If you’ve ever been to TradeshowGuy Exhibits’ Exhibit Design Search over at TradeshowBuy.com, you know there are literally thousands of exhibits and accessories to browse.
And yes, you can search for anything there and narrow down your search pretty quickly. Search for “hand sanitizer” and you get a good look at several hand sanitizer stations, along with a few other related (or not, perhaps) items that may have one of those keywords in the description.
Same with office dividers, which are the topic of the day in many businesses. But how easy are they to find? If you search for “office dividers” you will find a wide assortment of chairs, island exhibits, chairs, counters, pedestals and more. It’s not EDS’s fault. It’s just that finding what you want means knowing what search terms to input. And frankly, different people looking for the same thing will often use different search terms.
So….to make it easier to find a handful of things that might be useful to get to quickly, just click on these links or photos:
Yes, tradeshow marketing takes more than five days. Of course it does! It’s an ongoing process that keeps tradeshow managers up at night, especially when shows are impending. Some shows last about that long! So, what do I mean by the five day tradeshow marketing challenge?
Instead of trying to handle preparing for a show all at once, take five days. Perhaps in just a few moments a day you can line things up, get them prepared and be ready once tradeshows get back to normal.
Or whatever normal will look like.
Let’s assume the next big show is still several months away. Far enough away to not really worry if you start your Five-Day Tradeshow Marketing Challenge this week or next. But close enough so that you shouldn’t put it off too much longer!
Actually, every day is planning of some sort, but today, plan the basics:
What shows you’re going to.
What shows you’d love to go to at some point, but maybe not this year or next year.
What kind of presence you’d like at the show: size of booth; number of people. Perhaps what you’d like to spend on sponsorships or advertising at the show itself to help build awareness and move people to your booth.
This is also a good day to review past year tradeshow costs to assemble realistic budgets for the next series of shows. Pull out copies of documents that show actual costs vs. estimates. Build spreadsheets to give you a good sense of what you’ll have to invest to exhibit this time around.
Exhibit Changes / Additions
If you need a new exhibit, and it’s time to have that chat with management, that’s a longer process. But if you have a good exhibit and all you need is to make upgrades, today is a good day to start sketching out those changes. At this point, you don’t have all the information you’ll eventually need such as product launches, what products you’ll be promoting and so on. But it’s a good time to make a list of the number of graphic changes you’ll make, if any; the dimensions of the graphics and any other particulars you’ll want before design and production. Make notes about who you need to talk to to know what those product launches and so on will be. And give a heads up, if appropriate, to the designer who will be making the new graphics.
Promotions can take almost any shape, from creating online videos to crafting a social media campaign, to coming up with a clever way to dress up your booth. Here on Day Three, you’ll just want to make lists with broad strokes of the top promotion ideas and concepts that will eventually flower.
How many people are going, where are they staying, who’s booking travel, who’s making the schedule for the booth and so on. Getting a firm grasp on this a few months ahead of time will reduce headaches as you get closer.
Shipping and Exhibit Installation/Dismantle Logistics
If you have worked with the same I&D crews and shipping companies for years, this is usually nothing more than giving them advance notice that you’re on board again this year. If you need to find someone new for these areas, now’s the time to determine who you’re going to work with, and how to find the right people for the tasks.
Now that you’ve spent an hour or two a day for five days, you should have a much better grasp on what’s coming and be more prepared for when you’re thrown a curveball. Which you probably will be!
In the past few weeks, new stories have popped up on the New York Times, Reuters, National Geographic, and others about the COVID-19 Pandemic affecting the feasibility of an open office format in workplaces. It’s a good question and there are no easy answers.
An open office puts people, sometimes dozens of them (or more) into an environment where people work within a few feet of other. In today’s social distancing world, even as states and businesses work to get back to some semblance of normal, many employees will not be as enthusiastic about the open office as their managers might be.
Employee Anxiety Levels
A good manager will likely realize that the anxiety of their employees will range from one end of the spectrum to the other, and will go to lengths to provide safety, both physical and emotional, to their employees.
What does that mean on a practical level? For one, it might mean that many people continue to work from home. If it works, it may be the thing to do.
But other companies and other employees may be itching to get back to the office. Yeah, working from home has its bennies, but it also has its challenges: kids, neighborhood noises, spouses also working from home. Juggling all of those elements can’t be easy (I know from personal experience), and that may mean employees are leaning towards getting back to the workplace, where a more normal reality awaits.
Or does it?
Meeting New Needs
Companies and managers that are sensitive to the needs of the employees will no doubt be looking at ready-made solutions to separate employees. The old “cubicle” may come back in some form.
You may not be surprised to learn that what works to build a great, easy-to set-up and dismantle exhibit also works to form functional and efficient office dividers, or if you like, office pods. The manufacturer we most often work with, Classic Exhibits in Portland, has been working with architects and space planners for several weeks now to come up with appropriate office dividers at a competitive price.
They’ve even named the product PlaceLyft and have a number of options that range from simple and economical to more complex. Lyft One, Lyft Two, Lyft Three and Custom Solutions. Here at TradeshowGuy Exhibits, we have at least fifteen years of working hand-in-hand with Classic Exhibits, so we know the level of quality and commitment that they bring to any endeavor.
Cleaning the Dividers
Fabric or cloth-covered cubicle walls are difficult to clean. There’s no getting around that. How would that work? Steam-cleaning? Time-consuming and perhaps not that effective. But when faced with cleaning various optional divider materials with these Office Pods, all are easy to clean:
Sintra and Dibond: a clean look available in many color options. You can print to it if you want. Both are easy to clean; just spray and wipe it down.
Grease board (dibond): metal versions as well as standard which you can put magnets on. Available in at least eight standard colors.
Acrylics: available in clear or color. Some of the acrylics are not suitable for frequent cleaning, so the right cleaner is needed. Peroxide based cleaners are best for Acrylics.
These panels have a lot going for them: adjustable wire management, adjustable feet for leveling and running wire underneath, custom heights, option to put a thin panel in the middle of the Gravitee frame for potential sound-proofing, removable fabric graphics that are easily laundered for cleaning and much more.
We have a number of informational sell sheets available on the Office Pods here. Take a look and please contact us for more information if you have questions.
When Natural Products Expo West was cancelled on March 2, just a couple of days before the doors were to have opened to 80,000+ attendees and 3500+ exhibitors, there was a sense of “what did we miss by not being able to exhibit, by not being able to attend?”
And it happened for everyone. Here at TradeshowGuy Exhibits, we had several clients who had done modest upgrades to their exhibits. Upgrades that would have showed off new products, new brands, you name it.
But I thought they should see the light of day, so that followers could at least get an idea of what they missed. Plus, knowing that companies often change year over year, there’s a good chance that none of these exhibit revisions would be used in 2021. We worked with several other clients at the show, mainly to assist in installation and dismantle, so there was nothing new to show. I reached out to the clients involved, and many of them said, YES, please share those concepts; the artwork and revisions that we would have shown our visitors at Expo West. And one client declined to show off their new look, opting instead to save it for the future. Here’s a short video of those changes:
Every now and then a new exhibit modification comes along that sucks the air out of the room, so to speak. Gravitee, a tool-less exhibit designed and manufactured by Classic Exhibits, came along offering full-size fully-assembled panels that pull from the crate and lock together without tools. Clients love it. Show labor loves it, too, because it goes up quickly and easily.
Now we have Symphony, the first portable display to blend easy tool-less assembly with elegant design and clever accessories. Symphony can be dressed up with all kinds of add-ons and accessories, including counters, workstations, floating graphics, tablet, and monitor mounts. Additional options include wireless/wired charging pads, locking storage, brochure holders, and LED lighting.
Lots of 10x10s and 10x20s, great counters, and priced to sell and/or rent. Check out these great looks here and visit TradeshowBuy.com for the complete selection.
Share Experience is a new company formed late last year by Marcus Vahle and John Pugh, both with long experience in the event and tradeshow world. Given what looks to be a unique approach to carving out their niche in the event world, I thought it might be fun to catch up with them for a conversation on this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee:
I sat down with a long-time colleague to be interviewed this week and to prepare I put a list together of the 5 must-do’s for successful tradeshow marketing. We didn’t go over the whole list because the conversation took its own path. But I thought – hey, it’s a good list! Here it is:
Have an exhibit that draws people in.
We could go into this in detail, but your
graphics and messaging should clearly tell people at a glance:
problem you solve for them
Have a goal. Share that goal with your staff.
Reach new markets
Launch new products or services
Find new hires
Meet current customers, partners and
Have a well-trained staff
Your staff should know how to greet people
Your staff should know the products or services
Know how to gather the proper information for a
good lead…which leads to…
Know what a lead is…
A lead is NOT a card in a fishbowl
A lead is someone who qualifies
looking to buy what you’re selling
have a budget
know when they’re going to buy
have the power to make a decision
Once a lead is qualified, the follow up is
Gather the right information
is the follow up
is the follow up
is doing the follow up
is the follow up: sending a brochure, sample, in-person meeting?
We did get to a few of these, and they were good talking points throughout the conversation. One she produces the interview and gives me a link, I’ll make sure to include it in a blog post soon!
Many clients I work with struggle with many of the bits and
pieces of their tradeshow exhibit, including furniture Some clients prefer to
own a handful of stackable chairs that stay in their exhibit shipping crates
when not in use. Others like the idea of having a fresh new look and budget for
furniture rentals every show.
There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just whatever works
best for you.
Certainly, there are pros and cons to renting an exhibit,
which is a bit part of any exhibit house’s overall business. Same with furniture.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.
Pros – Advantages of Renting:
Selection: Furniture rental companies are vying your business just like any other supplier. And to remain competitive, their selection has to be deep and wide. Which brings us to the next thing:
Shiny new: Renting furniture means you’ll get a piece that has only been used a few times, if at all. There’s a lot of turnover in the furniture rental industry and to stay on top, companies have to offer high quality. Which means that they are offering their best. If you get a piece of furniture that is scuffed or damaged, chances are you won’t use that company again.
Ease of use: This is one of the biggest drawing cards. Most furniture rental companies have warehouses near the major metro areas. When you rent chairs, tables, sofas, loveseats or whatever, it shows up at your booth space. At the end of the show, you just leave it there and the furniture company picks it up. And most bigger shows will have a local rep on site to deal with any issues that come up.
Damage: your furniture will get tossed, bounced, dropped and damaged eight ways from Sunday. It’s the nature of the tradeshow world. And after a while, it gets old and worn out.
Storage: when you rent furniture, you don’t have to pay to store it.
Shipping: when you rent furniture, you don’t pay to ship it. It just shows up. The price is all-inclusive.
Cons – Advantages of Owning:
Less Cost: not necessarily a negative, but weigh the cost of renting furniture a half dozen times over a year vs owning and storing a set of furniture, and undoubtedly the cost to rent that many times will be higher than purchasing something and using it six times.
Storage: If you have sufficient storage space and the chairs fit in your shipping crates, you don’t have to worry about them.
No Surprises: When you own furniture, you don’t worry about renting something turns out to be different than what you expected.
Less Hassle: Don’t have to deal with yet another vendor.
Is renting furniture the right thing for you? Talk to your exhibit house. No doubt they work with at least one good furniture rental vendor that can answer your questions.
Webster’s defines “ruckus” as “a disturbance or a commotion.”
A disturbance can be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint and the circumstances. The word “disturbance” is non-judgmental. “Commotion” is the same. It’s not necessarily inherently good or bad; positive or negative.
But you can insert your judgment into your ruckus, into the
disturbance or commotion you make.
At tradeshows, GoPro’s Nick Woodman used to famously create
a commotion by standing on a table, hooting and hollering, gathering people
around, showing off the GoPro camera and give away prizes. The company’s market
cap zoomed to almost ten billion dollars before coming down to earth. Along the
way GoPro created a new category in the digital camera world. Now that’s a ruckus.
That’s one way to shake it up.
Meduri Farms decided to invest in a new island exhibit and
double the size of their footprint at the International Food Technicians Show.
Their first time with the new exhibit they tripled their leads. That’s another
way to shake it up.
Dave’s Killer Bread dedicated much of their branding space
at 2019’s Natural Products Expo West exhibit to the idea of giving felons a second
chance. That’s yet another way to shake it up.
There are plenty of ways to use your tradeshow space to
shake it up, to make a ruckus, to cause a disturbance or commotion for a good
cause. Or to double your leads. Or to grow a company.
Tradeshows and events have been running since 1851, the 1st one being “The Great Exhibition” in London. It’s safe to say the exhibition world has drastically grown since the 1800’s, as have the price tags that are part and parcel of today’s exhibition experience.
Organising an event takes time, patience
and some form of budget to support the design of an exhibition stand or display
accessory. Within the industry you’ll be faced with many questions regarding
the costs and the necessities.
To create an understanding of what you
need, along with the tradeshow essentials, take a look at a list of costs to
consider before booking your event: –
Booking your stand space
The Exhibition Stand
Stand accessories, such as
banners and displays counters
Promotional items – Leaflet,
pens and lanyards
Transportation for you and your
full stand design
Additional extras such as
seating, lighting and interactive monitors
With all costs considered, it can appear
daunting. Yes, it is an investment, but when tackled correctly a successful
event can help towards business growth and place you on the right path to build
new relationships and gain potential customers.
If you’re still searching for the reason to
attend your first event, we’ve listed 4 benefits that you’ll be able to take
away from the experience.
Attending a tradeshow puts you in the best
place possible to build new relationships. Your brand and stand will attract
potential customers, therefore leading to conversations with other industry
It doesn’t have to stop there. Use your
time wisely and explore the exhibition floor. Take it upon yourself to visit
other business spaces. Doing so, presents another opportunity to strike up
Outside of social media and online
platforms, exhibitions offer amazing brand exposure. Your selected displays
will home in on what your brand has to offer and your unique selling points.
All of which will be visible through custom artwork and promotional items.
The blank canvas that a stand or display
product provides is priceless. Use the space to promote, intrigue and capture
Learn and Expand on Industry Knowledge
Whether you have been in the industry 1 year or 50, there’s always something new to discover. Use the time to find out about new competitors, up and coming trends, innovative design and alternate display options.
Networking with other businesses allows you
to ask new questions and educate yourself. As a brand, to learn and to grow is
to develop new ideas and progress with new trends.
From the relationship building, brand
exposure and the want to expand your knowledge, you’ll be able to begin further
growth within the business. Be sure to take business cards and contact details,
so when the shows over, you’ll have the correct point of contact.
Use the new found information and contacts
you have gained to your advantage. Connect on LinkedIn, send follow up emails
and keep your brand relevant and current so your details are at the forefront
of their mind.
Extra Tips on How to Make Exhibiting
Do your research and ensure you
are attending the right show for YOU
Check your stand position and
Use social media and email
marketing to promote your attendance
On the day, take contact
details from those who you speak with and make contact the following week
Make your brand memorable by
choosing the right stand design and delivering a presence
Create a list of goals to
achieve on the day
Position the co-workers with
the greatest knowledge and understanding of the business on the stand space
Vicky Peat is a Marketing Executive for Go Displays based in Peterborough, UK. As a content marketing writer within the Exhibition and Tradeshow industry, Vicky enjoys sharing industry knowledge to encourage and educate new and experienced exhibitors.