Monday, September 19, 2011

What actually constitutes a "Pop-up Display?"

The term pop-up display is often misunderstood since there are several types of displays that can fall into that category. To an experienced trade show industry professional a "pop-up display" usually refers to a standard 10 x 10 curved display that utilizes magnetic front panels that are either fabric covered or graphic printed. Pop-up displays often utilize their shipping case as a front counter or podium. The industry term for this is a "case-to-counter" conversion kit.

There are several newer types of displays that fall into the "pop-up" category including big fabric displays and flag frame displays. The difference between a traditional pop-up display and a big fabric pop-up display is that with the newer style, big fabric displays the graphic actually remains on the frame when the display is setup and taken down. Where the traditional pop-up displays need to have the graphics detached and reattached for setup and breakdown.

The flag frame style of pop-up displays also keep their graphics in place when setup and taken down. This obviously makes it much easier to and less time consuming to setup and break down the newer styles of pop-up displays versus the traditional pop-up displays. The main difference between a flag frame and a big fabric pop-up display is the graphics configurations. A big fabric display utilizes a large single graphic graphic where a flag frame unit allows for multiple graphic panels which adds a level of versatility and style.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to Identify Dates and Locations for Industry Tradeshows

One of the most common questions we hear from clients is: "How can I find a list of tradeshows in my industry?" Of course we want to help our clients to find trade shows to participate in because that means more displays and graphics which is what we produce. For years we would do the research and follow up with the customers who asked with one or two recommendations. It was a lot of work and a frustrating task.

After many years of researching this information the hard way, B2B Communications comes along with a great resource known as "The Trade Show Calendar" which we quickly installed on our website as a tool for our clients to use self-service style. You can see the tool at

The Trade Show Calendar lets you search for trade shows by industry, location, date, and much more. The results include important data such as square feet of the show, number of exhibitors and attendance. Possibly the best feature is that the results also include a link to the website for the show itself.

This feature has been a great addition to our website and provides a great resource for our team internally and our clients. We hope you enjoy its value as well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are You Still Renting Flat Screens?

We find it hard to believe that many companies are still renting LCD, Plasma or LED flat panel TVs and Computer Monitors for their trade show booths.

Considering that the cost to purchase these screens has come down so much in the past year, it is actually cheaper to buy them than to rent them even one time in many cases.

We are now recommending that our clients purchase new flat screens for their trade shows and then give them away to either their employees or raffle them off at the end of the show.

In the above scenario you are actually spending the same money or less than when you were renting flat screens, but you now get the added benefit of a very happy employee, customer or prospect while also saving some money in the process. In addition having the screens in advance eliminates the stress related to hoping you have the proper mount or cables that will be compatible with a rental screen.

For one example we had a client who was renting two 50" flat screens for their trade show display and were paying an average rental cost of $1,200 each. They now buy these units for $900 each and have had some really fun contests in their office and at the show for the 50" giveaways.

Our company CDS Displays ( used to rent flat panel monitors to our clients and although we miss the revenue that it generated, we now suggest to all of our clients that they purchase flat panel screens.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to use Microsites to Increase Booth Traffic at Trade Shows

One of the most successful "pre-show" marketing campaigns I ever executed included a show-specific microsite and a direct mail postcard.

For those of you who don't know what a microsite is - the best explanation I can provide is that it is a secondary, topic, event, or keyword specific website that lives completely outside of your main website. A good example of this is our "trade show display rental" microsite. Our main web address is ( ) but we also have several additional websites that are technically "microsites." One of them is ( ) this is a keyword specific microsite that shows up on the first page of Google when someone specifically searches for "trade show display rentals." Another one we use for our business is ( ) We are a dealer for Expand and the microsite allows us to focus on their product line and also comes in on the first page of Google.

This particular "pre-show campaign" included a product specific microsite that housed a video demo of the new product launch that was to be showcased at the upcoming industry trade show. This was for the medical device market. In order to create buzz before the show and additional traffic at the booth, we created a contest with a laptop giveaway.

A postcard was sent to pre-registered attendees that provided teaser information about the new product launch and drove traffic to the microsite with a contest promotion. Once at the microsite attendees could enter to win the laptop. Of course the entry form included some pre-qualifying questions and asked if the visitor would like to schedule a meeting during the event.

Approximately 3,000 postcards were mailed and the site received 1,800 visitors which is by far the highest response rate we have ever seen from a single postcard mailing.

Surprisingly only half of the visitors entered the contest, but of the nearly 900 who did enter 22 of them also scheduled an appointment for a one-on-one meeting at the show and 16 of the 22 actually showed up and met.

I don't know about you, but anytime you can have 16 pre-qualified, interested party meetings scheduled at your booth 30 days before a show from a single postcard and microsite you are off to a great show.

In addition to the microsite response, bringing the postcard to the booth would also enter you in the laptop giveaway and over 300 attendees showed up at the booth with the postcard. This pre-show marketing campaign was one of the most successful that we have seen and the microsite was the anchor in its success.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why do prices vary so much for similar products?

Have you ever wondered how there can be such major price differences for similar products from different suppliers? We get that question quite often and the answer is very difficult to answer. Consider the following examples.

I recently needed a new clothes dryer and went to Sears. I was surprised at the range in pricing considering that they all do the same thing. (dry clothes) The least expensive option was only $319 while the most expensive unit was over $1,500. How is this possible? Who would pay $1,500 for a product when there is a competitive option for only $319? (I bought the $450 option by the way.)

Obviously the same scenario plays out every day at car dealerships across the country. You can buy a new car for as little as $14,000, but most people spend between $25,000 - $35,000 for their new car and many people spend $50,000 - $60,000 or even more for a new car. Why?

There are many reasons that there are such a wide gaps in price ranges for cars, appliances and of course trade show displays. The main reason is quality. We all know that quality matters, but how do you compare and put a value on quality? Considering that almost everything comes with a warranty and usually all options (even the cheap ones) have a minimum quality standard that is "good enough." So why does anyone ever spend so much more for similar products when dramatically less expensive options are available?

Is it brand? Does marketing really hypnotize us to spend our money foolishly? Is it service? Maybe. I know that I am willing to spend a little more for excellent service. How about features? Oh yeah, now I'm seeing it - its features. We need to have those power windows, leather seats, and satellite radio right?

Features really are the most logical reason for price differences. That $1,500 clothes dryer was red bright and it was as shiny as a new car. It also had a big circle glass door and a chrome handle - plus a digital display and 32 different temperature settings. Wow!

In the trade show display industry "features" include reconfiguration options, portability, and of course design styling. But what happens when someone "knocks off" a unit that includes all the features, but it is simply made with less expensive components and materials? That's where quality comes back in to the equation.

CDS Displays offers a good quality economy retractable banner stand display for $299. A similar unit from the top "brand" name sells for nearly $600. You can also buy similar display stands online for as little as $99. What would you do? We would love to hear your feedback on this. We know it is entirely possible that the $99 stand may be good enough for some people. We also know that very many people buy the $600 units.

So why do prices vary so much for similar products?
 Please comment - we want your opinions on this topic.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Summer Trade Show Season

The Summer has traditionally been the "slow" time of the year for trade shows, but 2011 is seeing something new. Many of the fall shows have changed their dates for 2011 and will take place in the summer. Specifically the HBA Global Expo in New York's Javits Convention Center.

The 2011 HBA Global Expo is taking place June 28 - 30 this year and is a nice change for companies like CDS Displays who provides displays, exhibit rentals and graphics to several HBA Global exhibitors. We are happy to see this popular show moved to the summer.

CDS has provided so many exhibits for the HBA Global Expo over the years that we actually created a separate micro-site specifically for HBA Global exhibitors. is our show specific website. We are considering creating a similar site for the New York Toy Fair since that too is a very busy rental show for CDS Displays. You can see some of our 2010 Toy Fair display examples at our main website and on our Facebook page

Monday, May 30, 2011

Save Big Money at your next Trade Show

You can save big money at your next trade show by simply reducing the size and weight of your overall exhibit. Don't you know that the shipping companies and show sites charge you to handle your exhibit in transit based on it's weight.

Your shipping fees can be cut in half or more by designing a display that is light weight and portable versus a large custom crated monster. Shipping is only a portion of the cost. The next expense that can be greatly reduced is your "material Handling." (also known as "Drayage") The material handling rate on the last show that we arranged at the Javits Center in New York was $137 per 100 lbs. This equals $1.37 per pound of freight that you bring into the building.

We see many companies who do not hesitate to ship 5,000 or 10,000 or more pounds of crates into a convention center. You can do the math yourself, but prove our point a 10,000 pound crated exhibit at the rate of $1.37 per pound would cost $13,700 just to bring in the convention center. We are sure your company can find much better things to spend $13K on.

CDS has been a leader in designing and producing lightweight exhibits since 1983. We have saved companies as much as $100,000 on their annual trade show expenses simply by designing displays and exhibits with weight and shipping size in mind from the start.

Even if you are not able to look to switch to a lighter weight exhibit right away, we urge you to consider a lighter load. Believe it or not just 2 cases of bottle water packed in your crate can add over $70 to both your shipping and drayage fees. That's $140 or $3 per bottle.

Now how much do you think your paying for that over-sized wooden crate, of those heavy counter units? By simply replacing a heavy wood and laminate based counter with a lightweight, fabric and aluminum based counter you can actually save close to $500 per show - per counter.

We offer some free cost savings worksheets on our website ( ) to help you determine just how much you can save by thinking light before your next show.