We hope you had a chance to read our previous exhibitor tipson what to do for a successful trade show or event. Today we’d like to talk about things you should NOT do at a trade show or event that you are exhibiting at.
What NOT to do at Trade Shows…
1. Do NOT ignore your customers You don’t want to do ANYTHING that makes it appear like you may be ignoring your customers. Talking in a small closed off circle with your fellow employees or taking long phone calls makes other trade show attendees think:
You have too many staffers assigned to your booth.
Traffic isn’t coming to your booth because you don’t have anything good to offer.
You’d rather chat with people in the booth or on your phone than with them.
The reason you’re at the event is to build relationships with potential customers – Not to spend all your time on the phone or socialize with the coworkers that you see every day!
2. Do NOT arrive late – or leave the show early Your company spends a lot of money for you to exhibit at a trade show and you want to get the most out of it that you can. Set-up time before the start of the show is the perfect time to not only make sure that your booth is set correctly, but also allows you to walk the show floor, see what your competitors are doing, and talk to other people who are there early, who may be interested in your product or brand.
Staying after the event ends has similar advantages. You can talk to others who stayed late, without as many distractions. Talk to other exhibitors about how they think the show went. You can also teach them about your company and even bring up the idea of your two companies working together!
3. Do NOT bring your entire team You don’t need more than a few people to exhibit at your booth. And for smaller shows, you may need only one or two. Only send Sr. Management or Product Experts who can talk about your message or display. Also make sure that the people you choose to exhibit are friendly and can easily engage with others. Train your booth staff about what your message is, what goals you want to achieve, and what each person’s role is.
…What not to do at AFTER the show?
Do NOT forget to follow up: The worst thing you can do is to acquire leads and never follow up with them! Contact the people you spoke to in order to continue to build your relationship with them.
Do NOT forget measure your ROI: Your Return on Investment is important for deciding if you should go back to the show again. If you don’t measure ROI, you won’t know what works. And if you don’t know that, you’re risking failure at the next event you attend. In this previous blog post, we discuss how to measure ROI effectively.
Hi, we are John and Chris from Expand. We just returned from a trade show with great client feedback.
Today we want to talk about the versatile Expand MediaFabric. This pop-up wall is easy to set up and the perfect cost-effective solution. Do you have an upcoming trade show or a small activity? The Expand MediaFabric the solution for you!
The Expand MediaFabric can be set up in just one minute: perfect for short events, trade shows and everything in between.
Your image is printed on a high-quality dye-sub fabric and easily attaches to the frame with Velcro®. Your wall can be easily re-branded by just switching out the graphic for each event – easy and cost-effective!
With January now upon us, you are probably building your plan for 2018 and deciding how to spend this year’s trade show and marketing budget. When deciding which events to attend, it’s important to know whether the value of trade shows still exists…
Trade Show attendance is declining. So does the Value of Trade Shows still exist? The short answer is: Yes! While it’s true that trade show attendance is declining due to increased costs and because of readily available information on the internet, recent reports show that trade shows are still the best marketing tool for B-to-B companies.
How are trade shows still valuable regardless of newer marketing channels? Of course there are newer marketing channels such as social media, online meetings, etc. but there are still a few things that make trade shows extremely valuable:
1. Face-to-Face interaction With so many marketing channels available today, an area that many companies forget when interacting with current or potential clients is Relationship Building. Trade shows are a great forum for building relationships because they enable you to provide open two-way communication. In an age full of constant emails clouding off people’s inboxes, many people find this face-to-face interaction refreshing, which helps you stand out against the competition!
2. You can reach a more targeted audience. The decline of trade shows equates to fewer attendees, but provides the opportunity to reach a more targeted audience. Quantity alone won’t drive sales. The place can be packed with people, yet if they have absolutely no need for your business, chances are you’re missing out on opportunities to focus on real prospects.
Think about it: Why spend all your time trying to engage as many people as possible instead of a smaller group of people who are genuinely interested in what is being presented? Narrowing your focus to a more niche audience of attendees will make them more likely to be receptive of your message.
3. Trade shows help people discover your brand. The internet is a very powerful resource that can help you find whatever you’re looking for. But what if your potential customers don’t KNOW what they are looking for?
Trade shows provide a forum where people who never knew that your company existed can discover the awesome products and service that you offer. And vice versa, it also allows YOU as the exhibitor to discover potential customers that you didn’t know were interested in your products and services.
So, how do you make sure you get value out of the trade shows you attend?
It takes a lot of planning to exhibit at a trade show, so make sure to take the following tips to make sure you receive ROI from your event:
1. Choose the right type of trade show In order to acquire leads and opportunities from an event, you need to make sure that you are selective in which shows you choose to exhibit at. You want to exhibit at a show with the right environment for your industry. Research the history of the show and see which vendors they’ve had over the past few years. If companies in the same industry as you are attending, it’s probably the right type of show for your company!
2. Understand the Audience Also make sure that you understand the audience. Approximately 50% of trade show attendees come from a 200-mile radius of the show location. Ask the exhibition production company to provide statistics and look into what percentage of attendees in the area fit your customer profile. This will help you make an informed decision on whether or not this show is worth your time and efforts.
3. Choose the right message Choose your main message for the target audience based on what you want to achieve and who you want to reach. Use specific messaging and make sure people know why they should stop by your booth. Are you showcasing new products? Will they learn something to help their business? By explaining what’s in it for them, you’re more likely to draw in the right crowd. Click here to learn how to get your booth to stand out >>
…What happens next? The worst thing you can do is to acquire leads and not follow up! Contact the people you spoke to in order to continue to build your relationship with them. Call, email, and remind them of how your business can help them. It’s also a good idea to send them a hand-written note.
Happy Holidays! We’re Naveen and Paul from Expand. The end of the year always gets us thinking about what worked throughout the past year for our clients!
We teamed up to discuss the best things we did for our resellers in 2017 – and tips for how you can help your clients do the same things in the upcoming year!
Read below for our three tips to help your clients in 2018…
1. Product Specials One of the best ways to help your customers is to offer them great product or service specials. At Expand, we offer quarterly specials and this year my favorites were the Expand MediaFabric – one of the most durable pop-up displays with a dye-sub graphic, and the Expand M2 Silver– a pull-up banner with a removable cartridge. The same quality products at a great new price, and the response was overwhelming!
These specials opened the door to work with customers that I’ve never worked with in the past. Keep an eye out for the Quarterly Specials documents that we send you, which you can promote and share with your customers!
2.Great Customer Service Another way to help your clients is by focusing on providing your customers with great service. This year, we rolled out a program called ACE (Awesome Customer Experience) and these are some of the things we focused on:
Regular training for account managers
Continued review and internal process improvements
Clear and concise communication both with external and internal customers
3. Product Support When offering new products, make sure you offer product support. Customers have all different backgrounds and experiences with displays and will always have questions and concerns. When we launched our Expand GrandFabric System – the most innovative pillowcase graphic system, here’s what we provided our customers with:
Quotes, renderings, and templates within a few hours of their request
Availability to demo units for showing and even lending their clients
Access to our in-house designer to consults on design, functionality, and stability of their booth and/or display.
Now we’d like to talk about the biggest business change for Expand in 2017: The Expand GrandFabric has been our biggest game changer. While the industry is trending towards fabric, many have struggled with a portable fabric display that is wrinkle free (unlike the standard hop-ups) and easy to set up (unlike the SEG solutions).
With this innovation, we’ve created a powerful high-grade solution that is the best of both: the portability of a pop-up & the high-end finishing of an SEG solution!
So, what does this mean for resellers?
If you’ve been using Expand for banner stands thus far, it is worthwhile exploring the Expand GrandFabric solution for your clients. Most, if not all clients simply love the plush finishing, the ease of set up and the portability. Please bear in mind that we have designed different sized booths from 8’x10′ to 30’x30′ with the modular capabilities of this solution with some really cool designs.
So next time you’re pitching displays to your client, don’t forget that the latest trend is fabric and that the best solution out there is the Expand GrandFabric!
Exhibiting at an international trade show can be much different than exhibiting in your own country. It’s important to let go of your usual trade show expectations, be flexible, and allow yourself enough time to get everything shipped and through customs.
Exhibiting abroad involves more time, extra planning, and higher travel costs.
Read our helpful tips for attending a trade show abroad…
1. Create a timeline Remember, when you exhibit abroad, you need to make sure you provide enough time to have everything shipped overseas, which will take longer than shipping something within the U.S. You will also need to remember to allow yourself enough time to obtain a passport and travel visa if you don’t already have one, plan how long your flight will take, and plan how long it will take to fill out any international paperwork.
And don’t forget about the time difference!!!
2. Make exhibit arrangements with ATA Carnets An ATA Carnet is an international customs and temporary export-import document that is used to clear customs without paying customs duties and import taxes. Most merchandise that is being shipped overseas for a trade show can be listed on a Carnet and carnets are accepts in 87 countries and territories. By listing the merchandise that will return to the U.S. on an ATA Carnet, you can greatly reduce the costs associated with exhibiting at a trade show and also eliminate the need to post a bond or cash with foreign customs, which may take 6-24 months to be returned.
Or as an alternative, you can also find a local supplier or trade show house. Many international exhibit builders produce stands that will be used at nearby venues, and this could save you money on shipping things overseas. Make sure to research local trade show houses in the country where you’ll be exhibiting and compare pricing.
3. Understand all other costs associated with exhibiting overseas There are also other hidden costs that associated with exhibiting abroad. In order to avoid over-paying:
Contact the Intermediaries: Find out from the trade show organizer, shipping company or freight forwarder how foreign import duties and taxes are handled for each overseas event.
Determine the Correct Temporary Import Method for the Event: Review the itinerary, travel, and shipping requirements to determine the best temporary import option for each event.
Make Preparations: Contact the event freight forwarder and/or an ATA Carnet Specialist to finalize the temporary import documentation at least 2 weeks in advance of shipping a trade show exhibit and other equipment out of the U.S.
Make sure to check out these costs before-hand to avoid a huge cost added on to the cost of your event!!!
We hope you found this post helpful. Feel free to contact Expand to see how we can help you with your international tradeshow needs.
Hi, we’re Jeff and Bill from Expand! Many of our clients want a high-quality solution, but don’t have a huge budget. Well, what if we told you we can offer you a modular look for a portable price?
Read our tips below to find out how…
How to offer a Modular Look at a Portable Price When considering a modular look, always keep in mind price, ease-of-setup and shipping when comparing to an SEG display. The rectangular shape of the Expand GrandFabric frames gives you the crisp, clean edges and wrinkle-free look of SEG at a portable price!
The 10’x8’ Expand GrandFabric tension fabric system can stand alone and accommodate a monitor with a weight of up to 44 lb. The labor is minimal, it requires no tools to set up, and it even fits into the Expand PodiumCase for easy shipping and transport!
Because of their shape, the straight frames are also cost-effective, in that you can print a double-sided graphic and use the same frame in multiple configurations. Here we’ve taken the same frame, flipped it around and added a return wall with shelves and a table:
Additional accessories, such as brochure holders or even a roof can be added at any time!
Creative, adaptable, changeable, and extremely functional—the Expand GrandFabric can do it all at a fraction of SEG Modular price! (And drayage/labor costs are eliminated.) Here’s just one idea of something that will fit into a larger space, yet is still cost-effective and easy to set up:
We would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving remind you that our U.S. offices will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th in observance of the holiday.
For existing orders, UPS will deliver on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but they will not ship on Thanksgiving Day. View UPS Schedule.
Read below for a Thanksgiving note from our National Sales Manager…
A Thanksgiving note…
Hi, I’m David Nanamaker, the National Sales Manager at Expand. I grew up in a small Connecticut town called Branford. It’s a tight-knit community of about 30,000. This past weekend they had a fundraiser for a guy who just had his leg amputated due to an issue with diabetes.
This person dedicated countless volunteer hours coaching, teaching, and developing young children to become outstanding citizens. He’s the kind of person who when you see him, you admire him for what he gives back. I’m always blown away by how towns come together to support a person or family in times of need!!!
So my message for today is simple: When you sit down on Thursday for Thanksgiving, take an extra minute and look around at your family, friends, and loves ones. That is truly what we are all thankful for: happiness, good health, and strong bonds.
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Hi, we’re John and John! We’ve both been in the trade show industry for a long time and have experienced just about everything that can go wrong with booth production.
That’s why we teamed up to write this post about how to avoid pitfalls with the production of your booth and have it arrive on time…
Tips for Avoiding Pitfalls with the Production of your Booth
1. Time Management The most important tip is time management. About 90% of all pitfalls we see are a result of not allowing enough time for event elements. Sure, you can do a few retractable units a week in advance, but that 10’ x 20’ is going to take a little bit longer!
Also, remember that production time is different than shipping time. Be sure to plan enough time for production AND the delivery of your display. If production requires 5 days, it may take an additional 3 days to ship. Don’t get stuck with overnight shipping costs; they can be expensive and destroy your budget!
2. Know your Exhibit Space Make sure you know the size of your exhibit space. The exhibit venue will have specific rules; provide those rules to your production company. We have seen too many companies design a booth that won’t fit into their assigned space and add features such as lights and monitors for which there are no outlets available! This can cause major headaches when it comes time to set up. Your booth staff may need to eliminate certain items and rearrange the graphics.
At Expand, we have a solution: The Expand DisplayBuilder. Ask your sales rep for a 3-D rendering of how your display will fit into your assigned space. This is your “road map”. It will help you position your items on the floor and help you communicate with the event venue for needed outlets, furnishings, etc.
3. Provide the Correct Artwork Ask your production company for the appropriate graphic templates before submitting your artwork for print! Similarly, make sure that you know the what type of artwork specifics your printer needs to do the job. Not only do templates simplify the layout process, but they also speed the pre-flight and proofing process up dramatically. At Expand, we have templates readily available for all of our products right on our website along with artwork guidelines specifying what we like to see in a submitted art file.
4. Do a Dry Run Allow yourselves extra time to set up your booth prior to shipping it to your event. This might require an extra week, but this step is highly recommended so that your staff can become familiar with the hardware and graphics ordered. They can take their time setting each piece up and taking them down without the stress of watching the clock on the day the show begins.
5. Don’t go cheap! We get this one a lot. A trade show or other event is a considerable investment. Booth space, hotels, travel, etc., equal big bucks. That and your branding is front and center. We’re always mind-boggled when the most visible portion of all of those expenses becomes the one item where costs must be minimized.
If your displays look cheap, your company looks cheap!!!
And if your display is broken on the show floor, well… Don’t make this mistake!
Expand was a proud sponsor of this year’s Global Citizen Festival, which took place on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Central Park.
We were happy join Global Citizen again in the movement to fight inequality, protect our planet, and end extreme poverty by the year 2030. This movement combines actions and voices of millions of citizens, non-profits, and world leaders.
As a global company, we were happy to donate our professional-grade, HD dye-sub printed backwall, the Expand GrandFabric, to help promote the event.
This year’s festival attracted a crowd of over 60,000 people, including many celebrities and global activists. Attendees included actor Kal Penn, Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Ambassador for Peace and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and television personality from the ABC reality television series, Shark Tank.
The event featured music from Stevie Wonder, Green Day and The Lumineers. Other performers included The Killers, The Chainsmokers, Pharrell Williams and Andra Day.
Watch live performances from the event:
Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s minority leader from New York, spoke about his commitment to protect funding for foreign assistance and Dr. Jane Goodall spoke about her action to save the planet and what is happening to it due to climate change.
View a live-stream from the event:
We enjoyed being part of such a noble cause and can’t wait to see what Global Citizen has in store for next year!
It’s great when a client gives you a lot of time to prepare an order, but we’ve all been in situations where rush orders come in and you need to get something out very quickly.
Expand Experts Joe Dunn and Chris Bonney, Expand Account Executives from our Stratford, CT location understand the process of getting orders out on time.
Below, Joe and Chris share tips on how to provide a faster response time…
Providing a Fast Response Time for your Clients – Joe Dunn
Hi, I’m Joe! At Expand, we strive to get our resellers the information that they need to provide their clients in a fast, effective way. A great way to do this is with pre-made email templates. Often times clients don’t know exactly what display they need and providing them with options makes the process a lot smoother. An email with pictures, pricing, product information and production times gives your clients all the information they need without the unnecessary back-and-forth.
A common request I receive from resellers is, “My client needs a 33” x 78” roll up banner. What are the prices?”. Instead of going back and forth between myself and the reseller, and then the reseller and their client, providing a template like the one below shows the client a “Good, Better, Best” selection that they can choose from:
Now the client has all the information they need without having to send a million emails trying to figure out the one product that best suits their needs!
Click here to read my previous post about helping customers visualize before they buy.
Providing a Fast Response Time for your Clients – Chris Bonney
Hi, I’m Christopher Bonney – Chris for short! As Joe explained above, it’s important to get information to your resellers in a timely manner, so that they can also get it to their clients in time. One of the ways Expand makes sure that happens is by having strong communication between our different departments. (Click here to read my previous post about how we have many different departments that work together to ensure that your project gets out on time.)
Just recently, we had a situation where an order from one of my clients came in on a Friday and the due date was that following Monday. Knowing that we needed to get it done quickly, our graphics and production team got right on it! The artwork was proofed within 30 minutes, and after the client approved the artwork proof our California warehouse printed and shipped it to make sure it got to their location on time. The banners made it to the show in time and looked amazing!
Integrating technology is one of the easiest and most effective ways to enhance your booth setup. Technology can be used to engage booth visitors and help you stand out against the competition at an event.
Read our 5 tips for incorporating technology into your booth…
1. Create a Technology “Wow” Factor People at trade shows are very busy and may easily pass over your booth. You want to create a booth that stands out at the event. Technology can be used to grab the attention of passer-by’s and make them want to stop and visit your booth.
For example, using digital displays or moving images on video monitors is a great way to showcase your products and get people to stop and watch. This is also a great way to consistently update your message without having to keep printing new graphics. Click here to viewthe ExpandMonitorStand XL.
Lighting is another way to get your booth to booth stand out. A well-lit display is likely to grab attention in a dark venue. LED lighting can be strategically used to highlight products, make a statement, or set the mood for the booth. Click here to view Expand’s backlit displays.
2. Create an Interactive Booth Experience Most people who exhibit at an event have a traditional booth setup. You can stand out and draw more people to your booth by creating a fun, interactive “event experience.” An interactive experience makes your brand more memorable and allows you to interact directly with your consumers. Some examples of how to create this kind of experience include virtual reality goggles, food or beverage tastings, and touch screen displays.
Incorporating touch screen monitors, tablets, or iPads allows you to be much more interactive with show attendees. You can upload all your literature, case studies, etc. and have everything right at your fingertips when talking to potential prospects.
3. Provide a Charging Station
These days, everyone carries their cellphone with them and many people at trade shows also bring a laptop, kindle, etc. Surprisingly, many trade shows don’t have charging stations widely available. A charging station will bring people to your booth because it offers a convenient location to charge their devices, without having to worry about them getting stolen. And while they are waiting for their phone or tablet to charge, it’s a great time to strike up a conversation about the products or services you can offer them!
4. Provide Digital Product Information People receive a lot of brochures, catalogs and one-page handouts when attending a trade show or event. These often end up in a pile and eventually get thrown away. Why spend money on having your company catalogs shipped or drive yourself crazy making room for them in your luggage, if people aren’t even going to keep them? Instead, provide a QR code that visitors can scan to access your website or have a thumb drive with all of your company catalogs and brochures on it as a booth giveaway. (The iOS 11 that Apple just released has a QR scanner built right into the camera app!)
5. Be social A social media post mentioning your booth number or location makes attendees more likely to take time to visit your booth. If you’re exhibiting at a big show or an event that only lasts a few hours, not everyone will have time to see every booth, so you want to make sure that they see coming by your booth as a priority!
Tag the event location and/or company that is hosting the event and use hashtags (including the show hashtag if there is one) to reach a larger audience and draw more visitors. Below is a Tweet that Expand posted during a trade show we exhibited at in May:
After the event…
A few days after the show, send an email or mobile push notification thanking people for coming by your booth. Direct them to more information.
Send them a brochure. Although most attendees receive too many print materials at the event, they’re more likely to have time to look at them after the event.
Follow up with your leads via email or phone and ask them if they would like additional materials.
With the value of teams and leagues being at all-time highs, sports marketing has become more popular over the years – and Expand has been involved as well! We’ve worked with numerous agencies promoting sporting events through athletes, events and teams, including NASCAR, the NBA Draft and the World Series.
Wherever there is a sporting event, our types of displays are needed. Expand Experts Brad Gende, Account Executive from Chicago, who is a huge Cubs fan and Luke del Campo, Account Executive for New England and New York, who is a huge Boston Red Sox fan (Hey, nobody’s perfect!) know that understanding what questions to ask before offering our services is crucial!
Below, Brad and Luke share some advice that we hope you find helpful…
Helping Your Client Promote Sporting Events – Brad Gende
The first step in helping your client is to find out exactly what kind of event they are promoting and where it will be. For example, many events that revolve around football take place in the parking lot where everyone gathers before a game, which makes it an ideal area to set up a promotion. The foot traffic and need for something high above the crowd makes the Flag Stand XL the perfect choice for parking lot and tailgating events! This extra tall giant of a flag is 47 inches wide and has a telescopic pole, which allows you to vary the height up to 18 feet (181 inches) high.
Another product that is great for sporting events is the Expand PodiumCase. The reason for that is because it can be used inside or outside, takes less than 5 minutes to set up and can be used to present trophies or give speeches. It’s also versatile in the sense that there are two versions: open or closed. The open style is popular for giving speeches or presenting an award, while the closed would be used to display trophies.
Helping Your Client Promote Sporting Events – Luke del Campo
As Brad mentioned above, it’s important to ask exactly what kind of sports event the display will be used for. The first thing I do is ask my client essential questions such as when, where, and how this product will be used.
For example, one my clients needed an outdoor display for a promotional event sponsored by Ford at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. I knew that sandbagging one of our indoor solutions outdoors would not suffice for this kind of promotion: It had to be the Expand GrandFabric Outdoor. With confidence, I committed to my solution and shared images, set-up videos, templates, etc. The client loved it!
Having only sold a couple of these units as a team, it was pretty inspiring to see this system in action! Naturally, I also wanted to find out what other signage elements they needed. When a promotional desk with iPads was mentioned, I suggested using one of our podiums. It turns out the Expand PodiumCase XL was a perfect fit and an add on to an already lucrative project!
Afterwards, I always make sure to follow up. Always find out how it went and see if you can share pictures from the event. Sometimes you are only allowed to share them internally – Make sure to communicate that with your client!
Remember, not all sporting events are the same and not every client will want the same thing. Feel free to reach out to us if you need guidance regarding which display will work best for your client’s specific needs. Expand is here to help you!
Are you finding selling display products to be hard work? If your prospects don’t seem interested in what you’re selling, then it’s time to change your attitude! Put a smile on your face and figure out how to go in a new direction to make them excited.
Customers are more likely to respond if you provide interactive training that they can participate in. Expand Account Executives Don Johnson and Andre Sao get clients excited about what they’re selling by making product training fun and interactive!
Below Don and Andre share some ideas that we hope you will find useful as you plan your next sales meeting…
How I Make Product Training Fun & Interactive – Don Johnson
It all started when the president of my company said “Don, you don’t entertain enough”. I explained that I was trying to cram two face-to-face meetings during the morning and another two or three in the afternoon. There just wasn’t time to take someone out at lunch.
That’s when he said:
“How about bringing lunch to them?” It was an “Aha Moment” for me. The impetus for my first “Lunch and Learn”. If I tell someone I’m bringing lunch, I get anywhere from six people to sixteen. I even got thirty people for a “hot dog party” once!
So food draws them in. Then what? First, do some homework to see what kind of projects they’re working on. You need to think which of your products, especially new ones, might give them a solution. Sometimes, they just won’t tell you so…
I send an email asking attendees to bring their business cards so we can have drawings for prizes. Ask them to write a few notes on the back of their card about their project. Now you can explore which of your products might best work for them!
As I go through my presentation, I can focus on actual products that solve these needs we just talked about. When it’s time to set up demos, I like forming teams and giving my audience some “hands on” experience setting up displays. I have found that they really get into it and ask good questions.
How I Make Product Training Fun & Interactive – Andre Sao
Training all too often brings to mind a stream of completely forgettable facts. We’re in an industry of turning ideas into a reality, and with such a variety of products available, it’s essential to host training sessions.
Here are my tips for making these sessions more fun and interactive:
Do your research and know your audience: The best way to engage your audience is making sure the subject matter is relevant. Training is successful when everyone in the room walks away with knowledge that they didn’t have before.
Some easy ways to research your audience are by viewing LinkedIn profiles to understand some of their professional interests (posts, likes, and shares) and by searching job listings for that company to get an idea of the company culture. Or you can ask qualifying questions before starting. Just be prepared to pivot in any direction!
Training should be a discussion, not a speech: We’ve all had the dry classroom lectures, but can you remember what your favorite teacher did differently? Often a bit of humor and context, but definitely no death by PowerPoint! While PowerPoint slides can be a wonderful communication aid, I find that showing products leaves a deeper impression. I like to bring products that people can touch and pass around the room, or get up to inspect or assemble themselves.
Do you have trouble getting your attendees up and out of their seats? Then move the seats to the corners of the room and encourage everyone to gather around. Groups of people standing tend to form circles, which encourages conversation, and moves us further away from the classroom style presentations.
And Now our most important point of all:
Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up! You may think training is over when the session ends, but the session should be only the beginning! You have their name. You know what accounts many of them are working on. Now you need to reach out to keep your name in front of them.
Remember the questions your attendees asked during the presentation. If it’s important enough for them to mention, it’s probably something you should write down and follow up on. Send an email with a summary and answer any unanswered questions. Direct suggestions to their specific project, prepare quotes and share projects you’ve done for others within their company.
Hopefully they will become an ongoing client. And all because you had fun entertaining!
At Expand, we feel very strongly about our commitment to the environment. We have an Environmental Policy, in which we strive to minimize the use of non-recyclable resources and we have recently developed a recycling partnership with Matthew 25: Ministries, a not-for-profit humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization.
Read on to learn more about Expand’s partnership with Matthew 25 Ministries…
Through our new partnership, we donate our extra scrap and returned fabric to Matthew 25: Ministries, and they donate it to help people in developing countries.
Matthew 25’s mission is to provide food, clean water, clothing, medical care and humanitarian supplies to those in need. The fabric and materials donated from Expand and other organizations is used to teach people in developing countries learn marketable skills, such as how to sew or sell fabric.
Matthew 25 accepts product and financial donations and has many volunteer opportunities for individuals and organizations. Click hereto find out ways that you can contribute.
Hi, my name is Chris Bonney and I’m an Account Executive at Expand.
I used to work in the Customer Service department and I recently transitioned to Sales. Through my experience working with all different departments at Expand, one thing that stands out is how each department offers 5 Star Quality Service.
Read my post for “Expand: Behind the Scenes”. To further explore where Expand can partner with you, please contact us. We’re here to help you close sales!
Expand Behind the Scenes: 5 Star Customer Service
Expand is here to make you look good. We have many different departments that work together to ensure that your project gets out on time.
5 Departments = 5 Stars:
1. Customer Service
Expand’s commitment is to provide an Awesome Customer Experience. Call the Customer Service Department with any quoting or product questions.
We have a full Customer Service team dedicated to answer all your questions and help you with all of your Expand needs.
You can reach any of our Customer Service Account Managers Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00a.m. and 8:00p.m. EST.
We can provide you with pricing right away on basic products or within one business day on more complex setups.
“People prefer when a person picks up the phone instead of automated system. Customers will never forget that human interaction and how you made them feel”.
-Erica, Customer Service Account Manager at Expand
Our design department creates actual renderings, using CAD software, to show what your display will look like. You can also create your own renderings for your customers using Expand’s DisplayBuilder rending tool:
Provides 3-D renderings of our displays that you can fit your client’s artwork and logos to – Lets them visualize what you’re offering.
Can move around the display on their computer and see it from all angles!
You can even add your logo to the top – instead of Expand’s
We hope you had a chance to read our previous posts about getting ready for a trade show or event. Planning prior to the event is important, but it’s also important to do certain things while you are at the event.
Read on for our 5 tips on what to do before you leave a trade show…
1. Get Leads and Take Notes It’s expensive to exhibit, so make sure it’s worth the money you put into your event by getting a lot of high-quality leads and jotting down all of their information. Depending on the size of event, you may end up talking with hundreds of people and it’s very unlikely that you’ll remember exactly what a certain person asked for. Ask everyone you meet for a business card and take notes on the back. That way, you’ll have all their contact information, with specific details on the other side.
Most shows also give you the option of renting a lead scanner, which allows you to scan an attendee’s badge. This is a very helpful tool and usually worth the investment. Some shows even have lead scanning apps that you can download right to your phone!
2. Schedule appointments It’s fine to receive business cards from your leads and call them after the show, but it’s also great if you can get them to schedule an appointment to meet with you while at the event! Try to set an actual date and time to follow up with your potential customers. That way they can put it in their calendar right away and you’ll know that they’ll be free when you call them at that specific date and time. People are very busy and it’s much easier to follow up with someone after an event if they’ve carved out a specific time to talk to you.
3. Have a Raffle or Giveaway at your Booth
Having a raffle or a giveaway will help draw people to your booth. With so many different things going on and so many different booths for people to visit, you have a very short time frame to catch the attendee’s attention. A raffle or booth giveaway is a great way to drive traffic to your booth, and once they come by you can engage them on what you do. It doesn’t have to be something big; Promotional items, pens, and candy are all great giveaways that will get people over to your booth.
4. Walk around the Show Floor and Talk to Everyone Another great way to engage people at an event is for YOU to go up to THEM. Walk up to someone and tell them what you do, hand them your business card and ask them to visit your booth for more information. You can also talk to other exhibitors and discuss how they think the show is going and how it compares to other shows. You can even try to think of a way that your two companies can work together (in a way that will benefit you both!)
5. Evaluate to see if you reached your goals: In our previous blog post with Five Tips for Exhibitors, we talked about setting clear goals for what you want to achieve at an event – i.e. building your brand, educating your booth visitors, reaching new customers, etc. Did you accomplish the goals that you set out to meet? Did you collect as many leads as you had hoped to?
It’s important to determine whether your goals were met in order to figure out if you should exhibit at the same event again next year. Figure out the amount that you spent on the show and then how many leads or sales you got afterward to figure out if the event was worth it. If you received a lot of revenue from the event, it’s probably worth it to exhibit again. If not, maybe your next year’s event budget should be used to attend a smaller, local trade show instead.
After the event…
Follow up with your leads. Most important of all: Get back to the leads you collected during the trade show and do it right away! You put a lot of effort into talking with people at an event, and you want to make sure that you follow up with them in a timely manner.
Follow up with a phone call to schedule a face-to-face appointment within one to two weeks after the show.
Check out our other posts for more helpful event tips:
Expand’s E2000 creates a pop-up wall that gives maximum attention to the message. It’s the perfect solution for those who need to create a wall or backdrop. We are pleased to share our latest customer success story involving the E2000:
Derse, a face-to-face marketing agency and one of Expand’s biggest resellers, has been partnering with us for over 10 years. The Milwaukee branch has been partnering with Expand since 2014 and uses about 25 curved 10″ E2000 units to cover 150 -175 events each year. We met up with Scott Steinipa, Project Manager at Derse’s Milwaukee location, to get more details…
Q: What do you and your clients like best about the E2000 and other Expand products?
A: “We love the durability of the products. I have been using Expand since 2014 for a large and very active portable program. We utilize the 10′ curved E2000 units and alternate about 25 units to cover 150 to 175 shows per year. These portables are durable and have stood the test of time to date. We also know that if anything gets broken, it can be replaced quickly.”
Q: What kind of events do most of your clients attend? What do they like best about using Expand products at their events?
A: “They attend a mix of different events that they use Expand’s portable products at: large trade shows, regional shows, internal events and open houses. Most of the feedback I’ve heard from them is that they love the quality of print, which really draws attention to their booth or display at an event. We update graphics for these portables frequently and Expand has never let us down; the graphics are of excellent print quality and fit. My clients have been very pleased with the overall look.”
Q: Any particular examples of where you think our Expand products have really stood out?
A: “I can’t think of a particular event, but we have gotten really good feedback on the E2000 and other portable and durable displays from Expand. I also think that Expand’s banner stands are very good value. They’re a quality product that is sold at a great price!”
Q: We’ve partnering with Derse for over 10 years. What do you like best about working with Expand?
A: “I think that there is a great partnership between Expand and Derse. I can’t say enough about Expand’s excellent customer service. Also, the quality of the products has really stood out.”
Read below to see what we learned in Chicago and Detroit:
Our Experience at the EM Training Camp: Part 3 – Chicago & Detroit
The final two U.S. locations of the Experiential Marketing Training Camp took place at Savage Smyth in Chicago on June 27th and the Dearborn Inn in Detroit on June 28th. At both locations, the training modules focused on the relevance of Experiential Marketing in today’s market.
We came away with the following 3 key take-away’s:
1.Experiential Marketing is becoming more relevant than print and digital
While certain marketing techniques are no longer as relevant as they used to be, Experiential Marketing has doubled in popularity among consumers. The presentations and modules at the event illustrated that many forms of print and digital marketing are no longer effective. Some statistics that we learned at the training camps are:
44% of direct mail is thrown away
70% of cars now have satellite radio, which limits marketing through radio advertisements
90% of today’s households have DVR’s, which means television commercials are also becoming irrelevant
With current spam and junk folders, email has only an average 3% open rate
“I think these statistics are very interesting and important when examining current marketing trends”, said Brad Gende, our Expand Account Executive for Metro Chicago, who represented Expand at the Savage Smyth location of the event. “While technology is great and very useful for marketing, in the end Experiential Marketing will always be relevant no matter what new technology pops up.”
2.Virtual Technology is a great way to engage your audience
“The biggest point I learned was how new technology is helping the Experiential Marketing Industry”, said Brad. “With Virtual Reality especially, people want to go to an event and put on the googles to have an experience.”
At the event, we learned that people are looking for an interactive experience. Using new event technology is a great way to engage your audience and virtual reality is a great way to stand out and create a unique experience. Engaging consumers in a unique experience makes it more likely that they will remember your brand and it also creates a customer connection by enabling them to interact and engage with your brand or product.
3.Another way to engage consumers is to appeal to the senses
As we mentioned in our post from the California locations of the training camp, a great way to stand out from your competition is to create an experience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to appeal to the senses. “Experiential involves a lot more than displays and graphics”, said Bill Hetzel, Expand Account Executive for the Midwest, who represented Expand at the Detroit location. “Marketers today must engage their target audience with all the senses and involve them with their brands.”
Creating an experience makes your brand more memorable and allows you interact directly with your consumers. The below image illustrates an effective experiential marketing strategy by well-known Marketing Researcher Bernd Schmitt, for creating memorable event experiences through five important strategic experiential modules: Sense, Feel, Think, Act, and Relate.
Creating strong sensory experiences, in conjunction with the other four modules, creates a strong emotional response in the consumer, as a result of unforgettable reactions with the brand.
Sense: Create sensory experiences through sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
Feel: Marketing appeals to customer’s inner feelings and emotions
Think: Targets consumers’ potential thinking through surprise, intrigue, and provocation.
Act: Create customer experiences related to the physical body, long-term behavior patterns and lifestyles.
Relate: Consumers can be influenced by reference groups when they are making decisions.
We hope you had a chance to read our most recent postabout Expand’s experience at the first two locations of the five-city Experiential Marketing Training Camp. We were a proud sponsor at all five U.S. locations.
Read below to see what we learned at the New York location:
Our Experience at the EM Training Camp: Part 2 – New York
The third segment of the Experiential Marketing Training Camp took place at Cadillac House in New York City. The educational training workshop focused on Experiential Marketing with an emphasis on Relationship Building.
We came away with the 2 key take-away’s from the event:
1.Face-to-Face Interaction separates you from the competition.
Experiential Marketing is a crucial part of Relationship Building and standing out against the competition.Creating an experience makes your brand more memorable and allows you interact directly with your consumers. This face-to-face interaction is what makes you stand out from the competition.
“Most brands are offering competitive prices, performance and service. However, it’s the relationship that consumers have both with the brand and with the people they buy from that separates themselves from the competition,” said Luke del Campo, our Expand Account Executive for New York and Greater New England, who represented Expand at the event.
“Relationship marketing leaves a significant impact on our brains by providing a positive experience,” said Luke. “As a result, the consumer becomes more emotionally invested in a brand, which consequently makes the brand feel more compelled to satisfy the consumer. Both sides are invested emotionally, which makes for a stronger relationship.”
2.Experiential Marketing creates a connection that cannot be achieved through print or digital marketing
Data from the seminars shows that direct mail and email are no longer as effective as they used to be, as 44% of print mail is thrown away and email marketing only has an average 3% open rate.
“Nowadays, everything is relationship selling”, said Alan Conley, our Expand Account Executive for the New England area, who also represented Expand at the event. “Emails are not as effective at engaging consumers and don’t give you the opportunity to interact with them personally. People want something that is more interactive and unique.”
The event was well attended by over 80 attendees and it was very educational to all who attended. “It was a fantastic experience”, said Alan. “I learned a lot at the seminars about how to sell to consumers by being more interactive”.
“The event hit close to home with our industry”, said Luke. “I think the most important take-away from the event was how important it is to create a strong relationship with your consumers. Human contact and connection cannot be DVR’d”.
The Expand team was pleased to exhibit at Event Marketer’s 2017 Experiential Marketing Training Camp over the past two weeks. We were a proud sponsor of the event, with seven members of the Expand team who attended the five U.S. locations and we’d like to share what we learned.
Read below for our take-away’s from the event:
Our Experience at the Experiential Marketing Training Camp: Part 1 – California
The first 2 segments of the Experiential Marketing Training Camp took place in northern and southern California. We’d like to thank everyone who came to the Grove in Los Angeles and to Oracle in San Francisco to visit the Expand team and learn top trends in experiential marketing!
It was a very successful training conference and networking event. We learned a lot during the training sessions and came away with the following key take-away’s:
1. It’s worth it for your brand or agency to attend smaller events
Attending a smaller event can be beneficial for your brand or agency because it gives you more time to network with your clients and get the word out about your brand. The Los Angeles and San Francisco events had about 40 attendees each. Although they were smaller events, they were very enlightening about the experiential marketing industry. “It was great for networking with the right people”, said Naveen Koneru, our Expand Account Executive for Northern California who represented Expand at the San Francisco location. “I was able to mingle with a niche audience of people in the event marketing industry.”
2. Experiential Marketing is a great way to appeal to the younger generation.
“The event was very educational”, said Jadyn Beyer, our Expand Account Executive for Southern California, who represented Expand at the Los Angeles location. “We learned that young consumers are not into brands anymore. Instead, they are much more interested in receiving a great experience.”
“For example, giveaways don’t get people to interact as much. However, I once attended an event where there was a Coffee Bar, which was much more interactive and allowed the attendees to enjoy an experience, as opposed to just receiving free merchandise from a booth and then walking away.”
We also learned that it’s important to integrate social media. Young consumers like to share everything nowadays. Social media is their outlet, and becomes the way that they share their experiences.
3. A great way to stand out at an event is to create an experience
We also learned how to market to your target audience. Most people who exhibit at an event have a traditional booth setup. If you want to stand out, you need to create an “event experience.” For example, if you create a “Happy Hour” at your booth and serve food or beverage samples, your consumers will be more likely to remember you and come back.
Everything is an event. Everything done well is an experience. To do this you need to create “event environments” – not just displays. This was very interesting to us and gives us great ideas for upcoming events.
“It was very eye-opening”, said Naveen. “In a word, Awesome!”
Hi, my name is Don Johnson and I’m the Southeast Account Executive at Expand International.
Selling Trade Show Displays can get tricky. There are so many factors that go into making that final sale: price, availability, customization, the quality of customer experience, you name it!
If you find yourself asking questions like: “What am I not considering?”, and “How can I land the sale?”, then read below for my helpful tips!
If you have any questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four Tips for Selling Portable Event Displays
Expand is here to help you with all your portable needs! A lot of times, people will have hesitations to buying these displays. I’ve listed some tips to help you overcome setbacks when trying to sell portable’s to your clients…
1. What should I do when I hear my customers say, “I don’t do trade shows?”
Most people think of our products as “Trade Show Displays”. Well they are not just for trade shows! They are also used in Live Marketing Events, Retail Point of Sale and On-site Messaging and Signage.
Expand offers a line of retractable banner stands that can be used at any kind of event and are easy to assemble. Think of them as “portable billboards” that combine pictures, words and color to drive home a message. These lightweight displays can be used almost anywhere that your prospects gather and set up in just minutes.
Here are just a few uses:
Attract people to your business.
Display a colorful menu to quickly show all the things you offer.
Launch a new product.
Promote upcoming events.
Create a focal point in a meeting or presentation.
Reinforce your brand name and corporate identity.
Recruit at job fairs and on campuses.
Push ideas and sales in unexpected places.
2. My client doesn’t have a big budget. Are there more affordable solutions for smaller businesses? Yes! We now offer a series of cost-effective promotional displays:
3. My client doesn’t know the difference between different Expand products. Is there an easy way to distinguish them from each other? Yes! I’ve developed a “Good, Better, Best” prototype for our most popular event displays, which will help you to know which Expand products to target to your customers, based on their budget.
So, who is my target audience?
There are all kinds of target audiences who can use portable event displays: Companies large and small, Retail stores large and small, Government at all levels, Colleges, Churches, Non-Profits: Anyone with a message to tell!
What if I want to send this information to my customers with my own brand? Another way to help your customers is to give them our customizable Sales Sheets. As an Expand Reseller, you can re-brand them with your own logo and contact information! We also have a Reseller Catalog that you can brand with your own logo and your own pricing:
June is here – It’s time for picnics, barbecues, and summer fun! The innovative Expand PodiumCase provides a great setup for outdoor venues and comes with an optional Food Sampling Top that was specifically designed to provide a clean, sanitary surface for food and beverage samplings – Perfect for any summer event where food or drink is served!
The hygienic Food Sampling Top was developed with Protec+™ technology, which creates a sanitary surface upon which microbes do not survive. It contains the active ingredient Silver, which damages bacteria and prevents the growth of mold and fungi.
The Protec+™ technology creates a hygienic surface, provides secondary support to existing cleaning regimes and fights against contamination. Great for anyone who needs a clean surface to serve food and beverage samples!
This makes it the ideal solution for:
Indoor or Outdoor Food Samplings
Beer and Wine Tastings
Picnics or Barbecues
Restaurants or Food Vendors
Any event serving food or drinks!
The Expand PodiumCase is an all-in-one solution that allows for easy transportation and storage. The innovative clamshell design makes it easy to unpack and convert into an attractive kiosk or portable bar for people to gather. Just open the case, click on the hygienic top and add your graphic wrap!
Do you already have an Expand PodiumCase? Upgrade to the Protec+™ protected top to serve food and beverage in a safer and more hygienic way, eliminating contactamination that is found on untreated surfaces!
We hope that you enjoy our creative food serving solution. At Expand, our core value is “being intelligent and innovative in everything we do”.
Today I’d like to talk about how Expand can help your clients with their outdoor brand activations with my five easy tips!
Feel free to contact me at (203) 685-9006 or email@example.com.
Tips for Enhancing Your Outdoor Booth or Display
Here in Traverse City, summer has arrived! Many of my agencies and dealers support Outdoor Events and they often ask me questions about exhibiting at an outdoor venue.
I have developed 5 helpful tips for enhancing your outdoor booth or display…
1. Make sure the outdoor setup is sturdy and reusable
When people are exhibiting at an outdoor event, it’s important that they have a display with solid construction – No plastic of course. Do your brands ask you for cheap, weak, outdoor stands like you see in front of fast food? I don’t think so!
Displays for outdoor events need to be able to stand up to wear and tear from wind, rain and any other harsh weather conditions. It’s important to understand the wind range that the product can withstand and use displays that contain broad bases or heavy base plates that will keep the display in place in any extreme weather condition.
2. Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much text or too many images
The outdoor displays that stand out the most are ones that have very bright, colorful layouts with minimal text. Remind your clients to use a lot of images and have very little white space. Let them know that fewer text is better and that it’s important to use a large, easy-to-read font that can be seen froman appropriate viewing distance.
The same goes for graphics. It’s great to use images to make a display “pop”, but your clients may want to stick to no more than three images to avoid overwhelming people. Below is an Expand GrandFabric Outdoor that was used at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The image is clear and uncluttered and there is a minimal amount of text, which is viewable from 10 feet away:
3. Use products that are easy to set up and dismantle
Exhibiting at an outdoor event in the summer can be exhausting in the hot weather. The last thing that most crews want to do at the end of a long, hot summer day is to spend an extra two hours taking down the display while sweating in the heat. With Expand products, you can pop up, take down and roll away your outdoor event presentation in less than 30 minutes!
4. Get Creative to Save Money
Sometimes your client’s budget dictates what they are able to buy. Fortunately, there are a lot of outdoor event displays that are geared toward cost-conscious customers, such as Expand’s economy line. Our outdoor Promo Products and Retractable Banner Stands can be a great and very cost-effective marketing tool when attending an outdoor event on a budget.
5. Know the Rules for your Outdoor Event
Every event has different rules for exhibitors and an outdoor event may have very different space requirements, variance height options for outdoor booths, electrical requirements, etc. than the indoor events you are used to exhibiting at. Make sure to be aware of show exhibit guidelines and regulations. You don’t want to get to the event and find out that you broke a rule and are not allowed to exhibit!
I’ve been with Expand for over 10 years and we’ve always lead the way in quality outdoor brand activation. When it comes right down to it, your clients expect a repeatable event experience and Expand Outdoor Displaysare still being used today from their inception over 10 years ago!
Follow the Expand blog and get all of our latest updates:
Hi, my name is Andre Sao and I’m the Expand Account Executive for the Mid-Atlantic.
In our industry, partnering with your clients to truly understand their requirements, and then being flexible enough to deliver on those requirements makes the difference between success and failure.
Read my post about understanding your client’s requirements. To further explore where Expand can partner with you, please contact me at 203-870-2043.
Understanding & Delivering on Your Client’s Requirements
1. Start with a detailed brief
It sounds so intuitive to start with a detailed brief, but all too often these simple qualifying questions are assumed, which leads to proposing solutions that are not fit for what the client is really looking for.
Ask them the following questions to figure out exactly what their specific needs are:
What are they trying to achieve?
How will they measure success?
What is their plan and time frame?
What is the budget?
From here, honing in on exact requirements is much simpler, and ensures that your proposal lands on the mark.
2. Explore Options
Tendering projects doesn’t have to be a pain! With the brief in hand, it’s time for product selection and reaching out to suppliers. Depending on the project, you may have products in mind already, but don’t shy away from asking trusted suppliers if they have any other suggestions. New products come on the market constantly.
For example, the Expand GrandFabric system can achieve and often improve on many of the design features of traditional SEG systems, at a fraction of the price.
Once options are set, it’s important to present them back to the client – and a picture is worth 1,000 words! One of the easiest ways to show your clients different options is using the Expand DisplayBuilder, a free, 3-dimensional brandable rendering tool that can help your client go from on the fence to purchasing decision in minutes.
This unique tool creates the layout for your customer’s display, so they can visualize what you are offering. Expand also offers a full library of product pictures and other tools to help with these projects. If you’d like a step-by-step run through of these visual reseller solutions, please reach out to my colleague, Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Expand, we offer a select product range and pride ourselves on offering the best quality and value for each budget. From campaign retractables to backlit SEG booths, to sourcing vetted products through Expand’s own network– we are confident that we can offer you a solution that will suit your clients’ needs, and be a great asset to your team!
3. Deliver on the project
We’ve all been there: designs and artwork submitted, purchase orders in place, deadlines looming- and then those unfortunate holdups happen. Minimizing these instances, and dealing with them effectively is when choosing suppliers of high-quality products, and outstanding customer service pays off.
Expand offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty. As an Expand customer, you’ll have a single point of contact who will manage your project from order stage through to delivery. If something comes up, we create solutions.
Remember, taking the time to completely understand the brief is very important and well worth it. By gathering this information, we can help them determine their best fit and ensure a successful event!
Jeff Provost is the Executive Director at the Exhibitor Designers & Producers Association (EDPA) and the founder of PRO Management, LLC., an association management company headquartered in Westport, CT.
EDPA is a member-based not-for-profit whose purpose is to provide education, leadership and networking for
the advancement of its members and the exhibition industry.
Read our Guest Blog Post by Jeff Provost about competition in the marketplace…
Competition in the Marketplace
I’ve been thinking a lot about the notion of competition in the business marketplace lately. Generally speaking, competition is not something we like to talk about openly within our industries. We know who our competitors are, and in most cases, we’re even cordial with and about them when it’s needed. It’s likely that we’ll talk internally within our companies about who our competitors are…that’s an important strategic step in both benchmarking our own companies and keeping up with and surpassing our competitor’s goods and services.
But there tends to be the one or two real competitors that we despise. I mean really truly dislike due to a whole slew of reasons. I know it’s not popular for me to say this, but isn’t it easier to really loathe a competitor who we know we’ve lost some business or potential clients to? How about the ones who lure our best employees? How much do we hate them? And when we hear about how a competitive company uses undermining techniques to attract and land some of the same projects and clients we’re talking to, how often do we mutter curses under our breath about them?
You don’t have to answer that question out loud…I’m asking you these rhetorically, folks!
There’s a side-effect of all of that dislike and disdain, shedding light on a relatively new phenomenon for me that I learned had a word to describe it a few years ago: “Schadenfreude”. Borrowed from German and several other languages, schadenfreude is the feeling of pleasure derived from seeing or hearing about another person’s troubles or failures. In other words, it’s feeling joy at the misfortune of others.
As human beings, we have the ability to feel empathy when it is needed and that is without a doubt a good thing. But what about this notion of “feeling pleasure in someone else’s pain”? It’s certainly not a human trait to be proud of. When we feel it raising up within us, we can recognize it, acknowledge it, and either suppress it or let it take over. I’m sure we all handle this differently.
But when it happens in business with our competitors, there somehow seems to be more of an acceptance. I’ve seen this come up with other business owners over the years and in the long run, it’s a bad thing. Identifying who your true competitors are is a smart move. Wishing them ill will or feeling pleasure when they lose out or fail hurts us all. Why? Because we’re the ones on the opposite side of this phenomenon for them. It works both ways.
Think about it: What do you want them thinking and saying about you and your company? The fact is that there’s plenty of business to go around. Competition keeps us playing at the top of our game and keeps us from getting too complacent or lazy. Dedicate some time to get to know your competitors. Trade associations with working chapters (like the EDPA) are a very good way to do this. You may be surprised by what you find.
Expand was honored to exhibit at Event Marketer’s 2017 Experiential Marketing Summit on their 15th anniversary return to Chicago. We’d like to thank everyone who came by Booth #204 to say hello to the Expand team and get information about our portable event displays for their upcoming activations!
The event was very well-attended by approximately 1,500 marketers from around the world who came to discuss best practices in experiential marketing. What began 15 years ago as the experiential community’s first official gathering has developed into the industry’s ultimate training conference and networking event.
We met with several people in the marketing industry and got to see many cool new ideas, virtual event booths and new emerging technologies. We also learned some very useful techniques from the event that we’d like to share with you!
The keys to a great experiential event are:
1. Creating Something Extraordinary: The best way to capture your audience’s attention is to think outside the box to come up with something cool and unique. When someone walks away and says, “Wow! That is fascinating!”, that means you set the bar high.
2. Using New Event Technology: Think of the increased growth in internet usage and social media over the past 20 years. There are always new ways to engage with audiences when sharing the latest technology, whether it’s virtual reality, messaging apps or transforming your way of building content.
3. Create a Feeling: You want the experience you’re providing to be remembered. One that makes your audience feel something. Here’s a great quote from American Poet Maya Angelou, that also applies to Experiential Marketing: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
One of the best ways to create a feeling is to appeal to the senses. “The booths that were the busiest had interactive environments where your senses are challenged“, said David Nanamaker, our National Sales Manager at Expand. “It’s all about an environment where you can see, smell, hear or taste something!”
“I think there are a couple of words to express this year’s Experiential Marketing Summit”, said David. “Change and cool.” “I’m fascinated every year by the changes in new concepts to drive an experience. I can’t wait to see what they have at the 2018 Experiential Marketing Summitin San Francisco!”
Expand is here to help you build the experience. Let us know if we can help you with your experiential marketing needs!
Didn’t make it to the show? Check out what you missed:
Expand designs and manufactures a full suite of environmentally friendly event displays.
In honor of Earth Day this week, we’d like to share some information about how Expand can meet your environmental demands.
Reduce and Reuse -Without Breaking your Budget
Sometimes your budget dictates what you can buy. Fortunately, the concept of reusing Expand product is both environmental-friendly AND cost effective. Our high-quality Expand products come with a lifetime warranty and can be used over and over again.
You can even save the graphic in case you need to use the same message again!
Don’t think you’ll use the same message again? Your graphic for your Expand GrandFabric, Expand MediaFabric, or other Expand fabric event displays is printed on fabric that can be recycled. Just send it back to us and we’ll recycle it for you!
Expand recycles all our products – including the hardware – if for some reason you no longer have a need for them.
At Expand, we feel very strongly about our commitment to recycling and helping the environment. We strive to:
Use natural resources conservatively by recycling and reusing where feasible
Minimize the use of non-recyclable natural resources.
Develop and market products that are safe in their intended use, energy efficient, protective of the environment
Encourage reduction, reuse and recycling in all of our activities.
Encourage responsible use of resources throughout our business, including conserving energy and water use and improving energy efficiency.
When you buy from Expand, you won’t even want to throw anything away because of the quality and our Limited Lifetime Warranty, where we will fix your product if a repair is needed.
The takeaway is that you aren’t stuck with one message forever when you choose Expand. Brand any Expand product for each individual trade show or event – Changing the graphics is extremely easy and allows you to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle – reduce environmental waste, reuse your Expand products, and recycle your fabric!
These are all small but important things that you can do to help the environment, while also reaping the benefits of our easy-to-use, cost-effective, high-quality event displays!
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Hi, my name is Joe Dunn and I’m an Account Executive at Expand.
Portable event displays can be very abstract for people who don’t use them on a day-to-day basis. Expand provides our resellers with easy-to-use tools that help customers get a good understanding of our displays before making a decision.
Read my post about using Expand’s effective marketing tools to help your customers visualize before they buy.
Marketing Strategies to Increase Sales: Help Customers Visualize Before They Buy
Have you ever had customers who were on the fence about making a purchasing decision because they were not 100% sure what they are getting? That’s why it’s very important for your customers to be able to visualize their display before they buy.
We offer many helpful tools that enable your customers to see exactly what their display will look like…
DisplayBuilder: Expand’s unique DisplayBuilder tool provides 3-D renderings of our displays that you can fit your client’s logos to. This free rendering tool enables you to envision the layout for your customer’s pop-up display, trade show booth, or mobile marketing event so they can visualize what you’re offering. The customer can move around the display and see it from all angles right on their computer.
Marketing Materials: Expand has in-depth brochures for all displays, that will help customers get a better understanding of dimensions, application, and advantages of each model.
You can also access ready-made kits of how for 10′ or 20′ booths. These kits provide some examples of how to use Expand products in different configurations for your event. A simple way to find a fast solution!
Expand Image Bank: We provide our resellers with real pictures of our displays from past projects. Customers can see how other companies have used our displays. All registered resellers can fill click on the Reseller Tools tab on the top of the Expand website and fill out the online form to receive access to our new Image Gallery on Box.com, where you will be able to access all of these images.
Use these visualization tools to increase sales by going from sales inquiry to visualizing solutions within minutes!
Account Executives: Additionally, remember that all Expand resellers have access to their local Account Executive. Our Expand Account executives are extremely knowledgeable about our products and can help with whatever you will need to get your client set up with a great looking, quality display. Contact them today!
All of these visual reseller solutions are available on the Expand website. Most of them are located under the “Quick Links” tab on the left side of the website.
If you would like a step-by-step run through of each of these quick links, please contact my colleague, Susan Volovski at email@example.com and she will set up an online tutorial with you.
When planning a tradeshow or event, lighting is often planned at the last minute or completely forgotten about. However, the lighting is an extremely important part of planning your booth setup, as it enhances your message, creates a welcoming atmosphere and attracts more visitors.
You spent a lot of money on the booth – Lights bring it to life!
We have developed 3 tradeshow lighting tips for enhancing your booth or display…
1. Create an atmosphere that carries your message
Illuminating a display isn’t just about making it bright, but also about communicating a feeling or a quality. A well-illuminated tradeshow display feels more welcoming and will make your guests want to stay longer. They may even stay to take pictures in front of your booth!
Think about what feeling or quality you want to portray with your tradeshow booth lighting. Do you want it to feel relaxed? Luxurious? Energetic? Dramatic? Try to illuminate your booth to communicate the qualities of your brand or product and thus enhance the experience of your branding.
2. Work with contrasts and different light sources
A common mistake is to choose lighting that is too strong or too weak, which makes your display fall flat and look plain. Work with contrasts and different light sources. Direct the light to what you want your visitors to see when passing by your booth.
Incorporate a backlit wall or a lightbox to highlight a product or a message. This will help the viewer to instinctively focus on what is most important and it will make your display more interesting.
3. Choose an environmentally friendly light source
Today it’s more important than ever to conserve the earth’s resources. LED lights that draw minimal power or solar power and renewable energy are a good choice.
Remember, you have a very short time frame to catch people’s attention in a busy tradeshow hall. Lighting is a great way to grab their attention and get your booth to stand out against the competition.
So next time you plan a tradeshow or event – don’t forget the lights!
Expand was pleased to attend the 2017 Speedpro Imaging Franchise Conference in Denver, CO last week. Thank you to everyone who came by Booth #507 to say hello to the Expand team!
Our goal at the event was to provide people who stopped by our booth with information about our portable and module event displays for their trade show and event needs. (And give them some delicious Swedish fish!) Many were impressed with our high quality products and high quality printing.
Some Expand Highlights:
At the show, we showcased many of our newest modular solutions as well as our best selling podium case and most cost-effective banner stand in the industry:
The Expand GrandFabric System is a portable event solution that fits into the modular space, can be altered for each event, and is quick and easy to assemble. The below picture was set up and taken down in just a few minutes:
The Expand PodiumCase is a combination counter and transportation case that can be used as a countertop at your event and then used to transport everything afterwards. At the end of the event we were able to pack everything into the PodiumCase and roll it off the show floor – Piece of cake!
Today’s helpful tip is about embedding Expand videos from the Expand reseller site.
Read below to learn how to embed Expand videos into your own website…
Tip #6: How to Embed Expand Videos
We have a wide collection of Expand product videos. Do you need an easy way to show your customers the Expand products that you sell without directing them to us? Just embed our Expand videos into your own website using the simple steps below:
4. After you click on Expand Videos, scroll through until you find the video that you want to embed.
5. At the bottom of the video, you’ll see a play button and some other control buttons. Hover over them with you mouse, and click on the one that says Share Control. (The button looks like a square with an arrow.)
6. Once you click the Share Control button, you will see a pop-up that allows you to either copy the embed code or embed it into your Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook account.
7. If you click on the one that says Embed, it will say Embed code is now in your clipboard!
8. Then simply go to your website and paste the code!
You can also change the size of the video. When you copy the code into your website, it puts it into an iframe. You can click inside of the iframe to change the height and width of the video if you choose. Just place your curser where it says width and enter the width you want, then put your curser where it says height and enter the height that you want.
If you want to also publish it to your social media pages, make sure you are logged into your social media account and click on the embed button and choose the Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook option. Then just click Tweet, Share, or Post to Facebook.
We hope that embedding the videos is helpful for you. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expand’s backlit fabric displays create an illuminated visual that stands out and guides the viewer’s focus back to the message. We are pleased to share our latest customer success story involving our backlit displays.
Dominique Perrault Architecture (DPA), a famous French architecture firm, used 20 Expand fabric light boxes for a big exhibition in Paris. We met up with Henrik Hagelin, General Manager at Expand’s France location, to get more details…
Q: How did this job get started?
A: DPA is a very well-known architecture firm in France. They do a lot of projects worldwide and contacted us two years ago about another project they were doing for the South of France. That project ended up getting delayed, but 2 years later, they came to us asking for backlit fabric lightboxes for an exhibition in Paris.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the goal of the exhibition?
A: The exhibition is located at the La Conciergerie and illustrates the future layout of the island “Ile de la Cité”, located in the heart of Paris. The city of Paris is in the middle of an ongoing 20-year long project to get people to stay on the island, which used to not be visited very often at all, except for a few tourists who go to see the Notre-Dame church. The city is adding more restaurants and cafés to encourage more people to stay on the island and the images displayed on the illuminated graphics show what the finished layout of the island will look like.
Q: How long will the display be up for?
A:The backlit display will be up for the entire length of the exhibition. The dates of the exhibition are February 14, 2017 through February April 17, 2017 and it is currently open to the public. The event just opened last week and so far it has been well attended, and François Holland, the President of France, even attended the exhibition. Click here to get tickets to the exhibition »
Q: What are the advantages to using backlit displays at these types of events?
A: There are several advantages to using lighting in your display setup. A well-illuminated stand creates a pleasant atmosphere, feels more welcoming and attracts more visitors. DPA wanted an attractive illumined solution for the exhibition. They wanted to use lights to create something very attractive. Therefore, they chose the Expand backlit fabric light boxes for a completely customized display that consisted of 16 regular, single-sided backlit stands and 4 that are used as projection screens, for a very unique illuminated setup to draw people in.
Q: What would you recommend to someone who is looking to purchase a backlit display?
A: I would recommend a backlit fabric display to anyone who wants something that will stand out. It is a high-quality, affordable solution that is much more visible in a busy environment!
We recently added even MORE features that you can add to your 3-D Expand GrandFabric rendering in DisplayBuilder, including different frame sizes, shelves, and roofs!
Read below to learn more about these new features…
We are pleased to tell you about the new parts for the Expand GrandFabric that we now have available in DisplayBuilder:
New Crowd Control Frame:
We offer a new frame size for the Expand GrandFabric. The new crowd control frame for the Expand GrandFabric is a shorter frame (91 3/8 inches x 36 5/8 inches), that people can see over. This allows you to create a half wall in your booth setup. Use this feature in DisplayBuilder to show your customer how they can create a partition in their booth or combine it with different backwall units to show how they can have a variety of different wall sizes in their booth for a more interesting display setup.
2. New Expand GrandFabric Shelves:
We also have new shelving units available for the Expand GrandFabric. We have one version with legs and another shelf without legs which only fits onto a frame that is 147 cm (57 7/8″) wide. You can see in the options for the stacking shelves that the height can be changed now in display builder.
3. New Expand GrandFabric Roofs:
Our most exciting new features are the new Expand GrandFabric roofs! A roof allows you to create lounge area or a meeting room for your customers in your booth area.
You can go to the select arrow and pick the clamps for the roof at different heights, either 240 cm or 318 cm (94 1/2 or 125 1/4 inches). When you pick your desired clamps, you can go to the option and change the width of whatever clamps you are using. There are 3 different clamp options that you can choose from. Two of them are curved, as you can use curved frames as roofs as well.
You can choose whichever roof you would like. The roofs very in size and curvature. Each roof has an option to change the height level.
Other Expand GrandFabric accessories that you can add to the 3-D rendering include:
*Please note, you will need to have Java downloaded on your computer to use the DisplayBuilder. You’ll also only be able to use it on a web browser that supports Java.(Firefox and Internet Explorer support Java. – Google Chrome does not.)
We are pleased to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Expand QuickScreen 1, the world’s first retractable banner stand display!
Since making its debut in 1997, the Expand QuickScreen 1 has set the standard for retractable banner stands. While many roll-up displays may look similar, they pale in comparison to Expand’s quality.
To celebrate 20 years of such an outstanding product, we wrote an article about The Expand QuickScreen 1 and how it gave birth to an entire category of retractable roll-up banner stands.
Read our Q & A about the history of retractable roll-up banners …
Q: What are the benefits of traditional roll-up banner stands?
A: We are pleased to have invented the roll-up banner stand category when we introduced the Expand QuickScreen 1 in 1997. There are many benefits to traditional roll-up banner stands:
Roll-up banner stands are compact and can easily be rolled up and stored when not in use. They are also lightweight and easy to carry, making them easy to transport.
They’re cost-effective and easy to set up, which makes them perfect for companies who need to switch out their message often.
The roll-up banner stands can be used in any environment. Because they are so compact they can be set up in any venue space on any flat surface – Your customer can bring your message to where their audience is!
Q: Why are rollup banner stands still popular despite other applications?
A: Rollup banner stands are very popular because of their easy setup and ease of use. Compared to alternative event displays, they are also very affordable and versatile. At Expand, we sell a wide range of different roll ups and other event products, but our roll-up banner stands are still our most popular product line because they are so fast and easy to set up – Perfect for companies who need to set up and take down their message often!
Q: What makes them an effective marketing tool? A: Roll-up banner stands are an effective marketing tool because they are very cost-effective, versatile and easy for anybody to handle. They create a lot of impact for a small investment. Most rollup banner stands are also very durable and reusable.
Most rollup banner stands also make it easy to switch out a graphic. For example, the Expand QuickScreen 3 contains a patented removable graphic cassette, that can easily be removed when you need to change your message. Your client will only have to pay for the base once, and then simply switch out the graphic cassette for each event.
Q: What advancements have been made on roll-up banner stands?
There have been many advancements for roll-up banner stands in the past 20 years:
The first version of the Expand QuickScreen 1 was introduced in 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden and introduced to the U.S. market in 1999. At that time, photographic labs used large images and print originals were made of film with each layer hand cut with sharp knives -The end result was a very expensive large format photographic print that was easily dented or scratched.
The development group at Expand was first after a practical way of storing and shipping these expensive prints as well as the new costly digital prints and settled on a rolling mechanism in a very sturdy aluminum case. The next evolution was to keep the print in the aluminum case beyond the shipping stage and add a pole and a swivel foot to make it a free-standing display by itself. As the then largest manufacturer of pop-up displays in Europe, Expand had a good sense of how useful such a display could be.
What Came Next
It took a couple of years to get good traction, as distribution in the U.S. at the time was tied up by exclusivity contracts that only allowed dealers to purchase from a handful of display manufacturers. Therefore, Expand decided to sell only non-exclusively to any legitimate resellers. This has now become the norm for most display manufacturers, so the success of the early roll-up banner stand was due to a great product, print and software development and change in distribution strategy.
As printing technology and imaging software developed, the price and speed of printing these panels became more common and the need for printers to “productify” their prints grew. With large companies producing and marketing printing equipment and Adobe’s development of software allowing easy manipulation of images, the market grew exponentially worldwide and in 2001 Expand had to build a new factory in Asia to supplement its Swedish factory.
Next Version: The Expand QuickScreen 3
Many copies followed, so Expand learned the lesson of protecting its original ideas and the next breakthrough product, Expand QuickScreen 3, was patented both for its unique design, and its cassette function, a system of separate graphic cassettes that make it easy for a user to switch out the message.
After the invention of the separate graphic cassettes, Expand introduced the telescopic pole that allows the user to adjust its height. Then we added an air cushion in the pole to soften its decent, like a reversed bicycle pump function.
We decided to create an outside pocket on the bag to store the pole. A seemingly small improvement, but very popular among the users because it’s so much easier to grab it. We also eliminated the visible top hook to make the product more visually pleasing.
We’ve also had to create special arm lights to the roll ups. After speaking to a lighting manufacture who did not believe that we would be able to sell the new roll ups in large quantities, we decided to start making lights for the roll-up banner stands on our own! Millions of displays and lights later, Expand still manufactures several UL listed Halogen and LED arm lights!
Q: What are other important characteristics for roll-up banner stands?
A: There are two very important characteristics to look for in roll-up banner stands:
Pricing: Expand offers a wide range of pricing, from very inexpensive promo products like the Expand PromoRollup to high end retractables for outdoor use, such as the Expand MediaScreen 2 Outdoor. Print providers should consider how long a display should last, how often the image will go up and down, the design and warranty among other factors, it can be worth paying more for a more high-quality product. Expand offers excellent quality, service and printing capabilities. Expand’s high-quality roll-up banner stands are very cost-effective if you plan to use them over and over again. They carry a Lifetime Warranty that protects against manufacturer’s defects in materials and workmanship.
Unique features that make it stand out from the competition: Important features to look for in a roll-up banner stand include design, quality and durability:
Design: The Expand QuickScreen 3 has a classic wing design, making it a beautiful display. It can be accented with 7 different colored accent kits to match the graphic panel mood and message. From a practical point, it is wide enough that you do not need a support foot (which can distract from the message) and perhaps most important: it has a patented cassette system for easy exchange and storage of several graphics for just one base unit. Very economical in the long run for both shipping, exchanging and storage of graphics.
Quality & Durability: The Expand QuickScreen 3 is the market’s smartest retractable banner stand, embodying elegance, functionality and quality. It also comes with a warranty. No one wants a malfunctioning roll-up at an event. That’s why Expand introduced the lifetime warranty for our branded roll-up banner stands. When you order from a company that has an unbranded product, you will not be able to get it repaired if you don’t remember where you bought it from and many companies will not repair their products without a receipt. All Expand branded roll-up banner stands come with the Expand name on the product and bag and we will repair any of our products, with no receipt needed. The end user can contact us directly to get it repaired if they want. No need for the reseller to get involved if they do not want to.
We are very pleased to say that we created the world’s first retractable roll-up banner stand and that our Expand QuickScreen 1 and other roll-up banners are still popular today!
At Expand, we design and manufacture the majority of our products in-house at our own ISO 9001 certified manufacturing facility.
The Expand corporate office is located in Stockholm, Sweden with sales offices in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany. We have manufacturing in U.S., Sweden and China.
We met up with Jari Kekkonen, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Expand International, to get more details.
Read our Expand Blog Post for our Q & A session with Jari …
Q: Can you tell us a little about the history of Expand’s manufacturing facilities?
A: We started the manufacturing of portable displays in Sweden in the early 1980’s and in the U.S. and China in 2001. From the very beginning, we had a strong focus on the quality aspect of what we were producing. In fact, the main reason that we started on a small scale was so that we could spend more time focusing on quality.
Q: What kind of productions capacities/capabilities do the factories have?
A: The manufacturing facility in China does mostly display hardware. We do a wide range of machining, hole punching, welding, bending, extrusion, etc. We focus on quality control, both for parts coming in and of course also the products being shipped out. The entire operation is built around quality assessment at all stages, choice of material, production, testing and delivery.
Q: Can you explain what it means to be ISO 9001 Certified?
A: Being ISO 9001 Certified means following routines and processes that adhere to a certain set of fundamentals. For over ten years, Expand has been certified with an ISO 9001 Certificate, which contains a list of fundamental requirements for quality management systems.
At Expand, we take our ISO certification very seriously and make sure to follow everything listed in the certificate at all times. Many companies are not doing that. Just because you have a ISO 9001 certificate, doesn’t mean that you are following it.
At Expand, we make sure to follow all of the criteria listed in the certificate.
Q: How is this beneficial to Expand resellers and users?
A: For Expand, quality equals customer satisfaction. This requires that the whole experience – the product, service, information and contact with our dealers and users is first class! When you order from us, you know that you’ll get a certain quality in the product. Also, if you buy from us again, you’re guaranteed that your next order will be of the same excellent quality.
Some manufacturers do not guarantee consistent sizes or layouts, which means that they can’t control it. At Expand, we can guarantee consistency for you every time. This has been greatly appreciated by our customers, who continue to come back to us. Many have been with us for decades.
Q: Can you discuss the safety policies?
A: We are continuously reviewing safety in all of our operations. We have a safety inspection twice a month. We also have reviews of all possible safety issues with our products when they are in the design phase.
Q: Any new plans for the factory?
A: For 2017, we will focus on what possibilities we have to further improve our processes. We are continuously looking for improvement and we have monthly meetings where we review new ways to do it on both a lower level and on a higher level.
With the new year upon us, your customers will be deciding how to spend their 2017 marketing budget, so its import to know what will happen with experiential marketing in 2017. Until now, there hasn’t been a way to get an accurate estimate of experiential marketing budgets. However, the Event Marketing Institute recently released The 2017 Experiential Marketing Spending Forecast, a new annual report that offers an analysis of where event and experiential marketing budgets were in 2016 and where they’ll be in 2017.
Event Marketing Institute analysts estimated an 11% average increase in experiential marketing budgets for 2017. (The first double-digit average experiential marketing budget since 2008!) The 11% increase estimate is based on a proprietary survey of brand marketers, interviews with heads of event marketing at Fortune 500 companies and conversations with procurement executives and top industry influencers. 1
Overall ad spending will go down in 2017. According to an article by The Wall Street Journal, ad spending will decrease significantly in 2017. Internationally, there is an estimated slowdown to 3.6% spending growth in the global ad business this year, (down from 5.7% in 2016) and ad sales in the United States are expected to face a slowdown to 1.7% growth in 2017 (compared to 6.9% growth in 2016) 2
However, the amount spent at live events is expected to increase this year. According to the report by the Event Marketing Institute, almost 60% of marketers plan to increase spending on event and experiential marketing in 2017. According to Event Magazine, event marketing continues to top marketing growth, with events remaining in the top sector posting growth, following closely by internet spending and direct marketing.3
These projections should be good news for our industry and makes 2017 look like a good year for live experiences. Mike White, founder of Itch Experience, stated that brands are spending more in event marketing due to growing consumer demand. “People want be engaged through their passions and cultures and that means live experiences”, he said. 4
Jeff Provost is the Executive Director at the Exhibitor Designers & Producers Association (EDPA) and the founder of PRO Management, LLC., an association management company headquartered in Westport, CT.
EDPA is a member-based not-for-profit whose purpose is to provide education, leadership and networking for
the advancement of its members and the exhibition industry.
EDPA provides regional industry education programs through its eight chapters.
Read our Guest Blog Post by Jeff Provost about how marketing is all about the experience…
It’s All About the Experience
With 2016 fresh behind us, it seems like a good time to look back and do a quick evaluation. Was it a good year for you personally? Did you move things forward, stay in-place or slip behind a bit? Did you experience both love and loss in 2016? Did you have any fun getting there?
Let’s switch over to our professional lives. What did you try out that was new and perhaps even risky this past year? What new experience did you help to build?
2017 marks my tenth year in the live experience and face-to-face marketing industry so I’m also looking back at the entire decade. Back in 2007, I was part of a small team at Red 7 Media in Norwalk, CT that launched the Event Marketing Institute (EMI). We premiered EMI at Red 7’s Event Marketing Summit that spring and my career path changed. Up to that point, I was a marketer who didn’t understand what face-to-face marketing was. I had never been to a trade show in my life. But the EMI opened up my view of live marketing far “beyond the booth”; Mobile marketing, street marketing, product launches and corporate sales meetings were all in the mix too. I learned a lot quickly.
Like most live marketers, I had (and still have) a tough time articulating exactly what it is that I do when I meet folks outside of our industry. The neighborhood BBQ, our church’s Christmas open house, assorted cocktail parties…People would try (or pretend) to understand what I was talking about, with most gravitating to the trade show part. Almost everyone my age or older had some understanding of what a trade show was anyway. I even tried using the popular term, “experience marketing” but that brought even more puzzled looks over the buffet table.
Then I caught a few episodes of “The Apprentice” on TV and noticed that many of the group projects assigned to the contestants were actually face-to-face and event marketing based. The group ‘task’ frequently involved a live branded experience and when I started citing the popular television series, more people began to understand what I was describing. Check out the new “Celebrity Apprentice” series that just started. That formula hasn’t changed much.
All roads lead us back to that memorable live experience. And not just the well-executed (in terms of successful event operations) live marketing experience, but one with strong ties to a specific brand. (How many times have you seen one of those mega expensive Super Bowl TV ads, and remembered the cute or clever plot, but totally missed who the advertiser or brand was)?
Live branded experiences that live with us both on-site and after, the type that lingers just long enough for us to want to build on it, is what we all strive to achieve together.
How many of those brand experiences did you and your team help create in 2016? How many of them will you help to build for others in 2017?
What do you need to think about when planning your next trade show or event? How do you create the right conditions to be successful? What goals to you need to set?
We have developed 5 tips for setting clear goals that can help you evaluate your efforts…
1. Start Early To get the most out of an event, it’s important to get started early. Select a Project Manager who will have the main responsibility and let that person involve others who should be part of the planning. Know the important deadlines and remember that usually an early registration for items like hotel rooms and flights can save you money.
2. What to achieve and who to reach: Set clear goals for yourself or your customers. Do you want to build your brand? Launch a product? Educate the visitors? Would you like to reach existing customers or is the main focus to meet potential new customers? How many leads would you like to collect? Who do you want to invite? Try to make your goals measurable – it makes it easier to evaluate afterwards.
Clarify the goals for everyone who is involved in the planning and everyone who will be exhibiting at the trade show or event.
3. Choose your message carefully You have a very short time frame to catch the visitors’ attention. Choose your main message for the target audience based on your goals above and communicate the message clearly!
Your message will compete with many other messages. Try to find a concept that will stand out. It is also important that your booth does not look too similar to the adjacent booths and that your logo or brand message is visible from a distance. Remember that your message and logotype may need to be visible from several directions.
4. Be consistent! Make sure to be consistent in everything you do from invitation to giveaways, design of your space, clothes, snacks, bags, etc.
5. Follow-up and evaluation Most important of all: Get back to the leads you collected during the trade show and do it right away! Evaluate your success by comparing your results with your set goals. What worked well and what can you differently next time?
Summarize and save this information for the next event or trade show!
For help setting up a booth layout…
Plan your event display with the Expand DisplayBuilder: a FREE rending tool that allows you or your customer to layout your event display before making an investments.
Table Top Displays are a great way to draw a crowd in a small space. Many companies don’t consider using table tops, because they think they need a bigger, flashier display to grab their audience’s attention. However, if set up correctly, a table top can grab attention just as much as a bigger display does. And at a much more cost-effective price!
Tips for Setting up your Table Top Display:
1. Use One Big Image
When you have a lot to display, but a very small area to display it in, you may not know where to begin! How do you know where to start? Exhibitor Magazine suggests starting with one big image. With a table top setup, you have a much smaller area than you would with a 10’ x 10’ or 20’ x 10’ booth space. Since you have such a small space to portray your message, it’s important to use one main image that gets your message across, instead of several different images that may make your small table space look cluttered and lose your audience’s attention.1
2. Incorporate a Table Throw Another great way to capture attendee’s attention at an event is to include a custom printed table throw. Using the show-provided table cloth is boring and does not add anything to your display. Instead of renting one of these dull looking table cloths at every show you exhibit at, make a one-time purchase for a customized table throw that you can reuse at each event. Most of them are also washable and can be used multiple times. And because they are reusable, the cost pays for itself after just a few table top events!
Add an image or logo printed directly onto the table throw. Perfect for adding additional branding to your booth or tabletop setup! Expand offers 4’ 6’ 8’ and custom sized fabric dye-sublimation printed table throws. The Expand Table Throws give your table top display a polished, professional look.
3. Use Table Display Options and Accessories
Once you have your table throw set up, you will need to add accessories to the table. Exhibitor Magazine mentions using accessories in your table top display, just like you would with a bigger booth setup. Table top displays are just like traditional exhibits, in that you can accessorize them with everything from shelving and lighting to brochure holders to IPad holders.2
Displays and accessories that you can use with your table top include:
Pop-Ups Pop-up displays are the perfect solution for the show on the go! A pop-up display usually consists of a light-weight frame for easy setup that literally “pops” open and allows you to attach graphics, usually with fasteners or magnets. Since the frame collapses back to a compact unit, pop-up displays are easily transported. Expand offers many pop-up displays for table tops, including the 2 x 2 Expand MediaWall, the 2 x 2 Expand MediaFabric and the Expand MediaSquare, which come with fabric graphics that attach to the structure with Velcro®, allowing you to leave them on between events for quick assembly.
Banner Stands Do you have a lot of materials to display on your table? Banner Stands are compact and take up very little space on your table, leaving room for you to also display other product displays, brochures or catalogs. You can also combine multiple banner stands or use banner stands in different heights to create a versatile table top display with a professional feel. Expand offers the Expand QuickScreen 3 and Expand QuickScreen 3 mini that feature a multi-segment pole that allows for multiple message to be viewed at different heights.
You may want to also consider a double-sided banner stand, which allows you to promote your message from two angles.
Lighting Lighting is just as important for a table top display as it is at any bigger trade show setup. According to Pegasus Lighting, the most successful displays use lighting to attract visitors. “If you are presenting a table top or pop up display, you shouldn’t sacrifice good lighting just because you are taking up less space. You still want an engaging, attractive appearance that will draw visitors by appealing to their sense of wonder.”3
Let your lighting do the work of getting potential customers to your table. A well-lit table top display creates a welcoming atmosphere and attracts more visitors to your table top display. Direct the light to what you want your visitors to see. And remember, it’s always a good idea to check with the event venue or show management to confirm which types of lighting fixtures are allowed.
As you can see, a table top display is a very small but very effective marketing vehicle. According to fitsmallbusiness.com, smaller trade shows are growing.4You can take advantage of the space provided to you at a smaller trade show venue by following the above tips for table top displays. And keep in mind, a table top set up still has many advantages over bigger booth set ups including easy setup, portability and cost savings.
Hi, my name is Paul Filart and I’m the Expand Account Executive for the Pacific Northwest.
In our line of work in sales and marketing, credibility is everything. Read my post about how the success of a sales professional is hinged on credibility and the importance of selling products that are trustworthy, reliable and dependable.
Why is credibility so important? Stephen Denny sums it up nicely for me in his book Killing Giants:
“Trust is built on credibility, and credibility comes from acting in other’s interests before your own.”
It all Starts with Credibility
The root word of credibility is “cred”, which means, “to believe”. I communicate my belief in a product, and it inspires the same feeling in my clients. The key to this “cred” is integrity. A person of integrity is someone who does what he or she says and says what he or she means. When a meeting is set, this person is there at the right time. When he says he’ll get back to you, he’ll get back to you. When he commits to a project due date, he does everything in his control to meet that due date.
It’s all about Them
Credibility doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that I have to earn; and it takes time, patience, and consistency to build. It takes discipline in follow-up and follow-through to establish it. It comes from a combination of factors – an excellent product, an established company, outstanding customer service, and by faithfully representing my client’s needs and earning a reputation for being “customer/client first”. It’s not just about selling a product but actually taking time to find out more about the need. It means working on weekends. Sometimes it means coordinating with production even before that first cup of coffee! Oftentimes, for me, it involves making several pit stops during a 3 hour drive to answer a client’s question. A fast response time goes a long way.
Trust is Gained. Loyalty is returned.
While the “vetting” process is sometimes lengthy, good clients are always worth it. I stay the course and once I’ve earned their trust, I’m no longer just a sales person but have become a partner. Partners who know that their interests are of utmost importance don’t hesitate to reach out when they have a need. They understand that I’ve got their back, and that I’m here for the long haul. Even when things aren’t always perfect or don’t go as planned, they continue to choose me… choose us.
Read following tips for evaluating trade show attendance:
Before the Event
In order to be able to measure trade show participation, you’re going to need to do some planning prior to the event. There are two important things to keep in mind during the planning stage – Return on Objectives (ROO) and Return on Investment (ROI).
Return on Objectives is a “pre-event” approach to setting goals, where organizations set initial objectives. This approach deals with pinpointing eventual targets to be achieved by the end of the event. While planning the event, set clear objectives of what you want to accomplish. For example:
What do you want people to do as a result of coming to your booth?
Who can perform the expected action so that it benefits your company? (i.e. – Who are you going to invite?)
Return on Investment is a more quantitative approach that compares the costs that you will spend on the show to the actual revenue generated. Think about how much revenue you will receive and try not to spend more than that on the cost of flights, hotel rooms, etc. If it’s a smaller show that you won’t get much revenue from, don’t send 10 people. Instead, just send one or two people who are knowledgeable enough to talk about all the products or services that you’re promoting at the event.
During the Event
Make sure that the people attending the event take accurate notes and determine whether your objectives are being met. Also, make sure they have Lead Forms and mark the leads that are high-quality. It’s not about scanning the badges of every single person who comes to the booth; It’s about keeping track of the high-quality leads (i.e. people who actually showed interest in purchasing your products or services.) And make sure that they write down accurate details. For example, if someone asked you to send them a product brochure or asked to have a sales person call them within a certain time frame, you want to make sure all of that information is written down so that someone can follow up with them after the event.
After the Event
The first thing to measure after the event is your Return on Objectives. Go back to the objectives that you came up with during the planning stage and determine whether you reached them. If not, ask yourself why you didn’t accomplish these objectives. What could you have done differently? Did you set realistic goals? Did you talk to enough people at the booth?
Ask yourself, “Did people get our message? Did they process it?” If not, why?
The next thing to measure is your Return on Investment. There are two things you can check to determine your Return on Investment: new revenue generated and cost savings. New revenue generated at a show includes new leads and prospects and growth of your existing revenue database.
Revenue can be a difficult thing to measure because you don’t usually get an immediate sale while at the show. However, instead of waiting until you get the sales, you can estimate the revenue that you generated by gathering the following information:
The number of high-quality leads you received from the show.
Your company’s average percentage of closed sales per 100 sales calls.
Once you have measured the revenue, you can also measure your cost savings. Is the cost of new revenue from the show more than the cost that you spent on the event?
What do you do after measuring the ROI & ROO from the event?
1. Distribute the leads:
One of the first things you want to do after a trade show is to make sure the leads from the event are followed up on. Make sure to distribute them immediately after the event. The faster you distribute the leads, the more motivated your staff will be to follow up!
2. Report event performance to senior management:
Create a summary report for the event. Use dashboards for consistent matrices, analysis and event-mix strategy refinement. Compare these scores to averages for all of your events and show the results to your Trade Show Manager so he or she can look at the averages and decide if it’s worth it to attend the show again next year.
Hi, my name is Jeff Pfalz and I’m an Expand Account Executive based out of Cincinnati.
One of the most important parts of being a sales person is in-person cold calling. Read my post about the importance of meeting with a company’s decision maker in person and a helpful strategy that I use to be successful with these in-person meetings.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at email@example.com or (203) 870-2049.
In Person Cold Calling
A very important selling strategy is in-person cold calling. The goal of the in-person cold call is to meet the decision maker and get him or her interested in what you’re selling, as well as to build a strong customer relationship.
We all know that walking through any door to any business, speaking with the decision maker and selling our services is a goal, but not necessarily reality. After many personal attempts in the art of in-person cold calling, I came up with a strategy that works. Keep in mind that these are the steps that work for me and not an exact solution.
I came up with “RED”: Research, Educate, & Drop-in:
Research: Researching the company confirms that they buy what you sell. Educate: Study the company on your own. This will provide you with key talking points. Drop in: and say “Hello”.
Meeting the Gatekeeper/Receptionist
There are several road blocks to in-person cold calling: The one I would like to discuss first is meeting the person who is behind the desk as you walk through the door. This is the person that just “can’t wait” for another sales person in an obnoxious suit to greet them with a cheesy line. Don’t be that person because at the end of the day you have only one shot, which can make or break whether you get the information you need to speak with the decision maker.
When you greet the receptionist, use eye contact and a smile. Be positive and enthusiastic; Your attitude and enthusiasm (along with fresh breath) is contagious! Scan the room to see if you can find something to ask about – pictures, awards, anything interesting. Remember to keep the introduction short and to the point, as that person is usually busy and not in the mood for listening to a long sales pitch.
The most important part of this greeting is having your product brochure and business card to hand out. This will make it easy for the receptionist to determine who you are and who you will need to speak with.
While you’re there, gather as much information as you can, including the name of the receptionist, gatekeepers and decision maker or person who buys what you’re selling. Make sure that you leave your catalog or brochure and your business card so that your information will get back to the purchaser.
Also, on a side note, don’t be discouraged by signs that say NO SOLICITATION. In my experience I have never been asked to leave. At least not yet!
One last thing: Don’t overstay your welcome. You don’t want to be like that family member that does not know when to leave and go home!
Follow Up and Never Give Up
It’s also important to remember to follow up. Once you receive their contact information, make sure to call that evening or the next morning, introduce yourself and do what you’re paid to do: build the relationship and sell.
If you do not receive the information you need, just remember that this is a process. Some of the best clients you will ever have can take several years to buy. That’s why it’s important to have patience and a never-give-up attitude!
Keep in mind: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison
Hi, I’m Alan Conley, an Expand Account Executive. We’re getting to that time of year where the weather can get nasty. At least on the East Coast!
With winter coming, it’s extremely important to have display setups that are weather proof and wind resistant.
Expand has a full product line of outdoor event displays. Read my post about the Expand MediaScreen 2 Outdoor & other outdoor Expand products that hold up to rain, wind and some other nasty weather conditions.
Expand’s Outdoor Products for Unpleasant Weather
What’s great about Expand’s outdoor product line is that our products are resistant to corrosion from rain, UV-radiation and most other unpleasant weather conditions. Expand’s outdoor products can handle almost anything that Mother Nature throws at them.
The Expand MediaScreen 2 Outdoor in particular is great for outdoor campaigns, sporting venues or winter events. It is the world’s first truly portable outdoor retractable, manufactured with the outdoors in mind.
Here are some winter conditions that your display may need to stand up to in the next few months:
The most concerning element to take into consideration when creating outdoor event environments is wind. Make sure you understand what wind range the outdoor product can withstand and make sure the customer knows that if the wind range is exceeding recommendation, they should take the display down. The Expand MediaScreen 2 Outdoor is equipped with support feet and a flexible support pole that guarantees stability and can withstand strong winds up to 22 miles per hour. With the help of a spring-loaded support, the pole is designed to flex in the wind so that the double-sided graphic can be seen in even the windiest conditions.
Some of Expand’s other outdoor displays can withstand wind speeds up to as much as 50 miles per hour (depending on the product and what weight system you use with the display). Winning the battle against wind comes down to the concept of least resistance and anchoring. It’s critical to use displays that have the least resistance to wind and feature broad bases.
Heavy base plates will keep displays in place and it’s important to have something that will weigh the display down if it’s fighting against strong wind gusts, so that it is less likely to blow over. The Expand Flag Stand XL is very stable even in strong winds and is available either with a weighted base or with water bags. The Expand GrandFabric Outdoor also contains stabilizing options, including plates, water tanks, and ground stakes, that allow it to stand up to harsh winds.
Some fabrics soak up water more than others, which could make the display material heavy and cause it to sag in the rain. When suggesting a product to your customer for outdoor usage, let them know that light polyester, sheer fabric or vinyl materials will stand up best in the rain. Expand offers many lightweight fabric options for our outdoor products that will not get bogged down in the rain. For example, the Expand PromoFlags are made of carefully selected material to handle long outdoor use in the rain or wind.
Just like with rain, snow can make certain displays too heavy if they are not made of the correct material. It’s important to make sure your customer uses a lightweight material if they are using a display for an outdoor event in the winter.
The Expand MediaScreen 2 Outdoor graphics are printed on PrintMedia 2101 material that can endure wind, rain and snow. This polyester fabric is encapsulated between two vinyl layers that make it curl resistant, flexible, flame resistant, lightweight, scratch and tear resistant, UV resistant, and unaffected by temperature changes. The weighted, support feet mount easily to the base, providing stability on flat surfaces such as snow.
Make sure to take all of these things into consideration when planning an outdoor display. In addition to the way that our products hold up in bad weather, we also provide a safety certificate that is done by an independent company. Elements such as rain and sun should always be considered when helping your customer choose the right outdoor display.
Hi, my name is John Blackburn and I’m an Expand Account Executive for the southern Midwest region of the United States.
Expand has a remarkable and intelligent product line that is designed to be impactful, yet simple and elegant. Value is second to none. In this post, I touch upon the importance of brochures and other hard collateral in a client’s event and how to easily add the means to present them.
The Importance of Using Print Collateral for Trade Shows, Events and Activations
The importance of brochures and flyers at trade shows, events and activations cannot be overlooked, even at this day and age where everything is digital. A brochure is a physical piece of print collateral that is carried by the customer. When a potential client walks away from a presentation, even the savviest digital campaign can fall down the memory hole, while a physical piece of paper is a tactile and visual reminder of what the customer just saw. In addition to that, a flyer can point the way to your social media, website and other digital information that the customer might otherwise forget.
Benefits: The benefits and impact of these physical tools cannot be overlooked, but in case more evidence is needed, google search for “importance of brochures” or something similar to see why they are so important at trade shows and marketing events.
With that established, how does that relate to what we are doing and this blog? Simple: In presentation environments, this collateral needs to be easily accessed by the customer and attractively placed so that the customer wants to access it. At Expand, our entire focus is on simple function and elegant presentation. Take for instance our Expand BrochurePocket. It’s a multi-functional item that can be used on almost any product in the Expand product line, and pretty much any other product line too!
The thing to remember here is to not overlook this when organizing a trade show or event setup. Considering the relative low cost of a brochure-vehicle as it relates to the overall cost of the presentation, it’s critical to include it. It should be an automatic addition when doing a design or cost preparation for an event similar to including lighting.
Expand has a very targeted range of products to address this need. We have done our best to create maximum value as well! Our Expand BrochureStand is an extremely well-designed literature centerpiece that is simple to operate, can hold a large amount of collateral and is very versatile. Not only can it be an attractive way to hold brochures, it can also be a display on its own with a graphic!
Our Expand BrochureHolder is an item that started an industry all on its own. A simple foot, pole, and rollable mesh with provisions to hold standard-sized handouts; it is attractive, functional and budget-friendly. It’s available as a single-width 4 pocket, a double-width 8 pocket and a double-width 2 pocket with a graphic. This last iteration is often referred to as the “silent salesman” and is ideal for un-manned locations and anywhere where a graphic or branding is desired to bring the client to the brochures.
So don’t forget to add these to your upcoming events or quotes! They add tremendous value and over time can make a positive impact to your bottom line and your customer’s satisfaction! I hope you enjoyed my post and find the information useful.
Hi, my name is Brad Gende and I’m an Expand Account Executive located in Chicago.
We live in a world where people are constantly communicating with each other and the main driver of this communication is social media.
In today’s environment, it’s important to promote your business on social media, while continuing to communicate through face-to-face meetings. Read my post about how brands effectively market through both social media and experiential marketing.
Marketing Your Business Through Social Media and Experiential Marketing
Over 78% of people in the United States use social media, making it one of the greatest lead sources available. However, face-to-face communication is also extremely important. A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute shows that 93% of organizations use social media and 81% use in-person events as B2B marketing tactics. Let’s discuss how brands utilize both social media and experiential marketing to effectively market themselves.
The short answer to why organizations and brands use social media as much as possible? Two words: Easy and Inexpensive. It’s as simple as downloading an app on your phone and setting up an account. All you need to use it is a computer or smart phone and a little creativity. Social media is also usually a free tool to use, although there is a recent trend of brands paying to be seen on their consumer’s social media walls.
Here are some benefits of using social media:
Communication: It’s extremely valuable for brands to be able to communicate directly with their consumers to generate interest. For example, if I got a tweet on Twitter from the Chicago Cubs (now the 2016 World Series champions), I would be excited that the Cubs personally communicated with me, which would spurn my own interest in going to a game. All this started by a simple tweet of 140 characters or fewer!
Sales Promotions: Printed coupons have officially become a thing of the past. The quickest and easiest way that companies let their customers know of products on sale or promotions being run is through social media. Social media is the most powerful sales promotion tool being used today. Are you taking advantage of this tool?
E-Communication: Customers prefer things to be easy. And the easiest way for a consumer to purchase a product is on their own computer. E-commerce and social media have always gone hand-in-hand. Consumers are constantly scrolling through their applications and reading through their timelines, which often heavily feature followed, favorited and liked companies they’ve selected to follow in the past.
Ideally, consumers are clicking links that lead them to product pages and online shops. Brands that utilize social media seem to have higher e-commerce sales and more repeat customers.
Experiential (Face-to-Face) Marketing:
Social media is the simplest and fastest way for brands to get eyes onto their products and services. However, don’t forget about trade shows and other events. Face-to-face interaction is critical. A recent survey from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 75% of brands say that in-person events are the most effective B2B tactic for their organization. 1
One of the best ways to have a face-to-face interaction with your customers is to exhibit at a trade show that your customers regularly attend. Statista.com claims that 82% of trade show visitors are directly influenced in making purchasing decisions. 2 There is no better place than a trade show to see, touch and feel new products and services. According to a 2016 Experiential Marketing Content Report by the Event Marketing Institute, 74% of consumers say engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted. 3
Expand realizes the importance of having a booth that stands out and delivers the “WOW” factor. Our industry leading product, the Expand GrandFabric, employs a “Click, Pull, Zip, Hello!” concept that makes it easy to build branding solutions that are easy to set up, take down, roll away or ship. No tools or hired labor required!
A face-to-face interaction also allows you brands to develop a relationship with their customers. Building strong partnerships with your customers is important regardless of where you are in the industry. It allows your customers to talk to you about their questions, comments or concerns and also gives YOU the chance to ask THEM some open-ended questions to figure out exactly what they need and what they need help with.
I hope you found this information helpful. Using these techniques effectively will allow brands to generate potential new customers on a daily basis and continue to grow their business. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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