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Archive for the ‘Mel White’ Category

What to Look for in an LED Lightbox Manufacturer

June 6th, 2018 COMMENTS

Rental Exhibits
Stroll through any airport, mall, event, or trade show and you’ll see hundreds of colorful LED lightboxes in every shape and size. Over the past few years, most have switched to Backlit Tension Fabric SEG Graphics. The reasons are obvious. Not only is fabric more durable than direct print graphics, but it’s also cheaper to ship and easier to maintain. And depending on the print process, the colors are vibrant and the details nearly photographic. 

It’s easy to assume that all LED lightboxes and manufacturers are similar, so the only real difference is price. Price matters of course, but there are other factors to consider.

8 Factors to Consider When Purchasing an LED Lightbox 

Hardness and Durability:  All LED Lightboxes start with an SEG aluminum frame. Every manufacturer engineers their frames using aluminum of varying hardness and durability. Less expensive lightboxes use softer aluminum because it’s cheaper. But cheaper aluminum scratches easily and tarnishes quickly. In addition, the wall thickness is often so thin that structural rigidity is compromised. For lightboxes mounted to a wall or assembled or disassembled at multiple trade shows, you will want aluminum with a 6063 specification. 6063 has better structural integrity and scratch resistant. If the supplier can’t answer that question, then you should be wary. 

Availability: Does the manufacturer have the extrusion, LED lights, hardware, and accessories in stock? And are there extrusion options depending on the situation, such as one-sided vs two-sided, freestanding vs. wall mount. What if you need multiple quantities or quick ship options? Can individual parts be purchased if they are lost or damaged? You don’t want a manufacturer who dabbles in lightboxes. 

Customization: Let’s say you need a width or height larger than the kits listed. Is it possible? If so, how complicated or expensive does it get? How about angles or shapes such as a hexagon? It’s easy to do squares and rectangles (for most manufacturers), but odd shapes and sizes are often a head-scratcher for those who only want to fulfill kits. 

Print Quality: Asking the right questions is essential. 1. Dye-sublimation printing is the best. This ensures the colors are infused into fabric, not just printed on the surface. Many suppliers brag about “fabric printing” but it’s not always dye-sublimation, which requires two steps  — printing to a paper material and then heat fusing the image to fabric. 2. Ask about the age of the printer. The dye-sublimation printer shouldn’t be more than two years old. Anything older than that means the print resolution is just OK, not photographic. 3. Just like clothing, the fabric quality can vary, which may not matter if the graphic is a throwaway and the resolution doesn’t matter.    

Sewing and Sizing:  Experienced manufacturers have this down to a science. They’ve done the calculations thousands of times with varying fabrics, and they know how to print, cut, and sew the fabric so it fits perfectly. Not too loose. Not too tight. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a fabric graphic that doesn’t fit. 

LED Lights:  This could be a college course. Just understand the various color temperatures, lens, UL and ETL certification, module construction, etc. requires some research and patience. Like fabric, there are multiple ways to make LED lights cheaper, if cheaper is the only criteria. Skipping UL/ETL certification is shortcut. Using exposed connections or alligator clips is another. Sadly, it’s nearly impossible to know what you are getting before you get the LED lightbox. However, in this case, the old adage rarely fails, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.” 

Accessories: Most LED lightboxes are a one-trick pony. The are lightboxes.  That’s it. But what if you want to add shelves, an iPad, a literature holder, wings or headers? What if you want to connect it to other lightboxes or create a full inline or island display. That requires and exhibit builder who has engineered the extrusion to be multi-functional, stocks lightbox accessories, and has the in-house talent to customize. 

Assembly and Packaging: It’s easy to assume that your display will ship in high-quality cases and packaging. Sadly, that’s rarely true. Most manufacturers use disposable one-way shipping materials. Your lightbox arrives undamaged. Now you have to ship it to the next show or to another location, but there’s nothing to protect it or keep it organized. Insist on reusable shipping materials, which precludes cardboard, shrink wrap, and thin foam. All three will be destroyed after one use. See examples. While you may have to pay a little more, it’s an investment that keeps giving show after show, assembly after assembly.  

It’s important to remember that the pretty image you see on a website is just a rendering. What you receive is not. Ask the right questions and purchase your lightbox from a vendor you trust. Remember, your “may” be able to return the hardware, but the graphics, it’s yours whether you like it or not. Finally, keep in mind that you are buying a design, a marketing structure that represents your brand. It’s more than just an aluminum frame with graphics. 

–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, 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.

 

CORT Rental Furniture on EDS | Made Even Easier!

May 23rd, 2018 COMMENTS

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There’s a Time for Subtle Suggestions… But Not Today

For years, Classic Distributors would grumble about ordering rental furniture for clients, like sofas, chairs, and conference tables. You hated it. And for good reason. Your client would give you a link to the General Show Contractor (GSC) page with the show rental furniture options, which included the price. You handled it and charged the client a processing fee, typically 20 or 30 percent. Which is more than fair.

Except not to the client, who feels filling out a form should be cheap, or in many cases free. The fee introduces a financial “rub” between you and your client over an insignificant (but important) transaction.

About 60% of all exhibitors rent furniture, and according to my EAC sources that percentage keeps increasing, whether islands or inlines. So how do you take care of your client without the financial “rub”?

It’s Easy

You already use Exhibit Design Search. Two years ago, we added two Rental Furniture Galleries to EDS with CORT products. Classic Distributors loved it! While it didn’t include the complete CORT product line, it was a good place to start, and all the prices were in retail. Even better, the prices were competitive with GSC show book prices. EDS was the perfect place to direct your client to choose rental furniture options.

Recently, we made it even easier. You simply call CORT and tell them you are a Classic Distributor. Repeat.. Tell them you are a Classic Exhibits Distributor. They will give you the special Classic wholesale prices. Each region has an Account Manager, but the 855-663-2678 will get you to CORT’s Customer Service Department.

Even Better

CORT recently added over 100 new products to their EDS galleries — more conference tables, chairs, sofas, accessories. It’s impressive. And all include retail prices and predictable margins.

Now’s the time to eliminate that financial rub between you and your client on furniture rentals. Use the EDS CORT Galleries and FINALLY make predictable margins on those sales. You are already doing the work. You might as well get paid for it. And your client will be delighted with the service.

Have questions? Give me a call or contact your local CORT Strategic Account Manager. There are six across the United States.

  1. John Peck, Northwest, john.peck@cort.com
  2. Jill Jensen, Southwest, jill.jensen@cort.com
  3. Adrienne Fitzgerald, North Central, adrienne.fitzgerald@cort.com
  4. Derek Argo, South Central, derek.argo@cort.com
  5. Sarah Mainhart, Northeast, sarah.mainhart@cort.com
  6. Sean Colvin, Southeast, sean.colvin@cort.com


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

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

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.

Erica Dougherty from Exhibits Northwest Shares Client Feedback

April 13th, 2018 1 COMMENT

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Erica Dougherty, an Account Executive at Exhibits Northwest Seattle, connects with her clients because she takes the time to get to know them and their business. That extends to feedback after a show, which is invaluable.

According to Erica, “My client, Darryl at DF/Net Research, is wonderful about sending feedback and kudos to me/us. He has allow me to share his success stories which may be beneficial to other Classic Distributors. Below are two emails from two shows, along with photos.”

DF/Net Email #1

Hi Erica,

Looking forward to it. As you know this was our first trade show – the Society of Clinical Data Managers in Orlando. We didn’t really know what to expect, and wondered if it would be worth it. Was it? Absolutely.

The new VP of Global Clinical Operations from a long time software client (10 years) came to that conference by himself unknown to his staff. He was shopping for new data management software to replace our system. In fact, he had gone 6 months down a path with a large global competitor – a competitor with > $1B in revenue.

He stopped by our booth for a demo and a chat. I gave him a 30 minute demo, and we took him to dinner. He was really excited about our current software – his company was using a version that was about 7 years behind. We talked about modernization, moving their company forward, and having DF/Net take a larger role with his company to provide services and software. And talked about how much sense it made to stay with the modern version of our software rather than switch to an unknown.

Long story short we just signed a contract for services worth $800K over 13 months. And they are continuing their $100K/year software license. They have studies through 2028, so we can think long term on both services and software.

The take-home message? Did we get new clients? Yet to be determined. Did we get new business? Yes. And the most important thing we learned was that your current clients attend trade shows routinely. There are many shiny happy people there trying to take your business away. If we had not gone, I’m sure that at some point in the next  year or two they would simply have told us they were not renewing their software license.

We also learned that you can have a booth that competes with the $1B companies. But regardless, it’s the people at the booth that make the difference. Just be yourself. I was amazed how many competitors hire “show people” that look good, but don’t know anything. The booth is your chance to make decision makers make a decision right on the spot.

Oh, and the $1B competitor? We got a call from them saying that they had a major client looking to use our software, but they had zero inhouse expertise. Would we be willing to partner with them and subcontract the work? No, we were not.

That’s our success story. Thanks for all of the great help on the booth!

–Darryl

Other

DF/Net Email #2

Hi Erica,

We just had another trade show in San Francisco last month – I wanted to share that your lunch and learn tips were helpful. In particular, don’t eat at the booth, don’t check your phone or email, and always look engaged.

I’ve attached a photo taken of the booth next to us. Problem #1 was that 2/3rds of their booth didn’t show up. But even then they spent the entire time sitting behind their desk looking down at their computer and/or phone. During lunch when the most prospects were walking the floor, they were busy munching on their food. With my new awareness I noted that no one approached during the busiest time of the day. Hope they enjoyed their $12,500 lunch….

I think we had about 5x the foot traffic and interactions than they did.

We also had continued success with our charity cards, I think I may have mentioned these before:

https://www.tisbest.org/

Jim acted as the “speedbump” with the cards to engage passers. A charity card has a better story (and one that takes more than 1 second to explain) than perhaps a water bottle or USB stick.

Thanks again for the tips. It’s an ongoing learning experience.

–Darryl

Please let Erica know if you found these helpful (erica@exhibitsnw.com). She would love to hear stories and feedback from your clients as well.

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

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

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.

Classic Exhibits Shared Knowledge University, June 21-22

April 5th, 2018 COMMENTS

Earn Your Exhibit Baccalaureate Degree in Two Days

Register today for SKU. Space is limited and available slots ALWAYS FILL FAST. We look forward to seeing you in Portland, OR on June 21-22. Plan to stay an extra day or two and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

See the video and the flyer below for more information about Classic’s Shared Knowledge University. Contact Jen Labruzza to register.

Shared Knowledge University at Classic Exhibits

MORE Seismic Changes in Trade Show Products

March 31st, 2018 2 COMMENTS

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The trade show marketplace has undergone seismic changes in the past six months. You made that VERY, VERY clear at EXHIBITORLIVE. Since our business depends on happy distributors, we returned to Portland committed to upgrading our product lines to appeal to EVEN MORE corporate exhibit buyers.

Four EXCITING New Galleries in Exhibit Search

Please check your branded Exhibit Design Search. You have four new product galleries, all with at least 80% margins. Gone are Visionary Designs, Perfect 10, Sacagawea, and SEGUE. These have been replaced with more budget-friendly systems and interactive products. As we learned from EDPA, it’s all about the “experiential” for contemporary exhibitors. They want to feel things. Touch them. All while staying within a Dollar General price range. At the same time, you need to maximize your margins. On some products, we are extending your discount to 90%*, but you have to provide the paper boxes and paper bags. We are prohibited from using plastic bags in Oregon. Sorry.

It’s a BRAND NEW DAY for Classic and our Distributor Family. Join us in celebrating the four new galleries listed below. As always, we welcome your feedback. We are who we are because of you. Just think about that.

DesignSearchRevamp

  • $99 & Under Displays.  Never lose another sale! Except to the $49 & Under Display website. Bastard!
  • Above Ground Pools.  Affordable and interactive. Your pre-show marketing plans just got easier. Discount chlorine too!
  • Extrusion Remnants.  Surprises galore in the extrusion grab bags. Anything is possible with enough screws and duct tape.
  • Scratch-n-Sniff Graphics.  Go ahead and touch it. Perhaps this time it’s Pina Colada. Perhaps not! Scratchy scratchy.

*Please sell responsibly. Quantities are limited while supplies last. May cause bleeding or sudden death. Don’t take candy from strangers. Or strange people. Or anyone really. Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. All rights reserved. April Fools.

To read about the REAL updates in Exhibit Design Search, CLICK HERE.

–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.