Gaze into My Crystal Ball
For the past four weeks, while we have been very busy with lots of traditional trade show work, we have also been working a lot on alternative markets we service through some of traditional and non-traditional distribution channels.
And while that is great! I have been looking at the activity over the past four weeks to get an idea of what the next busy season will bring from a trade show-only perspective.
Some Things I have Noticed
Islands seem to be the topic of the day. Larger properties are on the plates of our in-house and contract design teams. In particular, people are looking to even incorporate more ClassicMODUL double decks.
Now, I know that this time of year probably invites more “spec” projects than any other time of year, meaning projects that may not be as “real” as others. But truly, the projects we are working on are more “real” than in the past at this time of year. The number one qualifier of that statement is budgets. They are proper and inline with what an island display costs.
On the inline side of things, “custom” really seems to be the key characteristic. Visionary Design Hybrids that are far from the typical Sacagawea, SEGUE, Perfect 10 or Magellan. Again, with budgets that are inline with the customer’s vision for their display.
To say this is refreshing for this time of year is an understatement. Traditionally, this time of year, as I mentioned before, we get a lot of “spec” work that may not be totally realistic from a budgetary standpoint. J You know what I am talking about –the 40’ x 50’ island full of tension fabric SEG, ClassicMODUL extrusions, totally customized, and enough A/V to make Disney/Pixar jealous . . . with a $50k budget.
- Islands Exhibits will be abundant!
- Custom Hybrid Inlines will be the topic of the inline world.
- Rentals are not going anywhere. They are still growing at a double-digit pace and a viable option for many clients at fall shows.
- Cost-effective Hybrid Inlines have become the replacement for the traditional upscale pop-up and other historic 10 x 10 options. With Sacagawea and SEGUE Sunrise starting in the $4k price range, why would you ever want a pop-up? And this from a company that sells two pop-up lines.
- Alternative markets are on the rise. Retail, museum and semi-permanent displays are not only a great fit for what we all do, but they are a viable year-round market with fewer cycles. We may not get the quantity orders, but the prototypes and the custom orders have high margins. Also, what you learn in these markets is often very applicable to the trade show market. See Past Five Days for several recent examples.
How about you? What are the leading indicators in your market? Are there any specific trends you are seeing from your customer base? Please share with other distributors via the comments section.
This is the time of year when I believe we have the greatest opportunity to carve out new trends and develop new products together that will ultimately help our clients trade show and event marketing experience.
Have a great week ahead! I’ll be in Chicago for the Red Diamond Congress.