Having a business degree in marketing and working in marketing related positions/industries for my career, I have seen how marketing and marketers can get downgraded among our colleagues in other business disciplines such as accounting, finance or management. We deal in the qualitative, creative realm versus the hard numbers, quantitative side of theirs. The truth is, marketers have to be well-rounded. The job requirements demand the ability to be creative (aid in developing consistent branding and advertising), be well-written (aid in developing copy and messaging), be accountable for numbers (manage budgets, measure return on investment), be a negotiator (with third-party agencies, venues, vendors, etc.), be able to delegate tasks and manage people, and be strategic (implementation, marketing mix, analyzing opportunities). Of course, everyone has strengths and weaknesses within these areas, but unlike the accountant who knows there is a limit on what is asked of them, the marketer is required to be a swiss army knife of business talents.
One of the most exciting things about being involved in the marketing world, trade shows and events in particular, is seeing how people find ways to cross-utilize their talents. Many clients and vendors of ours use these skills to further a good cause. This can be in the form of a charitable event for their company, side-work with a non-profit and/or developing their own event altogether.
It is common for our clients to come to us to order items they’re going to use for charity or side projects. Because unlike the finance person, the people in our industry know exactly how to organize, market/fundraise and execute events. We’ve seen our clients aide with (or more) charity golf tournaments, bike races, 5ks, food drives, church activities, functions for kids, and on and on.
In addition to charity and community involvement, we have many clients that utilize their skills for their own hobbies as well. That creative side likes to shine after work hours in the form of food (products and catering), music, photography, art and other creative outlets.
I love finding out about people’s non-work interests, and the sheer joy it brings to everyone’s faces to be doing this work despite the inherent stress and anxiety of these projects. I know we’re always happy when we get to touch some of these projects as well. It helps everyone involved to break free from what can become the mundane day-to-day.
As we head into spring/summer and event season, we look forward to again seeing how our clients are using their knowledge, experience and skill on their passions!
The biggest portion of our trade show display requests involve five main factors: uniqueness of design, production lead time, ease of setup/takedown, portability and of course price. Commonly, people will be looking for a cost-effective, easy, portable, unique next-day display. I definitely want that as well! Unfortunately, that is our unicorn. Consider these five main attributes as budgeted out of 100 “points.” Here is the trade-off, to increase one you must take away from another. I’ve put together a general guideline that I hope is helpful in assessing the right display for your organization based upon these five areas. Read More
2017 is under way, and with a new year comes resolutions that drive us to be better. Seeing as we’re already completing the first month, many could already be behind on these or even have long since thrown in the towel! Between staying faithful to my 2017 plans and adapting to our first baby, my days look nothing like they did before. But what I know will be the key to success is creating good habits and routines. Mapping out my days allowing the time and effort required to best accomplish each task (if successful, 2018’s goal will be more sleep as I can see that is the trade-off).
Good habits and routines do not just apply to success in personal goals, but very much apply to those at our jobs too. Exhibit coordination and event planning is extremely detail oriented, and far too often is not allotted the time and forethought needed for optimal results.
We have the benefit here of regularly working with start-up companies as well as individuals who have taken on trade show and event responsibilities for the first time. I thought it would be a good idea to chat with someone who has been through that and could share some insight.
Earlier this year I began a dialogue with a new prospective client, Jessica Pohlen with Cata Company. She recently moved to the United States and opened her company’s first office outside of Brazil. Recently, she completed her first trade show as an exhibitor, and also the first for her company in the US. Hopefully, those who are considering exhibiting can learn from her experiences. Read More
Halloween is here, and we’re seeing it in major marketing, scary store decor and pumpkin filled neighborhoods. But none of the monsters, ghosts and goblins of Halloween fiction come close to the fear faced routinely in our industry. Money and time poured into shows and events, jobs and even companies on the line, at times all relying on eighteen wheelers hitting timeslots, laborers coming up with solutions on the floor and hit-or-miss technology. Several years ago I first put forth this blog idea, and now having been seasoned even more I’ve revised it because that horrible feeling of fear and anxiety is not only felt at the end of October for us. Read More
I remember in English classes growing up how we learned about how stories should be structured like a sandwich with the top piece of bread being the beginning, the meat being all of the detail and the bottom bread being the conclusion of the story. Oftentimes in writing, the top and/or bottom pieces of bread are forgotten with all of the focus and emphasis being on the meat. People will get maybe one or two of the three but forget the third. I’d be lying if I said this blog hasn’t had a missing bottom piece of bread a time or two before. Trade shows and events also have three distinct areas of focus, which breaks down as follows: Read More
Sadly, summer is wrapping up. As we prepare for the calendar to turn to September and push past Labor Day, I know we’re in for another busy season and if history is any indication, rush jobs aplenty are on our way. This is not a complaint though, we understand why they come about and we feel we’re generally pretty good at handling them. But before people allow themselves to go down that road thinking there’s a wide safety-net, I want them aware of some of the potential pitfalls that come about when a project is rushed.
For a general rule of thumb, our timelines for custom projects are 4-6 weeks and most stock items 7-10 days. Once we’re up against the wall with a rush project, we’re limited to stock products generally. And stock products may either be in stock, or out of stock. The shelves typically don’t stay empty for long, but with no extra days you will be at the mercy of what is directly available on the shelf. This can be particularly troublesome when you’re trying to match with hardware you already have.
There are creative minds all over this company and this industry. We enjoy taking the time to impart creativity, the client’s brand and unique features into their exhibits. Not only is the exhibit side impacted, the client’s own graphic design is also generally impacted. Instead of getting something designed specifically for the trade show booth, it becomes something very simplistic and generic. Usually it doesn’t last more than a show, which means a new graphic print needs to be budgeted on the horizon. So potentially you’d be sacrificing not only a lesser brand image, but also additional funds to correct it down the road.
Shipping introduces so many variables, all of which are uncontrollable. We have been stalled by hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, late planes, late trucks, trains, lost in warehouse, lost at show site, shipping to the wrong address, etc. Shipping during a rush project makes you lose sleep because you just never know. And even if you can be reimbursed for a flub (which you usually can’t), it won’t do anything to save the show the shipment was meant for. We always prefer to build in excess shipping days to avoid issues, but that of course is only time permitting.
To avoid rushes, let us know of shows that may crop up and we can help to try to stay on top of the timeline. When you find out that there might be a rush project, alert us. We’ll get the wheels turning immediately to put us in the best position possible should something come through. More often than not, we may be totally blindsided, but our client has just had to spend extra time fighting for budget or revising a design. Get us involved before that and it can help.
Rushes can and will happen. They are inevitable. Know that we’re capable of producing something serviceable (and sometimes more).
My wife and I spent last weekend moving into a new home. We are thrilled for sure that now we have a place to call our own and settle down in, but moving is absolutely a forgettable experience! In the trade show industry, unlike moving into a new house, portability is the name of the game. Read More
Marketing through experiences is huge in the B2C world, and though not used as frequently in the B2B world of trade shows and events, it is still a highly effective way to develop a brand and make it memorable. Somewhere along the way many companies decided to opt for simplicity and forego the challenge of creating an experience. There are positives and negatives with both directions, but I would argue that the positives attributed to an experience are more directly in-line with marketing goals for trade shows and events. Read More
Orchestrating a cohesive marketing plan in 2016 is like composing one of Bach’s classical masterpieces. Okay, maybe it isn’t that difficult but it does require each segment of your marketing efforts to work together like the instruments of an orchestra to produce one harmonized composition. Additionally the number of marketing “instruments” these days is ever-increasing with new social media platforms being added, the shift towards inbound marketing and the traditional marketing methods like print ads, direct mail and trade shows. It is important to remain consistent across all areas so that one does not misrepresent your branding or messaging in a way that throws off the overall sound of the song. Read More