Funny thing happened to me a month ago as I was walking the isles of Home Depot. I was overcome with a pain that could only be described as similar to someone driving a nail into my ankle! Waiting for the funny part? So was I! Despite inheriting my father’s ”play with the pain” and “suck it up” mentality I figured being in the fetal position in the hardware section of Home Depot for ten minutes was all the sucking up I could handle and I quickly set up an appointment to see a specialist. Funny thing happened to me at the specialist. After the overly enthusiastic doctor anxiously pulled me into the exam room, along with any and all interns within earshot, to look at the x-ray she disclosed a rare condition where the synovial sack of my ankle joint was filled with tumors! Still waiting for the funny part? So am I! After an hour and a half of waiting to see yet another specialist and fearing the worst – while also attempting to humor myself by recalling Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous line “It’s not a tumaaa” over and over again – it was explained to me that while they were indeed tumors they were most likely benign and removable. Funny thing happened after the surgery. The specialist removed 126 tumors that turned out to be a medical record eclipsing the previous measly record of 22! To my slight disappointment the specialist honestly disclosed that while this was quite a medical phenomenon, it would still take a close second to his Guinness Book of World Record for largest wrapped burrito. What’s a guy gotta do??? Now that’s almost funny in a Sienfeld irony kinda way. When I asked the specialist his opinion as to why I had eclipsed the record by such a large margin he theorized that most “normal” people wouldn’t have endured the pain for as long as I did – translation: there’s a reason the cavemen had a low life expectancy.
You knew this had to tie into trade shows somehow right? Moral of the story is I meet so many clients or potential clients that have or still do live with the pain of either their non-functional budget breaking exhibits, their excessive non-productive trade show schedule or a bad vendor for far too long because they get so used to it and they start to think it’s normal. Don’t be as stubborn as I was and wait until the pain is too much before consulting a trade show professional on solutions to ease that pain. Unless of course you have a prescription for codeine to mask the pain as I did! Disclaimer – watch out for the side effects when you stop taking it as I found myself emotionally distraught over the episode of friends where Ross had to say goodbye to his pet monkey! Now that’s funny! I can say that now because I’m over it.
Skyline Northern California
Skyline Displays Bay Area, Inc.
Often you hear trade show marketing managers saying “Oh it is a small venue. We do not have to go big.” However, if you did your market research of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning, it does not matter what other exhibitors are doing. Your exhibiting marketing goal should always be implementing your segmentation by optimizing your products/services for that segment and communicating that your brand have made the choice to distinguish itself. If you follow this mantra you automatically weed out at least 70% of your competition. As you see in the images below, Cloud Shield chose to do exactly so at Focus 11, Security Conference that is going on now. Notice, how most of the exhibitors are in an “inline space”. Cloud Shield stands tall way in the back towering above everyone.
The show is sponsored by McAfee: notice how McAfee on to your left is subdued by the monolithic structure of Cloud Shield. Good Move you would say and I would say: Follow Basic Marketing 101 Principles. You will never go wrong.
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
The scene with Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty in the rain on his knees challenging god to throw everything he’s got at him after a series of life challenging events took him to the brink came to mind this morning after a series of events had me wondering if I should offer the same challenge. I rolled my ankle, my truck wouldn’t start, my so called smart phone stopped receiving email, my iPod froze and wouldn’t turn off, the commute was worse than usual after my already late start, my shoelace broke and because of the previously mentioned mishaps I skipped my morning coffee.
Now I know in the grand scheme of things these are all pretty petty and insignificant things to complain about in comparison to the plight of others who aren’t as fortunate as I am but it’s only for the sake of this blog that I whine like a baby to prove a point. That point being, no matter how much you prepare yourself for your day, things inevitably crop up that challenge you on a daily basis. Some worse than others but they all challenge you to either avoid the problem or hit the problem head on. Life is dynamic and challenging as is exhibiting. No matter how detail orientated you are or how much due diligence you put into making sure your trade show experience is a smooth one there are inevitably challenges that are going to confront you. So it is in your best interest to prepare for those unforeseen challenges because ultimately the way you are going to be measured is not how you make excuses for what happened but how you rise up and circumnavigate those challenges. If any exhibit house is telling you there won’t be any problems they are not being honest with you. An exhibit house should be measured not only by their design or breadth of products but by their ability to respond to challenges and provide the most seamless trade show experience possible for you. Ask your exhibit house how they plan to deal with an issue that comes up at a show in Orlando Florida when their office is 3000 miles away. It’s a conversation worth having.
As for me, I made it to work, my ankle is elevated, my shoe is untied, I’m going to change my fuel filter in my truck at lunch after I get some coffee and writing this blog was both therapeutic for me and hopefully informative for you! Anybody know how to unfreeze an iPod?
Skyline Northern California
Skyline Displays Bay Area, Inc.
At the D9 technology conference in California, Flip founder Jonathan Kaplan unveiled his next venture–The Melt, a fast casual eatery that specializes in grilled cheeses and soups. According to the restaurant’s Twitter feed, “The Melt…combines innovative technology with simple, fresh quality meals, blending gourmet taste into everyday classics.” Plans are to open the first of four locations around San Francisco by July and have 500 locations nationwide by 2015.
The Melt debut was made possible by a Skyline display solution that went from design concept to delivery in two weeks. The concept was realized by combining modular hardware from our vast rental inventory, with custom-fit dye sub fabric graphics and lighting to deliver a productive, integrated display solution. The fabric graphics were especially effective in delivering the look of aged brick and wood paneling. To insure that the display would be set up and timed within a tight two-hour window before Kaplan’s introduction, a team of certified Skyline technicians was on hand to handle everything.
See a picture and an article here: http://bit.ly/mUnqN0
And see a video with Jonathan Kaplan being interviewed in the booth here: http://bit.ly/k2F8ke
Skyline Displays Bay Area Inc.
Skyline Displays 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.
The definition of branding has evolved quite rapidly over the past couple of years, mainly due to the advent of social media and the decline of the influence of traditional media. No longer are brands manufactured in board rooms and no longer are perceptions shaped primarily based on what corporations tell us to believe through advertising. Today a brand can be defined as your reputation built off of both your promise to your customers and the sum of all of their experiences with you. Lara McCulloch-Carter has been a branding consultant to some of the world’s most recognized packaged goods companies, and runs a consultancy called READY2SPARK that helps small businesses through branding, marketing & social media consulting. Here she talks about the importance brand proposition.
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.
If a picture tells a thousand words, then with 30 frames a second, a 1-minute YouTube video can tell 108,000 words! No wonder marketers have harnessed the power of video to entice people to visit their trade show booths.
Let’s look at 10 examples of good pre-show, at-show, and post-show promotions posted on YouTube. We’ll see what they include in their videos to drive more booth traffic, and finish with some suggestions on other ways you can drive more viewers to your trade show promotional videos.
Product demos are the most important element you can control in your exhibit to create more memorable exhibits.
Product demonstrations take full advantage of the face-to-face, interactive trade show environment. A good product demo can set you apart from other exhibitors who just sit there, even if they have a popular product and a well-known company. A good product
This is jump-up-and-down, shout-it-from-the-show-hall-rooftops news. This is where you can make your trade show marketing more powerful, more memorable, and more effective than your competitors.
So if you are not doing a demo in your booth, create one. And if you are, make it even better.
To help you, here are 7 elements that make a great trade show demonstration.