Zero Halliburton is developing a flagship retail location in New York City. The Displayers were asked to develop conceptual designs and renderings of the environment. Using current marketing materials to identify merchandise and advertising, renderings of the stores interior and exterior from the streets view were created. Below is a fly-through video of the stores exterior and proposed renderings of the environments interior.
The Displayers has participated in the development of the Architectural Digest Home Design Show since its inception 12 years ago, working with Architectural Digest and MMPI (Merchandise Mart Properties) to develop elements of the show including the entrance, signage, the AD 100 Area, lounge and other sponsorship areas including Lincoln’s installation.
Architectural Digest and MMPI have recommended The Displayers to exhibitors including:
Artistic Tile | Cortina Leather | Dennis Miller Associates | Ethan Allen | Exquisite Surfaces | Holly Hunt | KitchenAid | Lefroy Brooks | MauraStarr | Moore & Giles | Scalamandre | OrientNJ | Stamberg Aferiat Architecture | Stark Carpet
The Displayers management and exhibit installation services to many of the shows exhibitors in addition to exhibit design, construction, graphics, shipping, storage and maintenance.
We hope the below information is helpful, and if assistance is needed, we are happy to help or provide guidance. We invite your questions.
We are excited to welcome you to the 12th annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Here you’ll explore the latest ideas and products for the home — from furniture and lighting to kitchens and baths. Whether starting from scratch or searching for that single object to finish a room, the Show promises to introduce you to something you simply have to bring home.
Show Hours and Admission
March 21-24, 2013
- Thursday: 11AM – 7PM – (Open to Trade and Preview Guests)
- Friday & Saturday: 11AM – 7PM – (Open to the Public)
- Sunday: 10AM – 6PM – (Open to the Public)
We are thrilled to announce that DINING BY DESIGN New York 2013, the premier fundraising event for DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, will be located adjacent to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94. Be sure to experience this spectacle of table environments created in a variety of magnificent styles. This portion of the show will be closed to the public on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. and on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
SHOP.BE INSPIRED.CELEBRATE DESIGN.
A world of design inspiration awaits at the 12th annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Explore the latest products for the home. Shop from new and established brands. Get inspired by new ideas and insight from top talents in the industry.
- Exhibits from 420+ exhibitors with over 500 premium brands
- Keynote Presentation by Margaret Russell, Architectural Digest Editor in Chief
- Design seminars presented by The New York Times
- Culinary demonstrations and tastings
- 40+ amazing table installations at DIFFA’s DINING BY DESIGN NY
About the AD Show:
When and where will the 2013 Show take place?
The 2013 Show will take place March 21-24th, 2013 at Pier 94 in New York City (55th and West Side Highway).
How many people can we expect to attend the Show in 2013?
The Show has been growing in both attendance and exhibitor base for the past several years. In 2012, over 43,800 attendees visited the Show.
Who attends the AD Show?
The AD Show draws a mix of the design trade (architects, interior designers and decorators, showroom principals, buyers) and the high end consumer/homeowner. Although the Show draws an international audience, most of the attendees are from the United States, specifically the Northeast region and the east coast.
Is the Show open to both the design trade and the public?
Yes. The AD Show is open to the design trade (architects, interior designers and decorators, showroom principals, buyers) and the high end consumer/homeowner. Thursday is open only to the design trade (and VIP consumer guests) while Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are open to the trade and the public.
Move in / Move out:
What are the days and times for set-up & moving out?
Set-up will take place:
• Tuesday, March 19, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
• Wednesday, March 20, 8 a.m.-5 p.m..
All Exhibitors must be moved out by Monday, March 25th. Additional details will be included in the Exhibitor Manual
MMPI is one of the largest trade show producers in the country. Our competent staff is fully capable of all aspects of trade show management.
Senior Vice President
Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.
7 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
How to get to Pier 94:
55th Street and the West Side Highway
New York, NY 10019
From the North (Westchester, Connecticut, Massachusetts):
95 South (via the Cross-Bronx Expressway) to the George Washington Bridge. At approach to bridge, bear right to lower level. Exit at the last exit in New York-Parkway South-9A. Follow Parkway South (Henry Hudson Parkway/West Side Highway) to 54th Street. Turn right. Go one block to entrance and turn right.
Saw Mill River Parkway/Henry Hudson Parkway/Route 9A:
Follow 9A South to 55th Street. Turn Left. Go one block to entrance and turn right.
New York State Thruway/Major Deegan Expressway/Route 87:
Major Deegan Expressway to George Washington Bridge exit. Stay in the right lane towards lower level. Exit at the last exit in New York Parkway South 9A. Follow Parkway South (Henry Hudson Parkway/West Side Highway) to 55th Street. Turn left. Go one block to entrance and turn right.
From the South (New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Etc.):
95 North to the New Jersey Turnpike, Exit at the Lincoln Tunnel. When exiting the tunnel, bear left. Follow signs for uptown or northbound to 55th Street. Turn left onto 55th Street until you reach 11th Avenue and turn left.
George Washington Bridge to Parkway South:
9A. At 55th Street, turn right. Go one block to Pier 94 New York entrance.
From Queens and Long Island:
Queens -Midtown Tunnel: Take Southbound or Downtown exit to 34th Street and turn right on 12th Avenue to 55th Street where you turn left.
Queensboro/59th Street Bridge:
Take 60/61st Street Exit. Go to 5th Avenue alongside Central Park to 59th Street. Turn right onto 59th Street to 12th Avenue and turn left. Go five blocks to the 55th Street and turn right.
From Staten Island:
Verrazano – Narrows Bridge eastbound to the Gowanus Expressway, to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Exit westbound to the West Side Highway/12th Avenue. At 55th Street, turn left. Go one block to entrance.
By Public Transportation
Piers 92/94 can be reached by NYC Transit Authority via 8th Avenue subway, E or C trains to 50th street, then via M50 Bus line (please note that the M50 Bus does not run on the weekends). Also, bus lines M16 and M42 provide service to 42nd Street and 12 Avenue. For subway and bus information and schedules, call (718) 330-1234.
Christine Quinn on Tapping New York’s Vein of Design
New York Times – Currents | Events / By JULIE LASKY / Published: February 13, 2013
After months of vigorous planning, New York will have a 12-day celebration of design this spring extending over all five boroughs. NYC x Design will run from May 10 to 21, to coincide with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Frieze New York art fair on Randalls Island. Pronounced “NYC by Design” and interdisciplinary in scope, it will present the work of local designers and architects in museum exhibitions, conferences, studio tours, showroom displays, pop-up stores, art installations and a design film festival.
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times NYTCREDIT: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
The goal is greater visibility for an industry with untapped economic potential, said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn (left), whose office is leading the project with a steering committee of more than 30 design leaders from business, civic and cultural groups. “We have more designers in New York City than any other U.S. city, but we do a terrible job promoting them in their totality,” she said.
Ideally, the festival would seed itself over time and multiply the number of New York design jobs, she said. In the future, “if we’re doing it right, there’s more set designers in Brooklyn and Queens, more furniture designers in Brooklyn and more jewelry designers in the South Bronx and Lower East Side.”
Festival events can be found at NYCxDesign.com, a Web site that was introduced this week. The program will continue to be updated.
The Javits Center is host to many leading conventions, trade shows, consumer shows and special events. There is no better world stage than the Javits Center on which to produce, exhibit or attend an event.
Whatever brings you here, we are committed to making your experience truly rewarding. And as a destination city, nothing quite compares to New York City as the finance, entertainment, publishing and fashion capital of the world.
Directions to The Javits Center
Getting to the Javits Center couldn’t be easier. To get here, just follow these simple directions.
While there is no parking at the javits Center are many parking garages throughout the Javits Center vicinity. See parking for locations and phone numbers of convenient parking near us. We are located on 11th Avenue between 34th and 39th Streets.
From the North (Westchester, Connecticut, Massachusetts)
95 South (via the Cross-Bronx Expressway) to the George Washington Bridge. At approach to bridge, bear right to lower level. Exit at the last exit in New York–Parkway South–9A. Follow Parkway South (Henry Hudson Parkway/West Side Highway) to 42nd Street. Turn left. Go one block to 11th Avenue and turn right.
Saw Mill River Parkway/Henry Hudson Parkway/Route 9A: Follow 9A South to 42nd Street. Turn Left. Go one block to 11th Avenue and turn right.
New York State Thruway/Major Deegan Expressway/Route 87: Major Deegan Expressway to George Washington Bridge exit. Stay in right lane towards lower level. Exit at the last exit in New York–Parkway South–9A. Follow Parkway South (Henry Hudson Parkway/West Side Highway) to 42nd Street. Turn left. Go one block to 11th Avenue and turn right.
From the South (New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, etc.)
95 North to the New Jersey Turnpike. Exit at the Lincoln Tunnel. When exiting the tunnel, bear left. Follow signs for uptown or northbound to 42nd Street. Turn left onto 42nd Street until you reach 11th Avenue and turn left.
George Washington Bridge to Parkway South– 9A. At 42nd Street, turn left. Go one block to 11th Avenue and turn right.
From Queens and Long Island
Queens-Midtown Tunnel: Take Southbound or Downtown exit to 34th Street and turn right. Go west and turn right on 11th Avenue.
Queensboro/59th Street Bridge: Take 60/61st Street Exit. Go to 5th Avenue alongside Central Park to 59th Street. Turn right onto 59th Street to 7th Avenue and turn left. Go two blocks to 57th Street and turn right. Follow 57th Street to 11th Avenue and turn left. The Center is between 34th and 38th streets.
From Staten Island
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge eastbound to the Gowanus Expressway, to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Exit westbound to the West Side Highway/12th Avenue. At 34th Street, turn right. Go one block to 11th Avenue and take a left.
Trucks higher than 12 ft. 6 in. will not clear tunnels. They must use a bridge. Also remember that no trucks are allowed on parkways.
95 South (via the Cross Bronx-Expressway): Exit at Amsterdam Avenue and cross the University Avenue Bridge to 181st Street. Turn left onto Broadway. (see Street Directions below)
87 South (via the Major Deegan Expressway): Exit at 155th Street/Macombs Dam Bridge. Continue west on 155th Street to Broadway where you turn left. (see Street Directions below)
Triborough Bridge: To Manhattan. Exit at 125th Street. Go west to Broadway and turn left. (see Street Directions below)
Street Directions: Continue on Broadway to the intersection of Broadway, West 65th Street and Columbus Avenue. Bear right onto Columbus. This becomes 9th Avenue at 59th Street. Stay on 9th Avenue to 34th Street. Follow westbound signs to 11th Avenue.
12’ 6” and under:
From Long Island–Route 495 (Long Island Expressway): To Queens Midtown Tunnel. Take southbound or downtown exit to 34th Street and turn right. Follow westbound signs to 11th Avenue.
From Staten Island and Brooklyn:
From the Verrazanno Narrows Bridge, take the Gowanus Expressway to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Follow westbound signs to 11th Avenue.
Over 12’ 6”:
Manhattan Bridge: Follow westbound signs to 11th Avenue.
New Jersey Approach:
See directions from George Washington Bridge.
Please keep in mind that the public transportation fare is $2.25. The subways accept MetroCards. Buses accept MetroCards and exact change fares. With MetroCards you can transfer from subway to bus and bus to subway for one fare. MetroCards are available at local stores.
Runs east/west on 34th Street. Stops on 11th Avenue outside the Javits Center and at Penn Station.
Runs east/west on 42nd street. The closest stop to the Javits Center is 42nd Street and 11th Avenue.
New Jersey Transit and other buses arrive at the Port Authority terminal at 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. The M42 bus will bring you from there to the Javits Center.
The following trains stop at 34th Street/Penn Station:
- New Jersey Transit
- The Long Island Rail Road
- 8th Avenue Subway:
- 7th Avenue Subway:
- 6th Avenue Subway:
The following trains stop at 42nd Street/Times Square (Broadway):
- 8th Avenue:
- 7th Avenue:
- 6th Avenue:
The following trains stop at Grand Central Station at 42nd Street at Lexington
- Lexington Avenue Subway:
- Metro North Railroad
For further information, call MTA Travel info: 718.330.1234
The NY Waterway operates a ferry from Weehawken, NJ. In just 8 minutes the ferry takes you across the Hudson River to 39th Street and 12th Avenue, just one block from the Javits Center. Just park at the convenient lot adjacent to the ferry terminal in Weehawken and take a ferry which leaves every 10 – 15 minutes during peak hours.
Call 1-800-53-FERRY for schedule and information
American International Toy Fair ▪ February 10, 2013 – February 13, 2013 – www2.toyassociation.org
THE VOICE Casting ▪ February 16, 2013 – February 17, 2013 – http://www.nbcthevoice.com/
MMA World Expo ▪ February 16, 2013 – February 17, 2013 – http://www.mmaworldexpo.com/
CURVENY ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 – http://www.curvexpo.com
JA New York Winter Show ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 – http://www.nationaljeweler.com
Fashion Coterie ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 – http://www.enkshows.com/coterie/
Sole Commerce ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 – http://www.enkshows.com/coterie/
MODA Manhattan ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 – http://www.modamanhattan.com
The Accessories Show ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 – http://www.accessoriestheshow.com
FAME ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 – http://www.fameshows.com
New York Wine Show ▪ March 1, 2013 – March 3, 2013 – http://www.wine-expos.com
International Restaurant & Food Service Show of New York ▪ March 3, 2013 – March 5, 2013 – http://www.internationalrestaurantny.com/
American Diabetes Association Diabetes Expo ▪ March 8, 2013 – March 9, 2013 – http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/expo/2013/new-york-expo-2013
Coffee Fest New York ▪ March 8, 2013 – March 11, 2013 http://www.coffeefest.com/
New York City First Robotics Competition ▪ March 8, 2013 – March 10, 2013 – http://www.nycfirst.org
20th Original GLBT Expo ▪ March 9, 2013 – March 10, 2013 – http://www.originalglbtexpo.com/
Children’s Club ▪ March 10, 2013 – March 12, 2013 – http://www.enkshows.com/
World Floral Exposition Expo ▪ March 13, 2013 – March 15, 2013 – http://www.hppexhibitions.com/floriculture/2013/nyc/
20th Original GLBT Expo ▪ March 9, 2013 – March 10, 2013
Children’s Club ▪ March 10, 2013 – March 12, 2013
World Floral Exposition Expo ▪ March 13, 2013 – March 15, 2013
ADVANCE Job Fair for Healthcare Professionals ▪ March 14, 2013 – March 14, 2013
International Vision Expo ▪ March 15, 2013 – March 17, 2013
New York International Automobile Show ▪ March 29, 2013 – April 7, 2013
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Annual Meeting ▪ April 13, 2013 – April 15,
Amazon Web Services User Summit ▪ April 18, 2013 – April 18
Interphex ▪ April 23, 2013 – April 25, 2013
Buildings New York ▪ April 24, 2013 – April 25, 2013
College Fair (NACAC) ▪ April 28, 2013 – April 28
Advanced Energy ▪ April 30, 2013 – May 1
SUPPLYSIDE MARKETPLACE 2013 ▪ April 30, 2013 – May 2, 2013
Moda Manhattan ▪ May 5, 2013 – May 7
Accessories The Show ▪ May 5, 2013 – May 7
FAME ▪ May 5, 2013 – May 7
ASIS New York City Chapter Trade Show ▪ May 8, 2013 – May 9
Robin Hood Dinner Dance ▪ May 13, 2013 – May 13, 2013
International Contemporary Furniture Fair ▪ May 18, 2013 – May 21
Love Fellowship Tabernacle Services ▪ May 18, 2013 – May 19
National Stationery Show ▪ May 19, 2013 – May 22
Supply Side ▪ May 19, 2013 – May 22
Surtex ▪ May 19, 2013 – May 22
BookExpo America ▪ May 30, 2013 – June 1
Cloud Computing Expo ▪ June 10, 2013 – June 13,
International Franchise Expo ▪ June 20, 2013 – June 22
International Fancy Food Confection Show ▪ June 30, 2013 – July 2
Texworld USA ▪ July 16, 2013 – July 18
Home Textiles Sourcing Expo ▪ July 16, 2013 – July 18
International Apparel Sourcing Show ▪ July 16, 2013 – July 18
MRKET ▪ July 21, 2013 – July 23
Vanguard ▪ July 21, 2013 – July 23
JA Summer Show ▪ July 28, 2013 – July 30
Fashion 2 Go ▪ August 4, 2013 – August 6
Accessorie Circuit Intermezzo Collections ▪ August 4, 2013 – August 6
CURVENY ▪ August 4, 2013 – August 6
Accessories The Show ▪ August 4, 2013 – August 6
Moda Manhattan ▪ August 4, 2013 – August 6
FAME ▪ August 4, 2013 – August 6
IT Roadmap Conference and Expo ▪ August 7, 2013 – August 7
NY International Gift Fair ▪ August 17, 2013 – August 21
Value + Variety Expo ▪ September 8, 2013 – September 10
2013 Holiday Buying Show for Bars Restaurants and Retail ▪ September 9, 2013 – September 10
MODA Manhattan ▪ September 22, 2013 – September 24
AccessoriesTheShow ▪ September 22, 2013 – September 24
FAME ▪ September 22, 2013 – September 24
Meet the Breeds ▪ September 28, 2013 – September 29
Children’s Club ▪ October 6, 2013 – October 8
Audio Engineering Society ▪ October 18, 2013 – October 20
New York Business Expo and Conference ▪ October 25, 2013 – October 25
I Can Do It! ▪ October 26, 2013 – October 27
JA Special Delivery ▪ October 27, 2013 – October 29
ADVANCE Job Fair for Health Professionals ▪ October 30,
Chartered Financial Analyst Exam ▪ December 7, 2013
The 2013 CHEM SHOW ▪ December 10, 2013 – December 12
6 Tips to Managing Client Expectations
Michael A. Olguin
May 7, 2012
These tips will help you build longstanding relationships that can withstand the good times as well as the bad.
So much work goes into winning new business, regardless of the vertical space in which you work; there is the initial prospecting, early conversations, strategic program development, budget consideration, and creation of a deliverables timeline. Unfortunately, all of that work can come to a screeching halt before the ink is dry on the contract when the same amount of time, energy and commitment isn’t placed on managing the client’s expectations after the business is won.
To ensure this is never overlooked, we developed the Super Six: keys to developing excellent client expectations and building longstanding relationships that can withstand good times as well as bumps in the road. After all, it’s easy to keep a client when things are going well; maintaining a client when times are tough is the true test of a relationship. We believe the Super Six will aid in this process:
1. Build a relationship that goes beyond client/vendor I have long maintained that business people like working with people they not only respect, but also personally like. Therefore, we believe that developing a personal relationship goes a long way in building a stronger business relationship. Get to know the client’s family situation, how they spend their free time, where their interests lie and, most importantly, what motivates them on a daily basis. When you understand what makes them tick as a person, you can translate that into your business relationship.
2. Regularly communicate and address problems directly A lack of communication is usually at the root of most problems associated with clients. Any good client relationship will be able to weather setbacks if you are proactive in communicating both good and bad news. When communication is direct and transparent, trust forms and helps to create a foundation for long-lasting relationships.
3. Agree on strategy, goals and timelines Until you and your client agree on strategy, goals and timelines, you are always at risk of them not understanding what success is and how it should be measured. We always suggest creating a scope-of-work document that outlines the program details, budgets and metrics. This will alleviate any confusion over expectations and hopefully eliminate a difficult conversation.
4. Be a Agree on strategy, goals and timelines When you offer your client advice, direction, input and business counsel, you become a truly valuable partner. This style of open dialogue helps to establish the respect necessary to ensure better project management. Clients hire outsourced marketing services because they want an objective opinion. If you fail at giving that POV, you subject yourself to being a “yes man or woman,” which will ultimately be your undoing.
5. Be a good listener Listening is one of the most misunderstood and least used tools in managing client expectations. Many clients are unsure of what they are trying to accomplish or not very good at articulating it. As such, you must have excellent intuition and listening skills in order to identify key messages being communicated. One of the best ways to compensate for a client who communicates poorly is to repeat what you have heard and ask them to confirm the accuracy of key takeaways, which will ultimately impact expectations.
6. Budget is not a bad word Most relationships will go south very quickly if you are not open and honest about budgets. To start, you must be realistic about setting a clear understanding of the budget required to execute the desired program. Throughout the course of the program, you must have regular dialogue about budgets. If you don’t address the client until you have an issue (i.e., operating over budget), you will not only have an unhappy client, you may also find yourself eating the overages.
At the end of the day, your ability to manage client expectations is going to hinge on how well you choose to communicate. If you leave things up to chance, chances are you and your client will both be disappointed. However, if you take the time to listen, be proactive about communicating openly and address any issues head-on, you will keep client expectations in check and be in a good position to grow your relationship over time.
As visitors crowd into blockbusters at rates of more than 800 people per hour,
museums are working behind the scenes to keep guests patient, informed, and calm!
Long lines. Jostling crowds. Mini-stampedes to get a look at the “good stuff.” A trip to a major museum exhibition these days can feel more like a Black Friday sale at Walmart than a rewarding adventure in esthetic uplift. So much so that a Gauguin retrospective at London’s Tate Modern, in 2010–11, elicited a slew of complaints on the museum’s Internet message board. “A good exhibition sadly marred by the gross overcrowding,” read a typical response. “I shuffled along with so many others struggling to see past the backs of so many heads.” The reactions of angry visitors led one art critic to dub the phenomenon “gallery rage,” and if that’s not quite as catchy as “road rage,” it may be endemic to our times.
But there is good news, and it’s twofold: attendance numbers at major exhibitions reveal no sign of flagging (even in a poor economy and even with higher entry fees) and museums are increasingly sensitive to visitors’ needs. Indeed, many devote serious time and personnel to forestalling meltdowns in their halls of culture.
A case in point is the recent Alexander McQueen retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which broke attendance records for a fashion exhibition at the institution. Visitors lined up for as long as five hours, but nearly all showed “remarkable patience and perseverance,” says Harold Holzer, senior vice president for external affairs at the Met. The museum’s visitor-services department, he adds, “staffed up as never before for McQueen,” and during the opening weeks, they kept a close eye on how many people could navigate the galleries and for how long. “We worked at the beginning of the show to create a flow that would accommodate visitors, protect the art, keep the climate control at ideal levels, and maximize the experience,” he says. “We learned that about 426 visitors per half hour would work best.” In the end, McQueen garnered a total of 661,509 visitors.
If that sounds like a lot, consider that the ongoing spectacular “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs,” now traveling the globe, still draws about a million people per city and averages 600 viewers per hour. “We put in a great deal of thought beforehand to managing that gallery capacity and managing expectations,” says Mark Lach, senior vice president of Arts & Exhibitions International, the chief organizer behind the King Tut show. When people are paying top dollar—between $28 and $32 admission to see Tut’s treasures—expectations can run unusually high. “You’ve got a certain segment of guests who want it to be that perfect experience,” he adds, “so if parking isn’t right, if the directions to the exhibition are confusing, you end up with a number who are frustrated before they even walk into the show.”
Timed ticketing, with entry slotted at fixed intervals, can help forestall frayed tempers. Simon Blint, head of visitor services at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, says he was spurred to introduce timed ticketing after receiving a serious tongue lashing from a man who had stood on line for an hour and a half waiting to see “Picasso and American Art,” in 2007. “The guy was incredibly frustrated,” Blint says, “and if I recall correctly, he was there with his children. He told me I was an idiot for not doing timed ticketing. And he was right.”
Making it clear up front how much of a schlep museum- goers are in for is helpful. “Don’t keep people in the dark,” Lach says. “Let them know that there are 12 galleries in the exhibition, that they can linger as long as they like, and that there’s a time they can count on for entry.” Any advance information may keep tantrums in check. Lach remembers his own visit to the McQueen show last summer: “As soon as I got on line, there was a little sign on a post that said, ‘From this point on, it’s about a 90-minute wait.’ And there were guest-services personnel handing out pamphlets on the exhibition and doing their best to answer questions.”
Sometimes the personal touch can help sweeten the wait. “A few times, my marketing colleagues got Argo Tea, a local chain, to donate hot beverages to those waiting in line for shows,” says Chai Lee, associate director of public affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago. “At one of our events, our previous director, Jim Cuno, even helped pass out tea and greeted visitors who queued up to get into the museum.”
“I spent a lot of time talking to visitors on line for the Vermeer show in the ’90s, because I would be relaying information to the press,” says Deborah Ziska, chief of press and public information at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “I was always going out and asking, ‘What time did you come here? How long have you been on line?’ Then I would tell that to the papers, so visitors would know how long a wait to expect.”
“People like to see that you have a system going,” adds Lynn Parrish, assistant director of visitor services at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “They want to see that you’re organized, and that they’re all being treated the same way. When we have a line outside on the sidewalk, for example, we post staff at various points.” And that can mean a serious number of personnel devoted to one exhibition. For the Met’s McQueen retrospective, Holzer says, “between visitor services and security, we had at least 40 to 50 people working all the time.”
No matter how meticulous the advance planning, museums can’t always predict which shows will be megahits or whether the galleries will provide enough room for uncrowded viewing. For the exhibition devoted to filmmaker Tim Burton at MoMA two years ago, “we were caught off guard,” confesses Parrish. “As the show grew in popularity, things got kind of crazy.” When controlled entry, letting visitors in a few at a time, turned out to be insufficient, the museum turned to a timed-ticket system. Before “Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917” opened, the museum fully expected the show to draw record numbers, and yet the sixth-floor galleries turned out to be spacious enough to see the work comfortably even at peak hours. “The challenge is a big artist in a small gallery,” Parrish says, “and that’s where you have to think about crowds and how you will deal with them.”
“At the New Museum, the response to the Carsten Höller exhibition was unprecedented and largely unexpected,” says Karen Wong, the museum’s director of external affairs. The survey of works by the German entomologist-turned-artist, this past fall and winter, included some unusual showstoppers: a 102-foot slide that corkscrewed down two stories, a sensory-deprivation tank where visitors could float in salt water, and an installation of flashing lights that supposedly induced hallucinations. “The sheer scale and constancy of the attendance surge—which included not only our core visitors but also a large new audience—was way beyond what we imagined.” As a result, staffers had to handle exigencies more typical of a hotel than a museum. “The demand for the supply of slippers, robes, and towels that visitors needed, which required laundering and constant replenishing, greatly exceeded what we anticipated,” notes Wong. To cover the tab, the museum raised the cost of regular admission from $12 to $16. The price hike wasn’t permanent—it has since dropped to $14—but it showed, Wong says, “how increased resources can translate into improved customer service.”
However, a big turnout can sometimes translate into lower ticket prices. For last year’s exhibition “Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art,” the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, promoted a limited-time two-dollar discount on tickets for lower-traffic slots on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “Those tickets sold well, and as a result high-traffic days weren’t oversubscribed and less-popular time slots were filled more than they might have been,” says Jennifer Garza, director of membership and guest services at the museum.
One great boon for museums sponsoring heavily attended blockbusters has been the number of memberships sold. More than 23,000 people purchased memberships to the Met during the run of the McQueen show, allowing those visitors to skip the line. (Another 17,000 paid $50 to see the exhibition during its last eight Mondays, when the museum is normally closed.) Similarly, MoMA sees its memberships soar when it implements timed ticketing. “We let members go any time they want to when there’s a timed-ticketed show,” says Parrish, “which is good and bad because it creates a variable—you don’t really know what’s going to happen. You might have a hundred members per half hour with their guests, or you might have 15 members.”
But blockbusters can also bring headaches in the form of ticket scalping. During the recent major exhibition of works by Leonardo da Vinci at the National Gallery in London, websites like eBay had tickets priced as high as £400 (about $628) when the regular charge was £16 ($25) per person. The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., faced similar problems for two of its biggest hits, “Johannes Vermeer,” in 1995, and “Van Gogh’s van Goghs,” in 1998. Museum passes, which are free, “were going for more than Redskins tickets at the time,” says Ziska. “A lot of homeless people would get on line for passes and then go off and scalp them.”
Museum personnel encounter other possibly devious tactics used to slip into popular shows. “You’d get calls from people who would give you these stories and you just don’t know what to think,” says Ziska. “‘My mother has cancer, and this is her last wish. Can you please get us in?’ Sometimes you don’t know what to say, but you try to believe them, to be sympathetic.”
Of course there are things visitors themselves can do to make a museum trip more pleasurable, no matter how packed the galleries. After newspaper reports of “gallery rage” at Tate Modern last year, Tim Dowling, a columnist for the Guardian, offered a set of cheeky-but-practical tips for making the most of the blockbuster experience. Go early or late, he advised, and tour the show nonsequentially, since “visitors tend to bunch up at the first few works of art.” Skip the audio tour for the same reason, and wear a high-visibility vest: “It makes you look official; people will be afraid to jostle you.” He even suggested forgoing the crowd-pleasers entirely. “Cultivate a taste for the overlooked, the offputting, the little understood and the poorly reviewed.”
By Ann Landi Posted 03/27/12
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Picture this: NYC museums are drawing record crowds for cheaper entertainment given the still shaky economy, and a number of strong exhibitions is drawing massive crowds to many institutions.
At the Guggenheim Museum, average monthly attendance so far this year is up 28% over last year. During the mid-April spring break week, the museum had the highest attendance ever recorded for that time period since it began tracking figures in 1992.
Throngs of people are lining up each day outside the Cooper-Hewitt,National Design Museum to see “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels.” The show is attracting more than 9,000 visitors a week, a record for the museum. Overall, the Cooper-Hewitt estimates its total attendance for the year will end up at 235,000, a 26% jump from last year.
“People are becoming members [of the museum] at the door just so they can go right into the show,” said Caroline Baumann, associate director of the Cooper-Hewitt, which will close in July for two years for a major expansion. “We have to put special systems in place to manage the crowds.”
Museum experts say attendance often grows during recessions. A study released last month by the American Association of Museums found that 50% of the nation’s museums had more visitors last year, with 32% reporting a significant increase. Though the recession is technically over, arts observers say many New Yorkers are still unsure economically and are taking their vacations at home. At the same time, international tourists are flocking to the city to take advantage of the weak dollar.
Less costly shows
The Metropolitan Museum of Art already enjoyed record attendance of 5.2 million during the past fiscal year, ended June 30. Officials at the museum say this year’s attendance is on track to at least equal that number. The Met’s current exhibition of Paul Cézanne’s card player paintings brings in 4,500 visitors on weekend days, and the Costume Institute show on the late designer Alexander McQueen, which opens this week, is expected to attract crowds.
Interestingly, the success at the gate comes as many museums have been forced by a drop in funding to build less costly shows around their own collections instead of bringing in popular but expensive loan shows.
At the Guggenheim right now, for example, there are no collections from Armani or motorcycle shows. The crowds are coming for a simpler exhibit from the museum’s own holdings titled “The Great Upheaval: Modern Art from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910- 1918,” which features a number of paintings recycled from the museum’s previous show.
“Museums are looking at their own collections and repackaging things in ways that are really fresh or more appealing to people,” observed Joe Harrell, director of marketing and product management at the Alliance for the Arts. “If you have a Picasso exhibit or expressionists in New York,people are going to eat it up, because this is what they think of when they think of these institutions.”
Despite museums’ newfound popularity, the earned income from the increased attendance hasn’t been enough to make up for the financial losses from cuts in government and private funding during the recession. Art experts say that for every dollar museums take in from visitors, they have to raise $3 from donors to keep operations going.
The American Museum of Natural History has two shows right now—“The World’s Largest Dinosaurs” and “Brain: The Inside Story”—that are full to capacity.But executives there said the admissions income will barely make a dent in a decreased endowment and the loss of some city and corporate funding.
Budgets remain depressed
El Museo del Barrio had one of its most popular exhibitions ever this past fall: “Nueva York 1613- 1945.” The show, presented with the New-York Historical Society, brought in 54,000 people and received rave reviews.
And since El Museo del Barrio reopened in the fall of 2009 after a major renovation, attendance has more than doubled, reaching 250,000 visitors last year.
But earned revenue makes up only 7% of the museum’s budget. With major cuts in corporate and especially government support, El Museo del Barrio must reduce its operating budget to $4.5 million from $6 million for the next fiscal year. Still, museum officials anticipate some tangible benefits from all this newfound popularity.
“Fundraising has gone down; it’s been tough with the recession,” said Suzy Delvalle,director of external affairs and development at El Museo. “But our renovation has been transformational. The bigger attendance numbers are great and will help us with fundraising going forward.”!
Eric Sink says that tradeshows are like sex: When it’s good it’s really really good, but when it’s bad… it’s still pretty good.
A lot of tradeshows have been cancelled due to low attendance (which in turn is probably due to slashed travel budgets), but those which remain are that much more interesting.
It’s easy to waste time and money at tradeshows. It’s not just the booth ($2k-$20k) and travel expenses ($1000/day including airline, hotel, rent car, shipping, and buying an extension cable at an outrageously overpriced convention center office supply center), it’s the week of time spent at the show (including travel days) plus weeks of time spent preparing your strategy, crafting your sales pitches, organizing the booth crap, and chewing out the stoned guy at the print shop counter who claims to not see that the “red” in the color swatch is not the same as the “red” in your 6′ x 6′ banner.
Tradeshows are a combination of high-level strategy and low-level minutiae, so a checklist comes in handy.
3-6 months before the tradeshow
- Have a goal. Although there are many benefits of attending a show, you need a primary goal. A goal helps you make the decisions below and provides a yardstick for whether the tradeshow was “successful,” and therefore whether you should do more. Examples:
- Make a sale on the tradeshow floor
- Get at least 20 genuine prospects
- Talk with 10 industry leaders
- Find 10 good recruiting prospects
- Find 3 serious investors.
- Ask potential customers 3 specific things (market research)
- Schedule a vendor presentation. Most shows allow vendors to give presentations, sometimes for a fee. Always do this. Even if just 20 people come to your talk, that’s 20 people you get to talk to in depth for 45 minutes — far more valuable than talking to 100 of people at your booth for 5-60 seconds. I frequently get a few sales just from the presentation.
- Decide on your main message. Just like your home page, you get 3 seconds to convince someone to stop at your booth. You’ll need this message elsewhere (e.g. banner) so you need to decide what it is early on. Remember the goal is to get people to stop, not to explain everything about who you are and what you do! Boil it down to a single, short sentence.
- Pick your booth. Booths go fast, and location does matter. Booths next to the bathroom are good even though they’re “in the back” because everyone’s going to hit the head. Booths near the front doors are good. Booths nearer to the center of the room are better than the ends. Booths at the ends of isles are good because you have a “corner” which means more traffic and your stuff can spill out over the edge.
- Design your banner and handouts. Printing takes longer than you think because you’ll need to iterate. I’ve never gotten the result I wanted from a print shop on the first try. Never. The colors on your screen aren’t the colors on their paper. The Pantone® colors you selected for your banner won’t look the same as the samples. The sales guy you see at the counter screws things up. You need time to iterate and complain. And to find the right person:
- Find the techie in the back of the print shop. The first person you see at the sign shop is typically the sales guy, who knows nothing about Adobe InDesign, DPI, CMYK, vector vs. raster, or anything else important to making your stuff come out properly. Ask for the techie and talk to her directly.
- Plan on at least 3 people. You need two people at the booth to allow for busy times, to restock items, and to take breaks. Then you need another who can be walking around and going to meetings. Doesn’t have to be a strict separation of powers, just need enough people to do all of the above simultaneously.
- Finish all the travel arrangements. Airplane tickets, hotels, rent cars. Fares are cheaper and there’s no last-minute surprises with things being full.
- Decide how your booth will be different. Attendees will see a ton of booths, all essentially identical. A logo, a banner, some “clever” phrase, and 8 adjectives like “fast” and “scalable.” Snore. You have to do something different. It doesn’t have to be amazingly unique, just different.
- Buy shirts and other swag. With customization (i.e. your logo on a shirt), it can sometimes take a while, so get this done early. At least have a “tradeshow shirt.” It’s the law.
1 month before the tradeshow
- Postcard mailers work! I know, you thought “print media” was dead. Well not before a tradeshow, and not if you do it right. Best is to offer something cool/expensive at your booth, but only if they bring the postcard to you. This means they keep the postcard handy starting now and even during the tradeshow, which means whatever else you put on there (marketing material) gets seen repeatedly. It also means they seek you out on the tradeshow floor. Then, because you collect the card, you have their contact info (their name, company, and address), so you get to follow up later. Don’t forget to put your booth number on there! (Another reason to pick the booth early.)
- Emails probably work. Because you can use the tradeshow’s name in the subject of the email, people will probably read your email blast.
- Set up meetings. Yes meetings! Tradeshows are a rare chance to get face-time with:
- Editors of on-line and off-line magazines. Often overlooked, editors are your key to real press. I’ve been published in every major programming magazine; almost all of that I can directly attribute to talking with editors at tradeshows! It works.
- Bloggers you like, especially if you wish they’d write about you
- Existing Customers
- Potential customers currently trialing your stuff
- Your vendors
- Your competition
- Potential partners
Proactively set meetings. Call/email everyone you can find. It’s easy to use email titles which will be obviously non-spam such as “At [Tradeshow]: Can we chat for 5 minutes?” I try to get at least 5 meetings per day. Organizing dinner and/or drinks after the show is good too.
- Promote the show. You want people showing up and going to your booth, especially people who live in the area where attending the show just means getting half a day leave from work. Add a line to everyone’s email signature with the show info and your booth number. If you have a giveaway or something else interesting, say that too.
- Box of everything. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been saved by a box of stuff. A small, cheap plastic box from Walmart is fine. You won’t use all the stuff every time, but I guarantee you will use an unpredictable subset every time. The box should contain:
- pens (multiple, different colors)
- Scotch tape
- masking tape
- extension cord
- electric plug bar
- post-it notes
- rubber bands
- tiny stapler
- paper clips
- all-in-one tool (screwdriver, can opener)
- medicine (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, DayQuil)
- Generic business cards (in case anyone runs out)
- Comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing for much longer than you’re used to; comfortable shoes are a must. Attendees can’t see your shoes so sneakers or clogs might be OK; you can change into your pumps when you leave the booth. You can also bring floor pads designed for people who stand all day, or for a fee most venues can put padding under your booth’s carpeting.
At the tradeshow
- A/B test your pick-up line. This is no different than your landing pages! A tradeshow is a wonderful place to test attention-grabbers. What gets people to stop? To laugh? To say “OK, fair enough, tell me more?” Test all show long. After the 100th pitch, you’ll know exactly what gets people’s attention — now put that on your home page!
- Ask questions instead of pitching. Everyone else “pitches at” people; be different and actually have a conversation. Good conversationalists are genuinely interested in the other person — what do they do, what are they interested in. If you start chatting they will actually ask you for a pitch as a form of reciprocation. Then you’ve got permission to “sell,” and they’re truly listening.
- Don’t ask how they’re doing. Your opening line should engage them with something you specifically have to offer. “Hello, how’s it going” is not interesting or unique. Even just a simple “Are you interested in [thing you do]” is better, although still weak.
- Ask questions, don’t just transmit. Sure you want to pitch your stuff, but this is a fantastic opportunity for direct market research on your potential customers! Come up with 3-5 questions that you’re going to ask of people who walk by the booth, then ask away. No need to carefully record the results — the big trends will be obvious and the rest is noise.
- Stand, don’t sit. Sitting looks like you don’t want to be there. It’s uninviting. The head-height differential is psychologically off-putting. I know your feet hurt; stand.
- Get into the aisle. Just because there’s a table there doesn’t mean you have to stand behind it. Break out of your 10′x10′ prison and engage people in the aisle. Best is to have someone inside the booth to talk to folks who walk up and another in the aisle getting attention and directing folks inward. Especially during high-traffic, just being a barrier in the middle forces people to squeeze by your booth, which gives you a chance to engage. Learn from the guy in the bear suit!
- Moving pictures rock. When you’re sitting at a bar and there’s a TV behind the person you’re talking to, it’s really hard not to look, right? We tend to look at moving images, especially when they’re bright. So your booth should have a big monitor or better yet a bright projector. Don’t just show a static screenshot or PowerPoint image, and don’t leave it stuck wherever the last demo left off — get a demo movie going and catch some eyes. We did this at Smart Bear and I can’t count the number of times another vendor said “OMG we have to do that next year.”
- Always be able to demo. Nothing is more sticky than a live demo. Not swag, not brochures, not clever phrases, not raffles. That other stuff is good — both for getting traffic and as a reminder — but you need a demo to make the experience memorable. I prefer demoing on a projector so it’s big and passers-by get hooked as well, but a large monitor works too. Large. Not your laptop screen.
- Make notes on business cards. You’ll talk to hundreds of people; you’ll never remember what one guy said or what he wants. Always write it down on their business card. If they have one of those silly cards where you can’t make notes (why people, why?), use a post-it from your box-o-stuff to keep notes together with the card.
- Sales people aren’t enough. Most attendees don’t want to talk to sales people anyway; if they’re interested at all they want to geek out with their peers. Air out some of those folks who typically don’t get to go on sales calls.
- Build your own happy hour party Rent a room at or near the conference site with wine, beer, and basic food. Pass out invites at the show and on your pre-show mailers. Who can resist free booze and free food? It’s cheaper than you think and you get to pitch people in a relaxed atmosphere. People are willing to talk about your product to reciprocate.
- Don’t depend on the Internet. Tradeshow Internet is spotty at best. Your demos and note-taking must operate without being online.
- Use LinkedIn every night. Most people will accept, especially if you add the contact the same day and reference the conference. Take advantage of this opportunity to significantly expand your online network.
- Walk the floor and talk to everyone. As a fellow vendor, you can commiserate about how the show is going and how it compares to other shows. Try to think of a way your two companies could work together; usually it doesn’t work out but the discussion helps them remember who you are. Try to skip past their salespeople. Meet the founder if she’s there.
- Note the jokes. People will make fun of you. Actually, if they don’t, maybe that’s a bad sign because they can’t figure out what you do. Usually you get some wise-cracks. That’s interesting, right? Could be a good thing, could be a bad thing.
- Free food. Works better than almost any other free thing. The more “real” the food is (i.e. not just candy) the better. Cookies are good. Put it at the center of your booth so it’s harder for someone to take without talking.
- Raffle something. I’m not a fan of raffles as a way to get sales, but I do like them at tradeshows because it gets a crowd to appear at your booth. Crowds make other people think your booth is interesting. We’ve seen people stop by our booth a day after a big crowd saying “I didn’t want to stop yesterday because you guys were swamped, but I guess whatever you’re doing is interesting!” Make sure you have to provide contact info to enter (fill form, scan badge, drop business card). Those leads won’t be particularly qualified but it’s better than nothing.
- Take names instead of pushing brochures. Attendees get dozens of pieces of paper pushed into their hands and pre-filled in their tote bags. Even if yours is clever, funny, and useful, it’s still going to be lost. Instead of hand-outs, scan their badge or get a business card, and mail them something. It will be waiting on their desk one morning without all the distraction of a tradeshow.
- Quality not quantity. It’s cliché, but it’s better to have six solid conversations with people who will buy your software than to give away 200 pieces of branded swag to people who can’t remember who you are.
After the tradeshow
- Follow up! Attendees are saturated with presentations and vendor pitches, so there’s a 99% chance they’ve forgotten about you. Yes, even if they took your oh-so-memorable swag or your fabulously-designed brochure. It’s up to you to follow up and remind them who you were, and take them up on their offer to get a demo, trial the software, or look at a draft of an article you want published.
- Apply what you learned about selling. You talked to hundreds of people, pitching a hundred different ways, with mixed results. What did you learn? Some questions to get you started:
- Which one-liners got people’s attention, and what did people not relate to?
- How can you incorporate the successful one-liners in your home page?
- What new AdWords text do you want to try?
- How should you change your 2-minute demo?
- What were people saying about your competition? What were your best retorts?
- Apply what you learned about your software. Having to demo the product 50 times always churns up invaluable product information. Some questions to get your started:
- What features did people ask about which you already have, but it wasn’t obvious?
- What features did people keep asking for which you don’t have?
- What part of your demo seemed to drag because your workflow wasn’t easy enough?
- What part confused viewers because the interface wasn’t obvious?
- What terminology made no sense to newbies?
- What did people hate about your competitors, and how can you maintain that advantage?
- What did people love about your competitors, and how can you close that gap?
Five Ways to Make Your Small Exhibit More Effective
You’ve got a small booth — 10-by-20 feet — and a budget to match. You’re getting ready to exhibit at one of your biggest shows of the year, an exhibition that’s jam-packed with big booths and big money. How do you get attendees to notice you?
“Visibility, interactivity, and involvement are different in a smaller exhibit, so you need to put more thought into how you focus your event,” says Marc Goldberg, CME, partner and founder of Marketech, an exhibit-staff training and measurement firm based in Westboro, MA, and a veteran small exhibitor. “You can’t outspend other exhibitors, so you have to outsmart them.”
Here’s what Goldberg and other industry experts had to say about making an exhibit larger than life.
1. Promote ‘Til You Drop
A targeted pre-show promotion is key to combating the disadvantage of size.
“Before visitors arrive at a show — unless they already know you — they have no idea whether you are a 10-by-10 or the largest exhibitor on the floor,” Goldberg says. “A two- or three-part promotion program gives the illusion that you are a player that must be seen. That is the objective: Get on your attendee’s ‘must see’ list.”
Does that mean you should send a flyer to every attendee? In most cases, no. Bob Burk, CTSM, marketing-communications manager for Norwalk, CT,-based chemical manufacturer King Industries Inc., explains. “If you’re doing a show with 10,000 attendees, you can’t afford to do a direct mailing to all 10,000 if you’re a small guy, but you can handpick 150 to 200 and target your market with a pre-show mailing,” he says. “We’ve found that very effective.”
At the International Coatings Exposition in Chicago this October, Burk targeted roughly 350, or 10 percent, of the show’s 3,500 pre-registered attendees who fit King Industries’ target audience based on job function. He sent out a direct-mail piece two weeks prior to the show. One hundred twelve attendees brought the flyer to Burk’s booth — a 32-percent return.
To find out which attendees fit your target market, ask show management for its attendance profile. “Most shows do a pretty good job of providing a prospectus that profiles who the attendees are and what their product interests are,” Burk says. “That should give you some clues on where to focus your efforts.”
When it comes to the promotion itself, Goldberg says one plan that works well for small exhibitors is a three-phase promotion. Give attendees a preview of your booth experience with a pre-show promotion, continue that experience in the booth, and then reinforce the experience with a post-show promotion. “This achieves greater memorability,” he says.
Goldberg puts this plan into action in Marketech’s 10-by-10-foot exhibit. Before the show, he typically sends attendees a 3-by-5-inch, four-color postcard printed with the message “Experience the Results.” When attendees visit the booth, they see the same message. After the show, Goldberg sends a 4-by-6-inch, four-color postcard with a photo of the Marketech staff and the message “Experience the Results” repeated again. At EXHIBITOR Show 2004, Marketech landed 36 qualified leads with this promotion — 33-percent more than the 24 qualified leads gathered at the 2003 show.
Keeping costs down is always top of mind with small exhibitors, but when it comes to promotions, Goldberg recommends splurging a bit. “Most exhibitors commit about 6 percent of their trade show budget to promotion. A small exhibitor must commit more,” Goldberg says. “Why? To drive home why a visitor should invest time to visit the exhibit .”
2. Focus Your Graphics
Every exhibitor needs graphics, Goldberg says, but a small exhibitor’s graphics need to be more effective and more attractive than most. “Your message must be clear and memorable to overcome the issue of size,” he says.
Patti Burge, an event-marketing and management consultant, offers some guidelines for catching the attendee’s eye. “Keep booth graphics simple and succinct,” she says. “Text should be benefit-oriented, not feature-oriented. Determine the most succinct way to say what your company or service does. An attendee shouldn’t have to ask, ‘What does this company do?’ More often than not, attendees will just walk by a booth if they can’t tell what the company does.”
3. Do It Yourself — or Find a Way to Do It Cheaper
If you have the time and the know-how, Burk suggests creating your own graphics. “If you’re able to do some of your graphics yourself using the standard computer programs out there, you can save a great deal of money because you don’t have to pay a graphic designer and an advertising house to produce them,” he says.
Kris Thatcher finds innovative ways to produce high-impact exhibit components for less. When the president of trade show consulting and hardware provider Kass Marketing Group LLC, based in Carrollton, TX, needed to rent a round pedestal with a red top for a client’s display, she refused to pay the hefty price quoted by her exhibit house.
“The standard tops were black and ran about $250 to $275,” Thatcher says. “When I inquired about a red top the price nearly doubled. But a trip to my local Plexiglas supplier netted me four, 24-inch red circles for the price of one custom top. My client will lay the red Plexiglas on top of the standard black. With careful packing, we should get several shows out of them.”
Burk discovered he can save on booth carpet by using a non-standard supplier. “Our company’s facility has 12 buildings, and we’re constantly changing our carpet, so it was less expensive to buy from the company that produces our office-building carpet than to go through the exhibit house. We probably saved 50 percent of the cost of other options from exhibit houses — a savings that could be channeled into exhibit-program components with bigger impact.”
4. Design for Change
When Burk designs a booth, he tries to envision a variety of ways he can use it. This ensures that the final booth design will be configurable in a number of different ways, and it allows him to change the look of the booth from show to show and year to year —which makes the exhibit more competitive.
For example, Burk’s current two-story, custom booth was designed with the usual components — cabinets, wall sections, and display pieces — but they can be used in everything from a 10-by-10-foot to a 20-by-40-foot configuration.
“We’re going on eight years with the same booth,” Burk says, “and every year people think it’s a different booth. But it’s the same framework that can be configured in several different ways. Rather than make an investment every two to four years on a new build, we’ve been able to save time and money by planning components to give the old booth a new look each year.”
5. Think Outside the Booth
To stand out in a sea of exhibits, Burk recommends scenery and props. At one of King Industries’ major shows for its Lubricant Additive Division, Burk rented a 1932 Packard, which he parked in the center of his 20-by-20-footspace next to two lead counters and signs that proclaimed the company’s “long-standing affair with the automobile.” Burk’s Packard cost $2,300 less than the company’s regular booth rental, and increased the number of qualified leads by more than 35 percent over the previous year.
Burk recalls one exhibit manager from a seminar he taught at EXHIBITOR Show 2003 who employed this technique with success. She works for a company that manufactures latex gloves for the medical industry, and jazzed up a standard 10-by-10-foot with a huge latex glove. “Rather than throwing up a typical pop-up, she had a big hand made,” Burk says. “This 8-foot-tall hand with a latex glove on it became her entire booth.”
The crafty exhibit manager even went the extra mile and connected her booth structure with her pre-show promotion. “She did a pre-show mailing with five points about her product that corresponded to the five fingers on the glove in the booth,” Burk says.
Sandra Monroe, marketing-communications manager for outdoor power-systems retailer Argus Technologies Ltd. of Burnaby, BC, Canada, builds her booth with product. “For our 20-by-20-foot space, I’ve moved away from sending large booth pieces and I’m using our equipment to design the booth,” Monroe says. “When I started at this company, we shipped a heavy custom booth to our 400 shows. That makes sense if you have small products or services and need something to fill the space. But I realized the booth just took up too much room.”
Monroe’s solution? She tossed the booth and created a walk-through exhibit of the company’s products. “Even though the products are not attractive, they’re what the customers want to see,” she says. “And the money saved on shipping and drayage can be put toward new signage and better lighting.”
Monroe also made her products the foundation for her giveaway, which she combined with a product demo.” One of our products has an air conditioner in the bottom to keep batteries at a cool temperature,” she says. “I put bottled water in the bottom and turned up the air conditioner. This way, we were able to give customers cold water and demo our product at the same time.”
Whether you use one or all of these techniques in your next exhibit, with a little time, thought, and elbow grease, you’ll only be as small as your imagination.
By Nicole Brudos Ferrara