I attended the PCBC show and I found more things right with it than wrong. The biggest thing wrong with it is the name. The show really is now more than a Pacific Coast Builder’s Show.
They took the simple way to rebrand the show by changing the name to PCBC. They should have been bolder like the CSI who changed the name of their show to “Construct” and got people to look at it in a new light.
I hear many of my manufacturer clients tell me that the show is too small and too focused on West Coast builders. They see it as a regional show so they use the small pop-up booth and assign a few local reps to man it.
I think they are wrong and here’s why.
As a building material trade show, that is focused on builders, here’s why I think it should be given more serious consideration.
1. The largest builders in the US have created an organization called, Leading Builders. These are 21 of the top builders in the US who built over 92,000 homes in 2010. They have adopted this as their show over the IBS show.
Because of this, all of these top builders are at the show, in force. In order to make the show more important, they have several ways that they make it easy to meet with them. One of them is the Key Buyers Club program where you get a guaranteed number of one-on-one meetings with builders. Another opportunity to meet builders is The National Buyers Circle . For many manufacturers this is easier than getting an appointment at a builders headquarters. It’s also more cost effective because you don’t have to travel around the U.S. to see them.
2. If you only exhibit at IBS, you only reach builders once a year. PCBC puts you back in front of builders half way through the year.
3. While the show grew by 20% this year, it still is a smaller show but that means there are fewer other exhibits competing for the attention of the builder.
4. While it does draw a lot of West Coast builders, it also draws more builders from the rest of the country with the large national builders.
5. The West Coast is where trends in codes, construction practices and design start. If you have a cutting edge product or want to be viewed as innovative, this is a good show for you.
There are more builders at IBS than PCBC, so many that it can be hard to manage.
I saw steady traffic at the booths at PCBC. I saw manufacturers having time to have more in depth conversations with builders. I also saw builders not feeling pressured to take it all in as they do at IBS.
I went to the AIA show the same week and while it was a much larger show, there was almost no traffic in the booths. If your product is residential, I would much rather be at PCBC than AIA.
When I asked several of my clients about the attendees they told me that the people visiting their booths were builders, architects and multi-family builders.
As you plan and budget for next year, I recommend that you give serious consideration to PCBC.