» diary of a young marketer

Vender Profile: Featherlite Exhibits


When you’re shopping around for trade show displays, it can be hard to tell the difference between manufacturers. Almost every company promises high-quality displays, simple setup, flexible configurations, et cetera, et cetera. But there are a few standouts in the industry, and one of them is Featherlite Exhibits.

We’re one of the few trade show display companies in the Mid-Atlantic to partner with Featherlite, which is based in Minneapolis and manufactures its products in the United States.

Featured Product: Featherlite Medallion Tension Fabric Displays for use in in-line and small island configurations.

Why we’re fans of Featherlite Exhibits

Consistent high quality: We’ve been selling Featherlite displays for a while, and our clients have been universally pleased with both the durability and ease of setup. Featherlite’s displays are well made, with clearly labeled parts and simple instructions. Other, cheaper displays are hard to set up and can appear warped. “It literally looks like someone twisted it,” says Chase Howells, FrontLine Exhibits’ Senior Account Manager. “It’s really embarrassing.”

Graphic flexibility: Most trade show display vendors sell a standard assortment of square and rectangular booth elements. Featherlite gives you countless options, including angled headers and curves and varying heights and widths. We really like the placards they offer, too: smaller graphic elements that attach securely to the frame and add more dimension to a display.

10x10 Tension Fabric

Interchangeable elements: You don’t always want your trade show exhibit to look the same, right? You may want to add elements to fill a larger space, or swap out pieces to tailor your message to a particular show audience. Featherlite makes it easy. One setup we particularly like is deceptively simple: just two side-by-side tension-fabric panels. With two-sided printing, you can place messaging on both sides of each panel and instantly have a customizable, changeable display. Printing the second side costs a fraction of the price of printing a full additional display.

Superior print quality: “We’ve looked at 20 different companies’ fabric printing, and they’re by far the best,” Howells says. Featherlite prints displays with the dye sublimation process, which dyes the image onto the fabric instead of directly printing on its surface. You can see the difference: blacks, blues and reds are saturated, photos are crisp and gradients are clear. “People are always very impressed with the end product,” Howells says.

The Dos and Don’ts of Banner Stands

tradeshowtoolsRetractable banners. Pull-up banners. Pop-up banners. Roll-up banners. Banner-ups. Window shades.

Whatever you like to call them, banner stands are everywhere. They’re the most common element in trade show exhibit design, because they’re easy to customize, they’re cheap and they’re simple to set up. But, like any other component of your trade show presence, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them.

What NOT to Do With Banner Stands

Because they’re so versatile and inexpensive, pull-up banners are sometimes overused. We’ve seen clients build entire trade show exhibits out of banner stands. They’ll order three or four custom banners and place them in a line. They pull each one up and bam! Instant booth backdrop.

There are a few problems with this. One, it’s hard for a single person to lug three or more separate bags, instead of a single pop-up display, to a trade show. Two, most banner stands aren’t as durable as a real trade show display. If one gets torn or damaged, your company’s brand presence will suffer. And three, they just look cheap when they’re standing next to other, professionally designed booths.

 How to Use Banner Stands Effectively

  • DO use the right pull-up banner for the job. If you’re planning an outdoor event, buy banner stands that are designed to withstand the weather. The MediaScreen2 Outdoor Banner Stand, for instance, has a heavy base and bends in the wind.
  • DO use banner stands when you need to maintain a presence offsite. One FrontLine Exhibits client purchased over 300 banner stands to place in senior-living facilities, with a straightforward goal: to inform residents about a specific insurance product.
  • DO use banner stands for updates and accents. Maybe you already have a beautifully designed trade show display, but you want to highlight a new product, or celebrate an anniversary. The best way to convey that message on a pop-up banner.
  • DO limit the amount of copy on your banner stand. A small banner can’t tell your company’s entire story. They’re not meant to be read; they’re meant to be seen and reacted to. Talk to our in-house designer about your goals, and we’ll design custom banner stands that get the message across.

Using Data to Enhance Trade Shows and Events

We are in the ‘Age of Information’ Collection. From government to marketers to social media, data is being collected everywhere we go and enormous data centers are continually popping up to store it. When used, and used correctly, data can be very beneficial. For instance, personally I use a Fitbit to track, establish and work from a baseline for sleep time, workout time, heart rate, calorie burn, weight, body-fat, etc. Professionally, I use a CRM to maintain sales analytics and various web applications to monitor digital marketing efforts. Utilizing the data from these things has allowed me to tailor my future efforts to what has proven to be most effective.

This certainly isn’t anything new for marketers, especially those versed in SEO and digital marketing in general. For whatever reason though, it seems to fall flat for many when it comes to live events like trade shows.  Why is this? Well, you have to have a way to capture, and you have to have a way to get people to opt-in to giving their information. This isn’t nearly as easy in a routine human interaction as it would be in a digital setting. It can also be harder to capture information over a long sales cycle. For example, the call is initiated with a customer at a show, but the deal closes eight months later.

What follows lays out for you the most important areas to measure and what tools can aide in doing so: » Read More