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.
Location matters in real estate, restaurants, retail, advertising, SEO, on the trade show floor and just about everywhere else, especially in marketing. One area we deal with in particular where there are very specific pros and cons to location is the location of the show itself. Here we’ll touch on the obvious pros, but delve a little deeper on the cons and the potential pitfalls to be aware of. Read More
Over my six years with FrontLine Exhibits one of the areas we’ve looked to expand and develop has been retail and showroom design. The demand for us to entertain this segment derived from our clients who wanted to have us utilize some of the same core competencies we’ve shared success with on the trade show/event side into their other customer facing environments. Now we have a portfolio of designs for office entries, corporate showrooms, and retail spaces utilizing products like touchscreens, gondola shelving, wall graphics, window graphics, custom wood displays and custom product merchandising displays. All offered in a complete package starting from design conception through final installation. A lot of the people that come to us though, come with these projects as something added on to their usual workload, or just beginning this process for their company. In other words, they’re leaning on our experience to help them achieve success. Here is what that process looks like: Read More
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).