Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for September, 2013

What are People Buying?: Word on the Street — September 16th thru September 20th

September 22nd, 2013 COMMENTS
What are People Buying?: Word on the Street — September 16th thru September 20th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

At least five times a day, I am asked by distributors:  “So what are you seeing in exhibit design? What are people buying?” I love when I am asked that question. It’s usually an indication that we’re all busy.

So what’s selling? . . . Portable and custom hybrids with tension fabric graphics continue to drive the ship, but the biggest sales superstar right now – – iPad Stands!

If you have been to Classic, then you know my office is above Accounting and next to Design. Everyday, I walk up and down those stairs 15-20 times. On my way to Customer Service or the Set-up area, I generally tour Production to see what is being built and shipping that day.

Without fail, I always see multiple iPad Stands, an iPad enclosure, or some creative way we are integrating an iPad or other tablet into an exhibit. From Islands to Table tops and everything in between. And while I see lots of standard “kits,” I also see lots of customized applications as well.

iPad Stands

Classic Exhibits has devoted more than two years to designing a wide assortment of tablet solutions into exhibits of all shapes and sizes. We are clearly the leader. I say that not because I’m bragging, but because we have devoted enormous R&D, Design, and Marketing effort to achieve that position. The proof is in the pudding. Not a day goes by that we are not shipping 5-25 iPad kiosks or enclosures.

Design and innovation has certainly been the driver. From the get-go, we applied for Design and Utility patents because we wanted to protect not only our intellectual property, but also ensure that Classic Distributors had a unique competitive advantage in the marketplace. Those distributors who have embraced iPad Solutions and have marketed them consistently and aggressively are reaping the rewards of their efforts.

Aside from design, the other element that stands out is the “secret sauce,” such as our “Port\Land” Swivel Stop Technology. Whether you’re using an iPad or some other tablet unit, such as a Samsung Galaxy Tab or ASUS, this feature really sets the Classic products apart from those Johnny Come Lately knockoffs. All are clunky, heavy, and less functional, even those units that have “attempted” to copy the same design features.

It’s one thing to “copy” as opposed to “innovate.” Innovation requires a well thought out process that:  a). focuses on your customers, b). understands how they will use it, c). designs it to be attractive and functional, and d). engineers it to be durable and lightweight. Copying does none of that.

iPad Kiosks

I digress. Whether you are building a dynamic island design or just a freestanding interactive kiosk, please keep our iPad Solutions in mind. They are an affordable and a practical accessory to any exhibit.

Thank you for your continued support of Classic Exhibits. We welcome your design and R&D suggestions.

Hope you have a great weekend with your families. Talk to you next week.

Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

 

The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic. It Matters!

September 19th, 2013 1 COMMENT
Shooting from the Hip (trade show tips)

Shooting from the Hip by Reid Sherwood

One benefit of blogging is having the luxury to promote something special to me and to our industry — The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic (http://www.rsmgc.org/).

For most folks in our industry, “The Randy” is as recognizable as Cher, Madonna, or Bono. The Randy is an annual charitable golf tournament held in the Atlanta area. For those unfamiliar with Randy Smith, he was tragically taken from us several years ago. The first Classic was to raise money to help the Smith family with the financial burden they experienced. Since then, the mission has expand.

“The objective of the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic is to help families in the exhibition industry who have suffered severe tragedies or face insurmountable medical expenses. Our commitment is to provide financial and emotional support to all past and present recipients and their families.”

We all feel invincible, and we assume that nothing bad will ever happen to us. Well, a few years ago, Mike Swartout (my friend and the Creative Director at Classic Exhibits) was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Mike is still battling that cancer today, but in 2011, he was a recipient at The Randy.

Several years ago, an Optima employee, Jim Wetherington Jr., was diagnosed with brain cancer and was taken at a very young age. The Randy was able to provide emotional and financial support to his family during that time of need.

I have said all that just to say this . . .  The Randy Smith Golf Memorial Golf Classic is the one event all year where competitors come together, lay down their swords, and work to help industry colleagues who need it most.

This year, The Randy is on October 14 at Chateau Elan, a few miles north of Atlanta. We welcome golfers, sponsors, and workers. It is an incredible event. There are at least 11 recipients, so your financial donations, hole sponsorships, or corporate sponsorships are very needed.

For more information, please visit www.rsmgc.com. We would love to see you there. Should you have any questions, please email or call me.

Reid Sherwood
reid@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). 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.


 

New LIGHTNING DEAL on Exhibit Design Search

September 16th, 2013 COMMENTS

Effective today, there’s a new feature on Exhibit Design Search — Lightning Deal. The Lightning Deal (LD) button appears on the Home Page between Display Type and Search.

Lightning Deal vs. Specials

Currently, there is a Specials Gallery. Specials last anywhere from 30-60 days and include a range of products and price points. A Lightning Deal will be priced more aggressively than a Special, typically 5-10 percent more. There will be only (1) one “active” Lightning Deal per week; however, we will honor the LD price for another week. So, technically, all LD’s are two weeks long. All LD’s are pre-configured kits, with no substitutions or modifications.

Why the Lightning Deal?

  1. Although Exhibit Design Search is first and foremost a search tool, it should also be seen as a transaction tool. The LD button will reinforce that with exhibit buyers.
  2. “Weekly” deals should increase visits to Distributor-branded EDS sites. Those visits are already very good, but increasing them even more is always a plus.
  3. It’s our hope that aggressive deals with shorter time frames “may” assist in closing certain orders faster. When the clock is ticking . . . .

Let us know if there are any kits or product lines you’d like to see featured as a Lightning Deal. We are open to any and all suggestions.

This week we are featuring the VK-1240 Magellan Magic Hybrid Display. Next week? Well, you’ll have to come back and check. 😉

 

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

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.


 

What Goes Up . . . Hopefully Comes Down!: Word on the Street — September 9th thru September 13th

September 13th, 2013 COMMENTS
What Goes Up...Hopefully Comes Down!: Word on the Street -- September 9th thru September 13th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Club 815 Powered by The EDPA Foundation Rides Again!

It’s mid-September in Oregon. Right now, there are clear blue skies, 88 degrees, sunny . . . and not a lick of wind in the forecast. Sounds pretty nice huh? And lest I forget to mention, not an ounce of humidity. September is always a banner month in the Pacific Northwest and one of the reason I love living here. I am saying this in hopes it will stay this way for the next two weeks.

In two weeks, a group of friends will be gathering in the Great Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge to be specific. We are gathering to ride for a good friend and colleague once again. And privileged to do so.

Many, if not all of you, know Mike Swartout (our Design Director) and his courageous story. And can easily see why a group of sub-par cyclists feel compelled to go on an 85 mile ride, through 50 mph winds, and up 7000 feet of climbs to raise money for Mike, his lovely wife Janet, and awareness for Prostate Cancer. And just in case you don’t, please follow this link to learn more about Mike and about supporting us on our ride this year.

Charity of Choice

https://mycharityofchoice.com/campaign/profile/336#.UjMxvhacevQ

Joining me this year are:

  • Greg “Marathon Man” Garrett
  • Mel “Crash Happy” White
  • Dave “Weird Science” Brown
  • Joel “Grumps” Roy
  • Grant “King Of The Mountain” Murrell
  • And Kevin “White Cheeks” Carty. Don’t ask because I won’t tell

We appreciate any help, even just kind words of encouragement. 🙂 We will be posting via my Twitter account as we ride for those who want to follow the merriment–and pain–along the way. Here are a few photos of our journey from last year.

Hope you all have a great weekend with your family.

Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

Do You Understand the New and Impulsive B2B Buyer?

September 9th, 2013 1 COMMENT

I don’t consider myself “old,” yet I remember business-to-business sales before the Internet. You contacted a salesperson, who was the “Gatekeeper of All Information.” Then you went through a series of meetings, learning a little more with each one. After all the meetings with all the potential vendors, you made a decision. It was time-consuming, expensive, and frustrating.

The Internet changed all that. Last week, Joe Shelman, the GM at Exhibits Northwest Seattle, passed along, “The New Breed of B2B Buyer” written by Joel York. In the article, York explained how B2B has evolved, and, more importantly, how the rules of buyer engagement have changed.

“As one of the most serious of Internet users, the B2B buyer has been transformed through adaptation to the new online environment. A new breed of B2B buyer has arisen, a species that is more connected, more impatient, more elusive, more impulsive, and more informed than its pre-millennium ancestors.”

How It Used to Be

“The Internet has changed the B2B buying process so radically that it’s difficult to recollect exactly how the pre-Internet B2B buyer used to go about the business of making a purchase:  paper, phone, and people mostly. The process went something like this: ask the analysts about the next big thing, collect requirements into an RFP, get a list of vendors from a roundup in an industry magazine, go to a trade show and collect collateral, solicit and evaluate the RFP responses by mail or fax, call in a short list of vendors to do a dog and pony show, follow up with a technical drill down meeting, maybe do a bake-off or a pilot, select a vendor, call a reference account, negotiate final pricing and contract terms, and wrap it all up by planning out phase 2 of the project.”

If you are still operating in that world, you are a dinosaur — alive, but extinction is on the horizon. I would encourage you to read “The New Breed of B2B Buyer“, not once, not twice, but three times. If I was still teaching, you’d be tested on it next Monday.

The New B2B Buyer Rules of Engagement

If you are the owner or General Manager of your business, you may want to distribute this to your team . . . Then devote a meeting to reviewing it page by page. Yes, it’s that important.

One final quote:

“Although the days of the traveling B2B sales rep are over for all but the most expensive purchases, it is essential not to fall into the trap of hiding behind email. When it comes to building rapport and trust, chat is better than email, phone is better than chat, video is better than phone, and face-to-face is better than video. When your business depends on trust, you must provide the technologies and opportunities for your B2B sales reps to engage with your new B2B buyers at a personal level.”

http://www.b2b-marketing-strategy.com/media/the-new-breed-of-b2b-buyer.pdf

I’d enjoy hearing from you after you’ve read the article. Let me know if you agree or disagree. Thanks.

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

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.