Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

Custom exhibit

How Personal is Your Tradeshow Exhibit?

What kind of question is that, anyway? How personal is your tradeshow exhibit? An exhibit should be the best representation of a brand, which is aimed at a broad market. Isn’t that correct? If that’s the case, it has to have the right graphics with the right messaging. Any images should be chosen to reflect the best your product and brand have to offer. And if all that is true – and I suppose it is – how can your exhibit be personal?

Selling is Personal

Except…selling today is personal. People want to know that you care about them. The challenge is that people don’t really care about your product or service. When it comes to your products, they care about themselves, and themselves only. How do your products or services affect them – personally? The messaging should relate to what they’re going through. As we slowly move back to the tradeshow world with exhibits and face-to-face meetings and larger gatherings, every person is going to have a slightly – or perhaps significantly – different perception of what they need or want. And they’ll have some level of anxiety or distress or challenge in moving forward.

So how do you help them…now? How does your product or service help them…now? What do they need…now?

Your challenge isn’t that you don’t know how to present your products or services. No, your challenge is that you need to understand what’s going on in the mind of your customers and prospects. And the only way to learn that is to ask. In a sense, your tradeshow exhibit should be an invitation to join them. An invitation to walk into their space. Make them feel safe and wanted. There are a million ways to do that. I’m do designer, but I do know how I feel when I walk into a space that welcomes me. With people around that want to see me, and not just to sell me something, but to understand where I’m coming from. And frankly, that’s kind of rare. Maybe it’s food. Maybe it’s a cup of coffee, or a warm smile. Maybe it’s an image that they can relate to that doesn’t look like it’s been chosen out of a stock photo library. Or if it has, it resonates with them.

What makes people buy?

When they finally get to a place where they feel understood. Where they feel you “get” them. Where they feel comfortable and wanted. It’s a bit like belonging to a tribe, but it’s more than that. And less.

It’s personal. What is it your customer wants?

Be creative in how you interact with people. Be creative in how you uncover what’s important to your clients. Learn from them. Then design your next tradeshow exhibit based on what you learned.

It’s not going to be easy. But it’ll be worth it.


New Galleries on Exhibit Design Search at TradeshowBuy.com

Our main exhibit design and fabricator, Classic Exhibits, offers up four new galleries with what looks like a significant addition to Exhibit Design Search. Here are the four new galleries:

  • PlaceLyft Office Solutions
  • Hand Sanitizer Stands
  • Office/Retail Lightboxes
  • Safety Dividers

There’s also a new Interactive Gallery, further down the front page. I asked Mel White, VP of Marketing and Business Development with Classic Exhibits, to characterize the changes:

COVID-19 has forced most businesses to review their work environments as they plan for their employees to return. What they’ve realized is that most, if not all offices or retail spaces, do not protect employees from airborne or surface viruses. Deciding on next steps, however, can be confusing (and expensive) for many organizations.

The Contemporary Office and Retail Solutions galleries in EDS are designed to make those decisions easier. The four galleries show attractive and cost-effective solutions for any office or retail environment. They include office partitions with easily sanitize-able surfaces, protective safety barriers, durable hand sanitizer stands, and customizable LED lightboxes. There are no hidden prices, and the designs can be customized to any situation.

All the products are designed, engineered, and manufactured in the USA by a 27-year old Portland-based company. 

Check out a brief look at the layout here, or by visiting TradeshowBuy.com:

Exhibit Design Search Narrows Down Hand Sanitizer Stations and Office Dividers

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:

Hand Sanitizer Stands

PlaceLyft Office Environments

Interactive Displays

Maybe not related specifically to hand sanitizer stations, but with new ones coming out we wanted to make sure they’re included here – and easy to find.


The Five-Day Tradeshow Marketing Challenge

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!

Day One:

Plan.

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.

Day Two:

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.

Day Three:

Promotions

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.

Day Four:

Travel Logistics

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.

Day Five:

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!

The Workplace is Shifting. Are You Ready?

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.

Learn More

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.

Download PDFs:

View PDF Images:

Tradeshow Exhibit Rentals: It’s there When You Need It, Gone When You Don’t

We’ve mentioned tradeshow exhibit rentals several times in this blog and on the podcast. Most of what you can learn about exhibit rentals is already here. But to make a finer point of it, let’s recap:

Pros of tradeshow exhibit rentals:

  • Don’t have to store the exhibit
  • Costs much less than a new exhibit
  • Easy to re-shape and move into different sizes
  • Short-term commitment
  • Flexibility
  • …and more

Cons of tradeshow exhibit rentals

  • Cost can add up: after renting a few times, you’ve paid for the cost of a new exhibit
  • Have to keep coming up with a new idea or design for every show
  • It’s not yours; after the show the money you spent is gone and you have no exhibit

Bottom line, there are no wrong answers. Only answers that fit an exhibitor’s specific needs, goals and situation.

But the final thing to remember about rental exhibits is this: it’s there when you need it, gone when you don’t. And sometimes that’s the best thing.


Check tradeshow exhibit rentals here.

Natural Products Expo West 2020: What Might Have Been

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.

All unseen.

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:

Check ’em all out here:

Introducing Symphony

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.

Download the Symphony Summary Sheet and Accessory Guide.


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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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