Articles

Positioning Strategy

Positioning is the way you set your product or service aside from your competition in the marketplace. As you can tell, the positioning of a product, service, or even store location will stick in the customers mind and always be associated with the company. If you just take a few moments to think about the type of restaurants along interstate, you will realize that they are mostly fast food. These companies have positioned themselves in a place where they know customers have a need for quick, easy food.

Location is only one factor in positioning a company. Think of communication and the messages that are portrayed through commercials and other types of advertisements. For example, what comes to your mind when you hear the name Mercedes, Gatorade, or Subaru? What about department stores such as Neiman Marcus, JCPenny, and Bloomingdales? If you think of the ads for each of these products and companies, you will notice that each place has a different approach. The approach that each company takes depends on the market they are trying to reach and that reflects how they will position themselves.

Positioning strategies are really important when it comes to choosing your trade show booth and graphic design. You want to make sure that the booth you choose reflects the image of your brand and coincides with any other marketing material you have. Determining what graphics you choose for your display depends on what your positioning strategy will be at the trade show. If you chose the correct show to exhibit at, most likely you will have competition there, so you want to make sure your products benefits and services stand out from the rest.

Positioning strategies generally focus on the consumer or the competition. Both ways associate product benefits with consumer needs, but to focus more on the consumer you have link the product with the benefits the consumer will derive by creating a favorable brand image. The competitive approach positions the product by comparing it, and the benefit it offers, with the competition. For example, Scope mouthwash positions itself as better tasting than Listerine. Apple positions itself as having fewer viruses than a PC. Positioning can be the most important part in marketing to establishing a brand.

Before you attend a trade show, pick your booth, and design graphics ask yourself these questions:

1. What position do we already hold in the target consumer’s mind? (This answer must come from the marketplace, not your manager).
2. What position does our company want to own?
3. What competition do we have to beat to get this?
4. Do we have a strong marketing budget to hold this position?
5. Will we stick with a consistent positioning strategy?
6. Do our creative’s match our positioning strategy?

MODdisplays has a lot of experience in picking a booth that best fits your company’s needs and strategy. If you have any questions or need advice on picking a trade show booth, please call MODdisplays at 877.663.3976 or email sales@moddisplays.com.

Tags: , ,

Trade Show Articles

Posted by Andy Keeler on September 09, 2008
Articles, Business Information, MODdisplays Information, Trade Show Marketing / No Comments

The trade show marketing professionals at MODdisplays have years of experience with the design and development of trade show displays, and are intimately familiar with exhibiting strategy and best practices. In order to share our experience with our clients, we have begun to write trade show articles and post them directly to our website. The topics of these articles vary widely, but the overall goal of this new section of our website is to help our clients be better informed about the way trade shows work.

There are a number of articles already posted to this section of our website, and we have committed to adding more articles every day for the benefit of our clients and potential clients.

Tags: , ,

Large Format Printing

Posted by Andy Keeler on September 06, 2008
Articles, Trade Show Graphics / No Comments

Large Format PrinterThe most important element of your trade show exhibit is the graphics. Well-designed graphics should contain your company’s logo, positioning statement, and memorable imagery that grabs the attention of visitors and attendees. Large format printing is the process by which your design files are transformed into the huge graphics that should be the focal point of your booth. Given the enormous scale of typical trade show display graphics, it’s obvious that producing these graphics requires expensive equipment and experienced professionals.

Two types of large format prints dominate the trade show landscape, and those are thermally laminated inkjet graphics and dye sublimated fabric graphics. Both of these processes have seen numerous advancements over the past five to ten years resulting in much higher print quality, longer lasting prints, and quicker turnaround times. Quality varies greatly in the world of large format printing, but MODdisplays graphics specialists understand what materials and procedures result in the best output, and we choose our vendors accordingly.

Inkjet Graphics

Inkjet graphics are the standard for graphic popup displays and detachable graphics. Inkjet print heads use tiny nozzles to squirt ink onto the paper. These nozzles are thinner than a human hair, allowing the printer to make very small dots that eventually come together as a large image. Printers with smaller, more precise nozzles are able to print at a higher DPI rating (dots-per-inch), which means the image will be more crisp and clear. Many inkjet printers are capable of printing at well over 1200 DPI, although it is often pointed out that the human eye cannot tell the difference between 500 and 600 DPI.

Inkjet graphics are often less expensive than dye sublimated fabric graphics, but this has little to do with the actual quality of the prints (although dye sublimated fabric graphics are capable of a much higher print quality than inkjet printers). Large format inkjet printers are extremely inexpensive, easy to use, and capable of producing high-quality prints, which means that there are literally thousands of small printing operations out there. This is simultaneously a benefit and drawback to consumers. More printing companies obviously means more competition and lower prices, but it also means that there are many unqualified printing companies out there with inexperienced technicians and outdated machines. Because the quality of the paper and ink varies greatly, it can be hard to tell if you’re purchasing a quality product or if the printing company is cutting corners to save money.

For most trade show applications, inkjet prints need to be finished. This is usually accomplished with a thermal laminate, but pressure sensitive laminates are also popular among bargain basement printing companies. Thermal laminates are typically scratch-resistant, and they make your graphics more rigid and durable. For popup displays, your thermally laminated inkjet graphics will need to be finished with hangers, kickers, and magnetic strips so that the graphics can hang from the frame of your exhibit.

Dye Sublimated Fabric Graphics

Dye sublimation is a process by which your image is essentially burned into a durable, washable fabric. Your image is initially printed on a coated transfer paper as a mirror image of your final graphic, and is then transferred to the fabric using a heat press with rollers that operate between 300 and 450 degrees. When passing through the rollers, the ink is heated until it “sublimates” (changes from a solid to a gaseous state without passing through the liquid state). The gas then permeates the fibers of the fabric and solidifies, which permanently dyes the fabric. Because the fabric is permanently dyed, dye sublimated fabric is machine washable.

Dye sublimated fabric graphics can be produced at a much higher quality than inkjet graphics for two reasons. First, inkjet inks are not capable of changing colors. By changing the temperature of the heating elements in the print heads, dye sub printers are able to vary the shade of the colored panels. Inkjet printers simply place dots on paper, so dithering must be used to create the appearance of solid colors. Secondly, inkjet ink is completely opaque, which means that dots cannot be laid over top of one another. Dye sub ink is transparent, which means that colors can be placed on top of one another to create true solid color gradients.

Despite these advantages, there are a few disadvantages associated with dye sublimation printers. First, dye sub printers cannot achieve true black. Inkjet printers are able to print a rich, glossy black color, while dye sub printers cannot. Also, dye sublimation printing companies invest huge amounts of money to be able to print dye sublimated fabric. It may cost upwards of $200,000 to outfit a space with the equipment needed to create high-quality dye sublimated fabric graphics.

Large format printing is an ever-changing field with many variables. It can be difficult to know exactly what type of graphic you’re purchasing without examining a sample of the graphic in person. At MODdisplays, we stake our reputation on our top quality trade show graphics produced by the best graphic houses in the country. We constantly receive compliments on our graphics packages as well as our graphic design department, and we intend to maintain our reputation as an industry leading provider of large format graphics.

Tags: , , , ,

Entrepreneur Highlights Best Practices in Exhibiting

In a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine, Nichole Torres highlighted a few of the exhibiting practices of Anna Sabino on behalf of Lucid New York Jewelry. According to the article, Sabino spent a good deal of time investigating effective trade show marketing techniques by walking other trade shows as an attendee. This experience gave her insight into what works and what doesn’t with regards to exhibiting and allowed her to make a big impression at her event.

According to the article, simple and clean exhibit design will help your company stand out in the clutter as opposed to busy and confusing exhibit design. Sabino “used mirrors and warm colors to create a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere” according to the article, which is textbook exhibiting practice. It is always important to make visitors to your booth feel welcomed and comfortable before you begin your sales pitch.

On top of all her efforts, Sabino offered a valuable service to her potential clients. She took the time to do the work for her distributors by creating an attractive display case and picking only her most popular and best-selling products so that her potential clients could easily imagine what it would be like to sell her products in their retail environment. According to the article, her sales exceeded $600,000 this year, which is great for a three-year-old startup company.

Tags: , , , , ,

Exhibiting With Multimedia

Modern trade show exhibits are almost always outfitted with multimedia components such as monitors or speakers. Adding multimedia and internet connectivity to your trade show booth makes sharing information quicker and easier than ever, which has dramatically increased the profitability of trade shows for companies that do business online.

There are a number of different uses for multimedia at a trade show, and your exhibit space should be oriented in a way that functions best for your needs. If you want to use the internet to share private pricing lists or provide a brief glimpse into the members only section of your website, you may want to put your computer in a more private location to avoid snooping from competitors. If you want to share a marketing video to relay information about your products and services, you would probably want to have your computer in a prominent place to attract attention from passing visitors and attendees. Think carefully about how you plan to use multimedia and let that determine the way you organize your trade show booth components.

When incorporating multimedia into your trade show display, you should be careful to ensure that your multimedia components do not overshadow your exhibit. Monitors, demo stations, and computers should be accessible, but should not obstruct your sales staff from engaging visitors and attendees. Visitors should feel welcome in your space, not crowded and disoriented. Purchasing a trade show display that is designed to hold monitors and manage computer wiring is a great way to make sure that your multimedia has a prominent place in your exhibit without taking up valuable real estate.

Many exhibitors make the mistake of improperly lighting their trade show displays in a way that detracts from the appeal of the multimedia. It is always a bad idea to have harsh exhibit lighting directly shining on your monitor, as this will cause unwanted glare on the screen. If your presentation is hard to see because of improper lighting, visitors and attendees will quickly lose interest and move to another exhibit to find what they are looking for. Lighting your monitor from above is always a good idea, as this draws attention to your multimedia without creating a glare on the screen.

When using multimedia, be sure to correctly adjust the volume to avoid problems with attendees as well as neighboring exhibitors. Many shows strictly regulate the volume of your presentations for the sake of nearby exhibitors, so be sure to read up on the rules before planning your demonstrations. It is also important that your sales staff be able to effectively communicate with visitors and attendees. Your booth staffers should never have to struggle to speak over the sound of your multimedia, as this will make your potential clients uncomfortable and will detract from the overall feel of your trade show booth system.

Using multimedia in your next trade show exhibit is critical if your company deals online in any way. Building a good web presence and effective online marketing material is a great way to show attendees that your company is highly professional and willing to keep up with changing market demands.

About the Author:
Andy Keeler is the President of MODdisplays, a leading provider of portable trade show displays and trade show booths. If you’re shopping online for Exhibit One displays or XRline displays, look no further than MODdisplays for your exhibiting needs.  MODDisplays can be found online at:  http://www.moddisplays.com.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Launching a New Product

Every year thousands of new and improved products are launched across the United States. The vast majority of those products go unnoticed by the broader marketplace, which results in reduced sales volume for manufacturers and unnecessarily limited options for consumers. So what can be done to ensure that your new product gets noticed by the right people?

A successful product launch typically requires a detailed marketing plan that includes the creation of marketing material for retailers, timely press releases both in print and on the web, email marketing,  and strategic trade show marketing. When these elements combine, your product launch can quickly gain traction and generate revenue for your company.

Before initiating a marketing campaign to launch your product, you need to make sure that your product is completely finished (please note that “finished” does not mean “perfected”, as no product will ever be perfect). Your prototype should be fully functional, and the design and development process should be completely finished. Creating a marketing campaign for a completed product is much easier than creating a marketing campaign for a half-completed product.

The first step toward launching your new product is to create marketing material for retailers. Take numerous photos of your product from every imaginable angle. Make sure you have a number of photos of your product in use, as this instills confidence in your potential clients. Choose a name for your product that is unique and memorable, and write a number of short descriptions that could be used in brochures or pamphlets to market the product. Design your packaging, making sure to keep it consistent with the other products your company offers. The more work you do for your retailers, the more likely they will be to sell your product.

Once your marketing material has been created, it’s time to announce the arrival of your product. Writing a press release is a great way to get your product in front of thousands of readers. Your press release should be worded as a sales pitch, and you should be careful to be concise yet thorough when writing about your product. Be sure to mention the name of your product in the title of the press release, and link the press release to a website for your product or your company website (provided it prominently features the new product).

Email marketing is another great way to get your product in front of your target audience. If you already have an email list of the important figures in your industry, you have an advantage. If not, you can often find email addresses by looking through the website of a recent industry trade show. Your email should quickly and concisely educate your readers on the new product you offer, specifically focusing on what makes it different or better than other products on the market.

The final step in your product launch is to exhibit at an industry event. Getting your product in front of your target audience in person is a great way to convince them that you offer a quality product at a good price. You will need to reserve a trade show booth and purchase an exhibit. You may also need accessories such as trade show lights or booth flooring to help highlight your product and set yourself apart from other companies. Careful placement of your exhibit lighting can highlight your product without overshadowing your company’s brand.

Once your product has been successfully launched, your work doesn’t stop there. Continue to hone and refine your marketing material, and your investment will pay off.

About the Author:
Andy Keeler is the President of MODdisplays, a leading provider of portable trade show displays and trade show booths. If you’re shopping online for Exhibit One displays or XRline displays, look no further than MODdisplays for your exhibiting needs.  MODDisplays can be found online at:  http://www.moddisplays.com .

Tags: , ,

Using Promotional Products in Trade Show Marketing

Posted by Andy Keeler on June 09, 2008
Articles, Trade Show Displays, Trade Show Marketing / No Comments

Your company’s use of promotional products could make or break your exhibiting program, so it is important to carefully consider your use of trade show giveaways before the event. Optimizing your promotional products for maximum effectiveness at a minimal cost will allow you to increase the return on your investment; making trade shows more profitable endeavors for your company. By examining typical promotional products and their effect on visitors and attendees, you can drastically improve the effectiveness of your trade show giveaways while keeping your costs stable.

Typical promotional products include pens, stress balls, notepads, and candy. Trade show giveaways like this work well if you’re attending a small local trade show and you’re exhibiting using a table top display, but large corporate shows require more thought and energy. If you hand the CEO of a mid-sized company a stress ball, it will probably end up in the trash can within the hour. So what can you do to grab the attention of top level executives without spending a fortune?

1.       Offer promotional products that directly relate to the products and/or services you sell. If you sell stereo equipment, offer attendees gift cards to iTunes or another online music retailer. If you sell cell phones, offer attendees inexpensive but functional accessories for their cell phones. Your trade show giveaway should be directly related to the product you sell in some way because this will ensure that visitors to your trade show display leave the show with a good idea of who you are and what your company is all about.

 

2.       Offer trade show giveaways that match the branding environment created by your trade show display and your trade show literature. Promotional products should be an extension of your company’s branding efforts, and should reflect the look and feel of your trade show marketing program as a whole. It would be unwise to give away an incredible and expensive promotional item while exhibiting with a poorly designed pop up display. If you use a modern, high-end trade show exhibit, your promotional products should continue that feeling with attendees. If you’re not careful, the feel of your promotional items may negate the feel of your exhibit and ruin the work of your trade show booth staff.

 

3.       Be sure to put your company name on the promotional product. Only 30% of attendees can remember the name of the company who gave them a promotional giveaway, but if your company name is written on the item, 100% of visitors will remember who gave it to them. If your promotional product is useful and valuable, your potential clients will remember the name of your company for years to come.

 

4.       Tailor your promotional item to the type of client you are attempting to solicit. If you sell products to businesses, you will have more success with a work-related promotional item. The attendee is likely to keep the work-related item at work, which is also the place where he or she is likely to make a work-related purchase. If you sell consumer goods, it is important to offer your potential clients promotional items that they are likely to take home with them after the trade show.

Generally speaking, promotional items are a great way to improve the return on your investment at a trade show, but following a few simple rules will ensure that your trade show giveaways don’t harm your overarching marketing efforts.

About the Author:

Andy Keeler is the President of MODdisplays, a leading provider of portable trade show displays and trade show booths. If you’re shopping online for Xpressions displays or Entasi displays, look no further than MODdisplays for your exhibiting needs.  MODDisplays can be found online at:  http://www.moddisplays.com .

Tags: , , , ,

Guide to Portable Trade Show Displays

Portable trade show displays are becoming more popular with exhibitors because of the low cost of shipping and drayage, but picking the right exhibit for your company can be a tough project. There are hundreds of different models available on the internet, and which one you pick will depend on your marketing budget and what types of accessories you need. No matter what type of trade show display you choose, the goal is to make a huge impact with your exhibit space and leave a lasting impression on visitors.

There are many types of portable trade show displays, and below is a list of the most common styles:

Tabletop Displays

Xpressions Tabletop Display

Tabletop displays are typically used at small, local trade shows. Companies that exhibit locally tend to devote their marketing efforts toward small display systems that provide a large graphic area. Tabletop displays are often complimented with table covers branded with a company logo, which helps companies to identify themselves. Tabletop displays can cost anywhere from $300 – $2,000, but most systems cost around $800.


Pop Up Displays

Pop Up Display
Pop up displays have been a mainstay in the portable trade show display industry for over 30 years. These unique systems use aluminum frames that collapse down very small, but can expand to form large back wall displays. Fabric or graphic panels can be added to the frame once it has been set up, allowing you to display a seamless image across the entire width of your booth. Pop up displays typically range between $1,000 and $4,000.

Modular Displays
Modular Displays
Modular trade show displays can be used in multiple exhibit spaces with the exact same hardware. There is no need to purchase different displays depending on the size of the booth you need to exhibit in, modular displays allow you to quickly change out your hardware and use your booth in multiple settings. If you know that your company will need to exhibit in multiple spaces, modular trade show displays are definitely the way to go. Modular displays typically range between $5,000 and $15,000.


Hybrid Displays

Alumalite Displays
Hybrid displays are accessory friendly exhibits. Adding monitor mounts, literature holders, and counter systems is easy thanks to innovative display technologies. One exhibit system can support countless accessories and many configurations, which allows exhibitors to have a great deal of flexibility without paying an exorbitant price for a custom exhibit. Typically hybrid displays range between $2,000 and $10,000.


Banner Stand Walls

Orient Banner Stand Wall
Banner stand walls are an economical way to exhibit in a 10 x 10 space. These simple systems are very lightweight, but have a very large graphic area. The graphic retracts into the base when not in use, which allows it to remain protected in transportation and shipping. The banner stand wall as pictured can be fully set up within 10 seconds, making it one of the easiest displays to use on the market. Typically banner stand walls run between $800 and $2,000.


Investing in a Portable Exhibit
Purchasing a trade show display can be a big step for a company, but the investment usually pays off big. Here are some things you should look for when purchasing a trade show exhibit to make sure that you’re getting the best deal:

  • Make sure your display carries a lifetime warranty. You don’t want to be left holding the bag when your display is destroyed in a cross-country shipment or damaged by careless I & D personnel.
  • Make sure your display is assembled in the United States. Chinese-made products are inferior, have longer turnaround times, and usually do not carry any type of warranty.
  • Make sure your portable display is approved for the show you are attending. Trade shows have strict regulations and policies, and many exhibitors arrive only to find out that their type of trade show display has been banned by the show organizers.
  • Make sure you save money for accessories. Literature racks and product shelving are important parts of any display system, so don’t forget about these items when ordering your trade show exhibit.

Tags: , , , ,

Tips for Designing Trade Show Graphics

Posted by Andy Keeler on March 07, 2008
Articles, Trade Show Displays, Trade Show Graphics / 1 Comment

If you have ever attended a trade show, you know that many companies struggle with designing graphics that represent their company well. Even large, nationally recognized corporations make glaring mistakes in their graphic design that could have easily been prevented with a better understanding of the trade show environment. By collecting information from designers experienced in working with trade show graphics, we have compiled a number of tips that we believe are crucial to a successful graphic design.

 

1- Less is more in the world of trade show graphics. Many designers seem to think that they are designing a museum exhibit, because the entire display is filled with small text and bullet points. You only have three seconds to grab the attention of attendees and visitors at a trade show, and a large graphic full of tiny text is the last thing you want. We have found that large, boldly colored images that relate directly to the brand identity of your company will not only increase your visibility at the trade show, but increase the return on your investment. If you are designing graphics to promote a company that sells orange juice, you would do much better by using a large image of a fresh orange than by writing bullet points about the advantages of purchasing your brand of orange juice.

 

2- Do not sacrifice a professional image in order to market a smaller facet of your company. At a trade show, you are marketing your brand, not your products. Unless you offer a cutting edge product, visitors to your booth will not be impressed by what you sell. If you design simple but professional trade show graphics that focus on the feel of your company, you are much more likely to leave a lasting impact on attendees by raising the profile of your company brand. The biggest motivating factor that changes potential customers into loyal clients is the perception that your company is professional and legitimate.

 

3- Maintain a consistent scheme with all of your marketing material. Your large format trade show graphics should be closely tied in with the literature and giveaways you are handing out, as well as any pre-show mailers you have sent. Your trade show graphics should also work with your company website, letterhead, and business cards. In other words, your trade show marketing campaign needs to be a part of a much larger approach that is well planned and consistent. This will help you to appear legitimate and professional to your potential clients, which will help to earn business for your company. If your trade show graphics are well designed and make a big impact at your show, visitors will be disappointed if they are pointed to a poorly designed, outdated website.

 

Many companies that sell trade show displays offer graphic design, usually at a cost of roughly $100 per hour. There are a few companies that offer free trade show graphic design with the purchase of a trade show display or banner stand, which can be a great way to save money and time. Companies that sell exhibits usually staff designers that specialize in large format graphic design and printing, which means that they know exactly what types of design works well in a trade show environment. The expertise of a professional can drastically increase the return on your investment without adding too much upfront cost.

 

About the Author:

Andy Keeler is the owner of MODdisplays. They specialize in trade show displays and exhibit graphics at and their trade show booths are environmentally friendly.  MODDisplays can be found online at:  http://www.moddisplays.com .

Tags: , , ,