Once a year, trade show professionals assemble in Las Vegas for the industry’s leading conference and exposition, Exhibitor. Professionals in the trade show business have the opportunity to attend seminars, touch base with current suppliers, learn about new products, network and look into the future of trade show marketing.
Our operations manager, Troy attended Exhibitor2013 this year and returned to the office with some fresh ideas. Based on his observations from the show floor, there are 4 major trends this year in the trade show world.
- Interactive technology: If you were looking for a keyboard at Exhibitor, you would have been disappointed, as there were none to be found. The importance of technology of the show has increased significantly due to both the rise of social media and advances in touch screen technology. Touch screen technology is being integrated into the displays themselves by way of large screens, into the staffers conversations with potential clients with tablets, and throughout the attendees’ experience via mobile devices. This is no different with our clients. We recently created a display for biomedical waste company BioServ that included 2 iPad stands. One iPad station will be used to run an E-procurement demo, while the other station will run a virtual golf game.
- Fabric graphics: Fabric graphics have become the preferred graphic medium of choice, thanks to the emergence of dye sublimation (or dye sub) printing. Dye sub provides display manufacturers the opportunity to produce a high quality graphic at a lower price. Dye sub graphics also save exhibitors a considerable amount of money on shipping and repair costs, since fabric is lightweight, easy to transport, very easy to clean and less vulnerable to irreparable damage. We have seen many of our clients move towards using fabric in their displays, including Curbell Plastics and Softlips.
- Creating an environment vs. fabricating a display: Exhibit designers are focusing their attention on creating an experience at an exhibitor’s booth. Display professionals have been taking a more holistic approach to exhibit design and using every tool at their disposal to create an ambiance that both engages attendees and represents the exhibitor’s branding.
- Relaxation of booth staff uniforms: Companies are moving away from mandating that booth staff wear the traditional suit at the company booth. Many exhibitors are choosing more “inviting” attire that helps create the feeling that staffers are approachable. Many exhibitors have a staff uniform that is reflective of both their industry and the brand itself. For example, attendees at high-tech shows are often dressed casually and the expectation is that booth staff will be dressed casually as well.
Just like every other marketing channel, the trade show industry is constantly changing in response to advances in technology, product development and improvement efforts, and shifts in marketing ideologies. The major trends for 2013 reflect changes that are aimed at increasing attendee engagement and creating an inviting experience for attendees universally.
A large part of making a lasting impression at a trade show is creating an environment that evokes the right emotional connection between your attendees and your brand. The colors used in your display set the tone for the mood of the entire exhibit. Here are some general guidelines for choosing the colors to utilize in your trade show display.
- Choose colors that are consistent with your corporate branding. Remember that attendees will be walking around for long periods of time looking at a large number of exhibits. The presence of your corporate colors helps attendees remember your company’s exhibit once they return to the office.
- Select a base color and 2 accent colors. The accent colors should complement the base color. Use the base color for the background and use the accent colors for text, borders, outlines and areas that need to be highlighted.
- Decide which emotion you want attendees to feel when they visit your exhibit and choose a base color that conveys this emotion. Do you want to excite your attendees and get their pulse racing? Consider using red as your main color. Do you want your audience to feel calm and relaxed? Make use of a blue or green hue.
- Consider what type of buyers you are targeting and how they respond to different colors. For example, black and royal blue tend to attract impulse buyers, while teal and navy blue tend to attract budget-conscious consumers.
- Pay attention to colors that are contemporary, but avoid “trendy” hues if you plan on re-using your graphics. Trendy colors can make a display look dated once the color has gone out of style.
- If you are attending an international trade show, do some research on what different colors symbolize in the country where you are exhibiting. For example, in Eastern cultures, white is the color for mourning and funerals. Yellow is sacred in China, but symbolizes jealousy in France. Culture defines a person’s perception of color, so consider how your host country audience will respond to the colors in your display.
- Consider how the venue lighting and your overhead lighting will affect how the color looks at the show. It you use a pale yellow, it may appear white in a bright spotlight.
Following a few basic color guidelines will make sure that your graphics are eye-catching, compelling and effective. When choosing the colors for your display, keep in mind your corporate branding, your target audience and the emotions your choice of color portrays to your audience.
While the FBD2 team provides installation and dismantle services to some of our clients, many choose to brave the I & D process themselves. In the following article, Jim Shelman of Classic Rental Division& Exhibits Northwest offers some great tips for a successful installation and dismantle.
Planning ahead will save you time and money on your next setup. More often than not, preventable snags slow down installations on the show floor. Here’s a list of ten tips that will help avoid those common obstacles that can waste time and drive labor costs through the roof. As you’ll see, there’s a theme here — PLAN AHEAD . . . and you’ll probably come in under budget!
Successful I &D Tips
1. Early communication with the lead on the I & D team by scheduling a call prior to the set-up to discuss the details & your expectations. And be sure to send set-up diagrams, booth orientation (direction), and graphic layout orientation ahead of time to reference. Exchange contact information in case something unexpected comes up, so that all parties involved know how to get a hold of each other.
2. Be sure to arrange for the necessary tools and equipment (# of ladders and heights? genie lifts needed? banding tools and supplies for client pallets or equipment?).
3. Send your I & D provider copies of your electrical order and a grid layout detailing the location (and specific power needs) for each drop. Again, be sure that the grid layout indicates the surrounding booth locations to ensure the booth is being oriented properly. TIP: 100 watt bulb = 1 amp; 1 monitor = 3 amps; count up light bulbs and monitors to confirm how many “amps” you need at each drop, based on the # of lights or electronics that will be drawing power from each drop!.
4. Same thing with your flooring. Double-check to make sure your flooring has been scheduled for installation prior to your set-up. Be sure to send copies of your carpet and/or flooring order to your I & D company, so if there are delays at show site, they can act as the advocate on your behalf. Make sure the correct color is called out clearly on your order. Along the same lines, if you have a hanging sign, make sure the order is submitted to have it installed (w/ copies to your I & D company!).
5. If possible, ask that your I & D company — the day before the set-up — check to see that the electrical and flooring has been installed correctly, and that your booth is clear of crates and show materials. This will help to ensure no costly wait time when your installation team begins setup the following morning.
6. Print and email copies of line drawings, renderings, and staging photos of your exhibit design. Also include hard packets of this information in your exhibit cases/ crates, so there are plenty of copies for the I & D team to use.
7. Do a good job of labeling every exhibit component, and be sure to check that everything corresponds with your set-up diagrams.
8. Make notes and take photos to help describe any little tricks, tips, or special attention details for assembling any of the more complicated components. This will save a lot of time.
9. Hold a brief meeting with the I & D team right before the setup begins to review your expectations for the day; show them your set-up diagrams and photos so they can visualize the finished product. And have a list prepared showing the proper order in which components should be built. This will prevent having to backtrack, wasting time and money.
10. If you find that a member of the I & D team just isn’t performing to your minimum standards, you have the right to request a change. Tell the I & D Lead that you need to replace that individual with someone more experienced. You’re paying a lot of money for this service, so it’s okay to expect everyone to be on-time, professional, and productive.
Shelman, Jim. “10 Tips for a Successful Installation & Dismantle | Trade Show Tales Blog – Classicexhibits.com.” Trade Show Tales Blog. Classic Exhibits, n.d.
The article below is an excerpt from the January newsletter of one of our suppliers, ExpoDisplays. David Holladay, President of ExpoDisplays offers some “back to basics” sales advice that reinforces how the sales team at FBD2 works with our clients.
Back to the Basics
In the world of sales, things can tend to get complicated. As we strive to learn more and more about the sales profession, we constantly develop new strategies that make us better at what we do. Sometimes this can lead to getting so far “out there” that we can forget the basics. What better time than the start of a new year to remind ourselves about the “little things” that can get overlooked, causing us to lose sales or waste time? So here are a few that I have to remind myself about before I dive into the sales process with a prospect.
Donʼt Assume Anything. Start Anew Each Time
When that longtime customer comes to you for a solution, treat her like an exciting new prospect, not like an automatic repeat customer. Donʼt take her for granted. Donʼt fall into the world of “inside sales” or “order taking”. We often make the mistake of assuming that we understand what someone wants because weʼve worked with her for so long. But that may not be the case. Things may have changed in her world. And the competition is after her, promising new,exciting ideas and products. Take her for granted and you may be beaten by the competition.
Establish a Budget – Every Time
Throw out numbers early and often in the process. Donʼt make the mistake of doing a bunch of work and offering solutions that end up being “too much” at the end of the process. If that happens, you have to start over and you have wasted your time and hers. In the beginning and at each step in the process get an estimated dollar amount on the table and make sure that she says “ok” before you proceed.
Present to Decision Makers
How many times do we have to hear “Thanks for all of the work but the boss wouldnʼt approve it” before we learn that we HAVE to get the decision makers involved in the process. Most sales people will tell you that they were not able to get in front of the decision maker, but 90% of those sales people never even tried because they were scared to ask. Your prospect should understand that you are trying to help her get what SHE wants. And the best way to help her sell the idea/product to the decision maker is to get the decision maker involved early in the process. Otherwise, youʼll both do a bunch of work for nothing. Early in the sales process you need to ask the following question, “How will the decision making process work and who are the people that will be involved?” Now help her navigate that process so she can get what she wants.
Donʼt Present Too Early
The solution that you present should be the very last thing in the process. Before you design, quote or present something, you need to have all your bases covered. You should have addressed everything to the point that when you present, you are simply expecting a “yes” or “no” answer. You should already know the budget, how the purchasing process will work, who the decision makers are and what each is looking for. If you donʼt know those things, you donʼt need to present a solution.
Understand the “Why”
Speaking of presenting too early, do you have a good understanding of “why” the prospect is looking for this product? If you donʼt, then you are just an inside sales person or a “quoter” and a good sales person that asks good questions will take this business from you. Remember this saying; “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” You must diagnose (the “why”) before you prescribe (the “what”). Donʼt get caught up in just quoting products based on what your prospect asks for, like pop-ups or banner stands. When your prospect uses one of those terms, ask the question, “Pop-up? Sure I can help you. What led you to decide on a pop-up?” The answer that you get may make it crystal clear that a pop-up is NOT really what this person needs.
Holladay, David. “David’s Notes.” ExpoNews (20 Jan. 2013): n. pag. Www.expodisplays.com. ExpoDisplays. Web.
The end of the year often serves as a time to analyze the performance of your marketing initiatives over the past year, while strategizing and defining goals for the next. One of the year-end assessments to complete is evaluating the condition of your trade show exhibit. Not sure where to start? Use this guide to walk you through the proces letting the display professionals inspect the display for you. They have experience working with the materials and know what repairs will need to be made.
- If you decide to go through the materials yourself, have a notebook and pen handy. Makes notes of everything that you are checking, whether it is damaged, missing or in perfect condition.
- Allow yourself enough time before the next trade show to thoroughly inspect the display, in case repairs are necessary. This will help you avoid rush charges to fix it at the last minute.
- Look over all of your shipping cases and totes. If you have a rolling case, make sure that all of the wheels are in tact. Check the locks and make sure that they fasten tightly.
- Assemble the display as if you were at a show. This is the best way to tell if something is missing, broken or damaged.
- Check the hardware for any damage. Probe the frame for any broken parts, loose hinges or screws, dents, scuff marks and other signs of damage.
- Inspect graphics thoroughly for any damage, such as deep creases, staining or scuff marks. In most cases, graphics can be cleaned fairly easily.
- Plug in any lights to make sure that they work.
- Check all accessories that travel with the exhibit for possible damage.
- Evaluate your graphics and decide if they need to be updated. Are they severely damaged? Do they match your current branding? Is the text outdated? Has your product line changed since the graphics were produced? Would the images still look exciting and contemporary to attendees on the show floor?
- Take some time to reflect on your last trade show season. Identify what went well and what could be improved upon. While this may or may not lead changes with the display itself, it will help you plan your trade show strategy for the coming season.
Inspecting and examining your trade show display as a part of your year-end activities will enable you to be better prepared for 2013 trade show season.
Purchasing a trade show display requires a significant investment of both time and money. If you are on a tight trade show budget but still want to make an impressive appearance at your next show, consider buying an “experienced”, or used, display. Here are some benefits associated with purchasing a pre-owned display:
- Buying a used display is very economical and cost-effective. Pre-owned displays allow you to create a striking trade show exhibit at a fraction of the cost of buying a similar system brand new. “Experienced” displays are often greatly discounted and are usually in great condition.
-A used display is essentially a recycled display. A pre-owned exhibit’s carbon footprint is much smaller, since fewer resources are utilized to produce and ship the recycled system.
-Used hardware may be covered under a warranty. Before finalizing the purchase of a pre-owned display, ask what type of warranty, if any, covers the display. Also ask the seller how repairs should be handled in the future and whether replacement parts can be procured.
- Shipping costs are considerably less when purchasing a pre-owned display. Shipping costs for a new exhibit generally apply from the point of origin (where the exhibit is manufactured) to the address where the final product is sent. Since an “experienced” display is usually housed at the display professionals’ office or warehouse, as opposed to the manufacturing location, the display will travel a shorter distance to reach its final destination, meaning lower shipping costs.
Pre-owned displays can be a fantastic solution for any company looking to create an astonishing trade show environment affordably. The benefits of choosing an “experienced” display include discounted pricing, the ability to recycle a display in good condition, the possibility of warranty coverage and reduced shipping costs.