Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for October 30th, 2009

Word on the Street — October 26th thru October 30th

October 30th, 2009 1 COMMENT
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Variety is the Spice of Life

How many times have we heard that? For me, it is something I truly believe — both in business and in my personal life.

Earlier today, I watched a great online seminar by Malcolm Gladwell who, as many of you know, is someone I admire greatly. In this video, Malcolm speaks about Howard Moskowitz, the man who revolutionized the way the food industry looks at and delivers its products to consumers. And I mean revolutionized!

Take some time over the weekend or at lunch and watch this video:

His philosophy boils down to two main points — which Malcolm Gladwell highlights:

  1. The mind knows NOT what the tongue wants
  2. In embracing the diversity of human beings, you will find the path to happiness

How does this relate to the trade show industry? Well, it’s no stretch to apply it to our world.

For years, the guiding principle of Custom Builders has been to focus on projects that keep their saws turning. End users have been conditioned to think that when they need an exhibit of a certain size and a certain capability, then they call their Custom Exhibit Builder.

When the same customer finds themselves in need of a smaller, more “portable”  or “modular” exhibit, then they call their Portable/Modular Exhibit distributor.  

I would suggest that both of these transactions happen because “that’s just the way it’s been done historically.”  However, if you were the owner of that Custom Exhibit Builder business, what would you say if that customer told you they spend $500k – $1 million per year on their Portable/Modular/Hybrid Exhibit program? Do you say, “Sorry, I’m in the custom exhibit business . . .  not I’m in the exhibit business.”

The idea of Horizontal Segmentation in business is so critical, yet often ignored. I am not saying it is ignored intentionally. But too often, no one recognizes it until there is an emergency. For many of us, the economic downturn has been that emergency. 

Whether you build Large Custom Exhibits, Portable/Modular/Hybrid Exhibits, or P.O.P Displays, your client may have a need for all three. Why not offer them Plain Sauce, Spicy Sauce, and Extra Chunky Sauce? Because what we know from Howard Moskowitz’s research is that 1/3 of consumers love Extra Chunky sauce, but unless you have it to offer, you will never know that.

Have a safe and restful Halloween weekend.

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty