I’ve had Kevin Carty of Classic Exhibits on a handful of times this year for various discussions related to dealing with the COVID Pandemic, how they’re dealing with it and more. But this week I wanted to catch up with Kevin to learn more about virtual exhibits: how they’re working their way into designing and implementing exhibits for clients, and how exhibitors can think about and approach a possible virtual exhibit for their own use:
This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Rain. Sorely needed here on the west coast with all the forest fires still burning. We got a good dose of rain late last week and while it didn’t put the fires out, it gave firefighters a good helping hand.
One of the first clients I managed to snare in my early days in the tradeshow world came when I cold-called a Portland-based company called gDiapers. It took awhile, maybe a few months, but we ended up designing and fabricating two tradeshow exhibits for them. At one point five or six years ago, they decided to stop exhibiting at tradeshows and focus on other marketing efforts.
I wanted to catch up with gDiapers CEO Jason Graham-Nye to see what he and the company have been up to lately. I know Jason moved his family back home to Australia five years ago from Portland, which meant changes for the company as well.
Little did I know what kind of adventures he and his team got up do, especially once the coronavirus hit. I hope you enjoy the conversation – I sure did:
Year ago, I wrote a brief article on doing a tradeshow marketing SWOT Analysis, which would be a bit different from a more general SWOT Analysis.
But now that we’re in a pandemic created by the COVID-19, how would you approach doing a SWOT Analysis and is it worth doing?
I would argue that while a formal SWOT is probably unnecessary, it’s not a bad idea to at least examine some of the changes the pandemic has wrought, to see what obvious and perhaps significant changes your company is facing.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
How are you positioned in the marketplace? Do you have new products about to launch? How are you perceived by your customers and clientele? Are you doing things to keep relationships going? Are sales strong or flat? Just knowing these and other related things will help you understand your position in the marketplace compared to your competition and compared to how you might have been with no pandemic.
With no tradeshow marketing coming for at least another quarter or two, can you put the budget towards something else? Is a virtual event worth the investment? Can you do another kind of outreach for a fraction of the cost of exhibiting at a big tradeshow? Take a look at your options and see if there are missed opportunities that you may have overlooked.
Are there marketplace threats you sense but perhaps haven’t put your finger on? Are your supplier lines still open and working well, or are there kinks that may signal something worse down the line? Do you have any competitors that are taking this time to move aggressively into an area that you thought you dominated? Threats are often overlooked because, unless you actively think about them and look for them, they can sneak up on you without you knowing until it’s too late.
All in all, doing a brief SWOT check-in may help you understand how the company is doing and give you insight and context in how you’ll handle the rest of the year and move into 2021.
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:
I’ve been thinking about virtual events and have a few questions:
Let’s say that Organization A is going to convert their typical in-person event that normally hosts, oh, let’s say, 3500 exhibitors and 80,000 attendees. It’s a pretty big show. Millions of dollars generated in business. A big deal.
Now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will have to go virtual, if the organizers decide to move forward with the event. Something like CES2021 comes to mind, which recently announced they were going all-digital, although it could be any number of large shows.
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how it would work. And yes, several questions come to my poor little brain as I try to understand how it will work. I would think that exhibitors will need some sort of platform that they’ll provide for online attendees to land on at their main site that will then take them on a tour of the various virtual exhibitors.
Let’s start with the organization that is putting on the virtual event:
What are you offering attendees and exhibitors?
How will you implement it?
What are attendees looking for? Will you be able to give them what they want?
If you have live sessions, will they be available for playback later?
What platform will you offer exhibitors for their exhibits, and how will those virtual exhibits be designed and constructed? Will they be from a template, or will you offer custom design services?
How will those services be priced?
How much time do you need to implement those services, assuming that you can provide them to all of your exhibitors in a timely manner?
Is the final online presentation available for a limited time, or can exhibitors take it with them to another venue?
What flexibility and options will you offer your exhibitors for their virtual exhibit?
If an exhibitor already has a virtual exhibit done by another provider, will you willingly link to that virtual exhibit from your platform and make it as seamless as possible?
From the attendee’s viewpoint:
Why should I attend?
What do I get by attending?
How much will it cost me to attend?
If I pay the admission fee, will I have access to all programs for a limited amount of time or will it be open-ended?
Who else is going to attend?
Will I be able to get a list of other visitors in any way, shape or form?
From the exhibitors’ viewpoint:
How will the organizers promote and publicize the show?
How will they attract people to my booth?
What options are available to “boost” the attendance in my virtual exhibit?
How will I know who is there, how long they stay in the virtual space, what they clicked, etc.?
What is the cost to partake in the virtual tradeshow?
How long will the virtual exhibit remain available to visitors?
No doubt, you’ll have other questions. I’d love to hear them. I can’t think of everything, right?
It’s a good time to mention that the good folks at Classic Exhibits, the main exhibit manufacturer we work with, is now offering virtual exhibits – and they’re pretty impressive. Take a look here.
It’s been several months since we caught up with John Pugh and Marcus Vahle of Share Experience, a company they launched less than a year ago near Pittsburgh on the banks of the Ohio River. With the pandemic affecting the events industry, every company in the space is looking for ways to offer value to their clients. Share Experience has moved into virtual production and making sets for virtual presentations – and much more, as you’ll learn on this wide-ranging discussion.
A quick note: I had a minor audio issue on my end – my microphone was turned too high, and I had to tone it down a bit in post-production. It does sound a bit distorted due to modulation, but I mitigated it as much as possible 🙂
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:
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:
We all get the same amount of time: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Everybody could use a little help in managing their time. There are some tried and true tips on time management, and in this short video, I share a few of them.