Trade Show TalesBlog

The 5 Fallacies of Trade Show Exhibit Rentals

June 23rd, 2017 COMMENTS

The Five Fallacies of Rental Exhibits

Do you feel like trade shows are a secret religion where you need a high priestess to explain the path to enlightenment? You shouldn’t… but it’s easy to waste a lot of money before you discover trade show nirvana. Take rental displays for example. So many misconceptions, even by trade show professionals.

Probably nothing has changed more in Trade Show Land than exhibit rentals. What used to look like subsidized housing on the show floor is now indistinguishable from purchase exhibits. Well… in most cases. I recently saw this design on a custom house website as a rental option. I kid you not — THIS was the BEST of the six offerings. Sigh.

Ugly Trade Show Rental It’s no wonder there is so much confusion about rental exhibits. Let’s explore The Five Most Common Fallacies about renting an exhibit.

Attendees Will Know It’s a Rental Exhibit

Yes, if you rent the crappy display shown above. Otherwise, no. At any major trade show, 15-20% of the exhibits are rentals. Quality exhibit rental suppliers, like Classic Rental Solutions, have hundreds of rental designs based on successful purchase designs. These include extrusion, modular wall, and custom modular designs from 10 ft. inlines to 40 x 60 islands with large format fabric graphics. Even double-deck displays. In the end, most rental suppliers will personalize the rental for your trade show needs. It may not be a custom exhibit, but it will be attractive, functional, and cost-effective.

Rentals Can’t Be Customized or Personalized

Well that would certainly make our lives easier if it was true. But, it’s not. Everyone wants an exhibit, purchase or rental, that’s tailored to their trade show marketing needs. That’s an expectation. If you are shown 6 examples and told to pick from the list, pretend you are Usain Bolt and sprint to the next exhibit house. If you are told that that purchasing is a better option if you want any customization, then put your track shoes back on. It’s time to sprint… again.

That’s not to say there aren’t limits. And in many cases, it makes sense to purchase some or all of the exhibit. But it’s not either/or. It depends on your supplier’s inventory and manufacturing capability. Some work from an in-house inventory. Others rely on a large rental supplier like Classic Rental Solutions, which supplies rental displays to more than 200 distributors in North America. That volume allows for greater flexibility in design requests and accessory options. Need 30 counters. We got it. Need 25 monitor stands. We have that too.

Trade Show Rental Island Exhibit

It Will Cost Less. It Will Cost More.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, there’s no magic formula when it comes to deciding whether to rent or purchase. In general, renting is less expensive, particularly if you reuse the graphics for multiple shows, but that’s the same for an exhibit purchase. Because marketing is always a moving target, graphics will always change over time. On the other hand, if you make “sprockets,” which never change, and plan to keep the same structure and graphics for several years, then it would be smarter to purchase your display.

You decided to purchase the exhibit. Now you (or someone else) has to store the exhibit. And pack and prep it for each show. That’s a cost that’s often ignored during the design phase. Are you a company that wants the flexibility to change the exhibit design, size, or accessories depending on the show or your budget? Then renting makes  more sense. Or consider purchasing the core structure, but renting the kiosks, counters, monitor stands, charging stations, etc. giving you greater flexibility from show to show.

My Show is in Chicago. Should I Rent the Exhibit in Chicago?

Perhaps. Is your show always in Chicago? Do you only go to shows in Chicago? Are you based in Chicago? Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter. Work with the exhibit house that fits you like a glove. It’s not about location. It’s about relationships and success. You have shows all over North America. Does it really matter where the rental exhibit ships from? Honestly, it has to ship from somewhere. If your exhibit partner is truly a partner, they will work with you on the design and your trade show marketing goals, and ensure your exhibit ships as economically as possible.

Trade Show Inline Rental Exhibits

I Have to Rent from the General Show Contractor (GSC)

The displays from a GSC can be cost-effective, which might make sense for a first-time exhibitor testing the water. However most GSCs have a limited rental inventory and mostly basic designs, although there are exceptions. That said… a GSC is focused on that show. What happens at the next show with a different GSC in a different city with different design offerings?

Exhibitors who view trade shows as an investment do not differentiate between a rental or a purchase. It’s all about creating the best possible ROI for the company. That means working with a partner who understands your company and your goals, someone invested in your success over the long-term, not just for one show. That might seem obvious, but exhibit rentals are often seen as a “Hail Mary!” just to meet a limited budget. A partner will ensure your rental is not a compromise.

Still a bit confused? Renting an exhibit is not for everyone, just like leasing a car isn’t for everyone. However, it’s wise to know your options, particularly since rental designs are much more flexible and attractive than ever before. There’s no longer a stigma associated with a well-designed rental exhibit, and most rental exhibitors are primarily interested in flexibility, both in structure and cost. It’s a worthwhile conversation to have with your exhibit partner, regardless of what you decide.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Portable Hybrid Displays — Summer Sales Tips #4

June 20th, 2017 COMMENTS

Subtle and Sophisticated Portables

It’s easy to dismiss portable trade show displays as simple and unsophisticated. But nothing could be further from the truth. Engineering an attractive, durable, and truly portable display is hard, very hard. The Perfect 10, Magellan, and Sacagawea Portable Hybrids are clever, sophisticated displays with features not found in less expensive imports, such as knob assembly, adjustable support legs, and best-in-class 4K dye-sublimation fabric printing.

When buying a trade show display, especially online, always ask the tough questions about construction, print quality, assembly, and packaging. Engineering a portable hybrid display that will last for years doesn’t happen by chance.

To download the unbranded PDF version for the Portable Hybrid Displays, click here. To listen to the bonus audio tip, click here.

SummerSalesTip4

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Gravitee One-Step Modular System™ — Summer Sales Tips #3

June 15th, 2017 COMMENTS

Measured in Inches, Not Millimeters

Most modular wall systems were designed for European trade shows where tools and time are in abundance. North American trade shows prioritize speed, modularity, and easy assembly because time and tools cost money. The Gravitee One Step™ Modular System assembles without tools or loose parts. The double-sided panels connect with the attached clips. You’ll never fumble for a loose bullet connector or search for a special tool.

Gravitee’s lightweight aluminum panels accept both direct print and SEG graphics. SEG graphics never need to be clipped, so north or south, east or west, it’s one continuous run ensuring a perfect fit every single time.

To download the unbranded PDF version for the Gravitee One-Step Sales Tips, click here. To listen to the special audio clip, click here.

Gravitee One-Step Modular Wall System

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Who is Classic’s Biggest Competitor?

June 15th, 2017 4 COMMENTS

Who is Classic's Biggest Competitor?

Recently, I’ve been on the road, visiting Classic Distributors in the Midwest and South. We chat about industry trends, new products, and challenges in their market. Occasionally, they will ask me about competitors. That’s a topic that always makes me uncomfortable.

Now, why should talking about competitors be uncomfortable? Handled professionally, it can be instructive for both of us, and I am just as guilty of asking a distributor, “What are you hearing in the industry?”

Nevertheless, “Who is Your Biggest Competitor?” always makes me squirm. You would expect me to list a handful of systems manufacturers or internet resellers, but while they are competitors, they are not our biggest competitor. So, who is?

Our Biggest Competitor

You. You are our biggest competitor. Now don’t take that the wrong way. You are also our customers, colleagues, and friends. We like you. We respect you. Our business depends on you. We are honored to have you as part of the Classic Exhibits Family. And, yet, you are also our biggest competitor — day in and day out. That shouldn’t surprise you. If it does, it shouldn’t.

Every single day you listen to clients about their projects. Then you make a decision about who designs, manages, and builds that project. You? Another builder? Classic Exhibits? Let’s explore some examples together.

CustomBlogpostHeader

Custom Exhibits

Do you design and build it, assuming you have in-house custom capability? What’s the budget? What are the client’s expectations? Will it interfere with other projects or customers currently in the pipeline?

  • Will it keep my shop busy and/or happy?
  • Is the client’s budget realistic for our shop rate?
  • Can I make margin?
  • Is it within our skill-set or would it make more sense for someone else to build it?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Assuming you don’t have in-house capability, do you find a contract builder?

  • Do I have the in-house talent to project manage it?
  • Should I find someone local?
  • Do I trust that shop and do they have experience?
  • What if the client expects me to store the exhibit and prep it for each show?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Hybrid Exhibits

Aluminum extrusion systems seem, at first glance, an easier decision. What’s so challenging about designing and building a display from modular aluminum components. After all, it only requires:

  • Designing a hybrid solution using standard and customized engineered aluminum components
  • Ordering those components from an aluminum supplier at the correct size(s), angles, and finishes
  • Supplementing them with accessories from other manufacturers such as counters, lighting, graphics, and casing
  • Creating detailed setup instructions and numbered components
  • Creating re-usable packaging that protects the components
  • Completing all above within a 10-15 day time frame
  • Ensuring margins are acceptable, including time and materials and lost opportunities

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Specialized Displays

Specialized displays include lightboxes, charging stations, retail fixtures, corporate environments, or anything outside your normal trade show or event world.

  • What is the client’s expectation of quality?
  • Is the budget realistic?
  • Is the time frame realistic?
  • Should you design, project management, and build it?
  • Do you have the capability to handle the project?
  • If not, what company has the inventory, technology, and capability to produce it?
  • Should it be handled locally or online?
  • Can you make margin, complete the order on time, and continue to pursue other opportunities?

blogheaderRentals

Rental Displays

The growth of rentals, especially customized rentals, has created a dilemma for many Classic Distributors. Building a rental inventory takes financial capital, warehouse space, and a steady order turn to be successful. And yet, rentals can be very profitable assuming there’s sufficient turn on your inventory and minimal damage.

  • Do you pull from your inventory, add to your inventory, send it to Classic, or send it somewhere else?
  • Do you have the physical space to warehouse a rental inventory?
  • How deep should that inventory be?
  • Are your designs limited by your in-house inventory?
  • What if the client requires multiple quantities of counters, monitor stands, or kiosks?
  • Do you have the time/talent to create detailed setup instructions for each project?
  • Does geography or the show location determine whether to use your rental inventory or rely on a supplier like Classic?
  • Are you accounting for the labor to design, build, pack, receive, and clean the rental? What about damage?

You get my point. If there was a way to measure lost opportunities for Classic, I suspect that we lose more business when you choose to build or rent something in-house than when the order is sent to another manufacturer. At Classic Exhibits, our job is to excel in design, customer service, production, packaging, instructions, and even marketing so you choose the easiest and most profitable path for your company. We have to win your approval, day after day. And that’s our goal since we don’t sell direct.

So, to you our competitor and our customer, while we don’t win them all, we win far more than we lose when we have the opportunity. All we ask is that we get the opportunity.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757


 

SuperNova™ Lightboxes and Exhibits — Summer Sales Tips #2

June 6th, 2017 COMMENTS

Outperform the Competition

Not all LED lightboxes are created equal. Most use low quality aluminum extrusion, inferior LED modules, and low resolution fabric printing.  SuperNova™ Lightboxes are the exception. SuperNova Lightboxes are exceptionally durable. Our propriety LED modules outperform the competition. And, we use only HD or 4K dye-sublimation printing for vibrant colors and details.

To download the unbranded PDF version for the SuperNova Sales Tips, click here. To listen to the special audio clip, click here.

SuperNova LED Lightboxes from Classic Exhibits

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.