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:
Cruising Twitter is always an entertaining proposition. Sometimes
because you find some really interesting stuff. Other times because you end up
wanting to pull your hair out. But it’s never boring!
In search of some #tradeshow ideas, I entered that search term in the box on Twitter. Lots of companies use Twitter to push out advertisements and come-ons, and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you mix it up with good useful information. But I looked and came up with a handful of good articles. Let’s take a look.
Fortunate PR guy (his words) Jim Bianchi tweeted out a link to a post called “Top Lessons Learned for Automotive and Mobility Suppliers from CES2020.” Much of the lessons had to do with how beneficial CES is to exhibitors (which it certainly should be), but it illustrates how many traditional auto suppliers are finding their way into one of the world’s biggest shows. Another tip had to do with navigating around Las Vegas during show time, given that the public transit systems can be overwhelmed by an additional 175,000 people. Yeah, no kidding!
And finally, a list from Architectural Digest on Tradeshows You Should Consider Attending in 2020, assuming you’re in the architectural world. Most of the shows are stateside, but there are mentions of the London Design Festival, Heimtextil in Frankfurt and others. Lots of details on each show for the serious planner. This was shared by Skyline out of South Carolina.
Yes, Twitter has its detractors and it can be a little overwhelming if crazy politics are going on at that moment (okay, that’s always going on), but it’s also a good source for good information if you just know where to look.
If you’re sitting on an airplane, there are certain rules
that need to be followed. First and foremost, the attendants and the captain
are in charge. In fact, on each and every flight I’ve been on, they remind you
that federal law dictates that you must obey any instructions from flight
If you’re playing golf, there are rules upon rules about addressing the ball, putting, where you can take a drop and so on. Same with basketball, climbing a mountain, lifting weights. Some of the rules are well-thought out and dictated by organizations that manage the sport. The NBA, for example, can have different basketball rules than the NCAA. Or different football rules. Some rules are just plain common sense but aren’t written down.
When it comes to tradeshows, as an exhibitor or an attendee,
as part of the agreement that allows you access to the hall, you agree to
certain rules. If you’re an exhibitor, there are dozens and dozens of rules
about the exhibit you are allowed to set up, heights, fees, and so on and so
What about rules that may not be written down, but are just
common sense? No doubt most of these are just rules of polite society: don’t be
a jerk, treat people as you would like to be treated, and so on.
There also several unwritten rules of etiquette that you should adhere to. No eating in the booth, no sitting in the booth, greet visitors with a smile and a great engaging question, being on time when you’re scheduled to work.
But about the tradeshow floor itself, rules are again often
unspoken. Let’s check in on a few.
Suitcasing is a term for someone who is walking from exhibit
to exhibit and trying to pitch their product or services. Or they occupy space
where people are coming in and out and hand out flyers or brochures. It’s considered
unethical because the visitor didn’t pay for being there. They have no money
Outboarding is when a company doesn’t exhibit, but they’re
willing to rent a suite at a nearby hotel and invite attendees to see their
wares. I’ve read that it’s less common than it used to be simply because show
managers now often reserve blocks of rooms for exhibitors and if someone that
is not exhibiting tries to reserve a room or a suite the hotel just refuses.
Extending beyond the booth confines is not something I see a
lot, but I do see. This is when exhibitors will push things like banner stands
or literature stands outside of their booth dimensions.
Using music in your booth. Unless you hire the musician, and
the musician is playing his own unpublished music (rare, but it could happen),
you’ll be liable for paying licensing fees. And they ain’t cheap.
After hours a good rule to follow is limit your alcohol
intake, don’t stay up late, make sure you’re well-fed and hydrated. If you’re
hosting a client dinner or event, let the visitors eat or drink first. Be a
There are literally hundreds of other rules we could get
into, and no doubt you could come up with your own. Rules about marketing
strategy, collecting and following up on leads, attracting key prospects, graphic
design and so on.
The final rule I’ll offer, though, is this:
You’re going to be on your feet for hours at a time. Wear
In three weeks, Natural Products Expo West will be launching
in Anaheim California. It’s a show that TradeshowGuy Exhibits is most involved
with of all the shows our clients go to each year. For the past couple of
months, we’ve been working with new and current clients to finalize artwork,
shipping and logistic schedules and more. It’s a crazy wonderful show. I’ve met
hundreds of people there over the years and gained clients with almost every
appearance. And of course, I’ve met people from companies that seemed to think
they’d become clients, but it never happened. Maybe next year!
The preparation for a big show for many clients goes well
beyond making sure the tradeshow exhibit is up to snuff and sporting new
graphics or furniture or counters or new AV elements or lights. It’s about making
sure they’re positioned right with new products and services. It’s about making
connections with old colleagues and meeting new ones. It’s about seeing what
your competitors are launching.
It’s also about all of the details and all the moving parts:
scheduling labor, electrical, shipping, flooring, furniture, you name it. There
are endless details when it comes to tradeshow marketing. Handling it each year
and making adjustments at the next show to improve is not uncommon.
We’ll report more from the show during and after, but if you want to see how last year went for us, well, it went pretty well. I don’t think we’ll be quite as busy this year as a few of those clients are not making changes to last year’s presentations. But yeah, we’ll be busy.
I look forward to walking the floor for a few days, seeing
what people are doing, talking with exhibitors, learning their challenges. I
look forward to being in warmer climes than Oregon during early March! I look
forward to connecting with an old friend in LA and catching up on a spare night
(there aren’t many).
But most of all, I look forward to seeing the clients we’ve
worked with, whether for decades, years, or even a few months. I look forward
to seeing how all of the hard work is received. It’s great to make clients look
good, not only to their immediate supervisors who may not have been intimately
involved in the new exhibit or upgrades, but also the clients who come away
impressed with the exhibit.