For over 20 years, Classic Exhibits has participated in EXHIBITORLIVE, the trade show for the trade show industry. This year, it was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from February 25-28. Our theme was “Knot Your Typical Exhibit Builder,” which highlighted our ability to solve the knottiest design and build challenges for our Distributor Partners.
Our thanks and gratitude to the Distributor Partners who visited us at the show, and to the Classic Exhibits Family for all their hard work before, during, and after the show. Enjoy the video… Who knows? You may see someone you recognize from the show.
How many of you out there have been in your industry for longer than 5 years? 10 years? 20? Look, I’m a Millennial (but really, truly an Xennial) and part of what defines us is the sort of “bounce” from industry to industry, job to job — essentially, career building with fast jumps from one thing to the next. I’ve officially been with Exhibits Northwest in Seattle for three years, and in the Trade Show industry for… you guessed it… three years! And last week, I went to my first EXHIBITORLIVE in Las Vegas. Are you ready to hear what this “newbie” thought?
It’s a bit trite, but honestly, MAGICAL is the best word to describe it. Literal magic and figurative magic! So, for all of you seasoned pros out there, do me a favor: remember your first real dive into your industry’s deep roots (Trade Show or otherwise) and join me as I tell you about mine.
The Magic of Sneakers
2.5 years ago, my very first 20×20 island client exhibited in Vegas, and I was on the show floor supervising the install. I knew I needed comfortable shoes, so I did some research and decided Tieks would be cute AND comfy, based on tons of excellent reviews. Here’s what some of you may not know about me: a large part of my identity is SHOES. I’ve worked in the high-end shoe world, and I’m a bit of an admitted shoe snob. And at the time, I did not really own a pair of sneakers that didn’t look like I had them for 10+ years (because they were literally that old and I wore them to do house projects involving paint). Nor did I want to buy or wear sneakers in a professional public place!
Well, after walking 20 miles in 2 days in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, wearing little flats and walking on concrete floors, my entire body felt like I was 85 years old with bad hips. Oh, man. Lesson learned! I still love my Teiks, but my eyes were opened — I needed supportive sneakers. So, while I still want to look cute (sneakers are not my favorite shoe genre), I have learned the MAGIC of sneakers on the trade show floor! This time, I walked and walked all over EXHIBITORLIVE between Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Luxor, and I wasn’t waddling through the airport upon my departure. WIN! When your feet are happy, you can focus on making connections, saying yes to that walk back across the show floor or to drinks with a vendor. But I’m still on the hunt for shoes that are fab and feel like pillows… hmmm.
The Magic of “Behind the Curtain”
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” ~ The Wizard
Events are full of behind the curtain magic. Trade Shows are no different. Walk behind a booth or look in the closet, and you’ll find electrical outlets and cords, laptop bags, extra swag and maybe even a person sneaking in a phone call or work! But what’s really cool is seeing what makes the display work: What’s behind the graphic? What’s behind that pipe and drape? What’s under the flooring? Admittedly, Exhibits Northwest does not (yet!) specialize in large format video tech — think, Giant LED Media Wall.
We refer or outsource these needs for our clients, so I’ve
always been a little hands-off about taking ownership of a Media Wall as part
of an exhibit strategy. But, being able to see behind the curtain (literally),
to get a better understanding of how it works and how to explain to and prepare
my clients for the cost (dollah dollah bills, y’all!) really helped me put some
puzzle-pieces together. I slipped behind a curtain to use a hidden restroom,
and low-and-behold, there was the back of a media wall! Such a great example of
the specialized install skill and technology that makes them work.
Seeing a Media Wall is impressive, but the cost, time and technical skill involved in making it happen is taken for granted by the audience. There were also other cool tech innovations (moving image and RGB lightboxes, digital shadow boxes, and cookies with your printed selfie on them), but what struck me the most was really being able to see a giant Media Wall’s backside secrets!
The Magic of Team Bonding
As I said, I’ve been with Exhibits Northwest for three years,
but for reasons I can only attribute to time flying by, I never really spent
quality time with our team in Portland, namely, our Senior Account Executive, Laura
Magdalen. Laura, thank you for being as eager as I was to get to
know each other better! We experienced some MAGIC as we found out we have lots
in common and can learn from each other.
We also got to hang with our newest Portland addition, Bobby
Brown. Having meals and walking the show floor together, with our
Manager, Michael McCord was
beneficial beyond magic. We took our fast 2 days together and made the best of
it, bonding over stories about spiders and food we hate. Everyone making fun of
me for thinking there were two pyramids in Vegas (yeah yeah, true story, I got
confused, ok!?) and laughing together as we watched Laura “schlep” her suitcase
around. Bonding as a team is so crucial, and I am thankful for the magic of
laughter and comradery.
And… Actual, MAGIC!
Our friends at Classic Exhibits had a performing Magician in their booth! He blew my mind several times, making me question the existence of mind-reading! Classic Exhibits is certainly “Knot Your Typical Exhibit Builder,” and they had a magician to prove it. His act was clever and thoroughly connected to the theme and message, creating a fun experience that also helped break the ice to make connections with the Classic Exhibits team. Ask me how that magician knew what I wrote on a pad of paper that he wrapped closed in a rubber band? I have no idea. But ask me how Classic Exhibits builds custom booths that impress my clients… well, that is less of a magic act and slight-of-hand, but more like the magic of teamwork.
I was told during my interview three years ago that once you
get into the “Trade Show Business” you can’t leave. And I’ve heard it multiple times
since then too — “Erica, you’re stuck with us now!”
During the past year, I confirmed something I suspected was true: the push to be eco-friendly has lost momentum in the trade show industry. It’s not anyone’s fault, but like other trends, it has become an afterthought for many exhibitors and exhibit builders serving the trade show industry.
Most companies have a sustainability policy, whether it’s a corporate initiative at a Fortune 500 company or a zero-waste policy at a local manufacturer.
My question is … Are marketing departments, particularly the trade show or event marketing functions, tying into the sustainability policies of their respective companies? Some are when they’re selling a green product or service, but a majority are not since most corporation’s sustainability policies rarely include their trade shows unless it’s mandated by a show like Greenbuild.
However, “sustainability” can create a selling advantage — a key differentiator. The subject of sustainability may not be something you lead with in a presentation, but it might be the added benefit that could spark interest and make you stand out from your competitors. If everything is equal between you and a competitor in the mind of your client, then sustainability might be what wins the project.
It’s important to communicate to your clients that sustainable materials are NOT more expensive than standard materials plus the quality and durability of eco-friendly materials is equal to or exceeds those standard materials. You have the opportunity to offer your customer more for their money.
Now that you are excited about selling the benefits of eco-friendly booths, the fact remains that design is the principle reason clients make a buying decision along with the relationship you’ve established and the services you provide. For that reason, Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits will always make design, innovation, and great support our highest priority. We know that presenting a design that meets your clients’ visual expectations along with their budget is your primary goal and being eco-friendly is an added bonus.
Your success is our success so let us know how we can continue to support your sales efforts.
See below for images of our 10 x 30 booth at EXHIBITORLIVE.
Las Vegas, NV, February 2019 – The 2nd Annual Women In Exhibitions Breakfast will be held at EXHIBITORLIVE in the Connection Zone, February 26, 2019 from 8-10 am. This once a year opportunity brings women in the Exhibition and Event industry together to discuss challenges and success strategies, network with peers, and make new contacts.
Cost of admission includes a buffet breakfast and a special presentation from international speaker and best-selling author Sandy Jones-Kaminski. As a mentor and coach with 20+ years of marketing and business development experience, Sandy helps professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners grow their own careers through proactive personal branding, online and offline networking activities. Sandy’s presentation will illuminate strategies for making the most of the Women In Exhibitions mentorship program and more.
Here’s What Last Year’s Attendees are Saying about the Event:
“It was empowering to be sitting in a room full of women who were actively pursuing their careers in the exhibit industry. There’s nothing quite like being with a group of career-oriented women who want to see each other succeed. I am already excited to attend this event next year.” — Jessica Diers, Diers Exhibit
“The breakfast was the highlight of my experience at the show, and I am so glad the Design Factory could be a part of it. I feel the event was a wonderful opportunity for so many women to meet, mingle, and share ideas. I hope to participate in the future.” — Chris Harvey, The Design Factory, Las Vegas
“From the initial meeting of Women in Exhibitions in Tucson in 2002, I have had the opportunity to attend many WIE meetings. The breakfast event at EXHIBITORLIVE 2018 was amazing. There were many bright, enthusiastic, experienced women sharing information and ideas. Having a guest speaker was a bonus, especially since it was interesting. I was able to connect with several women, which will be of benefit to my business. Bottom line is that it was the best meeting we have ever had for WIE.” — Jocelyn Welles, Exhibit Expressions
One of the best decisions EXHIBITOR ever made was creating Strategic Partner Hours from 10-11:30 am on Tuesday and Wednesday. We enjoy meeting with our Distributor Partners and Vendors during those times because it offers uninterrupted sessions to discuss your business and how Classic Exhibits can assist in your success.
Stop by during those hours, or even better, schedule a meeting with the Classic Exhibits Management Team. That will ensure you’ll have our undivided attention. See you in Vegas Baby!!