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Archive for the ‘Trade Show Marketing’ Category

An Interview with Tom Beard, National Sales Manager of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits

January 12th, 2019 COMMENTS

So much has changed over the past 10 years regarding recycling and sustainability. Most medium to large companies have corporate sustainability policies. And we are all much more aware of how our actions affect the planet.

Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits has been a leader in responsible trade show exhibiting since 1997. From the very beginning, they focused on combining green materials with affordable upscale design. They believe that a booth doesn’t have to look “crunchy” to be green. It simply has to be sustainable.

Recently, we sat down with Tom Beard, the National Sales Manager of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits, and asked him eight questions about the company and 2019 trade show marketing trends.

Q1. You’ve been on the road a lot in 2018 visiting Eco-Systems distributors. What have you learned/discovered?

I’ve discovered that distributors love our designs. It’s the one thing I hear the most when visiting our partners, followed by how much they enjoy working with our team.

I have spent a fair amount of time this past year being a myth buster. There was a belief that purchasing an eco-friendly booth was more expensive and only for exhibitors needing a sustainable exhibit. Both are not true.

Q2. What are your plans for 2019?

My plan for 2019 is to visit the Eco-Systems distributors that I didn’t meet in 2018 and make follow-up visits with those I was able to see. I’m an old school guy that loves meeting people face-to-face and learning about their business and talking about how the Eco-Systems team can be a valuable resource to them.

Feedback from our distributors is very important to us and helps us to become a better partner. I will also continue to dispel any myths about purchasing a sustainable exhibit.

Q3. Have you seen any specific design trends the past year based on your distributor requests?

We continue to get a lot of requests for Islands that can be reconfigured to 10 x 10 and 10 x 20 inlines using the same components. We have seen more solid wall structures incorporated with SEG graphic light boxes and quite a few requests for custom designs outside of the kit options we have on our website.

Q4. The term “FSC Certified Wood Crate” is listed on most Eco-Systems kits. What does that mean and why is it important?

FSC is The Forest Stewardship Council which certifies that the wood we use is harvested sustainably and comes from responsibly managed forests. It’s important because the FSC certification helps protect fragile eco-systems, prevents illegal logging, and provides re-planting plans to ensure we have plenty of resources in the future.

Q5. What do you wish the typical Eco-Systems Distributor understood about Eco-Systems?

That our singular goal is to provide our distributors with a design that meets their client’s expectations visually and financially regardless of the materials we use to build the exhibit. Plus, we’re more than just a portable modular manufacturer. We have amazing custom capabilities as well.

Q6. My client hasn’t asked for an eco-friendly exhibit. Why should I show them Eco-Systems designs?

It’s all about the designs we offer and how we support our distributors. Then there’s the added benefit of using eco-friendly materials that are of equal quality to standard materials and aren’t more expensive. The best of all worlds!!

Q7. What’s the history of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits?

Eco-Systems was founded in 2007 and is based in Grand Rapids, MI. We immediately began using ClassicMODUL extrusions in our systems, and until 2010, we did all our manufacturing in Grand Rapids. In 2010, we were acquired by an investor and became a sister company to Classic Exhibits and moved our production to Portland OR but kept our corporate office in Grand Rapids.

Q8. Assuming you’ll be at EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, what are the three questions you want attendees or Distributors to ask you about Eco-Systems?

  1. What makes your designs different?
  2. Are the eco-friendly materials you use of equal quality and price to standard materials?
  3. What makes Eco-Systems unique?

Visit Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits at www.ecosystemsdisplays.com. You can contact Tom Beard, National Sales Manager, at tom@ecosystemsdisplays.com or 616-726-6563. Or visit them at EXHIBITORLIVE in Booth #1941.

An Interview with Jim Shelman, GM of Classic Rental Solutions

January 5th, 2019 COMMENTS

Interview with Jim Shelman at Classic Rental Solutions

Trade Show Rentals have undergone a seismic shift not only in design but also in sales. And, this trend will continue in 2019 and beyond. This week, we chatted with Jim Shelman, the General Manager of Classic Rental Solutions. So what should you expect as an exhibitor or a Classic Exhibits Distributor Partner? More of the same, which is a VERY GOOD THING. 

Q1. You’ve been in the Rental Exhibits space for over 20 years. What’s different now than say 6-8 years ago?

A lot of things have changed, but there are two things that really stand out to me as major changes. One, is the implementation of customization to rental designs. Almost every order we produce includes some element of customization to provide specific needs that exhibitors request during the design process. Today, it’s difficult to spot a rental design, versus a purchased design on the show floor.

The other thing that stands out are the reasons exhibitors decide to rent vs. purchase.

In the past, the primary reason to rent had more to do with only exhibiting in one or two shows per year, and if you were unsure of your long-term show schedule. The thought process was to test the waters with a rental, see how it goes, and purchase once you’ve committed to exhibiting in multiple shows per year. Now, it has become more about design flexibility, and perhaps not wanting to be stuck with the same design show after show. Or, maybe not wanting to deal with storing, shipping, or repairing a purchased exhibit.

Today, many exhibitors approach each show as a clean slate by working with new rental designs that match their specific show-to-show needs.

Q2. Classic Rental Solutions sales have increased year-over-year since 2010. Nearly 20% in 2018. Why?

There are several factors. With the risk of sounding corny, I’ll credit our team of dedicated people, and our incredible distributors, but I also think it’s because of our business model. We understand how important it is to be flexible, and to offer customized design services, and continuously add new custom designs to our rental gallery through our Exhibit Design Search feature on our website. And we’re committed to adding inventory as needed, to fulfill new opportunities for our distributors.

Classic Exhibit Rental Rewards ProgramAnother key factor is that we have the unique support from our in-house manufacturing professionals that produce new exhibits for our 200+ Distributor Partner Network. All of our rental components are produced right here, and we’re able to make last minute modifications.

I like to make it clear that we don’t just offer rentals, but that we offer a complete rental program. From start to finish, we have detailed processes that are followed by our production team and project managers. Every rental project gets staged and photographed before shipping. The highest quality standards are strictly enforced. We include setup instructions, and staging and packing photos with every order. After orders are returned, we provide a complete check-in report to close-out the project.

Several years ago, we implemented our Rental Rewards Program, which offers a reward discount of 2% of the total rental and graphics order when your exhibit returns without major damage and/or missing components. The program also offers two annual prize-drawings, and other rewards for our distributor network.

Q3. What are your biggest challenges headed into 2019? Biggest opportunities?

The seasonal nature of the trade show industry is always challenging. Everything hits at once several times throughout the year, which makes it challenging at times, but we plan and adjust accordingly. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so it’s never a real surprise, but it can hit at slightly different times.

2019 should be an amazing year for us. I would say that our biggest opportunities will be to continue to work on larger island design projects. We’re doing larger projects all the time, and I expect that trend to continue.

Another big opportunity that I’m anticipating is doing more large quantity component orders. We do large quantity orders for workstation kiosks, monitor stands, iPad kiosks, counters, and charging stations. Our large inventory, and willingness to add more, allows us to offer quantities that others typically don’t have available.

Trade Show Island Rental Exhibits from Classic Rental Solutions

Q4. What do you think the typical exhibitor gets wrong about renting a trade show exhibit?

Some of the newer exhibitors think that they are limited to standard designs, and they’re surprised when we start the design process and realize that we offer so much more than they were expecting.

Q5. What do you wish the typical Classic Distributor Partner understood about Classic Rental Solutions?

For those who aren’t aware and haven’t worked with us, I wish that they understood our full capabilities, and our design flexibility. And that we offer a complete rental program with nothing but high-quality “like-new” components. I want them to understand that we can offer something unique for their client base. Something that has proven to work successfully for distributors all over the country.

Q6. Have you seen more event-related rentals vs. trade show rentals? Are their more similarities or differences?

Yes, we ship a fair amount of event-related projects. In the last couple of months, we had multiple large quantity orders for charging stations. And last week we shipped (49) backlit counters to the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.

Q7. How has the Gravitee One-Step System impacted your rental options?

Our Gravitee Modular System has been a great addition to our rental program. It works extremely well for towers and conference rooms, but also for entire island and inline designs. It’s super-fast and easy to setup and disassemble, so it’s used as much as possible to save on labor costs. We see a substantial savings in time during our staging process here in our shop as well. We have a large inventory of standard and custom panel sizes, and we’ll continue to add to it.

Q8. Assuming you’ll be at EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, what are the three questions you want attendees or Distributor Partners to ask you about CRS?

Yes, I’m planning to be there, and here are three of many questions that I would welcome during our conversations.

  • How can Classic Rental Solutions assist us with our current rental program?
  • How do we get started working with Classic for our rental projects?
  • What are your customization capabilities?

I’m looking forward to the show, and I’d be happy to schedule meetings during, before, or after show hours.

You can contact Jim Shelman at jshelman@classicexhibits.com or at 503-345-0525 ext, 103. 

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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.

2018 Odyssey Foods Custom Island Exhibit

December 31st, 2018 COMMENTS

Custom Exhibit Designed by Exhibits Northwest

While there were many exciting projects in 2018, the custom Odyssey Foods Island for Exhibits Northwest, Inc. was one of our favorites. The “Wow!” factor is off the charts. The exhibit debuted at Seafood Expo North America 2018

This modern 20 x 30 Island Cafe included retail food service with seating and food sampling. The 16 ft. compound curved tower, clad in reclaimed wood planks and recessed ivy trim with large halo lit dimensional logos, served as the visual anchor.

The booth was equipped with a large commercial freezer, custom chef station with a curved metal counter top, and pendant lighting suspended from wood frame laminated canopy. The exhibit had a custom fresh food display and raised platform decking with seating flanked by large backlit branding and literature displays. 

The space was capped with a twenty ft. diameter tension fabric hanging sign for maximum visual presence. The project was built by Classic Exhibits

Custom Exhibit for Odyssey Foods. Design by Exhibits Northwest. Build by Classic Exhibits Inc.

Custom Exhibit for Odyssey Foods. Design by Exhibits Northwest. Build by Classic Exhibits Inc.

Custom Exhibit for Odyssey Foods. Design by Exhibits Northwest. Build by Classic Exhibits Inc.

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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.

Comparing “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

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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.

Trade Show Games: The 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.