Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for July, 2009

Word on the Street — July 27th thru July 31st

July 31st, 2009 1 COMMENT
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Relax! Is It Really Feasible These Days?

Sort of a weird topic, right?

If you are like me, you work long hours, travel more than you should, and constantly have work on your mind. All the while, trying to balance your home life and the current world we live in. It can be hard!

Coming off a week in Chicago at TS2, I was slammed the first three days catching up on calls, emails, and orders — as well as doing as much show follow-up as possible. What made it even more critical was that I was leaving Thursday morning for a short vacation so I had to get everything done by Wednesday afternoon . . . theoretically!

So with that behind me, now it ‘s time to relax right? Easier said than done. How does one go from 100 to 0?

For me, I try to maintain a similar routine by waking up a little earlier, having a cup of coffee, and checking the computer. But I steer clear of work stuff as much as possible. This morning I opened the laptop at 7:00 am. I had 47 emails, mostly work related. Immediately, I shut off my email, threw the headphones on, and opted to re-watch Stage 20 from the Tour De France, Mt. Ventoux. It proved to be both relaxing and inspiring. Despite the temptation to respond to every email, I have to remind myself that my Out-of-Office is on so anyone who really wants an answer knows to call Classic or ClassicMODUL.

Ask my wife what relaxes me and she would laugh and tell you that it took several years for her to figure that out. But put some good music in my ears and a concert playing , a cycling re-run, or sometimes just looking through photos and I am at peace.

What about you? How do you break the cycle of the day to day stresses we all deal with? Please share your comments

Have a great and restful weekend

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty

Word on the Street — July 20th thru July 24th

July 24th, 2009 1 COMMENT
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Follow-up from TS2 in Chicago

We are back from Chicago, and I am exhausted. But then again, spending an unplanned six hours waiting around at O’Hare will do that.

The six hours at O’Hare gave me the opportunity to check Twitter and LinkedIn for reactions to TS2, and to compare them to my own thoughts and reactions.

Let me preface this by saying that I have a fairly unique perspective when it comes to TS2 with over 10 years as an exhibitor and the past three years as a member of the TS2 Exhibitor Advisory Committee.

That being said, I will start off from the exhibitor perspective. I, like others, found the show traffic very slow. Having the front and center island in a show, like we did, usually is a huge advantage, but the flow of the traffic seemed to veer right and left as they entered, so our traffic on Day 1 was not the best. Day 2 was better than Day 1, which was not the same for others on the show floor.

Looking through the leads and speaking to other exhibitors nearby, it felt like the attendees were not your typical TS2 exhibitor attendees. Meaning, it felt like the majority of them were there looking for technology, promotional products, education, and other services. Not for exhibits.

From the Exhibitor Advisory Committee Member perspective, it was more positive. Still not great, but more positive. One of my duties was to tour several aisles, thank the exhibitors for attending, and to get feedback on the show. The Advisory Committee wanted their reactions and comments and felt they would be more open with a fellow exhibitor who has the ear of show management.

I have to say, the majority of the folks I spoke to were very happy with the show. The show was slow, but they expected that. And most spoke about the good quality of the leads they were generating. There were recommendations about how to make the show better for Boston, and there was a clear acknowledgement that the traditional “Exhibit House” presence was not there.

I have been asked multiple times in the past 48 hours, “Will TS2 survive?” My response is, I hope so. Although attendance numbers were only off about 15% over the Philly show in 2008, it’s the attendee profile of this year’s show that concerns me the most as a longtime exhibitor. I, for one, think that for TS2 to survive they need the participation and involvement of the Exhibit Houses, and they need to re-engage the Portable, Modular and Hybrid Manufacturers. The show needs to get back to being the “Tradeshow for Tradeshows”. . . along with welcoming technology and event companies. 

In the end, for those of you that I did see there, it was great to see you. The Block Party on Navy Pier was excellent! Very well thought out and executed. The Pub Crawl turned into an event of its own . . . I am pretty sure you can find the re-broadcast of the now legendary Beer-Pong Champs on ESPN 8 “The Ocho” this coming fall. 🙂

In all seriousness though, if you attended TS2, please post a comment and give your honest thoughts and feedback from the event or from what I have said.

 Be Well!

–Kevin Carty

Word on the Street — July 13th thru July 17th

July 17th, 2009 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Last Minute Preparations for TS2

We all go to a lot of tradeshows and events, right? After all, we are the industry professionals. We are the ones who exhibitors rely on to take care of all their needs and to make sure all their “i’s” are dotted and their “t’s” are crossed.

So why is it, that many of us scramble so much at the last minute to complete crucial details for our own industry events . . . both business details and personal details? Or maybe it’s just me. 🙂

It was about 10:30 pm last night when my wife says to me, “Excited for your trip? Do you feel like you have everything prepared?” I responded “YES!” Then she said, “Hey, when you pick up your dry cleaning tomorrow, can you drop something off for me?” . . . which triggered the proverbial “Oh  S&#T!” moment because I never actually dropped my stuff off.tsa20text20new

Then, there is the business stuff. Every show I seem to end up with an extra bag of small stuff that I need to bring on the plane with me. Have you ever tried to explain to TSA what a Stand-Off is?? Especially since it looks like some sort of pipe-bomb on the x-ray. Normal people need an extra bag for all the items they receive at the show. Not me! Apparently, I need it for my explosive devices. 🙂

In the end, it always comes together just fine. And I make comments like “I’ll make sure to remember that”. . .”lessoned learned”. . . and my personal favorite, “You would think by now I would have learned”.  But of course, being a creature of habit, I never do learn. It will surely happen again.

I hope to see you all next week in Chicago at TS2. Stop by our booth #601 and say hi. I’ll be the guy with the Lo-Jack on my ankle, compliments of the TSA.

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty

Top Ten Reasons to Live in Newaygo, MI

July 15th, 2009 5 COMMENTS
Newaygo, MI -- Birthplace of Reid Sherwood

Newaygo, MI -- Birthplace of Reid Sherwood

10. Annual “Drive Your Farm Tractor to School” Day (during FFA Week)
9.  Both Stop Lights are Synchronized – No Traffic Jams!
8.  Two Hours from Traverse City — The Palm Springs of MI
7.  Another Excuse to Use The Michigan Hand Map — Locate Newaygo Between the Crease of the Pinkie and Ring Finger
6.  Never Break a Sweat from September Thru May
5.  Deer Day! No School or Work on Opening Day of Deer Season
4.  Kayak to McCormick Place in Chicago
3.  Locks on Doors are Unnecessary (Well, perhaps they are now. Oops!)

Another Typical Friday Night in Newaygo

Another Typical Friday Night in Newaygo

2.  It’s Jim Hoffmann’s (from Optima) Favorite Vacation Spot

And the number one reason . . .

1.  A Golf Membership is just $179.00/yr. (The 2 Gallon Can of Mosquito Spray is Extra)

— Reid Sherwood

Word on the Street — July 6th thru July 10th

July 10th, 2009 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Client Retention vs. Client Protection

I hope and trust you all had an enjoyable holiday weekend with your family and friends! I know I did. I’m not sure I have ever packed so much into a 3-day weekend. I suppose that comes with having two young children. By Monday, I was exhausted!

This week I would like to reflect on something I’m hearing a lot about these days — Client Protection.

At what point does “Client Retention” become “Client Protection“? And at what point does it appear desperate?

We all understand and have implemented Client Retention programs. They are smart, necessary, and reflect good customer service. But this new term or buzz word, Client Protection, seems different. 

For the past year, many AE’s or company representatives are travelling to trade shows, not to look for new clients, but to accompany their existing clients to their shows.  

Obviously, the downsized market is striking fear in people, a fear that clients will be tempted away by others. There is a sense that they need to be there to fend off potential suitors. Sort of reminds me of the movie Jerry Maguire. Near the end, when Rod (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is standing at the end of the tunnel waiting to run out on the field, Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr) approaches him and tries to talk to him about becoming his agent. Just then, Jerry (Tom Cruise) comes running up and tells Sugar to get lost and to “stay away from my guy.”

Has it really come to that with clients on the show floor? God I hope not! But I have to say that is what I’ve heard is happening at some shows. 

Have you ever been around that married couple where one of the spouses “always” has to accompany the other wherever they go? Whether it’s traveling for business or to the grocery store? Leaves you thinking, “What’s up with that?” What is that person so fearful of? And why?”

I’m sure this may sound a bit naive, but won’t solid relationship skills, a good understanding of your client’s needs, and caring for those needs protect you from having your clients “stolen?” Can’t good Client Retention practices achieve the same goal?

Again, feel free to shoot holes in this as being Pollyanna. But it seems like a dangerous knee-jerk reaction to the current economic conditions In the end, when we have finally recovered from this awful economy, will we have set a difficult precedent? Not to mention the appearance of desperation.

I look forward to your comments as always.

Have a great weekend.

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty