the point of calling a service “browser based” if it runs only in IE on Windos and requires WiMP or some horrible Nokia software?
So you want increased interest in your consumer electronics products, which needless to say, are unecessary luxury gadgets that most only use to communicate or to relax? Then, please arrange your appearance on events like this one in a way that doesn’t insult anyone with genuine interest. Trade shows need substance, you can’t fool someone who already knows something about what you’re doing by maximizing the number of smiling young women hired to hand out brochures and pointless sport cars placed around.
The only thing I know about advertising in Finland is the ridiculous crap I see (the example is a comparison between a default OSX wallpaper and an ad for a wireless carrier). I also know that the Finnish market is small and that samples of not yet released items cost some money to ship around the world, but if you can’t show an enthusiast like me some exciting new stuff I couldn’t visit a normal IT store to drool over, you might be wasting your marketing budget.
(The seal of miserable failure was provided by Freenerd)