The Trade Show Floor Can Be a Fascinating Research Lab

Due to all the economic shifts in the last year or so, the audience for your product or service has changed.  Do you know how much they have changed?  You can easily gain insight by collecting information at your next show.  Here are a several simple ideas to consider and possibly incorporate in your overall show planning efforts.

Typically, the smart exhibit marketer has trained booth personnel to engage the audience with a unique “pick-up” line.  It is a short, an open-ended question, which stops the attendee in the aisle and draws them into the booth for further conversation.  It is NOT – “Can I help you?”

Using this function and conducting primary research with the trade show audience, you can have your fingers on the pulse of prospects and what is relevant for them.

Test Your Marketing Message:

Conveying your marketing message in a brief sentence or two can be a challenge.  These succinct ideas should deliver the compelling response – tell me more.  But which ones have the broadest appeal?

This concept is very similar to the A/B split testing done on headlines.  You want to assess which one has the greatest impact.  Does it solicit a response which indicates they want more information or is there no response?

Equip your booth personnel with two different statements and use them to engage the audience.  Then, see which one has the best response.  Now it is important that you coach your personnel to deliver the one-liners in the same fashion so there is consistency of information being collected.

It will be fascinating to hear and understand their responses.  They just might give you a better marketing message, in their language, than you could have dreamed up.

Once you have the winning statement, share this with your marketing teammates so they can assess if this should be woven into other marketing messages.  It could be used in email campaigns, advertising, website etc.

How is Your Competition Viewed?

What do the attendees say about your competition?  Gathering intelligence from your customers and prospects on how they view the competition can aid you in positioning your products/services.  How high do they regard the features, functions, and benefits of your adversary?

Typically, this information can be gathered when you are conducting a demo of your product/service.  During a demo or a conversation in the booth many questions are asked.  By carefully analyzing the questions asked, you can determine the holes in your marketing.

Assess the following:

  • What features did people ask about which you already have, but it wasn’t obvious in the demo?
  • What features did people keep asking for which you don’t have or are on the drawing board for a future release?

As you were talking to them, did they share anything they loved or hated about your competition?  This information is golden, in that you are hearing their preferences directly from your audience.

Consider hiring an outside research firm to conduct intercept interviews (GES is a great option).  This is where a person stops someone who has just left your booth and poses a few questions.  Via this qualitative research tool you can assess your marketing message, the booth personnel, etc.  Using the results will help fine tune or totally change your approach for the next show.

Gathering and analyzing the responses to your queries can alter your marketing so that it has a broader impact and moves more prospects into the sales funnel.

Joyce McKee – Defying Convention

Our Work @ The Armory Show 2013

 The Displayers is proud to have created the exhibits for:


Andy Warhol at Gagosian (Booth #903)



The Armory Show is at Pier 94, 12th Avenue at 55th Street, through Sunday March 10th.  For more information, visit:


We look forward to hearing from you and discussing how we can bring your projects to life.  Enjoy the Show!


Other art projects The Displayers has created can be found at our:


Gagosian booth - Warhol installation - The Armory Show  2013
Liz Magic Laser - The Armory Show 2013 - catalog cover revised


Architectural Digest Home Design Show – 2013

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.


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



About Us

Management Team

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.


Mark Falanga
Susan McCullough
Senior Vice President

General Information

Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.
7 West 34th Street
Suite 1027
New York, NY 10001


Driving Directions

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.

MOMA – Labrouste Exhibit

The Displayers will construct tables to match those Henri LaBrouste designed for the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in the 1840’s.


The Museum of Modern Art describes this show as:
Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light,
the first solo exhibition of Labrouste’s work in the United States, establishes his work as a milestone in the modern evolution of architecture. The exhibition includes over 200 works, from original drawings—many of them watercolors of haunting beauty and precision—to vintage and modern photographs, films, architectural models, and fragments. Labrouste made an invaluable impact on 19th-century architecture through his exploration of new paradigms of space, materials, and luminosity in places of great public assembly. His two magisterial glass-and-iron reading rooms in Paris, the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (1838–50) and the Bibliothèque nationale (1859–75), gave form to the idea of the modern library as a temple of knowledge and as a space for contemplation. Labrouste also sought a redefinition of architecture by introducing new materials and new building technologies. His spaces are at once overwhelming in the daring modernity of their exposed metal frameworks, lightweight walls, and brightness, and immersive in their timelessness.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

Arts | Connecticut

Mournful, Angry Views of Ireland’s Famine

A Review of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, in Hamden

Mark Stanczak/Quinnipiac University

PROCESSION A print of a grieving family is projected on a video wall. By SYLVIANE GOLD / Published: January 4, 2013

Most museums that bear witness to a nightmare, like Yad Vashem in Jerusalem or the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, are hard to visit. Caught between our need to understand the history and our wish to turn away from the horror, we don’t quite know where or how to look.

But Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, which opened in October in Hamden, is a different kind of place. For one thing, the event it commemorates, the Irish potato famine, happened too long ago for news cameras to capture piled-up corpses and harrowing testimony. It lacks shocking artifacts, like Hiroshima’s charred, stopped pocket watches. And its contemporary accounts, seen through the period gloss of antique typefaces and hand-drawn images, provide safe distance rather than harsh immediacy.

The museum, a project of Quinnipiac University, presents a selection of these prints and periodicals, as well as letters and other documents, responding in real time to Ireland’s starving populace and deserted villages. But in its inaugural exhibition, it lets later artists, both from Ireland and from the countries in which famine victims settled, do most of the talking. This has the surprising effect of simultaneously softening and sharpening the gruesome facts.

What the Irish now call An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger) began in 1845, when a deadly fungus attacked the island’s staple food. In tandem with the government in England, which could have mitigated the disaster but found many excuses to limit its role, the potato blight brought Ireland a growing tragedy of slow starvation, rampant disease and escalating despair that did not abate until 1852, by which time a million or more had died and some two million had fled.

It took 150 years after the famine’s worst year, Black ’47, for England to acknowledge some blame for it, and nearly as long for Irish artists to begin grappling with its legacy. So the strongest work in the museum is modern, varying widely in material and ranging in tone from mournful to polemical.

Margaret Lyster Chamberlain’s moving bronze, “The Leave-Taking,” is distinctly in the first key, with its 17 bedraggled figures crowding a ship’s gangway that leads to a new life in America — if they survive the voyage. Another striking bronze, John Behan’s “Famine Cart,” is even more blunt: a skeletal horse drags both itself and a wagon loaded with emaciated cadavers to the burial ground. In “An Gorta Mor” Robert Ballagh uses stained glass for a before-and-after triptych, in which a bucolic farm scene and an eviction flank a half-thriving, half-rotting potato plant. If Mr. Ballagh refers to the Catholic Church in his choice of medium, Kieran Tuohy exploits the Irish landscape itself for his sculpture of a “Lonely Widow,” carved in bog oak.

The painters also defy categorization. Lilian Lucy Davidson’s haunting “Burying the Child” packs an intense emotional wallop, with the central figure leaning into his shovel almost as if he were still digging potatoes; but it is a straightforward image of loss. Nearby, Hughie O’Donoghue addresses the hard times in an abstract watercolor, “On Our Knees.” And in “Black ’47,” Micheal Farrell takes an allegorical approach, depicting a courtroom in which five Irish skeletons emerge from a coffin to accuse Britain, in the reviled person of Charles E. Trevelyan, who ran the government’s disastrously inadequate relief efforts.

“There is scarcely a woman of the peasant class in the west of Ireland whose culinary art exceeds the boiling of a potato,” Trevelyan sniffed in his 1848 book about Britain’s blame-the-victim policies, betraying the contempt with which he viewed the “ignorant and excitable” people he was ostensibly trying to help.

This contempt is visible also in the many famine images of apelike Irish peasants in British journals of the day. They are plastered floor to ceiling, along with illustrated newspaper pages from elsewhere, on a circular enclosure that surrounds the viewer and conveys not just specific horrors from the famine years but also the intense public interest in the Irish suffering abroad and the endless, useless wrangling of the political classes.

It calls to mind the debates that have been raging here and in Europe since 2008, circling around the same old issues of austerity, socialism and responsibility. Trevelyan thought his harsh remedies would lead to a smarter, happier, more efficient, more responsible future. In the galleries of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum we come face to face with what really happened.

Inaugural Exhibition, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum (Musaem An Ghorta Mhoir), 3011 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. For additional information: or (203) 582-6500.

New York Times Article

The Javits Center Information

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

By Car 
By Truck

Getting to the Javits Center couldn’t be easier. To get here, just follow these simple directions.

By Car

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.

By Truck

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.


From North
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.

Public Transportation

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.

Port Authority
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:

  • Amtrak
  • 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

Ferry Service

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


2013 Calendar

American International Toy Fair ▪ February 10, 2013 – February 13, 2013 –

THE VOICE Casting ▪ February 16, 2013 – February 17, 2013 –

MMA World Expo ▪ February 16, 2013 – February 17, 2013 –

CURVENY ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 –

JA New York Winter Show ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 –

Fashion Coterie ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 –

Sole Commerce ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 –

MODA Manhattan ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 –

The Accessories Show  ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 –

FAME ▪ February 24, 2013 – February 26, 2013 –

New York Wine Show ▪ March 1, 2013 – March 3, 2013 –

International Restaurant & Food Service Show of New York ▪ March 3, 2013 – March 5, 2013 –

American Diabetes Association Diabetes Expo ▪ March 8, 2013 – March 9, 2013 –

Coffee Fest New York ▪ March 8, 2013 – March 11, 2013

New York City First Robotics Competition ▪ March 8, 2013 – March 10, 2013 –

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 –

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

How To Commandeer a Tradeshow

Don’t have $35,000 for trade-show real estate? No problem! These guerrilla marketing tips will get you noticed anyway.

Here’s a typical scenario faced by many young companies: You want to raise awareness of your company at an upcoming industry trade show, but you don’t have much money to spend. You know that participating in the tradeshow is the most effective option, but you can afford neither the high cost of booth space nor the booth needed to fill it.  Nonetheless, it is critical for your young company to join the fray and get in front of potential customers, partners and investors. So, what can be done?

In this situation, guerilla marketing can be a great strategy. All it takes is creativity and the ability to pull a stunt or two. No problem, right? Let’s get going.

1.    Understand the geography

Before the show, visit the main venues and surrounding hotels.  Figure out where people will walk, pick up buses, catch cabs, have lunch and meet for drinks. You’re trying to find the best locations for maximum visibility.

During this initial reconnaissance, make friends.  Meet the bell captain in the hotels that are nearby but aren’t part of the official show, say hello to the head of housekeeping and talk with the bar staff at local watering holes.  These folks are integral players in the guerilla marketing game and can often make or break your campaign.

2.    Know which assets the show controls and which it doesn’t

Think about all potential “logo real estate” around the show and find out what real estate you can take over that the show is not already using. Look at hotel key cards for non-show hotels ($250 plus the cards). Ask your new friends crucial questions: would the housekeeping, bar or bell staff don a free t-shirt, hat or button with your logo?  Do any of the hotels have in-room programming and can you be included?  A fundraising mantra comes into play here: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Important note: stay clear of the things that are the purview of the trade show itself. You don’t want to get yourself blacklisted from future shows. You just want to take advantage of the larger ecosystem around a show to get some visibility for your company. There is a lot of room for everyone around a big event.

3.     Play the numbers game, to increase your chances of success

Sadly, despite your research, some of the gambits you use to sneak your way into the minds of potential customers will be spotted and removed immediately.  But others will succeed, as the hotel staff will naturally assume someone else authorized you to replace the hotel’s normal coasters in the bar with your logoed ones.  All it really took was a tip to the bartender ($50) and customized coasters ($125).  Try putting large buttons on the hotel maids ($100 tip/$100 buttons) and t-shirts on the bell staff ($200 tips/$150 t-shirts). Find the popular bars and tape posters in the bathroom stalls ($150) or put logoed toiletry baskets in the bathrooms ($250) that will draw attention to your company.

Timing is everything. You want to execute your ploys in close proximity to one another and throughout the run of the show.  As part of the action phase, expect some backlash.  If someone gets mad, apologize and move on. Expect some losses.

4.    Hijack the spotlight

Most tradeshows host large evening events. Think about how you can maximize this off-site exposure opportunity. Give out hats to the local taxi cab drivers who will be transporting party goers and offer a $100 prize to any driver seen wearing one.

Another idea is to hire a college drama group to stage a mock protest or a Flash Mob near the taxi and bus lines to highlight your product (as little as $300). Avoid impeding traffic flow and stick to public streets and you likely won’t run into any problems.

Celebrity impersonators wearing your logoed item and a photographer can attract a lot of attention. Be sure to capture the contact information from those who pose with your stars, so you can send the picture to them and begin building a more meaningful relationship. This is a perfect thing in Vegas.

While your company is starting off, these tips and tricks can make the difference between being remembered and being just another face in the start-up crowd.  Later, when you’re successful and the company has progressed, you’ll have the option of spending $30,000 – $75,000 to do the trade show “properly.” You’ll likely look back on these shenanigans with a private smile.  I still do.

Inc. Magazine – December 12, 2012


Exec hopes math museum adds up – Math Museum – New York

Source Lunch: Exec hopes math museum adds up

Glen Whitney, a 43-year-old math professor turned hedge funder, will soon realize a dream. In December, he will open the Museum of Mathematics, or MoMath, a state-of-the-art interactive museum at 11 E. 26th St. The executive director created the museum in an effort to excite American youth about the sometimes inscrutable field. He left his lucrative job as an algorithms manager at quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies four years ago and set out to build the cultural institution, raising nearly $24 million.

What do you want MoMath to achieve?

The mission is to change perceptions about mathematics. One of our trustees put it very simply: If we can show people just three things—that math is fun, that it’s beautiful and that with it you can get a really good job—then we’ll be a complete success.

Is the United States in trouble because our kids are not up to par in the subject?

Yeah, it’s clear, and you don’t have to take it from us. I was sitting down with someone from Microsoft Corp. just a couple of weeks ago, and they said last year they had 2,500 positions they couldn’t fill because they can’t find people with sufficient math and computer science skills. Raytheon Corp. told us they have 4,500 open positions because of the same thing.

What is the coolest thing at the museum?

That’s a tough question. My favorite is called Feedback Fractals, probably because of how simple it is. There are four video cameras that are all focused on this screen with which you can create an incredible array of striking images that seem to well up out of nowhere.

Is this actually math?

People ask us that a lot about our exhibits because we’re bringing out these aspects of math that people, unfortunately and sadly, don’t get to see in their whole 2,000 hours of forced math exposure over the course of kindergarten to 12th grade. This is math in a whole number of ways. The simplest way is just the understanding that there is a repeating pattern, and that is the root of mathematics.

How did you raise all the money for the museum? Did you hit up your hedge fund friends?

There were a number of things we had to do: Build a board of trustees, raise money, find advisers, find volunteers. Like anything, it’s like ripples in a pond. You start with the people you know. The first rule was go to every [relevant event] and tell everyone you see and meet about this idea.

Did you meet your fundraising goal?

We have one area of critical need: exhibit sponsorship. Our exhibits are very innovative, so we got estimates of how much they would cost. But the fabricators said they’ve never built anything like this before. As a result, the quotes came out much higher than the estimates had been. We will open with about 35 of the planned exhibits. But we still need to raise another $1.5 million to $2 million to complete the vision and get to 45 exhibits eventually.

What is the target age for the museum?

The people we try to keep in mind as we’re creating things is fourth through eighth grade. Kids in elementary school are often excited by math and science, and the kids who are good at it are heroes. Then something happens in middle school, where suddenly it’s not cool to be good at math and science. We want to target that age and have a place that’s really cool, a place where it’s safe to express your love for mathematics.

Were you stigmatized for loving math as a kid?

There were other folks in my high school that got, shall we say, ribbed for being the brainiac, and I was very conscious that I didn’t want that to happen to me. So I tried to lie low a little bit.


Crains New York Article – Jul 15, 2012 5:59 am

6 Tips to Managing Client Expectations

6 Tips to Managing Client Expectations
Inc. Magazine
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.

How to Keep Museum-goers Happy

BY  ARTnews

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.”

Ann Landi is a contributing editor of ARTnews.

By Ann Landi Posted 03/27/12

Obesity and Other Targets of Children’s Museums

PLAY WITH A PURPOSE   EatSleepPlay at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is intended to promote children’s health.

CHILDREN’S museums do not usually have exhibitions that involve crawling through a giant digestive system.

A child exits a maze designed to explain the function of the intestines in the digestive process.

But such an installation — along with a play center where visitors learn the power of pedaling, bouncing and jumping and a place to meet superpowered vegetable heroes — is part of a larger effort by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to help prevent childhood obesity.

While children’s museums are primarily known as activity centers to divert the younger set and to help form future museumgoers, they are increasingly focused on social outreach. “Part of our mission is to provide access,” said Andy Ackerman, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. “Social issues, education, health and creativity — it’s all a continuum, and we can connect those domains and reinforce each of them.”

The Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore has adapted museum exhibits and programming for children with special needs. The Young at Art Museum in Davie, Fla., has an afterschool arts program for homeless students. The Providence Children’s Museum in Rhode Island helps children in foster care find permanent families. And the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan provides a place for foster-care children to reunite with their birth parents by making art together.

“As resources become more and more scarce, everybody’s looking to children’s museums to fill varying kinds of needs for children and families,” said Janet Rice Elman, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums in Arlington, Va. “These are places where families can learn through play — from science to early literacy skills to parenting — in settings that are joyful.”

Many of these programs involve collaborations with other organizations that have specific expertise. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side, for example, developed its so-called EatSleepPlay effort with the National Institutes of Health and collaborates with the City University of New York on training at-home child-care providers in teaching literacy, math and science.

The Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo has joined with Henry Street Settlement’s Urban Family Center to bring free weaving, printmaking and sculpture to children living in transitional housing, culminating with a children’s art exhibition and a reception for families and friends. And the Boston Children’s Museum is joining with Head Start, Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston to prepare students for kindergarten.

“We want to be relevant to our communities,” said Jeri Robinson, the vice president for early childhood and family learning at the Boston museum.

Museums are also developing continuing relationships with outside experts. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for example, has worked closely with health advisers like Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. Her research helped the museum develop the sleep section of the EatSleepPlay exhibition,  covering topics like preparing for sleep, what happens during sleep and how much sleep children need.

Rather than serving as just one more recreational option, children’s museums are recasting themselves as essential anchors in their communities — “the hub or the center,” Mr. Ackerman said.

“Educating through the arts,” he added. “That’s how you change behavior.”

The New-York Historical Society is seeking to educate with its new DiMenna Children’s History Museum, which opened last fall. Young visitors learn about prejudice by studying the life story of James McCune Smith, the first African-American to earn a medical degree. They learn about money and credit by visiting the Alexander Hamilton pavilion. “All of the exhibits we’ve developed are focused on teaching a skill or a behavior,” said Louise Mirrer, the president and chief executive.

The museums are also reaching beyond their walls to take their programming more aggressively into underprivileged neighborhoods. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is replicating its exhibitions in East Harlem’s public housing. It sends two artists to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center every week to work with children. And it is running health and literacy programs in the Bronx and New Orleans.

And children’s museums are making a concerted effort to draw specific groups of people who might otherwise not come through their doors. On Mondays, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is open to children with autism and their families, as well as to school groups. “They need a quiet venue,” Mr. Ackerman said.

The ARTogether program at the Children’s Museum of the Arts brings foster children together with their biological parents to create art, led by a clinically trained, licensed art therapist. The museum recently expanded the effort to include families with children at risk of being placed in foster care. It has hired staff members who speak Mandarin and Cantonese.

“You can come to our space and participate alongside other folks who maybe aren’t having the same challenges,” said David Kaplan, the museum’s executive director. “You want to be supportive of families in the program but you want to be empowering them — you don’t want them to rely on you forever. Eventually you want them coming to the museum on their own terms and on their own time.”

In opening a larger space last fall, the Children’s Museum of the Arts hopes to generate more revenue to benefit children at risk, to provide a “nice, safe environment for people to come to,” Mr. Kaplan said.

Not only are children’s museums seeking to educate, they want their visitors to feel comfortable entering cultural institutions for many years to come and to see exhibitions that affirm their own experience. “The audiences who are living here want to be able to come here and see their lives reflected,” said Ms. Robinson of the Boston museum.

In some cases, the exhibits also take the visitors to places they have never been. The museum now features a Japanese silk weaver’s house that was a gift from Kyoto. “Many of our kids will never go to Japan,” Ms. Robinson said. “But they can have an authentic Japanese experience by coming to our house.”

By Robin Pogrebin / Published: March 14, 2012 / on page F2 of the New York Times

NYC Museums are Drawing Record Crowds

Crain’s Magazine

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.”!


BY MIRIAM KREININ SOUCCAR / May 2, 2011 – Crain’s Magazine



A Great Tradeshow Checklist, born of experience

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)
    • Sharpie
    • Scotch tape
    • masking tape
    • extension cord
    • electric plug bar
    • post-it notes
    • rubber bands
    • tiny stapler
    • highlighter
    • paper clips
    • scissors
    • all-in-one tool (screwdriver, can opener)
    • medicine (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, DayQuil)
    • zip-ties
    • 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?


A Smart Bear – January 25, 2010


Grand Central Holiday Fair – Design Concept Flythrough

The Displayers managed the installation and dismantle of Grand Central Terminals Holiday Fair for (6) years.  Installation of the Holiday Fair required the handling and installation of (43) crates to assemble and fill the 12,000 square foot Vanderbilt Hall over a (20) men to assemble over (5) days.

Jones Lang LaSalle and The MTA asked that conceptual designs be proposed to replace existing system.  The renderings and fly – through was The Displayers proposal.


Design 960 des GCT Holiday Fair concepts pg4-9 12-19-08-1 540x960

design 400 90 des GCT Holiday Fair concepts pg1-3 12-19-08-2

Optically clear acrylic joints

Making really perfect, optically-clear acrylic joints

There is surprisingly little information on the ‘net regarding acrylic joinery. Gluing two pieces of acrylic is a common operation for many hobbyists and craftspeople, but it seems the only forums that deal with acrylic are those that attract custom aquarium builders. Those projects are often very large and use slightly different techniques than what would be used for small projects. I had to search for a long time and still came up with relatively little info, so I would like to share my experiences.

There are a handful of different general methods that can be used two join one acrylic edge to the surface of another piece. I have tried a few, and think that the “pins method” is definitely the easiest and most reliable. In this method, one piece of acrylic is supported on its edge by a series of pins, spaced about 6 inches apart, above the face of another piece of acrylic. The solvent is applied to the gap and allowed to soften the acrylic for about 30 seconds. The pins are then removed, and the top piece is lowered onto the bottom piece. The joint must be supported for a few minutes until it is strong enough to hold the weight of the piece. The result is usually very good, and the operation can be controlled by using pins of different diameters, and letting the solvent soften the pieces for more or less time.

Step 1: The most critical step is edge preparation. The edge of the acrylic must be extremely flat and smooth. My favorite tools to achieve this in order of preference: 1. Jointer 2. Router 3. Table saw with high-quality blade 4. sanding. I would only recommend sanding if you are preparing the face of a box or the end of a large-diameter acrylic tube. Sanding is usually extremely slow, and does not work at all if you are trying to hand-hold a single sheet of acrylic at 90* to the sandpaper. If sanding is necessary, use a large sheet of glass with sandpaper attached to it with double-sided tape. Push the part back and forth over the sandpaper, and move up through the grits. The glass will make sure the surface is as flat as possible. Generally, water is used with grits 320 and higher, and I would say 320 is as fine as the surface needs to be. I would not recommend a power sander because the are hard to control, usually do not cover the whole surface of the part, and tend to overheat the acrylic.

Step 2: Position the parts with a jig or a square. It’s important to position the parts so that the bottom piece extends 1/32″ to 1/16″ past the outer edge of the top piece. This will hold the excess solvent and will make life easier because the excess can be cut away with a router flush-cut bit later.

Step 3: Insert pins between the bottom and top pieces every six inches. Sewing pins are usually too fat. I like to use short pieces of solid copper wire that measure .015″ dia. If the pins are too fat, when you remove them there will be a lot of excess solvent that spills out and it will make a mess.

Step 4. Fill the gap with solvent. Use a standard “hypo applicator” or “needle bottle”. Squeeze the bottle while it is upright, then tip it upside-down while loosening your grip on the bottle. It will suck in some air, and prevent the solvent from coming out until you want it to.

Step 5. Remove the pins and let the top piece rest on the lower. Do NOT use any force to push the top piece down. As soon as the top piece is positioned correctly, let it sit completely undisturbed for 5 or 10 minutes.

You can handle the piece very carefully after 10 or 20 minutes (depending on the temperature) and continue with other glue joints in the project. Full-strength usually takes 2 to 4 days. The joint will initially look a little ‘textured’, however the optical clarity will improve over the next 24 hours. Of course, air-bubbles will never go away, so you can decide right away if the joint is not good enough in that respect.

After a lot of experimenting, I found out that the brand of acrylic and the brand of solvent make a HUGE difference in the quality of the joint. Check out this page which shows a grid of comparisons:

Ben Krasnow – August 28, 2008

Effective Tradeshow Planning


Exhibiting at trade shows, expos, conventions, fairs and other exhibitions gives you a unique sales opportunity that can also help you generate new leads, find suppliers, check out the competition, do some networking, and get publicity. In short, you can achieve at one trade show what it would take you weeks or months to do if you stayed home. And it may even save you money — according to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, it costs 62% less to close a lead generated from a trade show than one originated in the field.

But to accomplish all of the above you must plan carefully. That means choosing the correct show, setting clear objectives, creating an effective exhibition, and promoting your presence. All this, before you even get to the show! Click on the subjects below to learn more about getting the most out of your trade show experience.

Choosing the Correct Show

With more than 10,000 trade shows held in the United States annually, picking the one that will net you the greatest benefit for your investment of time and money can be daunting.

Begin your search by looking for trade shows that fit your product or service. You can find these out by looking in directories such as “The Tradeshow & Convention Guide” (BPI Communications) and “The Tradeshow Week Data Book” (Reed Reference), both of which list trade shows across the U.S., as well as various show data. On the Web, you can try one of the trade show search sites, including

Another resource for finding out about shows is your industry’s trade association, since many shows and conventions are sponsored by industry groups. Your local Chamber of Commerce or Convention Bureau may also be able to help you find out about smaller local shows.

Here are some additional tips to help you make the right choice:

Don’t just choose by the numbers
Big trade show crowds can actually be a waste of time if they don’t include people who are buyers or prospective customers for your product or service. Look closely at statistics of past years’ shows to help you evaluate whether attendees fit your customer profile. The show manager should be able to provide you with this data.

Ask your customers for help
Talk to your customers to find out what trade shows they attend, since shows that meet their needs will likely be attended by other prospects. You can also speak with your competitors to find out what shows they’ve found most useful.

Check it out ahead of time
The best way to evaluate a show is to take a first-hand look. Before you sign up, go to the show as an attendee. Is the show active and exciting? Are the people walking the show floor potential customers? Who are the other exhibitors and where would your product/service fit in the mix? Talk to people and keep your eyes open.

Evaluate it carefully
Once you’ve got a list of show possibilities, ask these questions to determine if the show is the right one for your purposes:

  • Is it big enough to draw a cross-section of prospects and vendors — but not so large that you’ll be competing against the giants in your industry?
  • Is it in the right place, geographically, to attract your customers — whether they are local, regional, national, or global?
  • Is it scheduled at a time when you can service the new business you’ll attract and follow up on leads?
  • Are the show’s promoters reliable and does the management have a proven track record of success?
    Don’t wait until the last minute
    Some popular shows fill up fast. If you wait too long, you could find yourself on a waiting list. Plus, the earlier you sign up for a show, the more choices you’ll have regarding finding a good location for your booth.

    Setting Clear Objectives
    To get the most out of the time, money and energy you invest in exhibiting at a trade show, it’s vital that you decide what your purpose is for being there and set measurable goals. Everything you do before, during, and after the show should be evaluated in terms of whether it contributes toward reaching these goals.

    Possible goals for trade shows
    Here are some reasons businesses exhibit at trade shows. Your goals may include several of these, or others that are important to your small business:

    • write sales orders
    • research the competition
    • spot trends
    • generate leads for future sales
    • build your mailing list with quality names
    • find better or cheaper suppliers
    • build rapport with current customers
    • get press
    • generate excitement around a new product
    • increase company’s visibility within the industry
      Be sure to staff your booth adequately and smartly
      You can’t do it alone. No matter what your goal, you will need at least one person to “spot” you when you leave the booth to take a break or to check out the competition. A good rule of thumb is to have two staffers for every 100 square feet of exhibit space. Your staff should be well-groomed, well-trained, friendly and knowledgeable. They should understand your goals and know their role in reaching them. If you don’t have employees on the payroll, hire relatives, friends, or part-timers.

      Focus your message
      Pick just two or three key ideas that you want to get across at the show and train yourself and your staff to “stay on message”. Design your graphics, pre-show promotion, literature and show directory advertising around your message.

      Create a budget
      Once you know which show you’re going to and what your goals are, draw up a budget. Without a budget, costs can quickly spiral out of control (last minute impulse purchases to jazz up your booth, for example) and defeat your best laid plans. One rule of thumb is that your space costs should represent about a quarter of your total budget. So when you know what you’ll be paying for space rental, multiply by four for a rough idea of your expenses, excluding personnel costs.

      Creating an Effective Exhibit
      Where your booth is located and how your booth looks will have an impact on your trade show success. Use these tips to help you along.

      Shoot for a high-traffic location
      Be sure to look at a floor plan before you choose your site. Foot traffic is heaviest in certain areas of a typical trade show floor. Look for locations near entrances, food concessions, rest rooms, seminar rooms, or close to major exhibitors. Try to avoid dead-end aisles, loading docks, obstructing columns, or other low-traffic regions.

      Consider sharing a booth
      New exhibitors often get the least desirable locations. One way around that is to share a well-located booth with a colleague in a related business. Talk to your sales rep, or try to hook up with an established exhibitor whose products or services complement yours.

      Elate the senses
      Make sure people coming to your booth can experience your product or service. Let them touch, see, feel, hear or taste it. Are you selling decorative pillows? Display them in an appropriate setting and have samples that buyers can touch. Have you developed a new software package? Be sure to have multiple computer terminals available for attendees to try the package.

      Keep it simple
      Don’t go overboard with booth graphics. One large picture that can be seen from afar may have a greater impact than many small ones. A single catchy slogan that describes your business may say more than long blocks of text.

      Gimmicks work
      Gimmicks and give-aways can also drive traffic to your booth. Hold a contest; have a loud product demo; give away pieces of candy; hire a masseuse and offer free back rubs. Just make sure that the gimmick fits your company’s image and the sensibilities of your clients.

      Promoting Your Presence
      Remember that the best trade show planning will fail if nobody knows you’re there. The CEIR estimates that as many as three-quarters of show attendees know what exhibits they want to see before they get to the show. Strong pre-show promotion will let your customers and prospects know about your exhibit. These tips will help.

      Work the phones
      A month to 6 weeks before the show, start calling your top customers and prospects to set up meetings. Many people arrive at a show with a firm schedule and have little or no time for other booths, so it’s important to get on that schedule as early as you can. Be sure to confirm all phone meetings a week or so before the show.

      Send out mailings
      The show’s management will often let you purchase a mailing list of pre-registered attendees. Try a simple pre-show mailing focusing on one or two benefits of dropping by your booth. Be sure to it includes show contact information, including your booth number.

      Use the press
      Issue press releases to trade publications and local papers that will be covering the show. Your release should highlight something newsworthy about your exhibit — a new product introduction or a special demonstration, for example. You’ll also want to prepare plenty of press kits for the show, and be sure to drop it by the press room so reporters can find it.

      Look out for show publications
      Advertising in publications that are distributed only at the show can be expensive and ineffective. These publications often have a narrow focus, and they get lost in the blizzard of paper that rains upon trade show attendees.

      Planning Your Follow-up Strategy
      The time to plan your follow-up strategy is before the show begins. That way, you can reach prospects with your follow-up message while the show is still fresh in their minds. Here are some things you should know about follow-up.

      Make follow-up a priority
      According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 80% of show leads aren’t followed up. Make lead follow-up your number one priority after a show, taking precedence over just about everything else — including catching up on what you missed while you were out of the office.

      Write your follow-up mailer before the show
      Your post-show mailing can be as simple as a thank-you note or a brochure with a cover note. Write it and have it printed out before you leave for the show, so you can send the mailing immediately upon your return.

      Qualify leads during the show
      Rank your leads by level of importance and interest, and base your post-show efforts on these priorities. Phone your hottest prospects within a week after the show ends — the longer you let them sit, the staler they’ll become. Send everyone else some kind of follow-up mailing.

      Keep your promises
      Be sure that you keep any promises you made at your booth. Have enough brochures and product sheets on hand before the show so you can send out requested information promptly.

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