Those with a few grey hairs will recognize this line from Monty Python as the abrupt, often nonsensical transition from one skit to another. In this month’s newsletter, we share videos, blog posts, and a 1960’s car ad from Classic Distributor Partners. In other words, something different.
We think you’ll enjoy how cleverly they market their exhibit companies. Are you promoting your company in creative ways? Please let us know.
(2) Empire Display Solutions Videos
At Classic Exhibits, we rarely see show photos, let alone videos of the exhibits we design and build. However, Matthew Houck of Empire Display Solutions shared two professionally edited videos from Natural Products East.
The videographer is James Morano, and Matt and Aniyah Haynes narrate. Jeff Garrett and Alex Lebedev were the PMs and Kim DiStefano the Designer.
Both show how our collaboration with Empire Display Solutions resulted in two amazing custom exhibits.
One of the best bloggers in the trade show industry is Tim Patterson, aka The Tradeshow Guy. He posts, on average, about three blogs a week, including his weekly Monday Morning Coffee video and podcast. His trade show marketing advice is consistently practical, personal, and fun to read.
I’ve learned a lot from Tim over the years and often give his books to new Classic employees as an introduction to the industry. Although we don’t agree on everything, like whether “trade show” should be one or two words, we do agree that trade show marketing is a craft learned from skilled professionals. Below are some recent blog posts.
This has nothing to do with trade shows, but a lot to do with marketing, creativity, and humor. Jim Munro owns USA Exhibits and Gear in Fresno, CA. Recently, he posted the following in LinkedIn about his dad.
In Jim’s words… “I wanted to share this piece of family history from the early 1960’s. My dad was a California auto dealer who specialized in sourcing and selling specialty, hi-performance cars that were popular during this period. The following is a clip from our local newspaper, The Fresno Bee, in 1963.
I know there are some Gearheads out there that will appreciate the creative descriptions. Yes, he was quite a character!”
Yeah yeah, you’ve had enough Game of Thrones analogies, articles, and opinions about how the show ended. Me, too. I get it, but bear with me for just ONE MORE because I bet you haven’t read something that compares your favorite characters with — you guessed it — Trade Show Exhibitors!
So, sit back and contemplate who you are, or rather, who you want to be and see if this makes sense — unlike the ending to GoT.
*Spoiler Alert: Read only if you have finished Game of Thrones, will never watch the show, or some jerk has already spoiled the ending for you.
In the Order of My Favorite GoT Characters
Arya Stark – Arya exhibitors are underestimated but won’t stand for anyone’s bull.
They work hard and hone their skills slowly and wisely, making a list and
checking it… over and over. Arya exhibitors reach out to learn from the masters.
They take notes and practice until their own skills are formidable, planning
seamlessly for victory each step of the way.
They surprise their adversaries and show up fearless to every show and walk away triumphant. But don’t be fooled; they aren’t perfect. They learn from failures. Step-by-step they keep getting better, more clever, and eventually shatter their competition like a total boss.
Samwell Tarly – OK, so these exhibitors might not always be the front-runner “winners,” but you have to love them. They might be a little timid at first and need some hand-holding but, dang, are they loyal. They trust those they deem experts (like their exhibit house professional), and they are generally open to new ideas and strategies.
However, these exhibitors are not pushovers: they are intelligent and perceptive, so don’t perceive their willingness to follow as a weakness. Their intuition is spot on, and in the end, their steady strategy pays off consistently. They also tend to befriend the right people and create meaningful and lasting professional partnerships — priceless on and off the trade show floor.
Tyrion Lannister – This “wanna be” 50 x50 exhibitor excels in a 10×10 footprint. They are smart and clever, making the best of what they are given. Strategy is their king, and they make wise trade show marketing decisions in the beginning, winning the trust of many big clients. But then, over time, their confidence (and a few bad habits) gets the best of them which leads to dumber and dumber choices as they grow.
They aren’t evil, just overly confident in their own abilities. But don’t worry, the Tyrion exhibitor is ultimately a strategic player and will wise up and get it together (by partnering with the right supportive team) in time to GROW into a brilliant 20×20 booth. Still not the biggest, but it’s perfect for their awakened goals.
Sansa Stark – Sansa exhibitors are supremely confident, intelligent, skeptical, and bold. They exhibit with a honed strategy based on learning from past failures (traumas). They are “under the radar” triumphant in the end and have their own loyal following who will forever be faithful.
Clients stick with them for the long haul, and their activity in the booth is mostly current customers looking for “what’s new” from their favorite vendor. Oh, and they have a design aesthetic that cannot be beat. Their booth will look stunning.
Jon Snow – Essentially, one of these exhibitors is the outcast who really isn’t. Have you ever seen an exhibitor who shows up and their booth looks a little boring on the surface, but darn it if their booth isn’t the most popular? They are cautious, slow, and steady, but they listen and make real connections with their booth visitors and loyal clients.
They make bold decisions when necessary but know how to read the room. They choose their shows (battles) wisely and strategize with a team to ultimately create a winning plan. They are humble to a fault and never see all that they could be, allowing others to shine more brightly on the show floor and in business. But they don’t go broke (or dead), so their ROI is impressive.
They may decide to partner with a front-runner, trusting that’s the right thing to do and hoping for mutual success. When it’s proven to them that they are actually better (their clients tell them so), they refuse to believe until they must make the ultimate sacrifice… choosing themselves to WIN (maybe they steal that larger booth space from their partner… gasp!). But it’s OK: their fans are supportive and loyal.
Daenerys Targaryen – Imagine these exhibitors were start-up companies at first and then with the help of a few huge investors, they grew BIG, fast. They began with nothing and were perceived as weak and easily taken advantage of. But then, (born out of fire) they shoot out into the industry with the biggest dragon of them all –MONEY. They spare no expense, and they have it all: formidable assets (killer booth and amazing swag) and an army of booth staff in matching shirts.
They are coming for a fight with the confidence to win. And they do win, until they break. Emotions get the best of their strategy and something bad happens. Can they recover? Hmmm…
Cersei and Jaime Lannister – Cersei exhibitors think they are ruling the show floor and take no help or compromise from anyone. Other exhibitors sense their arrogance and are out to attack and overcome this misguided leader. Their “twin,” maybe a sister-company (ok, brother, but that’s not the colloquial term), is along for the ride and follows the lead. This sibling company may have a wandering eye seeing what others do and their success, but ultimately stays loyal to their leader, for better or for worse.
This talented hero is known by all the land, but all of a sudden, that fame is taken swiftly and #thestruggleisreal. These exhibitors once had it all: fame, fortune and literally the world in both of their hands (ha ha), but when they least expected it, someone took their most valuable asset (maybe their biggest client?) and now they feel lost. Loyalties realign, and a new beginning is on the horizon, but old habits die hard and well… the end.
OK, I think that’s enough. I could go on and on, but with over 150 main characters in Game of Thrones, we’d be here literally until Winter. On that note: Ready for one last GoT cliché? Winter is Coming. And in the #TradeShowLife, Winter is the TIMELINE.
Your show is coming and planning ahead is the only way to defeat the White Walkers = RUSH FEES. Knowing this… I think GoT got at least one thing right. #AryaStark
Trade shows can be brutalfor attendees and exhibitors alike. Just consider the intensive planning, travel, installation, and long hours before, during, and after the show hours. It’s a big commitment, both physically and financially, so smart trade show marketers look for creative tricks to entice attendees to visit their booth.
Of course, there’s no substitute for the basics of pre-show
marketing, exhibit design, branding, and staff training. That goes without
saying. Beyond that, many exhibitors neglect to create an environment where
attendees feel comfortable and want to spend time. Thankfully, it doesn’t have
to cost an arm and a leg to win the hearts and minds of potential clients. Feed
them. Give them a place to relax. And get them charged up!
The Five Essentials
1. Food/Candy. If you have ever attended a European trade show, you know that many exhibitors have (at the very least) cheese and crackers in the booth. Unlike in Europe, serving food can be problematic at most U.S. venues because the convention center has an exclusive contract on food and drinks. Which means being creative with the food you offer.
Most venues will look the other way if you are giving “selective” guests candy, protein or breakfast bars, or even bagged cookies. More elaborate promotions like ice cream sundaes or taco bars require show approval, but smaller items are rarely a problem if handled discretely. Trade show attendees welcome munchies after strolling the floor for hours, especially if it’s presented as a special treat unavailable to the general public.
2. Water. Like
food, most venues are very protective of drinks since the markup is so
lucrative. However, many exhibitors pack cases of water in their crates for
their use during setup and for the staff during the show, which they keep in
the storage closet or counters. You certainly don’t want someone fainting in
your booth from dehydration, so having some spare water is probably a good idea
as long as it’s not being handed to every attendee passing by your booth. Wink.
Here’s an idea you might consider. Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits, a designer and builder of eco-friendly trade show displays, brings branded boxed water to their events. Boxed water is more eco-friendly than plastic bottles and is more efficient to produce and ship. Plus, it’s unusual and rarely identifiable as water by the show halls. Click HERE to learn more about Boxed Water.
3. Entertainment. Face it… you yearn to be entertained at a trade show. If there’s a magician, you stop and watch. Same with virtual reality demos. Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive, and it should never be a distraction from your messaging. But there are always ways to intertwine your message with a simple game like electronic darts or Wack-a-Mole or golf. The key is to attract the right attendees, not just anyone bored and eager to win a prize. If you don’t feel you have the time or the creativity to create and manage the entertainment, work with your exhibit house. They know lots of companies dedicated to matching your show objectives with targeted entertainment.
4. Comfortable Furniture. EVERY ATTENDEE appreciates comfortable chairs or loveseats in a booth, regardless of the booth size. Furniture encourages clients to linger so you have time to assess their needs and suggest solutions. Thankfully, modern rental furniture comes in a wide variety of styles and colors to match most exhibit designs and colors. As an exhibitor, you need to decide if you want private or semi-private meeting spaces, whether you need tables, and how you need to structure the space. Keep in mind, you are not creating a lounge for everyone to plop down, answer emails, and check their social media. It’s for business and business conversations.
BTW – Don’t let anyone tell you that booths should never have furniture because it will encourage your staff to sit and do nothing. That’s a not a furniture issue. It’s a training issue which indicates that the booth staff doesn’t understand your company’s trade show goals.
5. Power/Charging. Why fight it? Everyone has a smartphone. Some have several, plus a tablet or laptop at the show. And even with the improved battery life of most devices, we’re all power nomads searching for an electrical oasis on the show floor. Be smart. Give them what they want with charging stations. Thankfully, modern charging solutions don’t have to look like something you stole from the airport. There are contemporary bistro, coffee, and meeting tables along with standalone charging kiosks. All with branding options that complement your overall graphic theme. Many include both USB and wireless charging options. Many are available for purchase or to rent. See a wide selection HERE.
Gone are the days when you exhibitors could rely on bold graphics and an attractive exhibit to draw attendees into their booth. Trade shows are more competitive and complex than ever before. You need to understand today’s attendees – what they want and expect and how they decide which exhibitors to visit before and during the show.
Nothing is more important than quality touches with a potential client on the show floor. Creating an atmosphere that’s welcoming, inviting, and entertaining is a step in the right direction to win the heart and mind of your next big customer.
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.
Did you know that Classic creates unbranded marketing literature as PDFs for our Distributor Partners? One of those is the “Under Sheets” which shows Classic Exhibits designs under certain prices, like Under $6K or $12K. Recently, we updated these sheets (except the Under $2K and $4K).
Below are examples, including the NEW Islands Under $60K. Click on the images below to download the latest unbranded PDF set (10 pages). The $2K and $4K will be available in early June.
Exhibit Design Search, the award-winning display search from Classic Exhibits, offers multiple branded and unbranded versions.
Branded and Unbranded
There’s the Classic version at www.classicexhibits.com in addition to two unbranded versions: www.exhibit-design-search.com (w/ prices) and www.exhibitdesignsearch.com (w/o prices). Many Classic Distributors have branded EDS websites with customized graphics, pricing, URL’s, and contact-specific tools. See below for a summary of the features and benefits of each version. For more details, contact Mel White in the Marketing Department.