Ever have one of those moments when you wish you had a picture of something from the tradeshow appearance you did, oh, six months ago, but you can’t find it? Setting up your exhibit at a tradeshow is a fleeting moment, and the more photos you take and the more records you keep, the better off you’ll be as you prepare for next year’s show. Here’s a quick video on a handful of things you might consider tracking from show to show:
When putting a budget together for a new tradeshow exhibit, there are more things to consider than just the cost of the exhibit itself. Here are a handful of things that will likely come into the mix:
Every now and then I cruise through Twitter looking for a handful of marketing tips for tradeshow exhibitors. Let’s see if there’s anything there now!
First up, TSNN gives us some planning tips to engage virtual attendees.
Next, Lotus823 links to a SmartBrief post that offers thoughts on pre- and post-show planning.
Then, SourceGroup links to an article with 7 Tips to Hosting a Successful Virtual Networking Event.
Ljubica Maletković tweeted out a link to an article that helps you make the most of your tradeshow marketing budget.
Finally, Exhibit Options linked to a TSNN article on how to embrace the new normal for 2021.
Twitter can be a lot of things, but when it comes to finding useful information for your industry, it’s pretty good most of the time!
In March and April of this year, when tradeshow organizers realized the gravity of the pandemic and how it would be affecting upcoming shows, many of them “postponed” the shows. I say “postponed” in quotes because many believed that whatever issues the COVID-19 pandemic caused; things would be back to normal in a few months.
For example, I happened to be on an airplane waiting to take off from Portland on the morning of March 2, when the email came in: Natural Products Expo West was off, postponed TFN. In the next few weeks, an effort was made to reschedule the show for early summer. Then the pandemic got worse. The show was canceled for good.
The organizers tried to focus on Natural Products Expo East in September. Nope, that fell by the wayside as well. As did CES, NAB, and many other shows. Some shows went virtual, others hoped for the best for a live show sometime next year.
Now Natural Products Expo West has moved the 2021 show from early March to late May of next year. Anyone willing to lay money on the show actually taking place?
In random conversations and email exchanges, and in seeing some survey results, the tradeshow and event industry has a wide range of opinions on when things might get back to “normal,” yes, in quotes, because we don’t know what normal will look like again, or when. Some companies are working remotely, hoping to get back to the office by the beginning of 2021. Others are putting it off until the third or fourth quarter of 2021.
In early September, Exhibitor Magazine revealed some data based on surveys of tradeshow world suppliers and exhibitors. For example, 2/3 of those surveyed said it was unlikely, probably wouldn’t, or definitely wouldn’t return to shows rescheduled for 2020.
Company travel restrictions will still be in place at most companies into 2021. Lots of data there, and I’ll give you one more interesting tidbit: the later in the year the question was asked, the further companies pushed their plans back. In early September, most companies were looking at the second or third quarter of 2021 before they thought they’d be back on the tradeshow floor. View the full presentation here; it’s worth a look.
I mentioned on my podcast this week that the live music and entertainment industry is also severely impacted. Musicians, tech workers, roadies, support staff and more have been mostly idled. Think of entertainers on cruise ships, or in Cirque du Soleil (which has filed for bankruptcy), along with concert tours, jazz festivals, country fairs, art fairs, and more.
I believe we all know how bad it is and have a feeling it’ll continue for much longer than we ever thought it would, when the pandemic first came around.
Over the past few months, I have been thinking that once we get back to, let’s say 75 or 85% or “normal,” companies would start busting loose with big budgets and there would be lots of new projects and work for exhibit companies and related logistical support companies.
Now I’m not so sure. My gut feeling is that because this is going to keep going until deep into 2021, companies will be very hesitant to spend money and will be more than willing to just do modest changes on their current exhibit properties instead of investing in something new. I have nothing to base that on and hope I’m wrong.
And finally, when it comes to Virtual shows or tradeshow exhibits, my sense is that it has to really make sense for the company for them to invest in something like that: they need it only if they can use it a dozen or more times in the next year or so, and they strongly believe it will get them more good leads at a better cost-per-lead than traditional exhibiting. The jury is still out on that.
Are you guilty of any of these? Don’t feel bad. We’re only human, but if we know ahead of time what things to know, what to avoid and how to prepare, we can have a much better and more successful tradeshow exhibiting experience.
Disruption can come in many forms. I always wonder what it must have felt like to work at Blockbuster when Netflix starting mailing DVDs and then started streaming them. Talk about disruption!
On this week’s quick hit video, a look at a few ways to deal with disruption. Maybe you have a few to add?
After viewing Exhibitor Magazine‘s latest survey data last week from the exhibitor and supply side of the tradeshow world, it got me to thinking about what exhibitors should do now. Here’s a short video:
With tradeshow marketing on the sidelines, now is as good a time as any to brush up on your tradeshow marketing skill and knowledge. And here’s a great place to find a whole lot of tradeshow marketing tips – all in one place, and all worth their weight in gold. Check out this short under-three-minute video:
Find all of these tips at TradeshowBuy.com!
It isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And it’s possible that in some areas of the country, small meetings and corporate events are already back, or on their way. And that may mean that some of these venues, such as hotels, small conference centers, or corporations with their own event centers, are not prepared.
They’ll be looking for workstations, counters, branded LED lightboxes, monitors, charging stations, hand sanitizer stations, and more. Chances are they don’t have all of these items readily available. And it may not be a good approach to try and purchase all of these things, and then try and store them from show to show.
Nope, it’s probably a better idea to RENT these things. Which is exactly what you get when you team up with TradeshowGuy Exhibits and Classic Rental Solutions. We’ve worked with the designers, project managers, and fabricators at Classic Exhibits for nearly two decades and know they offer high-quality top-of-the-line material. And with the pandemic afoot, they’ve turned their designers loose to come up with a variety of items that you might need for an upcoming event. Rent, don’t buy, when it comes to things you’ll only use a time or two a year, especially when event requirements may change from event to event.
Click on these images for larger information sheets, then click through to the more thorough website info pages below:
For more information:
- Presentation Stage with Demo Stations
- Product Stands with Casual Seating
- Meeting Rooms with Seating and Kiosks
We can get caught up in an imaginary world pretty easily. Just try following the stock market as it bounces and bounces. And bounces. See your IRA value go UP. See it go down. Yes, it’s real money, and yes, you are hoping it does well, but until you decide to actually pull the money out and put it to use, such as retirement, it’s not real. It’s just numbers on a screen or monthly statement. No matter how much your Tesla holdings have increased, until you sell and put the cash into a bank account, it’s a (mostly) imaginary world.
Same in the world of tradeshows. You can dream and plan and work towards your next show, but in these days of COVID-19, the actual date might not set. Your flight tickets are not purchased. Your hotels are not reserved. Your booth space may not be finalized. Your booth graphics will change, but until you know exactly what products you’ll be promoting at the show, it’s hard to plan much without knowing when the show take place. Or if it’ll take place.
What to do?
You can play ‘what if?’ There’s nothing wrong with a game of what if. It’s how ideas are brought forth. How they’re measured and assessed. Discarded or amended. Set aside for the future.
What if the show doesn’t happen until 2022? What if everything changes and suddenly, we have to have a new exhibit ready in three months? Playing what if doesn’t take much time, and it doesn’t commit you to anything. But it does allow you and your team to look at the various paths ahead that may or may not open up. It allows you to look at multiple contingencies. Yes, you may already be doing this, but try doing it and expanding the horizon. Try to imagine things that before may have been unimagineable.
We’re living in unprecedented times. Today you may be busier than you’ve been in months. But tomorrow you may have time to play a game of what if.