Wednesday, November 23, 2005

When/where do vendors release new products?

This may seem like a stupid question, but it occurred to me earlier this week, when I heard that a vendor is going to announce it new product at the ALA mid-winter conference. In the information industry, vendors like Dialog, NewsNet (defunct), Dow Jones and even the smaller guys long ago used to introduce their new products at National Online in May in New York City. National Online, hosted by Information Today, was the first conference of the year and a very big deal. People attended National Online because it was were you learned what was new. Vendors would sometimes even announce things that weren't quite ready, just to get the word out at this big event.

BTW vendors would then follow-up their appear at National Online with appearance at other conferences like those held by SLA and ALA. The last conference of the session was -- at that time -- the Online conference in London, UK (which is still a big deal conference). [Marydee Ojala in her blog today notes three vendors who will be making announcements at Online Information this year.]

As the industry grew more diverse and more conferences appeared on the scene, National Online became less important and it no longer exists. The industry changes also brought about a change to when new products are introduced. It may still be true that a vendor will try to time the formal release of a new product with a major conference, and probably a conference where the audience is hoped to be appreciative of its new product. But new products are also released at other times during the year, with whatever fanfare that can be mustered.

Here's the question for the day: Where should digitization-related vendors announce their new products in order to get maximum exposure and generate good word-of-mouth advertising? Is a traditional information industry conference the right place? What about the conference hosted by AIIM? (I've been told that the AIIM conference attracts vendors and not necessarily a lot of end users, even though it sounds like a conference we would be interested in given that AIIM members deal with information and image management.) Is there a digitization-related event that would be more appropriate?

If you're stumped, then join the club! I don't think there is a good place (conference) for these vendors to announce new products. Any conference will have some of their ideal customers there, but there is no one conference to give them the best launch. That's too bad, because that's the conference I'd like to go to!

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