Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘exhibits’

The Rent vs. Buy Debate for Trade Show Exhibits

April 20th, 2021 COMMENTS
Rent vs. Buy a Trade Show Exhibit

If price was the only criteria for a trade show exhibit, then most exhibitors with a full show schedule would probably buy their display. Or would they?

Let’s explore this topic with three examples showing both rental and purchase prices from Classic Exhibits and Classic Rental Solutions.

Trade Show Rental Exhibit

Example #1

The RE-1081 (rental) and VK-1356 (purchase) are identical backlit displays with a charging station, locking storage, and an iPad swivel mount.

  • Rental: $6316 (booth) + $2693 (graphics) = $9009
  • Purchase: $14,997 (booth and graphics)
  • Difference: $5988

By the second rental, the exhibitor would have exceeded the purchase price. However, what if the exhibitor decided to remove the charging station and replace it with a reception counter at the second show? Or some other modification. Rental exhibitors often make those changes because the price remains roughly the same (in most situations). The purchase exhibitor now has an additional component, along with extra or modified packaging. And they may decide not to use the charging table again, which means they’ll need to dispose of it.

All too often, an exhibitor who purchases a display will not make a change, even if the change would benefit their trade show marketing, because they feel locked into their original decision. A rental exhibitor has far fewer qualms about making changes, including even an entirely different design.

Trade Show Rental Display

Example #2

The RE-1082 (rental) and GK-1011 (purchase) are non-backlit displays with a workstation and locking storage.

  • Rental: $5816 (booth) + $2297 (graphics) = $8113
  • Purchase: $14,900 (booth and graphics)
  • Difference: $6787

In this design, the first and second rentals are less expensive than the original purchase price. By the third rental, the rental would be $4845 more. However, many exhibitors don’t factor in the monthly storage, assuming your exhibit provider stores it for you. Plus any “turnkey services” like inspection, packing, and staging charges. With a rental, those are included in the price.

Many exhibitors would rather not commit to a long-term investment or reoccurring maintenance fees on a permanent asset. And disposal charges at some point in the future. For them, a rental while more expensive over several years, may be less expensive right now and offer greater marketing flexibility.

Rental Displays for Trade Shows

Example #3

The RE-1079 (rental) and VK-1977 (purchase) are backlit displays with a large monitor mount option.

  • Rental: $2483 (booth) + $1525 (graphics) = $4008
  • Purchase: $7600 (booth and graphics)
  • Difference: $3593

At this price, most exhibitors would purchase this design if it’s intended for multiple shows. However, this design is often an element in a larger island display with double-sided graphics. Other times, exhibitors with conflicting shows or those “testing” trade show marketing need an exhibit but don’t want to commit to a purchase. In those cases, a rental makes far more sense, even for small displays.

All too often, newer exhibitors will purchase a cheap, somewhat disposable display only to discover that it doesn’t reflect their branding or audience. An upscale rental allows them to showcase their products and/or services at a price comparable to a budget purchase.

When deciding whether to rent or buy a trade show exhibit, consider all your options, both short and long-term. There are benefits to both and in some situations, a combination makes the most sense. Talk to your exhibit professional to review your options.

Symphony Portable Displays ~ Let’s Try Again!

February 7th, 2021 COMMENTS
Symphony Portable Display

Why should you care about portable displays? Especially now. Three reasons:

  • One, your client’s display(s) will soon be at least 16 months out of date.
  • Two, their budgets will be dramatically lower.
  • Three, we’re already getting requests for portable displays from your industry colleagues. 

Eleven months ago, we introduced Symphony, our newest portable display system. Remember that? Probably not. Well, let’s try again! 

Watch the Video. See the Designs.

The features and benefits are listed below. HOWEVER, if you really want to understand what makes Symphony unique, we encourage you to watch THIS VIDEO. It will make you a Symphony expert in about 10 minutes.  Then explore all 51 Symphony designs in the 10 ft. and 20 ft. galleries in Exhibit Design Search. Let us know what you think. 

Symphony Portable Displays
Symphony Portable Displays from Classic Exhibits
Symphony Portable Displays with Press Fit Graphics

Symphony Portable Elegance | The NO Compromises Portable Display

March 30th, 2020 COMMENTS
Symphony Portable Display Elegance
SYK-2023 Symphony Portable Display

For too long, Portable Trade Show Displays have sacrificed elegant design for visual simplicity. Not anymore.

Introducing Symphony, the first portable/modular display to blend easy tool-less assembly with elegant design and clever accessories. With Symphony, there are no compromises. Simply a beautiful upscale display at a price that’s thousands less than most custom modular exhibits.

In this casual video, we walk you through all the features and benefits of the Symphony Portable Display line, including assembly, accessories, and options.

US and International Patent Pending

See All 51 Symphony Portable Designs: https://tinyurl.com/uaourkh.

Seek Help. Trust Me, You Need It!

December 9th, 2019 COMMENTS

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Do You Have a Plan? Probably Not.

Most trade show exhibitors don’t have a plan when it comes to exhibition marketing. They purchase a display, which they think is THE PLAN. So before I harangue you with the obvious suggestions, let’s talk. Really talk.

If you are reading this, you are probably a sales/marketing professional with a history of accomplishments. You got there by being persistent, creative, and organized. You rely on Act-On, Marketo, or HubSpot for automation. You use CRM software like SalesForce or Infusionsoft. You have a comprehensive email campaign strategy and track it with Constant Contact, Yesware, or MailChimp.

When you have challenging problems, you tap into consultants for lead generation, sales training, social media, and SEO. And, when it comes to advertising, you have a team dedicated to maximizing your spend and metrics. In this hyper-competitive marketplace, you need every advantage that money, strategy, and discipline can bring.

And Then You Wing It!

Do You Believe in Trade Shows? That’s not meant to be a loaded question. You either do or you don’t. There’s no middle ground because exhibitors who “waffle” when it comes to trade show marketing are mostly wasting their money.

That’s not to say that trade shows are the same as trade shows pre-Internet. They’re not. Trade shows are much more efficient than they used to be because most attendees no longer “walk” the floor. They “research” and “shop” the floor just like they would an online purchase. They’ve already decided which companies they’ll visit days, even weeks before their feet hit the aisle carpet. Getting them to your booth pre-show is more important now than luring them into your booth at the show.

stk313213rknDo You Believe in Metrics and ROI? Of course you do. Imagine conducted a sales/marketing meeting or presentation without metrics. You love numbers. You love studying and reciting them to others like parables from the Bible. You get visibly excited using a spreadsheet to compare the Toledo to the Albuquerque office.

But, when it comes to your trade show marketing, you are like a four-year old with blocks, relying on the # of leads to judge success. Sadly, you pat yourself on the back if the leads are electronic and not a roll of paper cascading off the counter. For most exhibitors, anything beyond that falls into quantitative voodoo. There’s no measuring costs per show, return on sales, or contribution margin per client.

Are You a Good Judge of People? You should be. It’s kinda required for anyone in sales and marketing. At every trade show, you are doing two things:  meeting with customers and suppliers and evaluating your trade show staff. Far too often, we are spectacular at the first and abysmal at the second. We view trade show staffing along the same lines as a wedding invitation — the more the merrier and we pray no one gets so drunk they puke in public. When we do hold staffers accountable, it’s condensed into a pre-show rally which includes 10 minute booth training. It’s a joke.

Are You an Expert in 3D Marketing? I won’t bother to feed your ego on this one. You aren’t an expert. Not even close. You may be an expert at banner ads or print advertising or closing techniques, but you probably don’t know squat about exhibit design and trade show marketing. How do I know? Experience working with exhibitors and walking shows. Now, don’t misunderstand me. You know marketing and you know sales, but you decided at some point to believe that trade show marketing is more of the same. It is and it isn’t, and you’ll blow a ton of money until you know what works and what doesn’t.

Take Some Advice from a Trade Show Professional

VK-5088aaI mean this literally. Take some advice from a trade show professional.

1. Work with your Exhibit House. Exhibit Houses and Distributors do much more than design and build exhibits. They work with exhibitors on strategy, show services, ROI tracking, booth training, etc. They see the painful mistakes that their clients make that cost them money and prevent them from succeeding at trade shows. Believe me . . . they want your trade show marketing to be wildly successful. That way you’ll add more shows to your schedule, you’ll purchase new exhibits, and you’ll tap into their services.

2. Work with Independent Consultants. Like any industry, the trade show industry has seasoned independent consultants who want to share their advice for a fee. Some are generalists. Others specialize in booth staff training or ROI measuring or social media marketing or lead generation or overall trade show marketing. They know their stuff. They are paid to know their stuff. Don’t know who they are? Ask your exhibit house or use this niffy tool called Google. That said . . . always get references and do your homework.

3. Become an Expert. You can either continue to whine or you can take classes at EXHIBITORLIVE. There are hundreds of classes each year on every imaginable topic related to trade shows and trade show marketing. The classes are a great place to meet industry professionals and share your successes and failures with colleagues. For such a big industry, it’s actually a very small community.

No one can know everything. And what’s true for marketing automation software or social media advertising is also true for trade shows. Know what you don’t know and for everything else, seek help.

Cheers!

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

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Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.


 

Do You Believe in Magic? Attending EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 in Las Vegas

March 7th, 2019 COMMENTS
Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

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

Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

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

Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

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!”

OK, sounds good to me. Thank you for the welcome.

Erica Dougherty, Exhibits Northwest, erica@exhibitsnw.com