By Editor Morten B. Reitoft

Let’s start with the good news—it’s a buyer’s market, so if you are a PSP or Converter looking for great deals, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could negotiate favorable contracts. Drupa fever is everywhere; many companies present great booths with great products. Messe Düsseldorf, exhibitors, media, and visitors want Drupa to succeed—and details like customer acquisition cost and ROI are, for a time, totally forgotten or at least not talked about. So, dear printer - now is the time to invest. 

And there are products for everybody. Flexo, offset, digital, software, robots, binding, substrates, consumables - and you will see samples, applications, and promises that will deliver sustainability, productivity, and easier-to-use than ever machines and software. Workflow and Automation everywhere, Cloud, APIs, IoT, and all to make your printshop better and smarter - and more competitive.
There are many good reasons to go to Drupa to find inspiration and to learn. 

As Editor-in-Chief, I look forward to covering Drupa as much as possible. The combination of presenting great products, talking to interesting people, and bringing the news to the world, combined with our ambitious Super Content Group, is important to me. It is interesting for PSPs and Converters to learn about solutions that can bring them forward. We cover Drupa through the eyes of the PSPs and Converters. Although 200,000 people are expected at Drupa, one of the important reasons for us covering Drupa is the millions of Industry people that don’t attend Drupa. Covering products in detail, with walkthroughs, talking to specialists, and giving you access to tons of information is our mission - and though we hope you will have our live stream open during Drupa, we mainly expect you to use our content when you need it. 

Messecenter Düsseldorf will most likely try to bring back the glory of Drupa. Eight years is a long time, and many people in the industry have never experienced a previous Drupa and, therefore, have less to compare with. With fewer exhibitors, increased prices from Messecenter Düsseldorf, and more Chinese exhibitors than Germans, for the first time, the ultimate test will be how many visitors Drupa can attract. Düsseldorf expect 200-220,000 visitors. 

But Drupa lives on the back of a canceled Drupa 2020 that was an expensive cancelation for many exhibitors and essentially took money out of the printing industry that could have been used to teach and promote. As you can see, vendors push new products into the news stream to create an appetite for them, hoping to close or announce deals at Drupa. Don’t count on that—PSPs and Converters invest much smarter than in the past, and I wouldn’t expect too many totally unexpected deals. I will even go so far as to say that don’t expect sales of new products to customers that aren’t already in a sales process! When Heidelberg said in their Q3 earnings report that they expect to close sales at Drupa enough to be saved by the bell, financially speaking, that is so naive that I can’t believe anybody believes this. 

What should visitors expect? As I experienced in 2008, 2012, and even more in 2016, the PSPs sent fewer people to Drupa. Not only because it’s expensive but also because they need their companies to produce. It’s not a perk to go to Drupa but work that needs to be done in as short a time as possible. Many plan who and what to see and meet with their main suppliers before even going to Drupa, often with only a few days of attending. If Drupa counted the number of registrations rather than the number of entrances, this wouldn’t influence the total numbers much. Still, if a printing company only sends 2-3-4 people to Düsseldorf, and the visitors only enter the show floor once a day, this obviously influences the counts! 

The small companies and the non-brands will be the winners of Drupa. Their exhibition cost is relatively high, but selling one or two machines will be a game changer, and they bet on the big brands to attract enough people to come to justify the investment. The HPs, Canons, Landas, etc. will be the ones that will attract the masses, and while customers are there, they might see some of the unknown, and who knows, maybe buy from them. 

And, of course, Messecenter Düsseldorf will make money - maybe the only stakeholder guaranteed a return on investment - for the rest. Check your Customer Acquisition Cost - remember not to count the sales you would have gotten anyway!

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