Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Trade Shows and Wheel Chairs

I was perusing an old friend's site the other day, Julia O'Connor- trade show expert extraordinaire, and came across this nugget. It's importance shouldn't be eschewed. Two of my good friends are confined to wheel chairs and they've educated me over the years on the dos and donts as it pertains to awareness of their surroundings.

We are all attentive of the hard work inherent in a trade show, but that hard work is magnified for attendees who may use a wheelchair. Below are just a few of Julia's tips... take them to heart. Do yourself a favor and read Julia's entire article; for it will assist you with wheel chair intel and life experiences as they apply to those in wheel chairs.

1. Those in the chairs know they are in the chairs. It’s your responsibility to make them as comfortable in your space as any other visitor. Quick no-no -- don’t gawk.
2. These days, wheelchairs are smaller and allow more mobility. Watch out for them as they zip around the corners and scoot out of elevators.
3. It’s important to maintain eye contact, as with any visitor, but rather than hunching over, pull up a chair so you’re both at the same eye level and have a normal conversation.
4. Just as people with vision problem may have a person with them as a guide, so too may people in chairs. While it’s polite to acknowledge the guide, address your comments to the visitor, not the guide.
5. If you’re showing video, using a computer or have a demonstration at a 40" height, be able to adjust it for people in a wheelchair or who may not be able to see at that height. In a double deck exhibit? Have a duplicate on both floors.
6. Make sure aisles are wide and clear, chair and table legs don’t angle out and there are no sharp edges on the exhibitu, accessories or free-standing graphics

A Smash Hit Displays tries to be aware of our surroundings at every trade show. To be prepared for your upcoming show take a few moments to read our Trade Show Tips section on our site. The articles will give you a leg up on your competition and give you the necessary information needed to maximize your show experience.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Survey reveals most exhibitor staff training is "Hit or Miss"

We love Susan Friedmann, The Tradeshow Coach. She constantly surpasses herself by offering important articles relevant to the trade show arena. Her referenced article explains the purpose of a survey examining the content of staff training conducted by individual exhibiting companies.
The survey revealed some interesting tidbits.

Among those, that not surprisingly:
- 55% of most companies indicated training was done prior to the show doors openining. Almost - 80% of the training was done by that companies own staff
- Of the 20% that used outside training experts, 75% said their team responded better

It wasn't a surprise to read companies responded that external expert training is most effective in reminding the team of necessary exhibiting skills, forming a cohesive team, and enhancing team spirit.

So, the next time you have a big show on the horizon and are wondering how you will train your team for the potential windfall of customers, try utilizing the specialities of a trade show expert. As it turns out, it is usually better to delegate jobs such as these to maximize your potential business.

A Smash Hit Displays has been negligent of delegation at times. Its the old story of always thinking you can handle every aspect of business better than anyone else. But, all the great leaders of our time all knew important aspect of leadership- delegation to experts in their repective fields. So, when it comes to your next trade show display need, please defer that responsibility to the pros.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Media Relations tactics earning big bang for few bucks- Part II

As referenced in our daily Trade Show Tips and Articles from our website, a comment was posted to my blog last week from Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound. Joan tendered an addendum to the article presenting additional avenues with which to elicit media relations for trade show exhibitors.

Her suggestions included 1) contacting local news reporters before the show dates to initiate interview opportunities, 2) trying to gain access to reporter's press room, 3) then following up after the show with the reporters in questions to offer your industry proficiency and expert point of view on the trade show expo arena.

Joan provided some great insight into cost efficient exposure. Kudos Joan and kudos to those of you who take these suggestions to heart and attempt them at your next show. If you don't try you never know.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Trade Show participation requires staged planning

The attached article referencs the necessary planning an exhibitor must undergo in order to take full advantage of their show event. Joyce Hansen offers before, during, and after tips for each show.
Her tips include direct mail pieces, inclusion with media flyers, contests, and the internet. Her in show tips include promotions or demonstrations, giveaways, and the importance of having knowledgeable staff. Her after show tips reference follow up plans and the time constraints. And finally she talks about having trade show savy. Trade show attendees are educated and sophisticated so the exhibitor needs to understand their needs and be able to provide solutions to their real life business needs.
A Smash Hit Displays always tries to understand our client needs. Whether those needs involve a simple trade show display shelf unit or a trade show counter accessory to accent their booth, we try and make sure their exhibit booths are enhanced to make the most of their expo space.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

US Trade Shows are different

From time to time we reference articles from Julia O'Connor, professional Trade Show Trainer extrordinaire. This particular article references how US trade shows are different from others. Julia theorizes there are three universal components to any trade show, anywhere in the world - promotion, presentation and logistics.

The differences between US and other countries' trade shows are affected by culture and business expectations. The biggest challenge Julia hears are concerning logistics of US based events. Due to our unions, there are transportation and shipping problems, the set-up and tear-down. Where most countries and shows use a turnkey operation, the US often has different organizations for each component of the show before, during and after. This is very confusing as we all know.

It's this confusion, that A Smash Hit Displays tries to alleviate. We offer answers to client's questions concerning logistics should they require such. Understanding possible trade show display obstacles keep us aware and ahead of our competition. This prepared mentality breeds an aire of confidence; it's that confidence our customers respect and admire. To learn how you can understand what our past customers have, give us a call concerning your future trade show needs and desires.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Media relations tactics earning big bang for few bucks

Lead generation is most important when it comes to the success of most trade show attenders. They rely on follow up calls, emails, and direct mail directly after their showing to reap instant rewards while keeping their brand top-of-mind.
The referenced article explains how to maximize those leads. The author challenges businesses to apply focus, discipline and consistency to their top three lead generation methods in order to reap the greatest rewards.
She further offers 10 powerful media relations tactics for growing businesses serious about generating quality leads.
A Smash Hit Displays challenges our customers in much the same vein to create the best displays possible and inform them how to continue to reap rewards from their upcoming shows. Answers to your questions are just a phone call away; should you need something as simple fabric color availability, graphic assistance pertaining to ftp guidelines, or shipping information for trade show displays.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fashion plays a starring role in trade shows

The major sports in our world have become so entrenched in fashion you can't seem to have one without the other. The following article details how a PGA trade show, the 2007 PGA Merchandise Show, Jan 25-27, is strictly a fashion show. Fashion is big business in the sports world and shows like this validate that point. You can't step on a golf course any longer without seeing many of the golfers dressed head to toe in the latest attire.
This particular show will have more than 200 top names in golf apparel and sportswear, daily fashion shows, the new Fashion Collection Review, plus apparel and retailing workshops.
It goes to show you that as the PGA is entertwined with the latest in fashion, so to is the trade show industry.
In the same vein, A Smash Hit Displays has seen trade show display fashion become forefront in the last few years. Evidenced by the new looks in truss systems, pop up displays, and banner stands. Shiek lines and bold looks have taken the standard display and turned it into an eye-opening advertising medium.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Who hired the jerk? The 7 Deadly Sins of Exhibitor Staff-

Julia O'Connor, of, has written another article. Julia is a friend who has her ear to the ground when it comes to the ins and outs of the trade show This one is timely given the new Verizon Envy cell phone commercials and their spoofs that play off the 7 deadly sins. Julia's article references those same 7 deadly sins as they apply to the trade show industry, specifically the trade show exhibitors. She states all exhibitors could show these characteristics and offers specific examples.
A Smash Hit Displays offers ways to flip the scenario and have your competitors show their 'envy' towards your displays. Through the sales of a pop up display, panel system display, targeted graphics, and curteous service, we take your trade show display experience to a whole new level of satisfaction.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

MACTS annual event coming up

My uncle is one of the craziest people I've ever known. Obsessed with speed. But that's understandable given he's a pilot. For those flying enthusiasts out there like my retired uncle, you'd appreciate the upcoming show and maybe you can find a way to attend.

The Midwest Aviationon Conference & Trade Show (MACTS) will be held January 19-21, 2007 at the newly-renovated Busch Student Center at Saint Louis University.

MACTS is for anyone interested in any aspect of aviation, and best of all it's free! Most shows of this quality aren't free. So if you have the inclination to see record setting test pilots, military veteran aviators, and ballooning, not to mention many other aviation adventures then take a few days to enjoy the show.

Speed is something we all have enjoyed at some time in our lives. Whether it was that sprint contest back in gradeschool, testing that newly purchased car spedometer, weekend motorcycle rides, summer boating, or just picking up your normal pace during your daily jog.

A Smash Hit Displays sometimes has to speed up our normal routine because many of our customers ask us to build a display for them in an inordinately short period of time. We are accustomed to this and realize it's inherent within the industry. There will always be a portion of the public that puts off certain tasks until the last second.

In order to survive and thrive in this arena, you have to be able to work swiftly sometimes in order to create some customer's displays. Whether their displays are panel systems, horseshoe pop ups, or just table top graphics, we have the talents necessary to create a Matisse painting in a short period of time. Speed and quality are not typically used in combination but we have become professionals at blending both qualities.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In Charge of the Board

This is a great story of how to turn a devestating loss it into a huge gain. Steve Hayes, once a pro snowboarder, suffered a career ending injury, but managed to take that loss and produce a windfall in the form of a his own snowboarding company and is now a leader in the field exhibiting at many shows throughout the year.

Like most people Steve went through a career ending injury but managed to channel his drive and focus it into a new career in which he has fashioned a leader positionstance yet again.

For most snowboarders, this story will hit home. For others the struggle to get back to the mountaintop after taking a fall will resonate as well.

A Smash Hit Displays trys to assist companies on a daily basis with the items needed to make a new or returned visit to their specific mountain top. For most who call us their mountain tops are simply the next trade show on their schedule.

We are often given the task of trying to assist them with the creation of a display from trade show flooring to trade show pop up display to their out-of-this-world trade show graphics that will showcase their talents and place them alone on their mountain top removed from their competition. In order to do so, we have to understand and balance what is being attempted,
what time parameters need to be met, what monetary constraints are set, and lastly what we can do to separate them from the countless others they'll be showcasing against at their particular show(s)

For more on our products please visit both our blogs and our website.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dirty Little Trade Show Secrets

Our good buddy, Susan Friedmann, "The Tradeshow Coach", wrote this article a while back but its a great tool for those who need a trade show refresher course. Susan writes there are little trade show secrets which all exhibitors need to know in order to maximize their show experiences and the all important return on investment.
All these secrets actually won't surprise you but they'll go a long way in keeping you on top of your help at the shows. We all suffer from these traits from time to time and if you go into your show knowing the pitfalls you can keep them from establishing any kind of semblance in your area. Let the others deal with these nasty little vices while you make the most of your time and efforts and get rewarded for the investment you've made.
At A Smash Hit Displays we long to impart some of the wisdom Susan shared in her aticle on our clients. Its easy to purchase panel system displays, trade show exhibit flooring, or our world renown trade show graphics. But its not always easy preparing and/or focusing both you and your coworkers for the 8-12 hours on the show floor over a 1-3 day period. Take the time to prepare for your next show mentally and physically and it will serve you well.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Business Trade Show Expo on the air with Event Radio

For those trade show vendors interested in learning a different marketing perspective for your shows, the attached article will give you a few new wrinkles.

The article describes how the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce will distribute 2,000 free Event Radio earpieces at their 2007 Business/Industry Expo & Conferences. The May expo is scheduled to be the first Indiana event to use the new technology.

For those unfamiliar with Event Radio, it allows organizers and sponsors to broadcast messages to those who attend trade shows, expos, sporting events, and museum exhibitions. So, while the attendees i.e. (your future customers) are roaming around the expo floor they are bombarded with a marketing message specific to your event. Further, as the organizers of that event found out, sponsors can be found willing to pay for the earpieces. Its a great marketing prop. Sponsors receive their logo id on each earpiece and can run targeted commercials during the broadcast. Its brilliance and something you could easily do to set yourself apart from the competition.

A Smash Hit Displays is constantly trying to separate ourself from our competition. We strive to achieve an aggressive price for high quality trade show displays and trade show graphics. If you are in need of trade show tips or suggestions please visit our website and other blogs.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tech firms strive to be seen at CES

For all you CES enthusiasts who can't read enough articles on the massive tech event, this one will wake you up to the fierce competition for attendees and fellow exhibitor's money and more important "attention".
The attached tech article details the fact most companies at the CES show don't have millions or even hundreds of thousands even to invest in the show. So, they must yell the loudest to be heard among the cluttered landscape.
It's typical of any show this size. The smaller exhibitors attempt to hire the best looking models, use flashing signs, and introduce product demos; essentially attaching more bells and whistles than the next guy, as well as, having the best give-aways for each attendee.
In addition to those bells and whistles, they must utilize their budget effectively if they're in the shallower end of the funding pool. So, like those techies, you should do your homework and attain the display that best suits your needs for your trade show.
A Smash Hit Displays specializes in first rate customer service. By customer service, I mean placing people with budgetary constraints with trade show booths, multi sided banner stands, flex flooring and more that meet their needs and stay within their monetary parameters.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How Does a Trade Show Work? Understanding the 4 Major Components

We love Julia O'Conner; President of Trade Show Training and resident trade show guru. Among her many talents, she writes articles which should be read by most trade show attendees as well as exhibitors. They are timely and pertinent to all matters concerning our industry.
For this particular article, Julia talks about the 150,000 trade shows in the US yearly and though most are different from one another they all share 4 basic components: Sponsors, Managers, Exhibitors and the Audience. The article continues to explain each component in depth.
As Julia often states, the more you know about how trade shows work, then the less confused and the more successful you will be. Patience, persistence, and homework go a long way towards achieving the rewards desired from each show.
A Smash Hit Displays agrees with Julia and will give our clients who call with trade show queries the answers they need to make an educated decision for their future trade shows. Whether our clients ask about 10' Straight Walls, 8' Pop Ups, or 10' x 20' Truss Systems we offer as much information as can be processed in order for them to make the best qualified decision and lessen their worries about their upcoming shows, as well as, enable them with more confidence to make the most of their trade show experience.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

One Size fits All

What a great article! I find the subject can be applied to our trade show industry as well! The article talks about our client's ideas and how sometimes marketing agencies have to alter those ideas in order to stay within a time-and-time again "reduced" budget. Further, advertising agencies or marketing gurus then get frustrated and some times pissed-off because they've invested too much time working on what was once a huge idea but due to those constraints have widdled it down to a much smaller one.
Sadly, having been involved in the television broadcast industry, I saw this occur on a daily basis. Though I firmly believe the honus can be placed on both parties. This is true because its up to the marketing team at hand to inform their client, based on their budgetary parameters, that their current idea needs to be lessened or the budget needs to be increased. But, that rarely happens because of each parties different perception concerning the situation or simply 'egos'.
I thought the article's scenarios play out on a weekly basis in the trade show industry and therefore resonated within me.
We, at A Smash Hit Displays, will often get asked to price a display(s) based on a customer's original idea, then based on budgetary requirements get asked to slice some of the fat away in order to make a dollar amount. Sadly, that is not always the way a trade show display should be purchased but its life. Evan and I are constantly asked to place our customers with the display that best suits their needs.
Those needs, both immediate and long term, due to the ever changing trade show environment are sometimes hard to meet while attempting to stay within our customer's budget. But, we do the best we can and most often come up with the perfect fit for our customers. Whether it's a truss system, series of banner stands, table top pop up display, or panel system exhibit our client walks away with the satisfaction they have received the best product for their trade show needs and equally important that their budget requirements have been met.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Got a great idea? Here's how to market it

The article referenced above struck my fancy because it talked about those want-to-be entreprenuers out there who come up with great ideas but don't know how to market them. The article referenced a young lady who had a good idea, little money, and a will to succeed. Persistence kept her focused and a little luck tied to the marketing power of a trade show conference got her idea noticed.
So, for all you trade show exhibitors out there who might have budding ideas of your own the following article will give you a concise decription of how to move it past the idea to the all important development stages. Just remember to be patient.
After reading the article, I realized A Smash Hit Displays site followed the tips referenced in that same article. If you want to read some great articles for tips and suggestions for your next trade show, check out our website.

Friday, January 05, 2007

MacWorld 2007 feature presentations

For all you Apple junkies out there your wait is over. The Macworld trade show conference begins January 8th in beautiful San Francisco! For all the coolest gadgets and technology to hit the market in our immediate future from Apple look no further.

Keynote speaker is none other than Apple cheif Steve Jobs.

I'm not a huge Mac/Apple fan myself but understand all the fervor created through their magnificent series of commercials introducing their products as a need moreso than a want. If you ever worked or associated with anyone in the advertising world, you'll understand and appreciate that endeavor more than the average bear.

So, if you have the inclination or wherewithall to make the trip to our west coast or are already planning on attending have a great time and take a moment after to post a remark or comment about the show to this blog.

Ironically my father just presented my mother with an iPod "grande" for Christmas and she loves it. They're getting more and more acquainted with the software daily and should be pros in no time. I too utilized an iPod in the past and both understand and appreciate its brand dominance in that arena.

For all those looking to give your brand and image a boost and/or make a statement at your next trade show look no further than our website, A Smash Hit Displays. We offer American made products in categories such as truss systems, trade show flooring, and table top pop up displays at the lowest prices...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Winter Conference set for Jan 5-7

For those of you vendors and supplier in the fruit and vegetable arena, we have the trade show for you in Savannah, Ga, January 5-7. It's the largest of its kind in the Southeastern USA and features the latest in industry technology plus special production and marketing sessions from agricultural scientists. There will also be more than 60 hours of production training, pest management information, and marketing updates are offered to attendees.

This show would be a great way to educate yourself further in your industry.

We, at A Smash Hit Displays, are here to keep our customer base informed about the latest technology and shows available around the trade show industry. For the lastest in trade show accessories, panel or pop up systems for your upcoming shows take a look at our website or give us a call 800-762-9854.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Survey Reveals Most Exhibitor Staff Training is Hit or Miss

Our good buddy Susan Friedmann, The TradeShow Coach, posted an article a while back on her site referencing a survey of why companies conduct their sales staff training for exhibitor trade shows. The questionnaire focused on how often companies conduct exhibitor training, why they conduct the training, how long it lasts, what materials are included, when and where is the training conducted, who attends, who conducts the training, and finally, its impact on overall results..

The article gave some good tidbits and interesting numbers for those who might be considering such marketing. To give you an idea, I found it interesting that 86% of ALL training was accomplished in less than 2 hours. Further, 50% of the respondents said their training was iniated right before the show. It's amazing how we might start out with the best intentions of getting things done well ahead of time but we get caught up in our daily lives and leave items like training till the last second.

For those interested in some staggering and not-so-staggering numbers take a read.

Remember you can find an interesting trade show article daily on A Smash Hit Displays website where we sell anything related to the trade show industry from flooring, to pop up displays, to truss systems.

We strive to keep our content fresh and relevant to the industry at hand.

You can also find similar articles and how my business partner, Evan Owen, feels they're relevant on his respective blog .