Vendors grouse over inactivity and high cost of trade exhibits

April 20, 1994

Two SMR shows add cost in a down marketThe frustrations of selling equipment when customers are not inthe mood to buy surfaced at March conferences sponsored by theSociety of Magnetic Resonance in Dallas and the Society of Cardiovascularand

Two SMR shows add cost in a down market

The frustrations of selling equipment when customers are not inthe mood to buy surfaced at March conferences sponsored by theSociety of Magnetic Resonance in Dallas and the Society of Cardiovascularand Interventional Radiology in San Diego.

Vendors complained about the light foot traffic and the highcost of exhibiting. Paul Mirabella, GE's general manager for globalMR business, said GE may change its approach to promoting productsat the society-sponsored shows.

The MRI professional society is being doubly demanding on theequipment community for sponsorship of its events, despite themerger of the Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the Societyof Magnetic Resonance in Medicine in 1993.

The clinically oriented conference in Dallas was the firstof two international meetings sponsored by the SMR this year.A more research-oriented second meeting and exhibition is plannedfor San Francisco in August.

The dual conference schedule forces manufacturers to exhibitat two major MR society conferences in addition to the RSNA assemblyin 1994. Some system manufacturers are dealing with the situationby investing heavily in one show while making a token appearanceat the other.

Philips was the only MR vendor to display a magnet at the Dallasconference. Siemens' presence on the technical exhibit floor waslimited to a 10 x 10-ft. booth.

The vendors were not enthused by the location of the technicalexhibition hall at Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas. The show wasbased in a separate building one-eighth of a mile away from thesite of the scientific sessions. It took about 15 minutes to walkon a covered sidewalk from the lecture halls to the exhibition.

Light foot traffic led Mirabella to discuss reducing the sizeof GE's booth for future shows. The GE exhibit may be limitedto product introductions.

"That's the first thing radiologists ask about anyway.There is no need to display everything in the product line,"he said.

Hit the beaches. Similar sentiments were expressed along emptyaisles of the SCVIR technical exhibit at the San Diego Conventioncenter. It may have been a record attendance year for the SCVIR.Nearly 3000 people--far more registrants than in previous years--hadchecked in before the final day.

But the society's success in attracting clinicians was hardto detect at the technical exhibition. Attendance there was sparseexcept at lunch and coffee breaks.

Fewer than 200 radiologists dropped by during the Wednesdayafternoon that the society had set aside for exhibit browsing.Most of the radiologists apparently went to the beach.

"These physicians have to learn to support us, if we areto continue to support them," said one exhibitor during thesleepy Wednesday afternoon session. "They have to at leastmake an appearance to help us justify our subsidy of their tuition,or they will find that these conferences have become very, veryexpensive."