Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Classic Exhibit Systems’ Category

The Truth about Renting a Trade Show Exhibit

December 10th, 2018 COMMENTS

Renting vs. Buying a Trade Show Exhibit

Over the past year, I’ve read quite a few articles about renting a trade show exhibit. Most are innocuous, some helpful, but others are just plain wrong. Frankly, that annoys me, but I understand why. Exhibit rentals are growing. Rapidly. And exhibit companies are positioning themselves based on their individual strengths.

“Positioning themselves” — what does that mean? In our industry, there are (1) person companies to (2500) person companies. Some build. Many do not. Some have large rental inventories. Others have little to none. Is their rental inventory metal, wood, modular walls, portable components? And how much of it is new, newer, or beat to hell? How does it assemble? Does it come with detailed setup instructions? What about design support?

These are the questions the average exhibitor never asks. Not because they don’t care, but because it would never occur to them.

I can’t answer all these questions in a blog post, but let’s untangle some of the most common misconceptions.

#1. Renting is An Option, Not THE Solution

Some rental-only exhibit companies are touting renting as the only solution. They say, “Why buy when you can rent? No more storage fees. You can change the display for every show. The cost is less.” It sounds attractive, and it’s a solid argument for many exhibitors. However, renting an exhibit, just like leasing a car, can be more expensive than purchasing. It depends on usage, lifespan, ongoing modifications, etc. It’s not as cut and dry as it appears at first glance. It’s important to run the numbers.

And, it’s not an either/or choice. Sometimes it makes sense to purchase a portion of the exhibit, say the main tower or overhead sign, and rent the components, like the counters, workstations, and charging stations. It depends on what you might want to change from show to show. But, again, you have to run the numbers and at least have a “general” vision of your short- and long-term trade show marketing goals.

Finally, sometimes it’s not about the numbers. Some exhibitors want to own their display. Others do not. Cost has little to do with their decision.

Trade Show Island Exhibit Rentals#2. Rentals Can Be Customized, Which Isn’t the Same as Custom

Whenever someone tells you your rental exhibit is “custom,” you might want to dig deeper on what “custom” means. It might mean the design is custom, but the components come from stock inventory. Or there are several custom elements which are unique to your exhibit and are being depreciated over multiple rentals, either yours or other future rental clients. Or you are basically “purchasing” the custom element, but everyone is calling it a rental since you won’t own it.

While it’s true, you can technically get a custom exhibit as a rental, there are always strings attached such as a commitment to multiple rentals or a higher price for the one-time rental.

In most cases, a rental exhibit is a “customized” display using stock components, based on a preexisting or “customized” design, and client-specific graphics.

#3. You Rent the Structure, But You Own the Graphics

Remember you are renting the structure, but you own the graphics. Each time you change the messaging, you are buying new graphics. Be realistic about how often you plan to update your graphics. Clients often assume they will reuse the graphics 3-4 times, but marketing campaigns aren’t like a pair of jeans. They change. Sometimes every single show.

#4. Your Rental Components May Be Used for Another Client’s Rental

Recently, I read a blog post where the rental exhibit supplier said that your rental property would never be used for another rental. If that’s true, it’s either the smartest or the dumbest business model I’ve ever heard. Now, in the real world, rental components are reused. That’s why rental exhibits can be less expensive. Duh?! Does that mean another exhibitor will have exactly the same design as you? Perhaps, but it’s very unlikely since every exhibit has unique needs and distinctive graphics. However, the modular aluminum wall used in Job ABC will get reused two months later on Job XYZ. And then again, until it’s no longer serviceable as a rental component. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous. 

#5. Size Matters. Inventory Matters. Design Matters.

Do you remember when I said that there are companies ranging from one employee to several thousand employees? Those companies all have different rental capabilities, either in-house or through a strategic partner like Classic Exhibits. No one has an unlimited budget to stock every possible rental design. Ask yourself this… Is the design guided by their limited rental inventory or by your trade show design requirements? Whatever rental company you choose, they should treat the process as if you were purchasing a display, and the final display should look visually indistinguishable from a new exhibit.

#6. Packaging Matters. Instructions Matter. Quality Matters. 

Trade Show Inline Exhibit RentalsHere’s the very sad truth. No exhibitor ever asks about packaging, setup instructions, or quality, particularly on a rental property. And aside from design capabilities and inventory, nothing distinguishes an OK rental supplier from an AMAZING one than packaging, instructions, and quality. Too often, exhibitors save money by renting an exhibit only to piss it all away during setup and assembly on the show floor.

You should expect detailed drawings, numbered or labeled components, photos (showing where the supplier pre-assembled it at their facility), jigged packaging/crating, and clean hardware. The hardware should appear new or newish, not like it just fell off the truck, rolled around in the dirt, and then was tossed into a crate. When you open the crate, it should make you smile, not cringe in fear.

#7. Rentals are a Long-term Partnership with Your Exhibit Supplier

Depending on the rental schedule, you are going to see each other a lot. And, based on that ongoing relationship, you are going to flourish or falter. Exhibit rentals require a communication commitment. What’s your show schedule? Does the design need to change? Were there any issues at the last show? How about new graphics? Is your next show an inline vs. an island? When do you want to booth to ship and are there any services you need such as rental furniture, I&D, electrical, flooring, etc.

Rentals force both sides to communicate, often far in advance. It doesn’t take long to decide whether it’s a fit or whether it’s time for you to start seeing other people. But, when it does work, it’s a beautiful thing.

One final piece of advice — not all suppliers are equally good at both. Your current supplier may be a magician at designing a custom exhibit but lack the skills, interest, or inventory to pull the rental rabbit out of a hat. Being good at one is no guarantee of being good at the other. Ask the hard questions and be willing to work with someone else if anything seems amiss.

In the end, your rental experience should be no different from a purchase, whether during the exploratory and design process or at the show. Always expect the best.

Have questions? Give us a call or send us an email. We would love to chat with you.

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

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

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental 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.

An Exhibit Design Search Video by the TradeshowGuy

December 3rd, 2018 COMMENTS

How to Promote Your Branded Exhibit Design Search

I’m often asked by Classic Exhibits Distributors, “How do I promote our branded Exhibit Design Search?” Well, in addition to making it prominent on your website and using it as a sales tool with clients, you should feature it on social media, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even YouTube. 

Consider posting:

  • New Exhibit Designs
  • Unique Solutions such as Charging Stations, iPad Kiosks, and LED Lightboxes
  • Exhibit Specials and Lightning Deals
  • Photos
  • Trade Show Marketing Articles
  • Videos

Here’s an example. Tim Patterson at TradeshowGuy Exhibits created an EDS tutorial video which he posted on YouTube. He will use it as a sales and marketing resource for existing and potential clients, but just having it on YouTube will also increase the exposure of his company. It’s a straight-forward video and very effective. See for yourself. 

 

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

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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.

 

How to Compare “A La Carte” vs “As Shown” Online Prices for Trade Show Displays

December 3rd, 2018 COMMENTS

When It Seems Too Good to Be True

It’s the Holiday Season. Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the local flyer, you are constantly being enticed by low prices, many too good to be true. And sadly, many are. Either because the price doesn’t tell the whole story or because of limited quantities. 

Many online display websites are masters at enticing buyers with crazy low prices, which on further investigation are not quite as “cheap” as they seem. Then, there’s quality, warranty, and customer service questions to consider as well. 

There are two types of online display buyers. Some buyers prefer the “a la carte” approach, which allows them to add only the features they want. Makes sense. Others prefer the “what you see is what you get” experience. No surprises. No hidden charges. 

Here’s an example of the a la carte approach with a very attractive price on a 10 ft. portable display. Note the $275 price

How to compare prices on trade show displays

 

Basically, the $275 includes the tubing and a soft carry case (no graphic). Let’s say you want a double-sided graphic. Now, the price is $975

How You Can Compare Prices on Trade Show Displays

After selecting the graphic, the next choice is the turnaround time. If you need it in less than 7 business days, there’s an upcharge. In this case, $200 for a three-day turnaround which bumps the price to $1,175.

The Best Way to Compare Prices on Trade Show Exhibits

Although the soft case is included, you want your new display to last more than a few shows. Plus, it makes sense to incorporate a hard case into the booth presentation by adding a graphic. You’re now at $1495 which is considerably more than the original $275 price. 

Two Methods for Comparing Prices on Tradeshow Displays

The final two steps are graphic design assistance and adding lights. Graphic design requires a quote, which is reasonable and fair. The lights? Who wouldn’t want lights on a trade show display? Duh? 

When Comparing Prices on Trade Show Displays

The final price, excluding shipping and any graphic design charges, is $1595.

Does this mean this isn’t a good value? Depends. It’s a basic tube-assembly 10 ft. display ideal for many businesses, particularly for local events. The graphics may be fine but there’s no way of knowing if the company uses 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation dye-sublimation printing. Many low-end supplies used direct to surface printing rather than dye-sublimation because it’s less expensive. And, once again, that may be OK if you are only planning to use the graphic for a limited number of shows. 

My point, however, isn’t to question the quality of the display. Instead, it’s to demonstrate that online display websites use two different approaches, namely “a la carte” vs. “as shown.” There are merits to both, but it’s important to understand the difference. 

At Classic Exhibits, we believe that “as shown” prices are an easier method for exhibit buyers to compare designs and features. It doesn’t require you to “Build the Price” to see the final price. And since all our displays can be modified/customized to the exhibitors preference, drop-down menus can’t possibly list all the available options. That would be a nightmare for the serious exhibit buyer. 

Have questions? Give us a call or send us an email. We would love to chat with you. 

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

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

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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.

Trade Show Games: 5 Elements of Success

November 12th, 2018 COMMENTS

Trade Show Games and Gamification

Samuel J. Smith, SocialPoint (Guest Post)

Trade show games are a fun way to get more traffic into your trade show booth. They add an element of play, competition, and excitement that wakes up attendees dulled by trudging down countless trade show aisles. To make your trade show games a success, be sure to follow these 5 Elements of Success:

#1. Trade Show Games That Fit and Promote Your Brand

One of the top three reasons exhibitors go to trade shows is to build their brand awareness. Every activity you do in your booth has an effect on how attendees perceive your company. So, when you choose a trade show game, it should mesh with your company personality. If the game features any visuals, then the colors, images, type font, and logos should match your brand identity. That will boost memorability and brand impact.

#2. Trade Show Games That Fit Your Audience

Our clients often tell us that the audience at one of their shows is a perfect match for a certain trade show game – but that same game would be a misfit at another show they exhibit at. That’s because the demographics, style, motivations, and personal drivers markedly change between their shows. Some show attendees tend to be fun-loving, gregarious, and profit-driven. Other shows feature quieter, knowledge-based attendees who compete for different reasons. Know your audiences and find the trade show games that appeal best to them.

#3. Trade Show Games That Are Easy (Enough) To Win

Trade show games work best when they take some skill to win – but little-to-no-time to learn how to play. Attendees should be able to walk up and jump in. Your goal with trade show games is to get more traffic and engagement, not to stump almost all your visitors so they go away disappointed. And ensure they go away happy with prizes that are worthy of their time. Attendees also like to earn recognition when they do very well, which works great at trade shows where gifts are limited or not allowed.

Trade Show Games and Gamification

#4. Trade Show Games That Have Signage and Space

Your booth visitors can’t have a good time playing your trade show games if they are cramped or forced to play in an awkward stance. Set up the game so players are comfortable with the game at the right height and enough space for them to not feel trapped. Also, ensure attendees in the aisle know there’s a fun game in your booth with signage that says “Play To Win” or names the game. Don’t be shy about it!

#5. Trade Show Games With Lead Capture

Trade show games may be fun, but you won’t be enjoying yourself if you don’t come back from the show with leads. Choose games that visitors have to provide their contact info to play. Even better, capture a few key qualifying facts about them, to give your sales people a leg up on who to call first after the show, and help them make a better follow-up call, too.

I hope that if you decide to use trade show games, you’re now better prepared to get their full value. You’ll build your brand, attract more attendees, host a great experience, and collect more leads.

Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award-winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology.

Never Eat or Drink in Your Trade Show Booth. Seriously? Dude, It’s 2018!

November 2nd, 2018 1 COMMENT

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays

You Know the Rules:

#1. Never eat or drink in your trade show booth and

#2. Don’t stare at your cellphone while on the show floor.

It makes sense, mostly. But you, me, and the guy with the taped together pop-up across the aisle all ignore those rules. We want our coffee in the morning, and we’re going to check our emails from time to time. It’s all a matter of degree. Don’t chow down on Kung Pao Chicken or obsessively check your text messages. Basically, act like you want to be there. 

It’s 2018, Dude. There’s gotta be a middle ground, and your display should facilitate it, whether you view it as a necessity or a necessary evil.  Think of Classic Exhibits and the Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display as your personal bad-habit enabler. The Updated Sacagawea System includes two features not found on any other portable display and rarely seen on far more expensive exhibits: The Hostess Shelf and USB Charging Ports

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display, Hostess ShelfHostess Shelf

Most portable displays have limited shelf space. That shelf or shelves are typically used for laptops, tablets, literature, or product samples. Not your beef burrito or latte. But, what if there was a small, less obvious shelf that didn’t interfere with your presentation but was readily accessible?

On the Sacagawea System, any kit that includes a backwall workstation counter includes (1) Hostess Shelf. The Hostess Shelf is perfect for your morning coffee or danish. It’s discrete, sitting below the larger workstation counter. Where there’s a workstation counter, you can add another Hostess Shelf so Ronnie in Sales has his own personal pantry on the show floor. The shelves are laminated so that nasty coffee ring can be wiped clean with a quick spray of Windex or Formula 409. 

Enjoy your caffeine fix my friend, guilt-free. Just be sure to set it back on the Hostess Shelf before you shake hands with the prospect you’ve been calling for 3 years. She just step in the booth. 

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display, USB Charging PortsNew USB Charging Ports

Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity, but you know there’s more to power than a kite and a key. And just like you need caffeine, your phone needs juice during a long day on the show floor. Who wants to be Magellan circumnavigating the hall looking for an elusive electrical outlet? You’re better than that, and you belong in the booth talking about the revolutionary EN4CX-1287 industrial sump pump. It’s awesome!

The Sacagawea Portable Hybrid has your back. Two USB Charging Ports are included on any kit with a workstation counter. You don’t even have to share with Polly in Product Development, who’s still using a Nokia flip phone with an annoying “Welcome Back, Kotter” ringtone. Whether you need a full charge or just a quick top-off, the USB ports are always there. Safe. Dependable. Satisfying. Need more ports? No problem. Additional USB ports can be added when you add another workstation counter.

BTW, did we also happen to say that no other portable display offers this indispensable charging feature? Well… we did now. 

If That’s Not Enough…

  • Easy Knob-Assisted Assembly
  • Numbered Components and Detailed Setup Instructions
  • Vibrant 5K Dye-Sublimated Fabric Graphics
  • Adjustable Workstation Legs for Stability
  • Lightweight Engineered Aluminum Extrusion
  • LED Stem Lights
  • Portable Roto-molded Cases with Wheels
  • Jigged, Reusable Packaging
  • 100-Day Return Guarantee
  • Made in the USA

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

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

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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.