Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Trade Shows’

Gravitee One-Step Modular Showroom Sample Kits @ Amazing Promotional Prices

January 17th, 2018 COMMENTS

Gravitee One-Step Modular System from Classic Exhibits

You’ve proposed a Gravitee One-Step Modular design to your client. They are interested. Actually very interested because you’ve explained how much they’ll save on shipping, labor, and drayage over a traditional hybrid or European modular system (as much as 40%). Now they want details.

  • How does it assemble?
  • How are graphics attached?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • How does it pack?

You can show them the Gravitee Literature or even a quick video, but nothing compares to a Gravitee sample panel. In seconds, they get it, and they’re ready to move forward.

See below for two amazing offers on Gravitee Sample Kits. Both at GOTTA HAVE Prices! Send your P.O. today to projects@classicexhibits.com (offer valid until Feb. 28).

Gravitee One-Step Modular System from Classic Exhibits

Erica Dougherty | A Discussion about Personal Branding and Business

January 11th, 2018 COMMENTS

Erica

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Branding has reached a new level  because of the rise of the Internet. The growth of the virtual world created the necessity of managing online identities. [Wikipedia]

Personal branding isn’t about coming up with a complicated strategy. Rather, it’s about knowing who you are and what you stand for, and then finding ways to make that visible. It’s about amplifying your skills and passions, which is key to rising up in the messy middle. [Forbes]

I am fascinated by personal branding as a marketing strategy. And it’s not as if it is a new concept. In its most basic form, it’s just Public Relations. What has changed is the democratization of branding with the Internet and Social Media. We all follow and/or connect with people who have established a personal brand. Some are famous. Some semi-famous. Others are part of our business or social circle.

Recently, I asked Erica Dougherty, an Account Executive at Exhibits Northwest Seattle, about her strategy of personal branding. From the photos, you can tell it’s distinctive, creative, and memorable. It’s also genuine as you’ll discover in the interview below.

Who is Erica and where did that pink hair come from? 

E-withPen2Obviously, the hair is natural! No really… it is. It should just grow out of my head this way, but it doesn’t, so I help it out “a little.” I am a designer by education/past life, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, so I’ve always been dialed into trends and design-life. Sales and Marketing are both large parts of my background in various forms and should work in tandem. Social media, quite obviously, has forced us all to be personal branding experts; we all do it whether we mean to or not and it can be for the good of our personal brand… or not.

Intentional self-branding must be strategic, but I won’t pretend that my own was strategic: it sort of happened organically. When my hair became fully pink (it was a gradual transition), it wasn’t as popular of a trend as it is now. I would show up to networking events, and it seemed to be how people naturally remembered me from one event to the next. That was my ah-ha moment — the Pink Hair is a part of ME now. Might as well use it to my advantage!

How have you used your identity to your benefit in the business of trade show exhibit sales?

Exhibit Design Project by Exhibits Northwest

Recent Lightbox Project for Headset

I’m definitely more than my pink hair. Some would say I have a big personality too. I’m truly an extrovert, ready to talk to anyone. I suppose I’m easily approachable because I tend to make friends where ever I go. It drives my husband crazy sometimes. However, I believe successful salespeople should be memorable in some way, something positive that people remember about them that makes them unique. The pink hair concept just found me and it works. The whimsical pink hair is paired with my friendly, professional, and authentic self, thus (hopefully) it doesn’t seem unbusinesslike.

It’s all about balance. But being a little out-of-the-box does help specifically in our industry. Trade show exhibits are NOT something an individual really ever needs (like insurance, for instance), and not something companies purchase every day. It is my job to be sure that if there’s someone in Seattle tasked with sourcing a new trade show exhibit for their company, that they think, “Oh, I know someone!” and give me a call at Exhibits Northwest. So, HOW do you guarantee you are top-of-mind and easy to contact? Repetition, knowledge, memorable appearance and obviously, a bobble-head pen with my contact info on their desk!

So what is your strategy to be top-of-mind?

For the first year of in-person marketing efforts, I have be actively engaged in local Seattle networking events and groups. People remember me from event-to-event (and I remember them… that’s super important too!). Thus I am slowly infiltrating their memory and instilling a positive perception of Exhibits Northwest. Some new business has resulted from my efforts, in addition to event marketing opportunities and community sponsorships in 2018. Each of these is an opportunity to be in front of hundreds of local business representatives. Ironically, much like that face-to-face relationship building that trade shows provide.

Late 2017, my strategy evolved finally when I began planning for my first “Lunch + Learn” and wanted something as a leave-behind. The answer was on my desk for a year — a swag silly bobble-head pen given to me by a wonderful client (from a trade show).

What’s the pen’s story?

BobbleHeaderPenThe blue pen with a giant smile and orange troll-doll hair sat on my desk for about a year, making me smile. It’s just weird and funny, especially coming from my client, QCash Financial. Yep, a silly bobble-head pen from a digital lending company. Seattle’s WeWork locations (which are full of growing new businesses, likely many never or novice trade show exhibitors) are perfect locations to start my Trade Show Marketing 101 Lunch + Learns. I really enjoy working with Trade Show newbies and helping them find success.

What I needed was a fun, memorable and personal take-away,  a small token of thank you swag. I brainstormed ideas, but then it hit me. I should give out a mini-ME, pink hair and all. Each time I give one out, I am sure to say, “It’s ME!” Hopefully, she’ll sit on your desk, waiting for that moment when the trade show booth is registered and the “What’s next?” happens. Me. I’m next. Call me. I’m your trade show support, ready to help!

Where do you go from here?

First quarter 2018 is already filling up with scheduled Lunch + Learns in Seattle, plus other networking events. I’ll toss a few pens in my bag and go! It’s all about awareness, so my continued goal is repeating Exhibits Northwest in conversation, being me, and getting a mini-me pen on as many desks as I can! (Well, my first order was 150 pens, so we’ll start there!) These pens are certainly not the quick answer to gaining tons of new business… but they certainly make the process more fun.

Thanks Erica. How can you to contact Erica, whether you need a banner stand or custom island exhibit? You can reach her at www.exhibitsnw.com or erica@exhibitsnw.com. You can also find her at her LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/erica-dougherty-7431ab110/). You’ll recognize the distinctive pink hair.

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

Happy New Year! Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

January 8th, 2018 COMMENTS

2018 Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

2018 Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

2018 Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

My EDPA Access 2017 Recap | Kevin Carty

December 9th, 2017 6 COMMENTS

EDPAHeader

Greetings from the Great Northwest

It’s December and almost Christmas, which means I am just as busy away from work as I am at work. I trust you had a great Thanksgiving and have amazing plans for Christmas and New Year’s.

Last week, I attended EDPA Access which was held in beautiful Carlsbad, California at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. Let me say, as someone who has been a member of EDPA for more than a decade, this was easily one of the Top 3 venues ever. Great layout, outstanding services, beautiful facilities, and much more.

From start to finish, the content was on point, applicable to every business in our industry, and well organized. Our industry is changing because of how our customers do business. And it will continue to change. The next generation of exhibit marketing professionals are calling on us to serve them in different ways than in the past. EDPA started to address this change by replacing the “E” in EDPA to “Experiential” (from “Exhibit”).

CEIR

Exhibits and events, once thought to be separate things, are more and more the same. And the Exhibit/Experiential Marketing Professionals of today are largely driving this with “Emotion-Driving Experiences” being a leading theme. What does that mean? Regardless of what a person or company is buying, they expect an emotional connection with the product or the team presenting it to them.

We spend 90 percent of our day indoors. It’s imperative to design environments that create positive emotions, stimulates productivity, and inspires creativity. Not just for your employees, but also for your customers in their exhibit/event space. It needs to make them comfortable and allow them to understand who you are and how your collaborate.

Being an “Agile Organization” is increasingly important. Historically it has meant being everything to everyone. NOT ANYMORE. Today’s customers want companies that can help them with everything, but they appreciate collaboration. They expect you to work with partners to achieve the best outcome. It’s time to embrace a “Shared Purpose” in your products and solutions and celebrate it!

Classic Exhibits at ACCESS

EDPA_2 EDPA

If you were there, you saw the beautiful “Late Night” set we created. It was definitely a show stopper, not just because it looked great but because it showcased our custom wood fabrication capabilities. That was an eye opener for many who have not tapped into our custom design and wood fabrication. This segment has grown faster than any other division within manufacturing over the past two years. Yes, we still design and build modular, hybrid, and portable exhibits, but custom now represents a significant percentage of our sales.

Our Late Show theme with Kevin and Jen had a special guest — Alexa. She was everything you would expect from a star — personable, knowledgeable, and witty. Alexa provided some great laughs and many “inquisitive” looks with her questions. On a personal note, I now know Brennan Curtis’s from Mostre Design “smell preferences.” There’s no way to cleanse my brain of that information. Our congratulations to those who won an Echo Dot. We might just repeat the game at EXHIBITOR.

Once again, our thanks to those who spent time with Jen, Alexa, and me. We always appreciate seeing you. And special thanks to the entire team from EDPA HQ for putting together one of the best ACCESS events ever.

Have a great weekend ahead with your families.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

How to Fix 12 Trade Show Bad Habits

November 16th, 2017 COMMENTS

Trade Show Habits

All animals, humans included, are creatures of habit. We learn how to survive or just get by, then follow those routines day after day. Breaking those ingrained habits can be tough, even when we recognize the benefits. Scientific studies have shown us that individuals rarely change without a supportive group either encouraging them or modeling alternate behavior.

Trade shows are no different. Exhibitors and attendees find their safe space and get comfortable: same shows, same people, same message.

Let’s examine some “comfortable “trade show habits that are undermining your ability to succeed. Fair warning. Some will be easy. Others much harder.

Your 12 Trade Show Bad Habits (in no particular order) 

1. Goals: Once upon a time you were new to trade shows. You asked, “Why are we attending this show”? “What is the desired outcome?” “Who are our prospective clients and what is the best message to attract their attention?” Those questions still matter, even if no one is asking them.

BoothDork2. Clothing: Are you still wearing that same polo with your corporate logo from 2014? It still looks OK, unless you’re standing next to Randy who was hired in March and has a new shirt. Trade show clothing is the exact opposite of your normal wardrobe. If it’s “really” comfortable, then it’s probably time to switch.

3. Day Three: Yes, it’s Day Three. Experience tells you that nothing happens on Day Three. Until it does. For many attendees, that’s the ideal day to walk the show floor. The crowds are thinner, and they see and hear the unfiltered stories. Often, it’s the BIG DEALS that get done during those last four hours.

4. Leads: On Day 1, you are studying each lead like a forensic scientist. Day 2, not so much. Day 3, Warren Buffett could have dropped his business card in the fish bowl and you wouldn’t know until next week. Reviewing leads notes each day turns cold leads into warm ones. The more notes the better for everyone.

5. Mixers: Every year, the show throws a gala where exhibitors, attendees, and presenters mingle. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people in a casual setting. A long time ago, you were the consummate sales professional, chatting with folks and working the room. Now… you gravitate to the people you know or hang with co-workers. The trade show doesn’t end at 4 pm each day.

6. Labor: We all have war stories about labor. Some are valid… and painful. But it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Many exhibitors order labor from the general contractor. The form is in the packet which makes it convenient. Instead, consider an Exhibit-Appointed Contractor (EAC). They want to earn your business for years, not just that show. It’s a new habit worth keeping.

7. Graphics: The graphics were awesome at the last show. Same as the one before. And the one before that. Graphics, whether fabric or direct print, have a half-life, closer to a fruit fly than uranium. Graphics are the single most important visual in your booth, even more than the model you hired to demo your new gizmo. At least get them reprinted. At best have them redesigned.

Mixer2

8. Early Bird Submissions: SHIT! You missed the early bird submission date again. How does that keep happening? Perhaps you might want to set a reward for yourself (and your team)? Whatever money you save by completing those forms early will go towards a nice meal to celebrate your success at the trade show.

9. Booth Camping: You love your booth. It’s familiar and comfortable. Your co-workers are there. You see friendly customers. But when someone asks you what you saw at the show, you pause… because you never wandered around. You never saw your competition or discovered new vendors. A trade show is more than finding new customers. It’s about meeting new people, finding alternative suppliers, and upping your industry knowledge.

10. Pre-show Marketing: This one will be short and sweet. You know you should do it. You used to do it. What changed? Don’t make me lecture you about the importance of pre-show marketing.

11. Education: Think back to when you were an industry rookie. You were eager to learn. They couldn’t stop you from attending classes. Heck, you wanted to be the one teaching newbies about the industry you love. Time to reset your priorities. If nothing else, those classes are great places to meet new people (and potential customers).

12. Size: Year after year, you reserve the same size booth space at the same show. Doesn’t it make sense to evaluate it based on your sales, marketing focus, show effectiveness? Of course it does. That doesn’t mean going larger. Sometimes it means going smaller. The same analysis should be made about the shows you attend. Shows ebb and flow for a variety of reasons. Just like your business.

We all know habits die hard, both good and bad. As you head into 2018, vow to be a better trade show marketer. And unlike New Year’s resolutions, you shouldn’t have any problem keeping these. You’ll feel better, and your trade show marketing results will improve.

–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.