Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Business Tips’ Category

The “Why” Can Greatly Impact the “How” in Exhibit Design

October 20th, 2017 COMMENTS

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Several weeks ago, we shared 15 Essential Exhibit Design Questions. These are questions every designer should ask their client before designing the ideal trade show display. In response to the blog post, a designer sent me an email. He wrote,

Here are a few questions we always ask. If the client walks in just thinking about the nuts and bolts of the project, they may miss an informed conversation on why they are exhibiting in the first place and that can fundamentally affect the design of a booth. The Why can greatly impact the How in Exhibit Design.

At that Classic distributor, the designer is usually included in the initial conversation with the client. Depending on which designer you talk to that’s either a bonus or a burden. The questions he shared gauge whether the exhibitor has identified their trade show marketing goals. That’s critical. And yet, it’s easy to skip those questions because doing so can make the potential exhibitor uncomfortable if they haven’t done their homework.

Personally, I’ve been in meetings where merely asking those questions caused the client to consider not buying an exhibit. More often than not they would come back. But not always. Not everyone should be an exhibitor. IMO — If your client intends to purchase or rent an exhibit, they should be prepared to answer these questions.

3 Essential Trade Show Marketing Questions

1. Why are you exhibiting at XYZ Conference?

What does this conference provide that is a benefit for you as an exhibitor? 

2. How would you qualify a successful event?

Expanding brand awareness, generating new sales leads, successful client meetings? 

3. Who is your target attendee at XYZ Conference?

Meeting new prospective clients, reinforcing established relationships?

We often grumble that drayage or labor or freight or show services is killing the trade show industry. However, the single biggest barrier to trade show success is an unprepared, unmotivated, and uninformed exhibitor. It’s easy to blame them for not doing their homework, but honestly, we’re equally to blame if we don’t ask the right questions, guide them to the right resources, and offer professional trade show marketing expertise. After all, we’re the professionals.

Do you have any other “essential” trade show marketing questions? Please share.

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

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom 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 Makes a Custom Exhibit a Custom Exhibit?

October 6th, 2017 2 COMMENTS

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Earlier this week, I sat in a lengthy build meeting for a $275,000 custom exhibit with the designer, account executive, detailer, project manager, multiple production leads, and Kevin. It’s a 20 x 40 mostly wood exhibit with a 30 ft. arch with compound curves, several retail-esque serving areas, raised flooring, and refrigeration displays for food. Plus, lots of subtle LED lighting. It’s for a March show. Perfect project for November, when there’s typically some slack time in our schedule.

If you saw the rendering (which I can’t share yet), you would say, “Now that’s a custom exhibit.” I told the AE that with his permission we’ll assign a kit number once it’s built and put it on Exhibit Design Search. I was joking. Kinda. But it prompted a conversation, which focused on whether assigning a kit number and entering it into Exhibit Design Search no longer makes it a custom project.

[IMO — It’s still custom. Whether the next client purchases it “as is” or it’s customized to their exhibit marketing goals.]

Custom

At Classic Exhibits, we are often defined (or limited) by Exhibit Design Search, the trade show industry’s leading display database. And because EDS is kit-based, it’s easy to assume we are a portable/modular/hybrid manufacturer. And, we are… and we are not.

Easily 80% of what ships from Classic Exhibits is modified, customized, or custom. Which we encourage. In the current exhibit supplier landscape, there is only one, perhaps two, builders in our industry that do anything similar to what we do. Don’t misunderstand me. There are portable/modular suppliers. There are custom houses. But, there’s really no company with a national, non-franchise footprint that will supply, design, and build portable, modular, hybrid, and custom displays from tabletops to islands for an established distributor network.

Whether or not an order starts from a kit, everything is built to the specifications of the job. And when I say built, I mean built. We don’t pull a box from some shelf and ship it. Sometimes the display is a current EDS design, sometimes it’s inspired by an existing design, or more often than not it’s created by our Designers from your specifications and budget.

So I am confused (and I don’t want to be). When is an exhibit custom? Now more than ever, it seems the term “custom” is fluid.

  • Is it based on materials, project dollar size, or who builds it?
  • Is it an original design, not one based on prior concepts?
  • What if it’s built from modular panels?
  • Does it matter as long as your client views it as custom?
  • And, here’s the tricky one, can a rental be custom?

I’d very much enjoy hearing your thoughts and definition. Thanks.

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

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom 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 Motivates Trade Show B2B Buyers to Buy

September 29th, 2017 COMMENTS

Buyer-Trends

Jane Thompson at ThompsonKerr Displays sent an email broadcast with the subject line Know Your Buyers’ Traits. That title intrigued me. Let’s face it, we all want a picture window into how exhibit buyers research, plan, and decide on their trade show purchases.

She referred to the article How to Align Your Trade Show Marketing Strategy with Today’s B2B Buyer Traits at www.customerthink.com. It’s a short article that focuses on four buyer traits and how to align your strategy with those traits:

  1. They Research Online
  2. They Crave Personalization
  3. They’re Social
  4. They Don’t Make the Buying Decision Alone

I encourage you to take five minutes and read it. And then share. This paragraph in particular is worth sharing to every potential exhibit buyer and their staff.

Those exhibiting at trade shows need to understand the prospects are most likely informed about the basic functions and qualities of your products or services before they approach your booth. They no longer need to interact with a salesperson to learn about the high-level information. Use your time at the trade show booth as a chance to build a relationship with the prospect and offer value-add insights that may be more difficult to exhibit online.

–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.

Brainstorming with Clients on a Whiteboard Bistro Table

September 12th, 2017 2 COMMENTS

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Purpose1, a Classic Exhibits distributor in Harrisburg, PA, recently purchased an MOD-1432 Bistro Charging Table for their showroom. Although most charging stations are branded with a graphic, they chose a whiteboard laminate counter top. Why? I’ll let Dan Liberatore, the president of Purpose1, explain:

Many can relate to a napkin sketch as the start of an idea. Even better, what if you could write or sketch that idea directly on a table? Whiteboard tables are the newest fixtures in our Harrisburg PA facility. Our first showroom visitor was able to share their ideas quickly and effectively, certainly a plus for all involved in the brainstorming discussion.

The Purpose1 team is in the business of ideas so we took the table to a show this month. Our exhibit space was an open 8’ x 8’ corner booth, perfect for placing of the table upfront and adjacent to both aisles. Attendees stopped in their tracks to comment ‘Wow, that is so cool!’ and ‘Where did you get that? I want one for my house.’

We invited attendees to sign or leave a message on the whiteboard top. Some even brought back others to share in the experience. Our round bistro height table really stood out in a sea of square skirted tables, thanks in part to the RGB remote-controlled perimeter LED illumination. In addition, these tables are powered with USB ports for device charging, all wired into a single plug, allowing easy assembly of the 3-piece, less than 60-pound table in about 5 minutes.”

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“Bottom line, engagement is key, especially at a trade show. Before engagement, it’s the job of your display to draw a passerby into your booth space. In my experience, clean presentation of space and lighting are two commonly overlooked attributes of display design, particularly in 10’ x 10’ booth spaces. Professional display designers are here to help you stand out from the ‘white noise’ at an event!

See the Incharg Gallery in Exhibit Design Search for over 25 charging station designs.

–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.

Classic’s Creative Design Department — Summer Sales Tips #10

August 2nd, 2017 COMMENTS

Our Secret Weapon

Over the years, we’ve evolved as a manufacturer/builder into a company focuses primarily on personalizing kits and designing custom solutions. That shift required not only skilled project managers, carpenters, millwrights, and detailers, but very talented exhibit designers.

We are very fortunate. Our team of in-house and contract designers ROCK! And it’s not just because they are amazingly creative. They are also passionate about customer service, timelines, and delivery.

To learn more about the Creative Design Department, download this unbranded PDF. To listen to the  bonus audio tip click on the link.

SummerSalesTip10

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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.