PMI has announced a plan to gain support for its vision of a single, large, annual building products trade show in North America.

The Institute's Trade Show Consolidation Issue Committee, chaired by Linda S. Mayer of Moen Inc. and Todd Talbot of Alsons Corp., issued a position statement in 1999 that advocated the position of PMI members to facilitate fewer but bigger North American building products trade shows by 2005. According to the statement, the current number and duplications of trade shows in North America are inefficient for both attendees and exhibitors. The reasoning behind the Institute's position is that fewer shows each year, larger in scale and centrally located, would attract more attendees and create a stronger marketing opportunity for exhibitors. Show sponsors would benefit as well from the increased attendee and exhibitor revenue.

Members of the committee developed a plan last fall to build a coalition of support among like-minded associations and groups in various industries for the establishment of fewer, larger trade shows. A comprehensive presentation has been developed by PMI's executive director, Barbara Higgens, for use in targeting key groups, organizations and manufacturers in industries where there is an identified overlap in trade shows each year.

"Our primary goal is to help other industries, as well as players within our own industry, understand that it just isn't cost-effective to spend vast amounts of money on multiple trade shows throughout the year, many of which only reach limited, duplicate audiences, domestic or foreign. The cost of booth space is only the beginning-while it's the main revenue stream for sponsors, it is not nearly the largest expense for exhibitors at building products trade shows," said Higgens.

Once enough supporters are on board, it is Higgens' and the Committee's secondary goal to obtain support to fund a third party to actually map out a strategy for consolidation.

The presentation outlines the main advantage of trade show consolidation-more effective and efficient shows for attendee and exhibitor alike-and points to the pervasive, cross-industry redundancy of national, state and local trade shows for builders, wholesalers, contractors, dealers, designers, remodelers, engineers and plumbing manufacturers.

According to Higgens, the presentation makes a case for consolidation by detailing the issues faced by manufacturers, such as high costs, inefficiency and decreasing ROI, as well as outlining the benefits gained by show sponsors, including revenue generating opportunities, the high visibility factor, and the provision of a place for education and new product showcases. Additionally, the concerns of the show attendee are addressed, including the fact that while shows provide one-stop browsing and a focused industry forum for attendees, they are also considered an inefficient way to conduct business.

Higgens will be taking the Trade Show Consolidation's message on the road this spring to attempt to drum up support from the Hardwood Manufacturers Association, the Water Quality Association, Ch-NNIN, the Radiant Panel Association, the Hydronics Institute, the Window and Door Association (WDMA), Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the Plumbing Drainage Institute (PDI), as well as others.