Ever since the launch of Cigar Coop, I have long stayed out of the long, drawn-out soap opera of IPCPR vs. Online Media.  The Cigar Coop brand has had positive experiences each year we covered the show, so there has been no need to feed this drama. However I have seen this time some erroneous information floating around and I think the record needs to be set straight here. This information involves the amount of media coverage around this year’s IPCPR Trade Show.

The issue I heard several times was that there was a lack of online media coverage for this year’s trade show.  Several quotes I heard were along the lines of “the coverage dropped off considerably, the interest in it dropped off considerably”.  I first scratched my head on this one, and then realized how incorrect and off-base these comments were.

First up, disclaimer, we were told by IPCPR 16 online media brands signed up for attending IPCPR. The number of active media on the show floor was probably slightly less.  Yes, this a number that is down from last year.  There were some folks who did not attend that have been there in previous years.  Their content was definitely missed.  I’m not here to debate whether why some media outlets stayed home and if that was the right decision.  I’m here to counter the statement about the amount of coverage dropping off and the interest dropping off.

The brands that were there covered the show – and did the coverage quite well.  Whether it was the personality interviews, brand centric coverage, product centric coverage, or photo essay coverage – the show was very much covered.  Was there a cigar company, a cigar brand, or significant cigar product that did not get their fair share of IPCPR coverage by the media brands that delivered content? I doubt anyone or anything significant got left off from this year’s coverage.  I think most importantly, media content reached a large audience.  For July 2014 (IPCPR month), the Cigar Coop brand shattered the record for the most traffic in a single month by 29.75% percent! (to which we thank our audience)  I cannot comment on other media outlet numbers, but I can guess the numbers were up.  As for interest dropping off, this seems more like the skeptics were shooting from the hip and not presenting any specific evidence for this statement.

Most importantly, the information is out there and it connected with the audience.  Perhaps much of the redundant coverage was gone, but there was a huge volume of coverage.  Most importantly the coverage was high quality.  Brands like Blind Man’s Puff,  The Cigar Authority, Cigar Dojo, Cigar Federation, Cigar Memoir, Cigar Vixen, and Halfwheel did an amazing job with their media coverage – and each covered the show from all different angles.

I’m a big believer of Bruce Tuckman’s concept of Form, Storm, Norm, and Perform .  In my opinion, IPCPR coverage by the online media has now passed “Norm” and hit “Perform”.  Cigar Coop and Stogie Geeks will be in New Orleans for IPCPR next year because audience / reader interest is there, the positive results of covering the trade show are there, and it makes good business sense.