Trade Show Guru

For Those Seeking Trade Show Marketing Enlightenment

Trade Show Guru

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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Cheap Trade Show Displays Aren’t Always Cheap

April 24th, 2010 · Trade Show Marketing

Sometimes trade show exhibitors attempt to save money and try to get by with cheap trade show displays (and one can understand why in this economy). But usually in the big picture, cheap trade show displays end up costing an exhibitor a lot of money in the end than they save up front. The brutal truth is that trade show exhibiting is an expensive form of marketing. Often just renting the booth space can cost several thousand dollars (or tens of thousands of dollars), plus one has the travel costs of getting your trade show exhibit staff to the show, and the housing cost of putting them up in a hotel and feeding them. It costs money, big money, to exhibit at a trade show. [Read more →]

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Trade Show Outboarding

February 22nd, 2010 · Trade Show Marketing

Just when you think you know everything there is to know about something, you find out there’s something you didn’t know.

I, your friendly neighborhood trade show guru, thought I knew everything there was to know about trade shows… well, at least I thought I was familiar with everything about trade shows. After all, I even know about trade show zombies! But last week I came across a trade show term I’d never heard of before, trade show outboarding.

Trade show outboarding does not mean strapping an outboard motor to your trade show boat, er… booth, nor does the phrase have anything at all to do with outboard motors or engines. Rather, trade show outboarding is done by trade show outboarders (also referred to as trade show parasites and not to be confused with the previously mentioned trade show zombies) and refers to companies that don’t pay for a trade show exhibit booth space, but instead rent a room in a nearby hotel and set up their “offsite” or “outboard” trade show booth in their hotel room or suite. I’m not sure how they manage to get traffic to their hotel room (do they wander around the trade show and hand out trade show giveaway pens with their hotel room number on the pens?), but apparently the “problem” (at least it is a problem to the trade show promoters that aren’t collecting the trade show exhibit space fees) is growing, and trade show organizers are asking the hotels to crack down on these trade show outboards.

As I said, I just don’t understand how the trade show outboarders would get much traffic to their hotel rooms, but apparently they do, or I don’t see why this would be an issue. I’m not sure where I stand on whether or not this tactic is “legitimate”… I support “guerilla marketing” but I also believe in “playing by the rules”. I’ve included a portion of the New York Times article below in which I first read about the practice of trade show outboarding. So what do you think? Would it work? Is it legitimate? [Read more →]

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TradeShow Booth Babes

January 19th, 2010 · Trade Show Marketing

Some of my regular readers may have noticed that I’ve had a bit of a problem with my blogging regularity lately (translation – I haven’t posted in a while… a long while). No, I didn’t venture to the end of the world and fall off, nor was I abducted by trade show zombies. The Trade Show Guru blog isn’t obsolete… at least not yet. I’ve just been busy with other things – mainly work, but also spending time with my family over the holidays and watching an occasional movie (though I haven’t seen Avatar lately – I’m not that wealthy, at least not yet). But I know I need to make a blog post every now and then to keep this blog at least on life support, so what better topic than tradeshow booth babes. [Read more →]

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Are Trade Shows Obsolete?

October 6th, 2009 · Trade Show Marketing

One might think with the rise of the internet and online marketing, that there has been a shift of marketing dollars and resources away from traditional trade show marketing to online marketing and even “virtual” trade shows. That may be true.

One might also think with the recession and economic hard times, that companies have been cutting back on their trade show marketing expenditures. That is probably also true.

And finally, because of these things, one might think that trade shows are becoming a thing of the past, a proverbial marketing dinosaur, a modern day Pony Express. One might ask, “Are trade shows obsolete?” [Read more →]

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I Hate Upgrading… but I did it.

September 19th, 2009 · Blogging

I hate “upgrading” software. As far as I’m concerned, if it ain’t broke, why “fix” it? I believe that for some software companies, “upgrades” are more about generating cash flow than about necessary new features or improvements. I seldom need any of the new “how have you lived without these” features. And I just don’t like the risk of the upgrade going haywire. Perhaps that’s why I stuck with IE6 for so long, thinking I’d wait until I got a new computer to change to a new version of Internet Explorer (I still haven’t gotten the new computer). Last year I finally got fed up with too many websites not working in IE6, but instead of upgrading to a newer version of Internet Explorer, I switched to Firefox (Firefox now keeps telling me I should upgrade, but I haven’t yet). Once I get software installed and it works, that’s it for me. And this same [crotchety] mindset applies to WordPress, until now. [Read more →]

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Top Ten Non-Tools for a Tool Box

September 6th, 2009 · Random Stuff

Every blogger should have a “random stuff” category. I know I am the Trade Show Guru, and you expect to read about trade show marketing here, but sometimes I get brain freeze on the subject of trade show marketing, and need to write about something else (actually, regular readers will know that this happens more often than just “sometimes”). Anyway, this is one of those times, and this is one of those list posts that bloggers love to write and people love to read, or so it is said.

I was working on the zip line out back that I built for my kids and needed a tool out of my tool box. Every good tool box has the basic tools: a hammer, a big screw driver, an adjustable wrench, vice grips, etc, plus enough other tools to make the tool box extremely heavy and difficult to move. But as I was rummaging through my tool box I realized that in addition to the many tools in it, there was also a blog post in it as well, figuratively speaking of course… Looking at the contents of my toolbox, I realized, as any Mr. Fix-It will know, a good toolbox will also have some very important “non-tools”. Here’s my list of the Top Ten Non-Tools for a Tool Box. [Read more →]

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