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Posts Tagged ‘Mel White’

40 Things You Do @ Trade Shows (You Would Never Do Anywhere Else)

July 24th, 2018 17 COMMENTS

40 Things at a Trade Show

We are all members of specialized sub-groups, each with its own rules and etiquette. Think quilters, railroad model builders, woodworkers, or even college sports fans. Trade shows are no different whether you are an exhibitor, attendee, or an industry insider. While many behaviors might seem normal to you as a member of the trade show community, others are downright bizarre to those who rarely set foot in a trade show hall.

With the assistance of my colleagues, I’ve compiled a list of 40 Things You Do @ Trade Shows You Would Never Do Anywhere Else. It was actually much longer, but this is a PG-rated blog.

Drinking doesn’t count. We know you drink. You just don’t always start at lunch. And for the sake of discretion (and possible litigation), we’ve ignored trade shows in CO, WA, OR, and now CA. Don’t pretend you don’t know why. 

Feel free to contribute via the comments section. And enjoy!

40 Things You Would Never Do Anywhere Else

  1. With zero guilt, throw trash in the aisle and expect others to clean it up
  2. Spend $8.50 for a 12 oz. bottle of Aquafina
  3. Bribe someone to look the other direction. Brag about it later
  4. Have Accounting panic because you just max-out your credit card on one transaction (drayage perhaps?)
  5. Wear matching polyester clothing 
  6. Steal anything that appears to have a value of less than $10 (candy, hats, pens, mugs…)
  7. Share “steamy” industry gossip with competitors
  8. Chat with 500 strangers in 72 hours
  9. Gush about the double-padded carpet in booth #1108
  10. Buy a gaudy new belt in the casino shop for $165 (after forgetting to pack one) 

Vacuuming at a Trade Show

  1. Party until 3 am with Steve in Accounting, Larry in HR, Melissa in Engineering, and Rebecca in Quality Control
  2. Bum breath mints from strangers
  3. Arrive at work at 11 am. Leave at 3:30 pm
  4. Get agitated when someone walks across the corner of your booth space
  5. Take a Lyft to Lowe’s or Best Buy at 9 am/pm
  6. Pretend you don’t smell that awful face-melting smell
  7. Debate the existential meaning of portable, modular, and custom
  8. Act interested in (insert topic)
  9. Complain about how much it costs to vacuum 400 sq. ft. of carpet. Vow to do something about it
  10. Allow strangers to take your stuff without a receipt for three days and not know where it is, how it’s getting stored, and that you have zero ability to get it back early. Or if it will be returned undamaged

Badge Scanning at a Trade Show

  1. Let someone point a scanning device or smartphone camera in the general vicinity of your chest and crotch. Repeatedly.
  2. Be convinced a 15-minute conversation will lead to $500,000 in new business
  3. Assemble a 3D structure that costs somewhere between a used car and a McMansion… only to disassemble it three days later
  4. Spend 20% of your entire annual marketing budget over five days. Never calculate the ROI
  5. Compare the work ethic in Philadelphia, Boston, NYC, Chicago, Orlando, Anaheim, San Francisco, and Las Vegas to the work ethic in your hometown. Vow to do something about it.
  6. Hang your dress shirt in the bathroom with the shower running for 30 minutes to steam out the wrinkles  
  7. Explain, once again, to your family and friends that it’s a “business trip” and not a vacation
  8. Get visibly excited about the phrase “traffic congestion”
  9. Guard your giveaways like a momma bear (Day #1). Beg show labor to take them in bulk (Day #3)
  10. Sneak off to the bathroom just to find a quiet place to work

Finding a Quiet Spot to Work at a Trade Show

  1. Hide in a storage closet to scarf down a Starbuck’s scone, while dusting your co-workers coats, purses, and briefcases with gooey crumbs
  2. Judge people based solely on their name badge 
  3. Convince your boss that the 300 fishbowl leads are new clients clamoring for your product (and not the iPad giveaway)
  4. Pretend the President’s son is not still drunk. Allow him to talk to potential clients and competitors (I know I said I wouldn’t include drinking but this one was too good to exclude) 
  5. Spend 3 days with 100 of your best friends and not speak or see them again for 362 days
  6. Fly from the Midwest in January to Las Vegas, Orlando, or New Orleans and NEVER leave the hotel/convention center complex
  7. Reintroduce yourself to the same person three times. Act embarrassed 
  8. Toss the sales literature you carefully collected over three days so there’s more room for tschotskes. Pretend it’s for your children 
  9. Be REALLY, REALLY EXCITED to leave Las Vegas or Orlando!
  10. Finally… Wonder (after scanning the room and mumbling quietly to yourself) why the Federal Government hasn’t filed RICO charges against certain segments of the trade show industry. Vow to do something about it. 

That’s it. Please share your “Trade Show Things” below. And thanks for playing along.

–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.

MORE Seismic Changes in Trade Show Products

March 31st, 2018 2 COMMENTS

AprilFoolsBlogHeader

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.

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  • $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.

Reflections on Trade Shows in 2018 | Neophilia vs. Neophobia

February 3rd, 2018 COMMENTS

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Think back to your first major trade show, either as an attendee or an exhibitor. I’m guessing it was overwhelming… and wonderful! There was so much to discover, so many new people to meet, each with a history and storehouse of knowledge. You quickly realized that whether on the show floor, at a breakfast with a client, or chatting with others at the industry gala, that those three days in Vegas, Orlando, or Chicago were special. You couldn’t replicate it sitting at your desk — not on a phone call, via email, or though social media. You had to be there… and you had to be fully present.

Trade shows are a chance to learn and to change. It’s easy to forget that in our quest for the BIG SALE.

Why Is This Important?

I’m often asked, “Are trade shows are relevant?” Is there a future for industry trade shows? Do Millennials, or Gen Xer’s, or heck, even Baby Boomers, still want to attend them? Are companies willing to spend their valuable marketing dollars building a temporary structure just to attract new customers or meet with existing ones? In some ways, it seems a little old-fashion, as if video, live chat, online meeting spaces, and websites were never invented. So I understand, a little.

Here’s what I know. The trade show industry is in a bi-polar transition. There are those who want change (and significant change) vs. those who are actively or passively content with the status quo. Most would contend that change is not moving fast enough. Fewer exhibitors are truly passionate about trade show marketing, and attendees are questioning whether to attend the same shows. That said… Face-to-face marketing isn’t going anywhere soon; however, it may be unfamiliar to many of us in as little as 6-8 years. Consider the recent announcement by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association to scrap their 55-year old National RV Show.

Consider what may happen if the worldwide economy continues to grow, along with corporate profits. How will those companies budget the F2F portion of their marketing and sales departments? On the other had, what would happen if the the global economy experiences another massive, albeit somewhat shorter, recession. Same question as before… How will they spend their limited budget? Who wins and who loses in those two situations? How will those two scenarios create change?

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Bottom Line

If you are planning to attend EXHIBITORLIVE, please come with an open mind and a desire to discuss change. How will you thrive over the next 6-8 years regardless of the global economy, and what can we all do, individually and collectively, to move the ball forward. For far too long, we’ve been stuck in a Sisyphean mindset, one that’s no longer sustainable long-term.

With this is mind, I thought I’d share a new word I learned from a Seth Godin post. Neophilia — a term popularized by cult writer Robert Anton Wilson, is a personality type characterized by a strong affinity for novelty. The term was used earlier by Christopher Booker in his book The Neophiliacs (1969), and by J. D. Salinger in his short story Hapworth 16, 1924 (1965).

Neophilia

Neophiles/Neophiliacs have the following basic characteristics:

  • The ability to adapt rapidly to extreme change.
  • A distaste or downright loathing of tradition, repetition, and routine.
  • A tendency to become bored quickly with old things.
  • A desire, bordering on obsession in some cases, to experience novelty.
  • A corresponding and related desire to create novelty by creating or achieving something and/or by stirring social or other forms of unrest.
  • A complete objection to or distrust of commitment.
  • The opposite of Neophilia is Neophobia (an aversion to novelty or change).

See you in Las Vegas in a month. If you need a FREE show hall pass, click on this LINK and enter code 4044.

–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.

We Don’t Care. We Really Don’t Care!

October 28th, 2017 COMMENTS

ClassicRentals

Thank you for a CRAZY FALL SEASON. We’ve had strong sales, including a record number of AMAZING custom projects. You kept us busy and inspired in Q3, which the Classic Exhibits Family appreciates.

The rental division, Classic Rental Solutions (CRS), saw the largest surge. And that’s not surprising. Exhibit rentals are growing at Classic and throughout the industry. More and more exhibitors are attracted to the smaller upfront investment and the luxury of changing their design from show to show or year to year. The exhibitor’s desire to “mix things up” challenges many builder’s design flexibility and capacity. Not every company has the capability (or willingness) to stretch their rental program.

But We Do. And Here’s Why.

#1. Classic Exhibits and CRS support over 200 distributors. Not every distributor taps into our rental division, but the vast majority send us multiple projects every year. That volume means we have an unmatched inventory when your client needs five LED lightboxes, a double-deck display, a 40 x 40 island, or 37 monitor stands for an event. There are few requests we can’t handle.

#2. We are the manufacturer. We’re not ordering modular frames, cut aluminum extrusion, or custom wood counters. We’re building them. If the rental division needs a custom counter or curved Gravitee One-Step frames, it’s done in days, not weeks. It also means we control the quality. We have no hesitation about throwing away damaged aluminum, chipped laminate, or rebuilding or replacing crates. What we ship has to be perfect because we’re answerable not only to you but also to your client. Happy customers mean more rental orders. And that makes us happy.

#3. We are the designer (in most cases). That gives us enormous flexibility to create customized rental designs. We can choose to build a custom component for a specific design. So many rental designs on the show floor are cut-and-paste, carbon copies of modular panel templates. Be honest. How often have you seen the same rectangular tower with four arches and stock counters? Rentals are growing but some of the designs on the show floor are getting pretty stale.

RentalImages

#4. We are Classic Exhibits. Over the years, we’ve built our reputation on design, quality, flexibility, and nimble engineering. And especially predictability. When you open a rental crate there should be no surprises. It will include detailed instructions, immaculate packaging, and graphics that fit, since the display was staged and photos taken in our facility.

#5. Lightboxes, Charging Stations, Monitor Stands, Tablet Solutions, LED Accent Lighting, etc. Trade show industry trends change FAST. Those trends should apply equally to rentals as they do to purchases. Sadly, that’s not true for all suppliers. At Classic Exhibits, we have no reason not to cross-pollinate purchase trends with rentals. We benefit. You benefit. Your client benefits.

So…. you may be wondering about the title of this blog post — “We Don’t Care. We Really Don’t Care.” On occasion, a distributor will apologize for a rental order. Their client considered both a rental or a purchase but eventually decided to rent. Yes, the initial order is is smaller but that’s fine. Rental orders, over time, tend to be larger than purchases. And frankly, the margins are better. There’s no need to apologize. We don’t care whether you purchase or rent from Classic Exhibits. We only care that you do one or the other.

Thanks again for a remarkable fall. Be sure to visit the Rental Display Gallery. We’ve added over 120 designs in the past two months, all with rental and purchase prices.

–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.

Portable Hybrid Displays — Summer Sales Tips #4

June 20th, 2017 COMMENTS

Subtle and Sophisticated Portables

It’s easy to dismiss portable trade show displays as simple and unsophisticated. But nothing could be further from the truth. Engineering an attractive, durable, and truly portable display is hard, very hard. The Perfect 10, Magellan, and Sacagawea Portable Hybrids are clever, sophisticated displays with features not found in less expensive imports, such as knob assembly, adjustable support legs, and best-in-class 4K dye-sublimation fabric printing.

When buying a trade show display, especially online, always ask the tough questions about construction, print quality, assembly, and packaging. Engineering a portable hybrid display that will last for years doesn’t happen by chance.

To download the unbranded PDF version for the Portable Hybrid Displays, click here. To listen to the bonus audio tip, click here.

SummerSalesTip4

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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.