Trade Show Guru

For Those Seeking Trade Show Marketing Enlightenment

Trade Show Guru

Four Timeless Marketing Lessons from the Lego Movie

May 9th, 2014 · General Marketing, Movies, The Joy of Fatherhood

lego-movie-marketing-lessonsA 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 →]

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The Easiest Social Media Local Marketing Tip Ever

April 17th, 2014 · General Marketing

social media local marketing tipDisclosure: 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 →]

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Your Trade Show Booth Design Foundation

March 11th, 2014 · Trade Show Marketing

trade-show-booth-foundationA 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 →]

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Know Lightening? Does Spelling Still Matter?

September 1st, 2013 · Trade Show Marketing

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!

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Sling Baby – Best Video Ever! But does it matter?

January 15th, 2012 · Random Stuff

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 →]

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Thinking Outside the (Trade Show) Box

June 9th, 2011 · Trade Show Marketing

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 →]

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Trade Show Perseverance

April 25th, 2011 · Trade Show Marketing

perseverance –noun 1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

trade show perseverance – noun 1. a quality, trait, or attribute required for trade show marketing success. 2. a post by the trade show guru.

I ran across a fascinating story the other day about the Legend of the Leatherman, the dapper gentleman shown on the left [image removed], which is the inspiration for this post. The amazing thing to me was that the “legend” is actually a true story. It took place back east (Connecticut) in the 1800′s. [Read more →]

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Hark the Herald Toilet Paper!

December 20th, 2010 · Trade Show Marketing

I LOVE Christmas! Maybe it’s because I have little kids (well, not that little anymore, but they still believe), but I just love Christmas and the Christmas season. I love putting up the outdoor (LED) Christmas lights (and it seems like a few more neighbors are following suit this year), and getting a Christmas tree (real, of course) and decorating it, and walking around the neighborhood one evening (even if it is pouring rain) with friends, ringing random doorbells and singing Christmas carols. Christmas is just a magical time here.

But one would have to be living under a rock to not know that the economy this past year wasn’t exactly stellar. And the trade show industry seems to have been particularly hard hit this year and last. Part of the hit makes good economic sense. Competition is good and it’s important to weed out inefficiencies and bad products and service. Business and the economy tends to cycle, overheating and then cooling. It’s always reasonable to focus on value, customer service, and return-on-investment (something that is sometimes forgotten during boom times). But the recent downturn has obviously been bigger than “normal”, and many in the trade show industry are wondering when (or if) things will get better. So I was happy to read a news article recently that talked about toilet paper (and trade shows). Perhaps the Herald Toilet Paper Roll is forecasting a better year next year for trade shows? [Read more →]

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What Are Memorable Trade Show Displays?

June 11th, 2010 · Trade Show Marketing

What are memorable trade show displays? Perhaps the answer seems obvious… a memorable trade show display is a trade show display that you remember, right? Well… no. It isn’t quite that simple. There are “good” memorable trade show displays and “bad” memorable trade show displays, and this post is going to cover the difference between them (which is very important to understand if you want to be successful at trade show marketing). And if you’re wondering what the picture of the sock-puppet monkey [image removed] has to do with this post, I’ll cover that too… [Read more →]

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Best Trade Show Giveaway Idea Ever?

May 3rd, 2010 · Trade Show Marketing

I’ve been to many a trade show and I’ve seen and collected many a trade show giveaway (also known as trade show swag, or just swag). The vast majority of trade show giveaways are the same things, year after year. I think we’ve all collected more than enough stress balls, frisbees, letter openers, and even pens. There is nothing wrong with these kinds of generic trade show giveaways, as long as you have your company name and contact information printed on them. I even wrote about the benefits of handing out trade show giveaway pens. But let’s face it, stress balls and frisbees aren’t very unique or memorable. So what is the best trade show giveaway idea ever? [Read more →]

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