In this rebroadcast of Virtual Lunch, we’ve got a crowdsourced episode celebrating Build a Better Trade Show Image Week. We’re featuring why YOU love trade shows!
Our guest panelists include:
- Kenji Haroutunian – The Big Gear Show
- Don Jalbert – Exhibit Associates
- Victoria Petersen – E3 Events, Experiences, Environments
- Al Mercuro – Genesis Exhibits
- Silvana Cheyney – SLC Events Services
- Marco Barozzi – Expo Consulting
- Rich Vallaster – Personify
Here’s where you can watch the entire Virtual Lunch broadcast.
[00:00:00.310] - Marlys Arnold
You're listening to the trade Show Insights podcast. Season 17, episode Two. I'm your host and exhibit marketing strategist Marlys Arnold, bringing you tools to improve your exhibit results. On today's episode brought to you by the Exhibit Marketers Cafe, we've got a rebroadcast of our special I Love Trade Shows edition of Virtual Lunch with a panel of special guests.
[00:01:02.050] - Marlys Arnold
My mom always teases me that she should have known from the time I was little that I was going to end up in trade shows because when we used to go to the state fair, most kids, they go ride the rides. They go check out the goodies and play the games or whatever. No, I hung out in the exhibits. I was always fascinated. I wondered I would check out, like, the 4H stuff and the gardening and the produce exhibits and stuff. But I also was fascinated by all the commercial exhibits and one that Alan and I always talk about. And you may remember, too, if you ever went to a state fair when you were a kid, but the water softener guy that had the magic faucet that every kid has to check it out, but it had the clear PVC pipe in the middle and so that brought the water up. But it was like the never ending water faucet. So anyway, that was just fascinating to me as a kid. But I've always been fascinated by trade shows. I've always loved them. And so now having this is my life's work has been just a lot of fun.
[00:02:09.410] - Marlys Arnold
But I asked for a lot of you to contribute your ideas of why you love trade shows. So we are going to hear from a number of different people today. So I'm going to go ahead and kick it off here. Our first guest is Kenji Haroutunian. And you probably remember Kenji, he was one of our guests last year talking about the big Gear show. So we're going to hear what Kenji has to say.
[00:02:37.530] - Kenji Haroutunian
My name is Kenji, and Marlys asked me a question, what do I love about trade shows? So here are the things I love about trade shows. Number one is that shows get me out of my immediate day to day environment and into a new setting where I am talking about the direction of an industry or the impacts of a movement, like a social movement or something, where in my day to day, I don't have time, I don't make time to really pursue those types of conversations. So in that way, it helps me get inspired and informed. The second thing is I love trade shows because I'm a people person. I love to get out and meet new people and understand where they're coming from and learn about their perspective. I think it makes me a more well rounded person and a better communicator. And then the third thing is that shows are a great source of discovery for me. Discovering new technology discovering new forms and structures in the business or outside the business that can inform the business. So discovery is a really important thing, too. So that's what I love about shows.
[00:03:45.690] - Marlys Arnold
I love that. I mean, he summed it up so well in like a minute. Ken, she really summed up what all trade shows are about. There's the getting out of your day to day environment and getting inspired and discovering new things and just so many different things that we all love about trade shows. So next up, we have Don Jalbert from Exhibit Associates. And so let's hear what Don has to say.
[00:04:09.870] - Don Jalbert
Hey, good morning, Don Gilbert. Here why I love trade shows. And I tell clients, potential clients, why I love trade shows. And I always say my definition of perfection. What is perfection? It is 15 minutes before the show opens. Now, as you can hear, I'm in the warehouse. There's work going on here, and I want to talk about what it takes to get to the 15 minutes before opening. You've got to get a client. You've got to talk about requirements. You got to do the design. You do multiple iterations of that design. Then it gets to the floor. It's the fabrication. Everything gets done on that. And then you do the staging. You put it into crates, and then you ship it off and you get it set up. And then once it's set up, then you got to make sure the Visqueen is off. You got to clean up the booth. And at 15 minutes prior to the show opening, everybody's shirt is nice. Everybody's. All of their brochures are laid out. The carpet is clean. The trash bags, the trash cans are practically empty. And there's a buzz on the floor. And that is almost like intoxicating that buzz.
[00:05:11.990] - Don Jalbert
And then, well, don't talk to me about 15 minutes after the show, but 15 minutes prior to the show. That's perfection. And it takes a lot of work to get there, but it's still a project. It's still a finite target deadline because that trade show is not waiting for anybody. That trade shows definitely not waiting for anybody. So what you need to do is you need to work with your exhibit house. That would be something like Exhibit Associates. And you go through all the iterations and then everything at let's say it's a 10:00 opening at 945 perfection. And the buzz and anticipation about the business you're going to close. That's why I like trade shows so much. I'm sorry. That's why I love trade shows, because my background is software. And some of those projects, software projects go 36 months. Well, you think about 36 months. We never even heard of COVID 36 months ago. If you had told me 36 months ago we were going to shut down the economy or shut down the world, I would laugh at you. But we're back. Traders are back on some trade show floors getting positive feedback from our clients.
[00:06:16.970] - Don Jalbert
The energy is coming back. So again, we shoot for perfection here. I'm not saying that our graphics are the best. I'm not saying that we build things the best. Nobody does it better. But that 15 minutes right before opening and your staff is coached. Everything is ready to go. And that's why I love trade shows. Again, Don Jalbert exhibit associates. Glad to be part of this. Thanks.
[00:06:47.770] - Marlys Arnold
I love that. I love that whole 15 minutes before. I mean, we can all relate to that anticipation. That like adrenaline that's rushing through you right before the show opens. So I think that's really great. And I love the authenticity of that clip, too, with all the shop sounds going on in the background. So it kind of makes us feel like we're there and everything's back up and going again. Anyway, that one was really cool. Next up, we have Victoria Petersen is going to share with us. And Victoria, I know you're here with us live, so we're going to hear what she has to say.
[00:07:27.370] - Victoria Petersen
Hi, I'm Victoria Peterson with E3 Planning. I love trade shows. They are one of the only places where you can go and meet so many people, see so many different products, listen over folks shoulders and listen to what their questions and concerns are, things that you may not even have thought of. So I love the exchange of ideas and people at trade shows. My quick tip for exhibitors, treat your booth less like a showroom or sales place and more like you are inviting people over to your home. Can you make them feel comfortable? Can you make them feel relaxed as well as then listening to their questions and concerns rather than just focusing on what you are trying to sell or getting a lead? That's my quick tip. Thanks so much.
[00:08:20.480] - Marlys Arnold
Bye bye, Victoria. I love that. I love the idea of listening over the shoulder. That is true. It's like trade shows are a great way to exchange ideas and learn new things and discover ideas. And then the tip that Victoria shared of looking at your booth as inviting somebody over to your home. I just think that's so awesome because it is true. If exhibitors took that approach of making their booth more inviting and more of a and anybody that knows me knows I'm all about experiential, making an experience, making it a whole environment. And so I love that idea of thinking of your booth as inviting somebody into your living room. So that one was really cool. Let's see. So next up, we have Al Mercuro from Genesis Exhibits. And so we're going to hear what I have to say. And he has some great perspective over the years of things that he's done.
[00:09:27.610] - Al Mercuro
Hi. I was asked to come up with my reasons why I love trade shows. And for me, I guess the only answer I've always given has been the diversity of the project that we work on every day is a different project. It's never the same. It's always different. Whether it's a large financial company, whether it's a small start up company, they each have their own challenges and sort of solutions we need to come up with. For example, back in 1997, a professor from a local University came to me with a new software idea that he had developed for security reasons for people using laptops instead of putting passwords in. And he had very little budget. He was going to his first trade show, and he needed to have a small portable exhibit to use for such show. So developed one for him was able to fit his budget. He did so well at the first show. He immediately booked a bigger exhibit for the next show, and then he did well at that one. He booked another, bigger exhibit for the show after that. And as it turned out, he was the gentleman that invented facial recognition, which took off like crazy after that point.
[00:10:53.440] - Al Mercuro
So that gave me a bit of satisfaction in dealing with someone who was just starting a business up and seeing how successful he could be afterwards. Another aspect of the exhibit world is not just trade shows. It's been special events, experiential events that go on. And I've had a good experience and a good, nice pleasure working on a number of different things over the years, including the 50th anniversary of the Corvette, press conferences for the Super Bowl, a soccer game at the United Nations, a fan exhibit at the NHL Allstar game, and even working with Elmo, creating a traveling exhibit for him to do his show as he traveled around the country. So my three year old really loved that. When I was able to make that happen. Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to speak to a College class and talk about the trade show industry. And I related it to my experience in College. When I first started getting into live events. I actually ran the concert series at my College. And the same skill sets that we use in trade shows actually are for producing a concert. The same type of things that are needed to happen on that one day of a concert are the same things you need to do for that one trade show.
[00:12:15.340] - Al Mercuro
Everything has to show up on time. Everything that you've organized, all the support people that you've asked to come, the technicians, the lighting and sound people, the piano tuner, or whatever, all have to show up for that one concert. And the same thing happens in a trade show. Our designers need to design an eye catching exhibit. It needs to be produced, and it needs to be shipped, and it needs to be set up and taken down at a show. And all that has to happen the day that show is ready to go. So there's no next day that happens at that point. So what I always tell people is our industry is we're the first ones in the last one's out. And if you're not working behind the scenes ever at any kind of business, you have no idea what that feels like. Two tips I can give real quick are learn everything you can about the virtual technology that's out there today that's not going away. And also safety protocols needed for events to make them run safely. Thank you very much.
[00:13:23.290] - Marlys Arnold
That is so true about how you just never know what you're going to discover or who you're going to meet. I think back and I've had the opportunity since I'm a consultant and I work with shows in all kinds of industries. So I've been on all different kinds of show floors and the different kinds of new inventions and new products that are discovered that I get to see, first of all, on a show floor before the general population even hears about or knows about. So it's kind of like when we're at a trade show, we're getting this inside information to be like the first the leading edge of what's coming. And so that is really exciting. And then the people that you'll meet now, I never got to work with Elmo, but I have worked with some very fascinating people over the years and met a lot of cool people at trade shows.
[00:14:14.950] - Marlys Arnold
All right. Next up, we have Silvana Cheyney and Sylvana I know you're here with us today. Silvana always joins us from Brazil. So we're always excited to have you here. So let's hear what Silvana has to say.
[00:14:28.150] - Silvana Cheyney
Hi, Marlys, how are you? Good evening. Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this video about trade shows. What I love most about trade shows is the opportunity that gives you to meet face to face with people all around the world, getting to know their product, their new service, and also closing deals. It's much easier when you meet face to face to close deals. My small tip is, if I may, is if you can put a wow factor in your booth to engage and entertain the clients that approach you, approaches you. This is, for me, a great, great, great tip because I've been to trade shows and the ones that had that special factor that entertainment and engaged the clients, they were a major system. So thank you. I hope this is my small tips helps. Thank you so much. Have a great evening.
[00:15:44.470] - Marlys Arnold
I love this. Create the wow factor, do something unexpected. I just had to throw that in. Silvana you gave me the perfect intro for that one. So for those that are listening on the podcast for this later, I have an animated heart graphic that just went on the screen. It's true doing something to wow people. Earlier, Victoria talked about making your booth, like your living room and inviting people in. But you've also got to do something to impress them and amaze them and make yourself memorable. So again, trade shows, there's so much potential and I've seen so many creative things and I can't wait to see what people are doing now that we're getting the industry restarted again. So next up we have Marco Barozzi from Italy. And so Marco, we're going to turn this over and hear what he has to say.
[00:16:44.270] - Marco Barozzi
Hello, Marlys and everyone. And thank you for the invitation to answer why I love trade shows. And yes, the answer is absolutely positive. I love trade shows. It was 1989 when I started working for trade shows. And today, after 32 years, my passion for the exhibitions and events industry has not changed. I was immediately fascinated by the way in which we managed to solve the problems of exhibitors and visitors. I love the excitement that animated the setting up and dismantle phases and the moments related to the inauguration of the show, sharing the inevitable anxieties and fears that something could go wrong. And in the 32 years I have managed trade shows, I promoted many events, travel to numerous countries and discover new markets. I have created an agency and a team to which I passed on, hopefully with success, the passion and enthusiasts for this business. But what is the ultimate purpose of a trade show? Why our company is exhibiting at an event? What are their goals, what budget do they have? And now one of the most important question is what is a virtual and a hybrid event and why should companies attend them and buyers attend them?
[00:18:17.920] - Marco Barozzi
These are many others are questions that all those years of experience allow me now to answer today. And if those who have exhibited in or attended a trade shows are aware of the purpose that it covers, it is not equally obvious that there are many people who are aware of what happens behind the scenes in the days a month preceding the event and the amount of work necessary for its preparation. After an absence of two years business that relied businesses that relied on exhibitions and events for lead generation and say that to look somewhere to fill the gaps in their revenue. And for many, this meant that meant using or increasing the use of digital marketing. And I think that also you and other people in general may have read something regarding the death or demise of trade shows and in person events which have proved massively wrong because this is actually demonstrated what's happening now. Shows are continuing and event bookings for events across many countries are demonstrating the contrary. So digital and live are not enemies. They can work together in a beautiful way, but it's critical to understand the value each other's, each delivers, let's say, and the cost involved in doing so. Our industry has weathered at very tough and unprecedented times and I think it will continue to do so.
[00:20:03.110] - Marlys Arnold
I love that. And again, Marco, like Al talked about a lot of the work that goes on behind the scenes. One of the terms that's being used now that Laura from NTSA uses a lot is the invisible industry. And it's true. We are invisible to most of the general population. We work behind the scenes. We set up an entire city on a show floor and then tear it all down like it was never there in the first place. I love how Marco talked a lot about that, but also the idea that digital and face to face are not enemies, that we need to find ways for it to all work together. And so, again, I'm excited to see where we go from here with that. Our last guest speaker that we have today is Rich Vallaster. So I'm going to let you hear from him, and then I'll be back with just a quick wrap up.
[00:20:58.730] - Rich Vallaster
Rich Baluster here, the Trade show Wonk. What I love so much about trade shows is the curated engagement of buyers and suppliers in such a short amount of time. Where else can you do that? Think about it. Often in a handful of hours, up to a couple of days, we connect the right folks in the room, whether it's solving their challenges, whether it's looking for education that they need. That's what a trade show does so effectively, that connection. And hey, for you exhibitors marketers out there. I think it's really important to remind folks that, hey, where else can you go to get that so quickly and in such a concise curated time? That's what I love about trade shows. What a year 22 is going to be looking forward to seeing everybody out there.
[00:21:40.790] - Marlys Arnold
And that's what we all love about trade shows is that I love the word that he used curated engagement. We are bringing suppliers and buyers together and making those connections. And I want to thank all of our panelists today who participated and shared why they love trade shows. I love trade shows. It's obvious I love trade shows. I know you love trade shows. Let's just all do some fabulous trade shows. And I can't wait to hear what is in store for our industry and for each of you as we go forward this year.
[00:22:25.350] - Marlys Arnold
If you'd like to join us for an upcoming virtual lunch, you'll find info on ExhibitMarketersCafe.com/Lunch. If you enjoyed today's episode and would like more, you can subscribe to the podcast and automatically receive future episodes on your chosen device. Simply search for Trade Show Insights in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or virtually anywhere else that podcasts are found, then click the subscribe button. Trade Show Insights is protected by the Creative Commons Copyright License. You may feel free to share this recording with colleagues or embedded on your own blog, as long as it's shared in its entirety and is not used for commercial purposes. To learn more, please see the link in the Sidebar of the show Notes at TradeShowInsights.com. Well, that's it for this episode of Trade Show insights. Be sure to check out our show notes and archives at tradeshowinsights.com. You can also connect with me using the social media links or the contact page on the site. I'm Marlys Arnold thanks for listening and be sure to join us next time for more tools to improve your exhibit results.
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