Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The "Road to the Horse" Trade Show is around the corner

I'm switching gears a bit this morning and going with a more passive article for all the equestrian lovers and those working in that arena. The upcoming show "Road to the Horse" might be of interest.

Shop ‘til you drop to your spurs, browse ‘til the cows come home. Road to the Horse Owner and Producer Tootie Bland (of Noodle, Texas) opens the doors to Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s Tennessee Miller Coliseum Friday March 2, 2007 for a night of horse-themed shopping open to the public and loaded with more than 140 booths.

Road to the Horse tickets not required; Shopping Extravaganza admission is free.“We’ve pumped up the shopping options—in volume and spectrum,” Bland says. “We have beautiful jewelry, Western art, high-end conversion trucks and trailers, custom hats, top western clothing, at least three trailer companies represented, horse health supplies--everything for the Western horse person.”

A Smash Hit Displays would love to assist a company based in equestrian business. We love animals and would relish the idea of creating trade show mural graphics based around that theme.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ten Trade Show Exhibit Best Practices

Our author's article is a good read and valuable resource! Darrell asks, "Is now a good time to spend on a trade show exhibit?" Good question. The answer... 'of course'. Darrell goes on to say no matter the economic conditions or competitive landscape, there are many tactics businesses can use to ensure a winning trade show.

Listed below are three of ten best trade show exhibit tactics. Glean some valuable information and take a peak. In order to learn the remaining best practices read the remainder of his article.

1> Pick an offbeat show. Sometimes an unrelated show to your target market can be the best exposure opportunity.

2> Never exhibit at a new trade show. New trade shows are untested venues.
Focus on quality. Invest in shows that reach the key decision-makers of your target market.

3> Create a buzz. Advertise on a small budget.

A Smash Hit Displays often try to explain to our potential customers why trade shows aren't to be taken lightly. They should be respected like any other business endeavor. Doing your homework beforehand can maximize your trade show experiences. Would you like to maximize your trade show display or graphics? If so, please check out our website or call us for we would be happy to assist you create a display that blows away your competition.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Avoiding the 10 most common meeting mistakes for trade shows

With the countless details meeting and event planners need to handle, there are bound to be mistakes made by even the most thorough planner. But, to lessen those mistakes our buddy, Susan Friemann, a.k.a. "The Tradeshow Coach, made a list of what she deemed the 10 most common blunders. Below are just a few from her list. In order to stay ahead of your competition and off of the hot seat, take the time to read the article in its entirity.

6. Failing to outline specifics in contracts.
7. Leaving important details to the last minute.
8. Failing to market your event It's really quite simple.
10. Leaving the planning to someone else.

A Smash Hit Displays know all too well what happens when any of the above-forementioned blunders occur. We've made our share in the past but learned that taking your time and making proper provisions enable a company to come out ahead more times than not.

Should you take the road most traveled then mistakes are bound to happen. It's up to you to curb those mistakes and that's why empowering the expertise of trade show experts will in the short and long term make your show(s) less stressful and more productful.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Technology fueling POS displays

Technology has transformed the traditional point-of-sale display to a state of the art marketing display. By utilizing radio-frequency ID tags and cell phone-manipulated digital signs, these point-of-sale marketing pieces can retailers information until now was available only by q-and-a.

The advanced technology is necessary for a retailer to stand out in an oversaturated marketing landscape.

Whether a retail establishment or a trade show presenter, it is incumbent to go interact and create a connection between you and your customer to bridge the media clutter with which they are bombarded. For as the article relates, if the space isn't working then its considered a bad customer experience. It's imperative to create experiences that 'Wow' customers.

A Smash Hit Displays try to 'wow' customers on a daily basis. Sometimes it is through the use of the latest industry technology and sometimes it is simply through the power of an eye-catching mural graphic. It's not always easy given some of our customer's situations. But, even those mired with the many obstacles have turned out to be fantastic attention getting displays of art... the 'wow' trade show booths. In order to own your own 'wow' display booth wrapped in a graphic worthy of eye-banging praise; simply call us. You will be amazed.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sales staff Fish for leads at trade shows

For those in the business unaware, Fish Software, a provider of interactive marketing software used at trade shows and consumer events, is adopting an ultrawide-band (UWB) real-time location system (RTLS) to help identify and track event attendees.

Yep you guessed it now you can track their every move from vendor-to-vendor-to-concession-to-bathroom. A bit much in my opinion but obviously there is a need for such software.

Until now, Fish accomplished this using tags. The tags were integrated into attendee badges. By reading the tags, interrogators deployed throughout the trade show floor, and at the entrances to conference session rooms, can track the movements and locations of attendees.

Yep you guessed it now you can track their every move from vendor-to-concession-area-to-vendor-to-bathroom. A bit much in my opinion but obviously it pays to track potential customers.

A Smash Hit Displays attempt to call back all leads pertaining to the trade show industry. Most times potential customers are extremely pleased to have someone track them down by phone. Note: If you take the time to pursue potential leads your business will burgeon.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trade Show Displays with a Woman's Touch

This one will appeal to all our Arizona Valley readers out there.
Susan Ratliff, president of Exhibit Experts in Phoenix, is involved in the Arizona Valley's big-money, high-stakes, ever-expanding arena of event marketing.
In 1993, Ratliff launched Exhibit Experts, with her first customer, the telecom company now known as Qwest, and the bank now known as Chase. She subscribes to the 'wow' factor," she said of her company's focus on providing everything, even training, for booth displays at trade shows and staffing.
A Smash Hit Displays believe in the 'wow' factor and often hear such a response from our customers as they view our graphic designs. Great pride is taken due to the top rate graphics that are produced not only to elicit 'wow' from our customers but from their future customers as well. Should you need graphic assistance that will 'wow' you and yours then look no further.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

PCs starting to show up in cars!

PCs for automobiles? For those of you who can't get enough information from your Blackberry handheld, you comes the option of supersizing your new ride with a personal computer. Three decades after they began appearing on desktops, PCs are showing up in vehicles.

Just as technology has moved forward in the automobile industry, so to has it moved the trade show industry forward. Just a few years back no one would have believed they'd see flat screens, flooring with internal lights or water fountains integrated into trade show displays. But, those are just a few of the technological advancements that have moved the traditional trade show display into the 21st century and beyond.

A Smash Hit Displays tries to pair customers with displays to best suit their needs. Sometimes those pairing include technologically advanced pieces to accent a booth. Should you require the latest in trade show products look no further. Stop and take a few moments to peruse our site.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Trade Show Attention Grabbers

As a vendor, when you participate in a trade show, you have to take steps to really make yourself stand out from the crowd. After all, you will be sharing floor space with hundreds of other companies, many of whom may be direct competitors.

There are many ways to attract attention on a crowded floor, of course. You can offer compelling giveaways, such as t-shirts (always popular), blinking buttons, bouncy superballs, and so forth.

For such attention look no further than the booth at the recent Macworld Exp, Code Weavers, makers of CrossOver Mac, were giving out wine bottle resealing caps. It took the author a minute to figure out the relationship, but it became obvious when he remembered that CrossOver Mac is built around Wine, which is the technology that makes the product possible.

The following article continues to show some fantastic booth ideas from that show that made an attention grabbing difference. But as happens some times, even with a companies' best efforts, it’s tough to stand out. That’s because the playing field has been effectively leveled—your booth, and all the rest, open up onto a common aisle through which everyone walks, comparing your offerings with that of your neighbors. One must work extra hard in such an environment to become noticed. That is unless you’re very creative.

A Smash Hit bestows its rather unique creativity on its customers. Business owners appreicate a point of view sometimes outside the box. "Why you ask", because as an owner you are constantly viewing your day-by-day duties from one particular point of view or similar points of view (including fellow associates). But as an independent, we view your business from a clean fresh vantage point and break it down to its bare essence. Most are extremely grateful and that's why we earn such a large portion of repeat business.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Trade Shows are Big Bucks and Big Business

Don't let anyone ever convince you the trade shows industry is not 'big money'. Just take a gander at the attached article describing the huge expansion of the Peoria Civic Center.

Can you say, "55 million expansion"? That's the expected price tag once the extra 45,000 square feet of exhibit space is added.

Money you say, in the upper level there will be a new club room and ballroom that will fit 1,600 people for black tie dinners.

The entire project will be adding more than 200,000 square feet to the Civic Center.

A Smash Hit Displays will expand its product lines in order to stay ahead of its competition. Check out part of our $55 million expansion right now by browsing the following links; backlit displays, banner stands, flooring, just to name a few.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Technology invigorates old school marketing

This isn't your typical trade show article but it enforces the idea that technology moves industries faster than most other external forces. How will technology change our industry? Where will we be in 10 years, 5 years or even 2 years? Take a gander. Chances are you've already seen a glimpse of what I referenced below.

They're large, rectangular and target consumers from high above the nation's roadways, but these are not your grandpappy's billboards.

Technology has morphed what used to be considered passive marketing/advertising into active in your face marketing. I present to you digital billboards. One of the oldest forms of outdoor advertising is undergoing a Renaissance if you will. Resembling ballpark jumbo video screens but scrolling through several static ads each minute, these bad boys are helping to draw advertisers attention back to the outdoor medium.

The computer-controlled LED displays allow advertisers to change their message as often as they'd like, unlike their vinyl predecessors, said Christopher Ensley, an analyst at Bear, Stearns & Co. in New York.

"I think that's what kind of changing the way outdoor is being used by advertisers," Ensley said.
Bill Ripp, director of Lamar Outdoor Advertising's digital billboard business, said the flexibility allows companies to place messages such as "sale ends tomorrow" or highlight specific prices that can be changed at any time.

"Billboards have traditionally been a reminder business," he said. "We do branding and 'turn left at this intersection' sort of stuff. This product allows advertisers to drive the message on a much more call-to-action or timing basis."

A Smash Hit Displays try to employ new technology in our everyday business to make our site as eye-banging as possible. It's vital to our livelihood that our site not only look good but rank well while being perceived as user-friendly. Quite a task but Even our graphic design has undergone major enhancements in the past year allowing our customers to be seen and heard above the rest. If you have upcoming shows and need to revamp your marketing/branding look for those shows... look no further. You would do yourself a huge service by taking a few moments to call us and peruse the site.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Tradeshow Teacher offers Exhibitor Resource Programs

TradeShow Teacher, a Miami based Trade Show Consulting firm has offered customizable Trade Show Exhibitor Resource Programs to combat the problem of annual turnover in show exhibitors. Some of these programs include webinars, seminars and training materials. These programs are designed to help their exhibitors achieve higher Returns on Investment on their Trade Show expenditures, creating much stronger loyalty and reducing turnover.

A Smash Hit Displays understand the obstacles trade show producers endure year to year having to invent their show anew. We constantly wrestle with the ever-changing landscape of the trade show industry. Our site undergoes constant change including but not limited to the daily article section. This evolution is vital in order to keep up with our vacilating consumer base, as well as, our competitors.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How to prepare for a trade show

The attached article is one of the better articles I've read over the last year detailing pre-show, at the show, and post show marketing. Please take a few moments to review B. Henderson's post.

The following article by B. Henderson is one of the better articles I've read over the past year. It details pre show, at the show and post show marketing techniques to maximize your trade show experience.

He exclaims the trade show is one of your best opportunities to come face-to-face with existing and potential customers; stating trade shows can be very effective, or of little use. The rate of return depends on how you run your booth. Most companies simply do not make maximum use of this opportunity.

Henderson theorizes a trade show is not a singular event but a microcosm of the entire marketing process. Part of an intricate, coordinated effort that begins weeks before the show, and ends a couple of weeks after the show. It involves direct mail, advertising specialties, print ads, and telemarketing . . . plus the booth itself . . . plus how the individuals working the booth conduct themselves. To glean more information on those three stages mentioned above please take a moment to peruse his article.

A Smash Hit Displays find selling trade show displays often follows Henderson's three marketing stages. There is the 1) pre sell period- discerning a client's business and marketing needs for his/her booth, 2) during the sell period- configuring a client's trade show graphics within the designated templates and parameters needed to properly elicit the desired Pavlovian response from their perceived customer base, and finally 3) post sell period- including the sale of additional graphic packages, trade show accessories, and any set-up asistance or guidance.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Trade Show Exhibitors get pointers from Lemonade Stands

Finding a valuable nugget from our friend Susan Friedman's article archive is as easy and the steps necessary to operate a successful lemonade stand during the hot summer months. The Trade Show Coaches article explains how to attain marketing information from the simple steps involved with lemonade stands.

She proclaims everyone in business requires market research on some level. As with a lemonade stand, children confirm their neighbors don't buy cold lemonade in the winter but consume lots of it on hot summer days. They register vital demographic research as well. They know which folks in the neighborhood are more likely to buy. Perhaps they based some of their knowledge on lemonade sales from the previous summer.

Susan makes the leap from lemonade stand to trade show event producers by utilizing those basic marketing ideas and applying them to their next show. Offered are 3 of the 10 ways to garner knowledge about their target audience inexpensively. In order to view the remaining seven, please take a few moments and read the attached article.

Before the show...
- Acquire a list of businesses that exhibited at previous shows in the area or in locations with similar demographic trends and facilities. Extrapilate their success and failures at the show so yours' can avoid similar pitfalls.

- Use the Internet to find out about the show's market area. By contacting businesses in the show, you are adding to the attendance figures while at the same time gaining awareness fro your name and brand. Poll them about the products they intend to exhibit. With this information on hand, you might be able to advise them on the proper mix of products to exhibit at your show.
- Use the internet to find out about the show's market area. Contact businesses in the show region via e-mail to invite them to attend. Poll them about the products they intend to exhibit. With this information on hand, you might be able to advise them on the proper mix of products to exhibit at your show.
- Contact chambers of commerce in the show region and create a mailer inviting appropriate business members to exhibit. Include questions that will glean the demographic, socio-economic, and company profile information you seek.

As with any successful venture, ideally one should do their due diligence before beginning. A Smash Hit Displays attempts such diligence on a daily basis. On some occasions we have to assist customers with their marketing directives and in the process allow them foresight into their future trade shows and gain the knowledge needed to make a qualified decision on the purchase of a trade show display, banner stand and graphics to assist them in their endeavors.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Three Musketeers Energize Baltimore Trade Show

Sometimes in business it is best to divest oneself from a situation and invest in an outsider fresh perspective. That fresh perspective most times will allow a company to move or grow in a different direction.

As is the case in the attached article, there are trade shows out there who have languished the last few years and need a fresh take and marketing look to their status quo show. If you have a struggling show out there, then the following marketing trio is well worth the investment!

A few days before Labor Day weekend the "Three Musketeers" rode into Baltimore from Florida and turned a venerable antiques show—and possibly the entire trade—upside down. In a daring, dashing, swashbuckling display of promotion, organizational genius, and unbridled spending, the trio of young men from the Sunshine State saved the day, the show, and perhaps the future of antiques with vision, energy, optimism, knowledge, and a budget to back their dreams.

The Palm Beach Show Group, in its first Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, demonstrated how to transform quickly a long-standing annual event with average attendance into a fresh, vibrant, exciting new East Coast venue that's now got everybody talking and dealers begging to get into it. The gate more than tripled, from about 9000 in 2005 to close to 30,000 this year. Interviewed dealers confirmed more traffic and higher sales.

Outside of Florida, the Palm Beach Show Group is relatively unknown. But many southern dealers who know them followed them to Baltimore, convinced the time and cost would be worth it. Praise was heard down every aisle. To learn more about the dynamic duo repsonsible for refurbishing many shows over the last 4 years take a few moments and read the attached article.

A Smash Hit Displays customers receive different and fresh points of view when it comes to displaying their brand. Most times business owners don't understand how to market their company's wares in terms of trade show graphics. They tend to need an expert's eye to elucidate their competitive advantages and make those advantages paramount in their trade show exhibit.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Trade Shows got Rhythm

Julia O'Connor, one of our resident trade show experts, seems to believe there’s a unique rhythm to a trade show. Her belief shared by me is that time is short, action is compressed, and corporate expectations are high – sometimes too high. She explains the rhythm of a show depends on many factors including location, show sponsor, management, educational components, just to name a few. Her belief is that marketing plays a huge role in the determination of that rhythm.
Julia would be exstatic to teach you all she knows in one of her quarterly Trade Show Camps she holds to educate the trade show attendants and attendees. Should you feel inclined to learn the ins and outs of the industry please contact Julia O’Connor at 800-355-3910 or for details. Her camps usually span 2 days and would be one of the better investments of your time and money in terms of trade show education.

A Smash Hit Displays tries to educate our customers on the dos and donts of the industry pertaining to their trade show displays. On a good day, most welcome support and criticism. It takes someone with an open mind to understand there are those out there who are respective experts in their own industries and we all can't know everything about everthing. That last point is expecially tough for my little brother who in his spare time believes he is a home remodeling expert, doctor, astrologist, meteorologist, orthopedist, college football coach, as well as a, college basketball coach, well you get my meaning.
Cudos to those that understand entrusting "better suited" experts saves them mucho time and money in the long run.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Forced to adapt, business takes show on the road

Some businesses fail because they don't adapt to changes or obstacles that arise. Well, in this particular instance, the trade show company adapted and their business model changed in the process.
In 2001, Kathy Molnar, owner of Stetson Convention Services Center, watched as her business site was demolished in a mist of dust and construction activity next to the Allegheny River.
She was told the building was going through an expansion which would take 2 years.
Molnar's business adapted as she took her business on the road learning to serve trade shows at other convention centers around the country. What at first seemed a disaster turned into a breathe of fresh air. Stetson saw the revenue grow from $350,000 as a homebound Pittsburgh business to $3.5 million as a traveling trade show business last year.
A Smash Hit Displays has adapted in its short life span seeing much competition. The competition has gotten heated; not just locally but internationally with imports starting to make a name in this aggressive market arena. But, battling through that competition and change we have carved out a niche with our customer past and present offering frank and positive direction for their display, graphic, logistic and monetary trade show questions. Should you require proper guidance based on common sense and respect, as opposed to the all mighty dollar, then do yourself a favor and contact us.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Making a Knock-Out Trade Show Display

Having boxed back in college many millenia ago, I understand all too well the term "knock-out". I was fortunate to inflict such pain on a few opponets while also being on the receiving end a few times. In most instances I realized the more preparation I'd done on my opponent prior to that match the better suited I was before stepping into the ring. That rationale can be applied to the article referenced. It serves as a to-do list in order to create your "knock-out" trade show display.

Direct, powerful, quality, image and service are all terms your company trade show display should offer. In order to achieve those characteristics, your visual impact must make a strong first impression and communicate your message in a matter of seconds to attract future customers to stop at your booth and want to learn more about your business.

As stated above, with boxing you must consider your opponent before you step into the ring. So to, you need to consider the type, size, design and configuration of your trade show exhibit display before the purchase process. To do so, our author asks you to answer some of the following questions. In order to view all the questions pertinent to making your "knock-out" display please read the entire article.
1) What do you want to accomplish through trade show participation?
2) How do you plan to use your exhibit to meet your objectives?
3) How large are the events in which you plan to participate? Do they attract local, regional or national audiences?
4)What location type (in-line, corner, end, island) and size of display space will you reserve?

A Smash Hit Displays attempts to create "knock-out" trade show displays for our clients at all times. We succeed in this endeavor because of our "do diligence" in marrying customers with the right display. That combination all but ensures a "knock-out" display for our clients and keeps them coming back to us time and time again.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bringing your event to life

The linked article was posted by our friend Susan Friedman, The Trade Show Coach. She offers 17 tips that will bring your next event to life. They can be directly related to the trade show industry and for that reason take a few moments and glean valuable tips for your next show.

One key to a successful special event is to seek out entertainment or decorations that are unique and fun to spark conversation among guests. Before you get to the set up stage, picture the mood you want the environment to create. Try and determine what type of atmosphere will best suit your needs and market your brand. The ambiance for which you aim depends a great deal upon the type of event you're having. If it's a product launch where you want to create an aura of enthusiasm and excitement, you'll likely lean toward an exhilarating atmosphere. If you're organizing an event for your employees and their spouses, perhaps you want the mood to be somewhat romantic.

A Smash Hit Displays offers tips on a daily basis and should you feel moved to read further and add some amunition to your trade show arsenal please visit our site for the best the trade expo industry has to offer.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Make a Knock Out Trade Show Display

Trade show displays are a powerful medium for marketing your business and brand. They can reflect the quality, image and service your company and its products offer. To be effective, the visual impact of your display must make a strong first impression and communicate your message in a matter of seconds to attract prospects to stop at your booth and learn more about your business.

Entreprenuer asks you questions before you get started on choosing your display in order to avoid pitfalls or unnecessary work. Here are just a few of those timely questions:

1) What do you want to achieve from trade show participation?
2) How do you plan to utilize your exhibit to meet your goals?
3) How much money are you willing to invest in your exhibit? The cost of your booth, lighting and accessories can range from under $1,000 to more than $20,000 for a top-end customized display.

Answering these and the other questions within that article are crucial to choosing the right display for your company. I ask you to take a few moments out of your regular routine and read
the attached article. You will gain much insight and save valuable time in the process.

A Smash Hit Displays has a staff loyal to fitting our customers with the best display for their needs. It can't be emphasized enough how important it is to choose a display that fits your companies' objectives at shows. So, take the time to read the linked article, answer the questions with candor, then make the call necessary to create that eye popping display that will communicate your message to the masses at your upcoming shows... to us!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What's in your laptop at Trade Shows?

Our buddy, Julia O'Connor's, Trade Show consultant to the stars, recent article is good food for thought. She discusses laptops at trade shows and how easy it is for someone to pilfer private information.
Here are just a couple of questions Julia poses about your laptop at a show. Keep in mind the questions could be applied to any briefcases, backpacks, wallets, and personal items as well:
- Do you have information, records, data that are irreplaceable?
- Could that information compromise your businesses security if stolen?
- Would the information be easily replaced?

If your answer to any of those queries was si, then it might be wise to keep a stern eye on your laptops. Try deleting any personal information, stripping down the file content before each show or locking those files with encrytion software just in case it is stolen.

A Smash Hit Displays is here for our client's needs. Sometimes those requirements include a bit of schooling on how to prepare for an effective trade show. Should you like to read further on other Trade Show Tips please visit our site or give us a call.