I received an email from a reader who was nice enough to take the time to email me about a grammar error she noticed on one of my blog posts. Here is her email:
Subject: Guru, I have some advice
From: “Garcia, Stephanie”
Date: Fri, January 15, 2016 10:37 am
I stumbled upon your site while looking for some information to get my creative juices flowing for a sales piece I’m working on for an upcoming show. I’m a grammar nerd and took no small degree of pleasure in the fact that you took your local news to task for misspelled word in their report on the Yosemite Rim fire. If only more people cared like you do, the world would be a much nicer place!
I found it ironic, though, that immediately afterwards, your own writing contained a glaring punctuation error. As a writer myself, I know how hard it is to overlook a simple mistake, so I chalked that one up to poor proofreading. The same mistake happened again a few words later, and then again! [Read more →]
Alternate Title #1) Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?
Alternate Title #2) Fast Thinking vs Slow Thinking
My sixth grade son brought home some math logic problems from his elementary school’s math club weekly meeting. The math club is open to fifth and sixth graders. He told me about one of the problems that involved getting a family over a bridge, and mentioned that the teacher said a fifth grader had solved it just as class was ending, but he wasn’t sure how. I asked my son to show me the problem, as I enjoy math and have a degree in engineering, and was sure I could easily solve it. Here is the problem:
A family of four came to a bridge at night to cross a river. Dad can cross the bridge in 1 minute. Mom can cross in 2 minutes. The Toddler can cross the bridge in 5 minutes and the Grandma can cross the bridge in 10 minutes. They have one flashlight that they have to carry when crossing the bridge. The bridge can hold only 2 people at a time. How can the family cross the bridge in 17 minutes?
(If two people cross together, they move at the speed of the slower one. No one may cross the bridge without flashlight. No one may throw the flashlight to the other side.)
I tried to solve it, but kept coming up with the fastest time being 19 minutes, not 17 minutes. I repeatedly asked my son if there were any “tricks”, such as the dad carrying the toddler, but my son told me the teacher said there were no tricks. I finally gave up and “googled” the logic problem, and found the solution (isn’t Google wonderful?). I was embarrassed to discover the solution was very straightforward, and did not involve any “tricks” at all. [Read more →]
I know it’s only September and 2015 isn’t over yet, but I’m still going to announce the Best TV Commercial for 2015. It’s the 30-second Microsoft Windows 10 commercial with the three cute kids (the official name of the commercial is “Introducing Windows 10 – The Future Starts Now”). The first time we saw it, my family all smiled and talked about it. More importantly, every time we’ve seen it since, we still ohhhh and ahhhh over it. I don’t know how one can see the little girl smile, and not smile also. And I don’t know how one can see the little boy smash his face against the window, and not chuckle. Microsoft hit a home run with this one. It is the Best TV commercial this year. [Read more →]
(updated November 15, 2015) As my regular readers know, I’m not just the Trade Show Guru, I’m the frugal Trade Show Guru. You can easily waste a lot of money on trade show marketing if you don’t know what you’re doing, which is why I write not just about trade show marketing in general, but also how to stretch and maximize your limited marketing budget dollars. To be perfectly honest, I’m also just plain
cheap frugal (except when it comes to beer, and a few other necessities of life). I don’t like to waste money or overpay, nor do I like to get taken advantage of or be ripped off… but that’s really just what my old cell phone providers did to me for many years. On this blog, when I find ways to save money, and/or come across innovative companies that have a better way of doing things, I let my readers know. One innovative, paradigm-shifting company like that is Republic Wireless, a relatively new cell phone service provider. I heard about them over a year ago when I was looking for a better deal on cell service, but it wasn’t until this past summer that I decided to try them out. Being cautious by nature, I signed up for one phone with them in June (2014) to test things out. I was so pleased with the phone and the service that we got two more phones in July and August, and dropped our old service with T-Mobile. What follows is my review of Republic Wireless after being with them half a year for well over a year now (as of November 2015), and why you should consider switching to them. [Read more →]
A few weeks ago, I took my Lego-obsessed 9 year old son to see the Lego Movie, and thus claimed the title of World’s Most Awesome Dad (at least until my son’s bedtime rolled around). The Lego Movie was awesome. I don’t think it’s in theaters anymore, but if you missed it, I recommend you see it when it comes out on DVD, even if you don’t have kids (for after all, aren’t we all kids at heart?). Knowing my son, I’m guessing we’ll be buying the Lego Movie DVD when it is released. I am constantly reminded of the movie by my son, who seems to build a new Lego creation almost everyday, and often answers questions with the phrase, “Well, what would Emmet do?” My son constantly hums the Lego Movie theme song, “Everything is Awesome,” which means the song is now always playing in the back of my mind, in fact, it’s playing in my head right now as I write this post. [Read more →]
Disclosure: This post is based on a real life experience. Company names have been changed to protect the innocent. The company that is the focus of this post and that committed the hereinto described major social media / local marketing blunder is not a bad company. They excel at what they do, and appear to have a decent amount of business, but I think they could improve their social media / local marketing. They certainly try hard and come really close on their marketing efforts, but in marketing, often “close” isn’t good enough. It doesn’t matter if you’re only 5 minutes late or 5 hours late when your cruise ship has already left the dock. When you miss the boat, you miss the boat. And this company, that is so good at what they do, missed the boat on promoting their business and getting more business! Is your company making this same local marketing blunder? [Read more →]
A house is only as strong and durable as the foundation upon which it is built and rests. The same logic applies (metaphorically speaking) to your trade show booth. Your trade show booth is only as strong and as solid as its foundation, and that foundation is the design you create for it. Yes, there are other aspects of your overall trade show marketing foundation, such as pre-show planning and promotion and post-show follow-up, but those are the subject of other posts here, so for this post we’ll just go with the concept that your display design is the foundation of your trade show booth, and you want to make sure you’ve got a strong and solid foundation! While a lot of exhibitors get caught up in wanting a dazzling, amazing, fantastic, and/or incredible trade show booth design, if you want your design and hence your trade show booth to actually be EFFECTIVE, then your trade show booth design must have a rock-solid foundation, which consists of these three critical design elements… the metaphorical cement, aggregate, and rebar of your design. [Read more →]
Does spelling still matter in today’s world? Or should I say, doze spellling stil madder? My wife has been complaining about the growing number of misspellings she sees in the news stories she reads. I haven’t noticed as many, but yesterday I saw a real whopper. I was scanning Google news, and saw a link for a news story about the possibility that the Yosemite Rim fire may have been started by illegal marijuana growers. Having visited and hiked in Yosemite many times, the fire and possible cause of it are of great interest to me, so I clicked through. The news report had the following paragraph in it:
The massive forest fire that has scorched 333 square miles in and around Yosemite National Park may have been sparked by illegal marijuana growers, according to one fire official in Tuolumne County. The San Jose Mercury News reports that Todd McNeal, chief of the Twain Harte Fire Department, told a community meeting that it was “highly suspect that there might have been some sort of illicit grove, a marijuana-grow-type thing.” McNeal, who has 23 years of experience with Forest Service, the National Park Service and other agencies, said at the Aug. 23 meeting that investigators know the fire is human caused since there was know lightening in the area.
I called my wife over to the computer and pointed out the word “know”. How do you confuse “know” with “no” I asked? She then proceeded to point out the next word, “lightening”, and that it is not how one spells “lightning”. Wow! There’s a reason I say my wife is smart, but that’s another post… Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a great example of poor spelling! And, by the way, I checked the next day, and the story still had the “know lightening” mistake. [update: after I published this post, I checked the news story again, and the spelling error had finally been corrected. Maybe there is still hope for the world…]
It makes me wonder if the younger generation is finally really going to heck in a hand basket, or if I’m just a grumpy old fart. Perhaps both statements are true. I think with the advent of texting and the lack of proper spelling, that not only are people getting sloppy with their spelling, they also aren’t learning to spell like we did back when I was it school. What do you think, is spelling getting worse these days?
And now the segue from “know lightening” to what spelling has to do with trade shows and trade show marketing. It’s simple. Spelling matters! Make sure you check your spelling on your trade show brochures and especially on your trade show display graphics. And don’t just rely on Microsoft spellcheck, as it would not catch the error of “know lightening”. Don’t embarrass your company with a misspelled word! Check your work.
At the company where I work, we print a lot of trade show graphics. On occasion, we’ll get a design from a customer and notice a spelling error or typo on it before we print a proof. It’s not our job or responsibility to check our customers’ designs, but if we notice a spelling mistake, we let them know. They’re always grateful. But I wonder sometimes if we hadn’t noticed the mistake, would our customer have noticed before we printed the graphics and they set them up at their trade show?
So have you ever been at a trade show and seen a glaring spelling error on a trade show exhibit? Leave a comment and let me know if you have.
And remember, as far as the Trade Show Guru is concerned, spelling still matters. Check your work!
Every now and then I’ll see a great video and post it here. This is one of those times, and one of those posts. But in addition to posting the video, I’m raising a question… not about the video, but about marketing. As for the video, it’s called Sling Baby, and it is one of the five finalists for a contest to make a commercial for Doritos, with the winning video to be shown during the Super Bowl. As for the video, Sling Baby, it is the Best. Video. Ever. Or at least, the best video I’ve seen in a while. Of course I’m a sucker for cute babies and kids, but this video is great in so many ways. I ask you to take 30 seconds of your time and watch it, and then if you want, you can even vote for Sling Baby (and see the other four finalists videos), and we’ll see if Sling Baby wins! So without further ado… [Read more →]
I’m a big fan of “thinking outside the box”, especially when it comes to marketing, and trade show marketing in general. It seems that many trade show exhibitors just try to copy other exhibitors instead of coming up with a unique marketing strategy or message. Of course, it is one thing to say that you should think outside the box. It’s another thing to say what that really means or how one does it. And the point of this post isn’t explain how to think outside the trade show marketing box… this post is to discuss the problem that many people get so focused on thinking OUTSIDE of the box, that they forget about the BOX itself… [Read more →]