What has emerged in the past decade in the exhibit world is a paradigm shift from emphasis on custom builds to now a more modular/custom designs. This has been brought about by a couple major factors.
• Logistics of owning custom exhibits
The more traditional custom builds from the 90’s and the first half of the last decade were very heavy and burdensome from a logistical standpoint. This meant to the consumer a very hefty price tag after the sale of your exhibit. Custom houses strategies and business plans were built on this platform. They made smaller margins on the sale of an exhibit, but made large margins on the logistics of the exhibit. Storage, transportation, refurbishment, travel, and installation and dismantle were major profit centers for custom houses.
• Green initiative
Because of the heavy and cumbersome custom exhibits they just are not very green friendly. From the materials used in the exhibit to the transportation and logistical issues these type of exhibits just do not meet the requirements of a green build.
We have endured a very difficult decade. Small start up companies to major corporations have had to analyze all budgets within their organizations. And of course the marketing budget were slashed in many cases. Because of this a more light weight modular solution once not even considered has gained in popularity and has become a viable option for all ends of the business spectrum. Because the SMART companies understand that in down economic times the need to turn up the marketing message is critical! So by saving money on the back end of these exhibits your could stretch your marketing budget
Custom exhibits based off the number of shows have a shelf life of typically 3 years. You are then faced with a large refurbishment bill or a brand new build. The modular/custom exhibits products last for well over 10 years and beyond. And because the exhibits are modular by nature you can use these in many different configurations
• Reconfigured exhibit
Once again since these are “modular” exhibits your 30×30 island can also become a 20×20, 10×20, and 10 foot exhibit. And with the shows getting smaller and more targeted by nature you are not forced into a large exhibit space by the dimensions of your exhibit.
There is no question that the lighter weight modular solutions are here to stay and will continue to dominate in the future. The question to the consumer now is how do I take a pre-engineered system and stand out. The best comparison would be found from the housing industry. Custom builds allow you the full spectrum of options. Where pre-fabricated houses in a planned community may offer 4 different designs to choose from with various finishing options.
So the challenge in today’s exhibit designs is how to put those finishing options on those prefabricated pieces that this industry offers. So understanding your options under these new criteria becomes your biggest challenge.
The following are a few suggestions on how to look different in a prefabricated world of exhibit design.
• Look for exhibit houses that consistently upgrade and develop new prefabricated product lines. Skyline for example has released 3 major new product lines in the last year alone. By allowing you different modular product lines to choose from you can stand out architecturally by taking advantage of new systems. These products typically take 4-5 years to penetrate the marketplace so by getting them while they are new you can stand out. Click here to view the three new product lines that Skyline offers.
• Look at rental options. Great way to change your appearance year to year. And if you specifically ask to have your graphics designed to work for 2 or 3 different options you can keep your costs down in upcoming events.
• If you want to bring in a more sophisticate custom look you can design your work stations in the more traditional custom approach. There will be added weight but since 90% of your exhibit will still be modular this added cost may be acceptable.
• Bring more lighting options into your design. This can bring a visual element to give you that more custom look.
• Make your visual/audio presentations areas more creative. Many times this is an afterthought in design. Make it a requirement.
Most exhibit houses have accepted this paradigm shift and now call themselves “Custom/ Modular” exhibit houses. In reality a more apt description would be “Modular/Custom” exhibit house. It’s just does not sound as sexy. But bottom line the bulk of designs being done right not are 90% modular and 10% custom. Embrace that philosophy and make sure that you use all of the advantages of a lightweight “Modular/Custom” design in your next exhibit.
CEO, Skyline Northern California
In December 2010, a tax bill was approved for business capital tax deduction. If an asset is acquired and placed in service between September 9th and December 31, 2011, this asset can be fully expensed at the end of the year. This will create a tremendous cash flow advantage since the tax benefit can be recognized immediately instead of an installment each year over the lifetime of the asset. Please note that this only applies to new properties and there is no limit to the purchase amount.
In 2012, the bonus depreciation will be reduced to 50%.
For used assets, section 179 is still available. For 2011, the current law will allow a limit of $500,000 . This will be reduced to $25,000 in 2012.
Again, it’s important to remember that good must be delivered by 12/31/2011 in order to be qualified for the 2011 benefit.
Simply put, if you allow 2 weeks to complete a project, guess how long it will take? Everyone has deadlines and those of us in the trade show display world know this as well as anyone, but if we only allow work to take up only so many hours of our day and work relentlessly to maintain that schedule you will be amazed at how you are able to accomplish.
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Think back to the day before you went on vacation or the time you had that last-minute change that you somehow were able to accomplish before the deadline. Yes, it may have been a miracle but more than likely you were conforming to the constraints that were put upon you. These constraints, whether they are exterior (say, show deadlines) or interior, you are personally putting a deadline on a project, forcing you to be more productive. Read more on Time Management.
Events and Sports Marketing are an excellent way to market and promote your products and services and a fast way to get new customers or fans of your products and services. Have you ever thought about Sponsoring and/or Exhibiting at an Event or Sporting Event? Why not? Is it because it is not your traditional way of marketing and because it may seem so informal, but these two reasons are why you should consider Event and Sports Marketing as an effective form of lead generation and customer acquisition.
On July 17th I did the 23rd Annual Tri for Fun Series at Shadow Cliffs in Pleasanton, CA. If you are interested in other Triathlons, 5K or 10K races you can check out their event calendar at http://onyourmarkevents.com/events-new.asp
Call me crazy or just the love and passion for the Event and Tradeshow industry. As I was preparing for the race and during the race and after the race I kept thinking about the enormous marketing opportunities that are present at one of these Events. Here are a few things you should consider when Sponsoring and/or Exhibiting at Sporting Events.
Know the Demographic or the Race Participants:
Do not think every 5K or Half-Marathon is the same. The City that the race is in can tell you a lot about the demographics and race participants. If the race is a National or internationally accredited course this is a great indicator that people will be traveling to the Sporting Event from out of State or Country. For an excellent International Sporting Event check out http://www.bsim.org/site3.aspx
Who does the Sporting Event benefit?:
There are so many non-profit organizations out there and many have some type of Race or benefit they are affiliated with. If giving back and social responsibility is important to you and your organization then finding a Sporting Event that fits your interests and your company’s won’t be that difficult. Here are two events that benefit education http://www.happyfishrun4education.com/ and the fight against hungry http://www.stocktonfoodbank.org/
What type of Result do you want?:
Do you want to have Race Participants sign-up to win a new product or service? Do you want them to try out your product or service? Is it more informational and educational? As a Marketing, Sales or Owner of a company you need to consider these things to come up with the right result for your company.
Next time you are developing your marketing and sales plan consider the power of Sporting Events as a viable and productive way to get your message out. Remember we are all in a race to get results and we want them fast but to be effective!
For questions on event and sports marketing you can contact me directly at Skyline Exhibits .
Originally Written by: Mike Thimmesch Skyline Exhibits and Graphics
The trade show world is a large and complex ecosystem, so it took me far too many years to understand the many players involved in putting together a single show. Just when I though I’d figured it out, someone would peel the next layer of the onion and reveal another big player. Why should you wait? Here are the top 10:
1. Attendees Over 80 million attendees a year visit US trade shows, with tens of millions more in Europe, Asia and Latin America, too. Attendees come to trade shows to see and touch new products, network and build relationships with their industry peers, get training, keep up-to-date with changing industry trends, and evaluate multiple suppliers at one time. And perhaps to even have some fun, too.
2. Exhibitors There are anywhere from 300,000 to 1.7 million companies who exhibit at roughly 13,000 US trade shows. Exhibitors invest thousands of dollars to get access to trade show attendees so they can generate sales leads, deepen relationships, and build their brand. About half the shows host business-to-business exhibitors, with the rest split between business-to-consumer exhibitors and hybrid shows. On the B2B side, they spend almost 30% of business-to-business marketing dollars to reach those millions of attendees. Most exhibitors are manufacturers who exhibit to show the stuff they make. On average there are about 400 exhibitors at a trade show. About two-thirds take the minimal 10 x 10 space. Only about 20% of exhibitors get an island exhibit, although at major trade shows with highly competitive exhibitors that ratio can increase. Exhibitors spend anywhere from $5 to $50 a square foot, but usually about $20. Some exhibitors also spend a hefty sum on sponsorships, too.
3. Show Producers is an industry term for the show owner. About 40 years ago the vast majority of trade shows were produced by associations, which depended on their annual trade show to bring in most of their revenue. For-profit media companies figured out how much money they could make owning shows, and now they own almost half of them. While most associations have just one show, media companies often own multiple shows, and also own a magazine, website, e-newsletter, and database for the same industry as the show. Recently these media companies (some multi-billion dollar companies) have seen their biggest chunk of revenues shift to come from their trade shows instead of their magazines. Many exhibitors don’t know that their favorite show is actually owned by another company they’ve never heard of, and that it owns other shows. Some shows are produced as a partnership between an association and a for-profit media company. The best show producers are constantly trying to top their previous show and are evolving their events in response to the changes in their industry.
4. Show Contractors and Labor It can come as a surprise to find out that the show owner doesn’t actually have their own employees do all the work of setting up their trade show. The show producer hires a show contractor to perform and manage the labor. Freeman is the #1 show contractor, GES is #2, and then it’s a long way to 3rd place. The general contractor controls much of the show labor as the official contractor. There are also Exhibitor Appointed Contractors, who are labor providers that are not the official contractor picked by the show, who can also provide installation and dismantle and other show labor. In some show cities (Las Vegas) the show labor is unionized, and in others (Atlanta) are in a Right To Work State, which means show labor is not required to be unionized. The show contractor controls material handling, also known as drayage, also known as Pain #1 for trade show exhibitors.
5. Visitors and Convention Bureaus They work hard to woo show producers to pick their city for their exhibition, and then help the show producer plan a successful event with their deep understanding of locations and attractions in their city. Visitors and Convention Bureaus can be at the country, state, county, or city level. (You think it’s hard to brand a company? Try branding a country.) Their name is often abbreviated to VCB, and is also called Destination Marketing, and Tourism boards. The VCBs’ goal is to entice large groups of visitors who will spend wads of money in their towns, boosting the local economy and paying taxes on hotel rooms. They often struggle to explain to their local tax-paying citizens that their budget is not an expense, but an investment. The VCBs from Las Vegas, Chicago, and Orlando have the most to crow about: Half the largest shows in the country take place in just those 3 cities.
6. Convention Centers These are the enormous show halls with acres and acres of bare concrete that regularly blossom into thriving trade shows. These temples of temporary commerce are all over the country, built by communities to bring in outside convention and tourist money. The biggest convention centers in the USA are McCormick Place in Chicago, The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and The Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. In Europe and especially Germany, the city is the show producer, convention center owner, VCB, and even the general contractor all rolled up into one, which takes out the middlemen and reduces costs. There are 7 convention centers in Europe bigger than McCormick Place.
7. Hotels Almost all shows select an official hotel, with a room block set aside for attendees and exhibitors at a discount rate (although lately with internet search sites, attendees can get lower priced rooms than available from the official show room block). Lucky is the anchor hotel that is tied to a popular convention center. Hotels are trade show venues in their own right, with their own meeting spaces that host hundreds, if not thousands of smaller shows a year. An exceptional example is Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, a huge hotel with 3300 rooms, AND its own nearly million-square foot exhibit hall. Hotels are usually described as part of the Hospitality Industry.
8. Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations Agencies Not all ad agencies want to make TV ads for Frosted Flakes that run during the Super Bowl. There are many agencies more than happy to serve B2B companies. Some can become experts in their own right for an industry, even a specific show. As trade shows are such a major marketing expense for B2B exhibitors, getting their agencies involved is essential for truly integrated marketing. Exhibitors can ask for as little help as providing an image file for a banner stand, or become so involved as to help determine exhibiting strategy, pre- and at-show promotions, and exhibit design.
9. Suppliers: These are the vendors that provide all the other services exhibitors and attendees need. Exhibit houses like Skyline not only provide trade show displays, they also act as their outsource trade show marketing department, providing turnkey exhibit management, design and more. The best ones act as an agency for their clients. There are also suppliers for shipping, carpet, electric, lighting, furniture, audiovisual, airlines, cleaning, photography, promotional products, training, lead management, and more.
10. Speakers If Content is King on the Internet, then speakers are the kings (and queens) of content at trade shows. Good speakers pull in droves of attendees who want to increase their skills, learn the latest industry trends, and see (and touch) a celebrity in person they would never glimpse otherwise. Educational speakers are usually pulled from the ranks of successful (and brave) show attendees, exhibitors, and industry experts. Then there are the speakers who recently graced the front pages of the newspapers, and are happily transforming their celebrity into wealth, one speech at a time. Beyond them are those extroverts of extroverts, the professional speakers, who roam from convention to convention to provide motivation, humor, entertainment and sheer star power.
So now you know the 10 main players in the trade show ecosystem. I hope it helps you see things from a new perspective. Let me know your take on your own part of the trade show world in the comments box below. Or if you think I missed another layer of the onion, go ahead and peel it away — I promise not to cry.
About the Author: Mike is Skyline Exhibits’ Director of Lead Generation and Industry Relations, with over 20 years of Marketing and Trade Show Marketing experience.
Take a look at the sample videos below to see the excellent tips and advice you can use to improve you next trade show or marketing event. Always more than 60 seconds but never more than three minutes of fast, hard hitting video content focused on helping you shape your own trade show brilliance. To sign up to receive these great video tips click here and select your trade show consultants
• Improve floor effectiveness
• Make the most of your exhibiting dollars
• New videos every 10 days!
• Incredibly powerful resource that is available free of charge!
Trade Show Tuesday Video Samples
For more in-depth information about specific exhibiting topics, Trade Show Tuesday is what you need! These 45 minute webinars dig into the details that will improve you show floor effectiveness and will give you the tools to make the most of your exhibiting experience! Every Tuesday at your computer 11:15 Pacific Time
To sign up for the “Trade Show Tuesday” go to your trade how consultant’s home page and check the “opt-in box” below the registration fields. Click Here for your consultants home page.
The marketing giant Seth Godin in his book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Becoming Remarkable, stresses the urgency of making an impression.
When Godin traveled through the French countryside, he loved the sight of the first brown cow. But after seeing similar brown cows again and again, they became boring. So what would stand out? A purple cow! The rest of his book examines how striving to be a purple cow, as opposed to the everyday, brown cow, leads to success.
Here are a few of Godin’s thoughts; think how they apply to your exhibiting strategy:
Differentiate your customers. Find the group that’s most profitable. Find the group that’s most likely to influence other customers. Figure out how to develop for, advertise to, or reward either group. Ignore the rest. Cater to the customers you would choose if you could choose your customers.
If you could pick one under served niche to target (and to dominate), what would it be? Why not launch a product to compete with your own that does nothing but appeal to that market?
Explore the limits. What if you’re the cheapest, the fastest, the slowest, the hottest, the coldest, the easiest, the most efficient, the loudest, the most hated, the copycat, the outsider, the hardest, the oldest, the newest, or just the most! If there’s a limit, you should (must) test it.
Be remarkable! Evolve into a “purple cow”.
Give us a call and we can discuss further about the purple cow concept.
In Case You Have to Cut, What to Cut First
If your boss, or your boss’s boss, demands that you cut your budget by 5% or 10% or even more, what would you cut first?
Here are some tips industry veterans shared that can give you a place to start – and where not to cut first
- If you have measured your trade show program’s performance and can prove its success, be vocal about advocating for your program – do not just take proposed blind cuts lying down. “Measurement is your friend” as those who measure are twice as likely to keep their budgets. Your corporate executives may want to reduce costs, but they will also recognize the value of bringing in revenue at a good ROI.
- Do not panic, keep your head and you will survive this downturn – and yes, there is a downturn now and it will continue, but we do not know for how long.
- Recognize that if there are fewer attendees at a show, the tire-kickers will be weeded out, so the higher-quality attendees will remain. Your booth staffers will have an easier time getting higher-qualified leads.
- Trim booth space at bigger shows – especially if there are fewer attendees expected.
- Eliminate under-performing shows – assuming you have been measuring already and know which shows bring the least return for the cost.
- Rent your exhibit properties to avoid large capital expenditures and add flexibility.
- Move more towards modular exhibits to lower shipping, drayage, storage and refurbishing costs, plus provide greater flexibility to adapt to changes.
- Do not cut booth staffers unless you really expect to have too many in your booth. For example, if you have a show that costs you $50,000 to exhibit at, and you trim 2 of your 8 staffers to save $2,000, you will cut your costs by only 4%, ($2,000 divided by $50,000) but potentially trim your leads by 25% (2 divided by 8). That decreases your ROI with minimal savings.
- Similarly, do not automatically cut your pre-show and at-show promotions budgets unless you have been measuring and know they do not bring much impact compared to their cost. For example, if promotions have been only 10% of your budgets but bring in an additional 30% of your qualified leads, then trimming your promotions will actually reduce your ROI.
- Write a brief of your measurement objectives before your show – and share it with your exhibit house. You will be on the same page before starting design – and be more likely to get an exhibit that helps deliver the results you need.
- Extend your exhibit’s reach before and after the show by setting up an event and exhibit-specific micro-website that previews what attendees will see, allows them to set up appointments before the show, and stays up after the show is over.
Check Your Bag – NOT Your Portable Exhibit
Most airlines are now charging for checked baggage – or at least a second checked bag. Although I find this new revenue stream incredibly annoying when I travel, as an exhibit consultant for Skyline I have found ONE benefit from this policy that will help even the veteran trade show business traveler avoid a frequent and costly mistake.
We know you’re busy and we know that many new electronic technologies keep you constantly engaged to your job responsibilities or to your client’s needs. But not using a trusted freight carrier to transport your new portable trade show exhibit property and instead checking it as baggage on your flight is not effective multi-tasking. It is tradeshow suicide! Come on! Have you ever watched these guys “load” the cargo hold? If they’re not literally throwing the bags up the ramp, they’re (for some reason) forcibly pushing it onto the ramp. The term “handle with care” has no meaning here. Now imagine your new banner stand display kit with lights or portable pop up exhibits with lights being “handled with care” underneath you. This, of course, as you sit ready to depart to your trade show destination, twittering your customers about the product launch to be debuted at the show. Portable doesn’t mean indestructible! So before you become the next casualty of a fare war, please plan ahead. Ship your exhibit property to the advanced warehouse, direct to show, or to your hotel and have a great show!
Skyline Exhibits and Graphics
If you would like to see how Skybay Exhibits can create an exhibit that exceeds your expectations and saves your business valuable marketing dollars, contact us today and we will immediately respond to your specific requests. Skybay has the exhibitor solution you require.
It is easy to accidentally obscure you companies identity and messaging when designing your trade show displays graphics. This happens more often on portable displays and bannerstands (such as the Skyline Mirage and 3000-R) due to their configurations. One important things to remember when designing your graphics, is that all critical content should be at least 36″ off the floor. Podiums, tables and literature stands typically stand around the 40″ mark so keeping your critical content and product images above this mark is ideal! The higher your company logo is on your tradeshow exhibit the better, as it will be seen from a greater distance even when there is heavy traffic in the isles.
Let Skybay’s experienced designers give your team useful suggestions and advise for creating the best balanced graphics for your exhibit space. If your team is short on designers, let our creative team develop and design the perfect solution for your exhibiting needs! Learn more at our creative services section on our website or contact us today!