Recently, Bokland Custom Visuals had the opportunity to visit the US headquarters for Mark Bric Display, near Richmond VA. As a long time vendor of Mark Bric products, we knew that the quality and service of products available from Mark Bric was second to none, what we realized after attending the conference was that a closer relationship between Mark Bric & Bokland Custom Visuals would afford us great opportunites to offer our clients the best display hardware products, packaged with the most diverse graphics available in Upstate NY.
By partnering with Mark Bric we have shortened turnaround times, lowered overall cost of production on most display types as well as broadened the scope of products we can offer, now branching in to POP, and décor applications as well.
With the cost of travel and virtually everything else going up these days, it is nice to know that you can actually get more for your money buy purchasing your next trade show package from Bokland Custom Visuals.
The days of huge custom exhibits that shipped to the show in huge crates that could hold large animals and cost you an arm and a leg to store and move around the show floor are becoming more and more a thing of the past. Fortunately, it is no longer necessary to spend ungodly amounts of money to achieve custom looks.
A typical custom trade show crate like this. That might hold an exhibit like this.
3 cases like this, that can hold a display like this As a matter of fact, many of todays newer exhibit systems allow you to create substantial looking structures that fit in to wheeled cases that can be shipped via UPS for a fraction of the cost a full sized booth would be. Not only do you save on the shipping aspects of the exhibit, but also drayage, storage and setup. Many times one person can set a portable trade show exhibit up in less than a day. At Bokland Custom Visuals we handle several different exhibit makers hardware, but focus primarily on products from Mark Bric Display. We choose Mark Bric for the quality of the products they bring to the table as well the diversity of hardware they manufacture. Remember that at the end of the day, whatever money you save on the exhibit hard costs, you can spend on stronger marketing and promotion of the show!
Trade Shows these days are a funny thing, as mentioned in my previous article, costs are up and attendance is down. There still are those heavy hitting decision makers walking the floors however, making choices on whether to attend, how much to spend, how to niche your services, etc., etc, harder to figure out. I just read this past week that McCormick Place in Chicago just lost 2 of it’s largest shows for 2010. The trade show business is definitely a fluid one at best, but I think that there are some ways in which you can leverage the chaos in your favor, especially if you are a small or medium sized business that may not have to rely entirely on tier one, national trade shows to increase your business.
The fact of the matter is that national venues like McCormick Place, The Javitz Center, The Moscone Center are losing their luster in favor of venues like Orlando and even smaller places like The World Trade Center Boston, and resort settings. No, these smaller halls can’t handle big shows, but they do a very good job hosting targeted, niche trade shows and conferences. The question every business considering a trade show must answer is, “Is there enough business to be had in these “boutique” type events?”
A real world example of making these decisions is Bokland’s own experience in trade shows. Twice we have attended the national “Global Shop” trade show, focussing on the point of purchase market on a national level. There were great national prospects walking the show, but there were also literally thousands hundreds of companies competing for their attention. In the end, we walked away with the warm and fuzzy feeling that we had done a national show and looked pretty good doing it, only to find that the ROI never quite came around.
Bokland, At Global Shop 2005, a $30,000 investment in a Trade Show
By contrast, last year Bokland attended the National Brewers Conference in Boston at the World Trade Center. This particular show was two days, cost 1/10 of the amount it cost to do the national show and focussed very specifically on a small niche market. We were able to make a smaller space work for us, we could identify our prospects easily, and weren’t competing with the proverbial 800 lb. gorillas of our industry. We walked away with more business from this specialty trade show than we did displaying twice at the national level. We also advanced our presence as a leader in our particular field within this industry and continue to do so by leveraging this strategy.
Bokland at The National Brewers Conference, a $3000 Trade Show Investment
At the end of the day, we all have to ask ourselves where we fit within our industries. Some, unquestionably, have to work on a national level, but the vast majority of small and medium sized service companies do have a choice in regard to what trade shows they attend, and should without question make this a part of their decision making process!
As mentioned in last weeks trade show blog, there are better and better prospects available on show floors these days, getting their attention and time is the trick. Here are a couple of ideas to help you to that end, while also helping to limit costs associated with attending a show. Understanding the reason why you are at the Trade Show is they key to attracting the right people to your booth. There are tons of shows, all of which provide some sort of niche when it comes to attendees. This makes picking that right niche the most important single thing you can do in attending a show, especially if you are like most small businesses, with limited time, staffing and money to attend multiple shows. Figure out where you’ll get the most “bang for the buck” and you have taken the first step to success. Once you have done that, crafting the right message and image to portray at the show becomes your next biggest test. Not only do you have to worry about the exhibit itself and how it looks, but also all of the pre-show marketing stuff that has to be done. It doesn’t matter how good you look, if your message falls on deaf ears, you are already behind the eight ball! To this point, you need to know the niche that you will be selling to extremely well. Tailor your message and all of your collateral toward what you already know compels them. Invite the decision makers and influencers to your exhibit for a visit, giving them something in return for their effort. (This might be as simple as a promotional product or as elaborate as a discount off their next order.) Once they visit, be ready to accomplish what you intended to do from square one with that prospect. Most so far is strategy, and that truly is the most important part of trade show success. Of course, if your prospects don’t recognize you when they get to the show, you have obviously done something wrong. While this sounds like a pith from a graphics company to have an elaborate exhibit, it’s really just a check to make sure that your exhibit materials look good and are on point. If you are new to the trade show world, there are several ways to look great and not spend a ton of money in doing so. There are exhibit solutions that cater to limited budgets as well as others that may cost a little more up-front, but that save you money in the long-term by making graphic switches easier and more cost effective. No matter what your level of need, there is a way for you to look great and achieve outstanding results at your next show. We would encourage you to speak with your trade show company (if not Bokland Custom Visuals) to discuss your options. Any good vendor will ask you the right questions to put you in the right exhibit solution for your needs, and once that is done have a selection of quality hardware and print options to fit your particular need.
Over the last two years or so, trade shows have become almost a second thought when it comes to marketing expense. With the economy lagging and transportation costs having soared, it's easy to see why businesses haven't embraced the Trade Show model. The fact of the matter however, is that trade shows are still one of the most viable means of putting yourself in front of the most qualified leads available. Every show affords you the opportunity to meet face to face with the cream of the crop prospects that are out there looking for new vendors and new ways to increase their business.
At Bokland, we have adopted a slightly different approach to trade show participation. With fewer dollars to go around these days, we have several exhibit solutions that help you stretch your marketing budget further by offering great products at exceptional values! Our first step is to work with the best vendors in the industry, like Mark Bric Display. By partnering with vendors we are able to offer a variety of products that fit almost any trade show need at almost any price point.
Our product line up includes a variety of retractable banner stands, static banner stand options that emphasize value, multiple pop-up displays, even some custom look exhibits that let you stand out from your competition without paying the standard $100 psf that others charge. As a vendor we also offer multiple printing options that leverage value, "green initiatives", quality and even a combination between the three. Our exhibit and graphics solutions allow you to be creative, have a conscience, look great and save money all in the same exhibit!
We are located in Albany, NY, allowing us to service upstate NY, The western NY area including Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo as well as the metropolitan NY and Boston areas!
Here are some examples of recent work, for more please visit our Trade Show Gallery!
Bokland Custom Visuals in Albany NY, worked with Protective Industrial Products, of Guilderland NY, celebrate their 25th anniversary at a recent Trade Show in Orlando FLorida. Bokland provided an Orbus Orbital Truss system to PIP with various large format graphics to round out the exhibit. This 30'x50' exhibit space featured multiple graphic panels along with individual structures that allowed PIP to display it's full line of Industrial and Commercial Protective products. Images are below, congratulations on 25 successful years PIP!
In todays business climate, dollars are more important than ever, making decisions on attending and preparing for trade shows more and more difficult. Everything you read, tells you that show traffic is down, travel costs are up and trade shows might not be the best place to spend your marketing dollars.
In reality, new business opportunities abound on the trade show floor. While traffic may be down, the people you see are probably higher echelon decision makers for the companies attending, in some cases eve owners. Keeping with this idea, with less traffic, you also have more time to spend with the people who do visit, allowing you to qualify leads better, develop better rapport with your visitors, and quite possible even close business that you might not have otherwise been able to close.
Of course, none of this will be at all possible if you don't go to the show or don't make a concerted effort to look your best while on the trade show floor. Attending a trade show if definitely an investment, but for the same reasons that companies are making decisions to incorporate trade show marketing in their mix, show organizers are much more willing to make deals for floor space, making it more affordable to attend.
It is also fortunate that there are many new, value based exhibits available that afford companies the opportunity to look professional and different from other competitors on the trade show floor, for a fraction of the cost that exhibits sold for just a few years ago. Portability, low cost printing methods and reusable hardware, all make it easier for you to attend shows without the pain of high investment.
In conclusion, don't give up on trade shows as a valuable method of increasing sales in your business. What appears to be a possible poor investment, just might turn out to be your cash cow!