Saturday, May 3, 2014

Trade Shows Are Thriving in 2014

Could 2014 be the year that brings Trade Shows back to the "Must do" side of the budget for marketers?

Next week begins with the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas and all indications are that the show will be much bigger and definitively more crowded that it has been in over a decade.

The 2014 show will feature nearly 3,000 exhibiting companies and takes up two full convention halls as well as outdoor exhibitors. The most impressive statistic is that there are over 600 new exhibitors at this year's show and the 2014 show features the largest number of new products ever. It's great to see new companies such as TurfShade understand the value and opportunity in participating. Below is a picture of a POP Display we produced for Turf Shade. If the show is a success for them you may see this display in retail stored across the country in 2015.

Related to the industry in general, the National Hardware Show ranks around 30th in the countries largest trade shows. Shows like the AG World (Agricultural) and CES (Consumer Electronics) top the list. 

For more information on the size, locations and industries for all trade shows visit

CDS Displays wishes all exhibitors success at their trade shows this year and are always here to help with Trade Show knowledge and expertise. Please +1 this article if you found it worthwhile or interesting.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

3 Trade Show MarketingTrends for 2014

We have seen a lot of trends developing late in 2013 that will impact Trade Shows in 2014. Here are the Top Three

1. Bigger Booth Space
Starting in Q3 2013 many customers started to plan for a "bigger" presence at their 2014 trade shows. Most common has been the upgrade from 10 x 20 displays to 20 x 20 island exhibits. An island exhibit is a very smart upgrade for large inline exhibitors. Other than the cost of the floor space most of the associated costs only increase marginally and some costs don't increase at all. An island space provide a lot more impact for the dollar. The biggest advantage is the height restriction. Inline displays have a strict height restriction of 8' in the back and only 4' toward the front of your space. Island spaces almost always allow exhibitors to exceed 16' in height and many venues can support 20' tall exhibits.

2. Space Draw Participation
Booth space location on the show floor plan has become the 2nd most important factor that our clients have been concerned with for 2014 and beyond. Many exhibitors are reluctant to book their space for next year during the "space draw" process that takes place at most trade shows because they are either waiting to see how the show performed or believe that they may get a lower cost for the space later. The majority of our customers are planning to participate in the space draw process at their 2014 events with the hopes of garnering better locations for the following year.

3. Social Media Integration
By now everyone is aware of the value of social media as a part of their marketing efforts and what better way to leverage the power of social media than at a live event. Our customers are adding tablets and ipads to their exhibits to allow real-time interaction and sign ups in the booth. Simple tools such as social media aggregators allow exhibitors to easily display tweets, posts and any social media interaction on a large screen in the booth. This causes an increase in the number of attendees who follow, like and post about the exhibitor simply to see their post or tweet show up on the big screen. Most of these show attendees will continue to be a fan or follower of the exhibitor long after the show. Considering these attendees are truly the exhibitors target audience there is no better method that we are aware of to improve your social media efforts than through trade show interactions and promotions.

For more information on this or any trade show marketing related subject you can contact the author (Joe Bottone) through his company website

Monday, October 14, 2013

How To Stand Out From The Crowd At Trade Shows.

We always get questions on to how to stand out from the crowd when exhibiting at a Trade Show. Here are some proven suggestions:

Colors - Every year the trade show industry associations do studies on what color(s) seem to get the most attention at Trade Shows. Every year the answer is the same, yellow wins. Followed by red and then orange. (see how that red caught your eye)

Sound - Any type of unusual sound or sound effects will do, but there are 2 sounds that really seem to grab people. The first is the sound of compressed air being released. This trick has been being used by Fun Houses for years to catch the attention of visitors. The easiest way to get this sound at your booth is by filling balloons. The next the sound (click click) of the prize wheel. Just know that having poor prizes on your wheel like 10% off your purchase or a t-shirt will loose the attention just as fast.

Smells - One of the most successful smells that we have seen is fresh hot popcorn. It reminds people of younger days and of a delicious treat of course. I have seen people wander the aisles blindly simply following their nose to find the popcorn.  

Pretty People - Yes we are talking about Trade Show Models. We are not talking about women in skimpy outfits, but it is true that very attractive, professionally dressed men and women do catch many people's attention and can get you that extra moment you need to stand out.

A Crowd - One of the best ways to stand out in a crowd is to start a mini crowd of your own. People always stop to see what they may be missing when  a large group of people are lined up or gathered. So how do you start a crowd, we'll make that the subject of our next blog post. It's too long to list here, but a celebrity is the #1 way.

Big Bold Message - At most Trade Shows the exhibit booths look quite similar. Except for a handful of companies who really seem to get it, not many companies make an effort to stand out. All of the suggestions listed above will help you to stand out, but once you get noticed you better have something good to say. You should have an offer, a promise or a major value proposition that is BIG and BOLD in their face. Don't be afraid. Your at a Trade Show and that's the name of the game. There is a reason so many Trade Shows choose to locate in Las Vegas. And there's a reason that the Las Vegas Strip is littered with roller coasters, huge water fountains, live volcano's. It's bold and it gets attention.

This article was written by Joe Bottone from CDS Displays for more information of to contact Mr Bottone visit

Monday, October 7, 2013

Big Custom Displays Can Be Portable

It's a myth that a large custom island trade show displays can't be portable.

This myth was created by the display companies who want to build everything out of wood and ship it in even larger wooden crates, but it's just not true. 

CDS Displays has been providing large custom island trade show displays and exhibits for over 30 years and we have hundreds of examples to prove it. Of course we aren't the only ones, but we were one of the first and still one of the largest in the industry.

Today's custom portable and modular exhibit systems such as Delta Matrix (BeMatrix) and Medallion can provide endless customization options and still remain portable.

Designing using these systems does require some skill and experience, but so does designing for traditional wooden construction exhibits.

I have seen wood and metal custom exhibits that need 19 crates to pack and ship that could have fit in just 4 if a portable exhibit system was utilized.

So remember, before you lock yourself into a multi-year commitment to ship, material handle and store a large exhibit, be sure to see if it could be built using a portable custom system. It will save you money on the initial purchase and every time you use it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Economy vs. Premium Displays

Over the past 5 years it has become more and more important to compete on price in the trade show industry. I remember when the retractable banner stand first came to market. We were introduced to them by Expand International and sold many of them for what I recall to be around $550 each.

We still sell a lot of the Expand units, but we sell a lot more of the imports that are a fraction of the price. (as well as a fraction of the quality)

Today there are people who sell retractable banner stands online for as low as $100 each. All of these units are made in China and are printed on a very low cost banner material also made in China. If you have a need for a lot of them for a one-day event of if you really need a display and just don't have the budget maybe you can get lucky and these ultra-economy units could work for you.

The economy unit we sell at CDS Displays costs $299 and we sell hundreds each year and have only ever had two complaints. However one of the complaints came just this past Friday. A customer's unit simply "released" and would not roll up anymore. Of course I can tell from the condition that someone had dropped it, and I was able to fix the unit, but the conversation began (from the client) related to the availability of a better quality unit.

I informed the client that his company was buying their units from some sort of a quick sign franchise before finding us and that they were looking for a lower cost option when they came to us. I also informed him that we offer professional quality banner stands from both Expand International and Expolinc USA.

He asked me how much more would these premium units cost and I told him they would be $100 - $200 more per unit. He did not hesitate to say that from now on they will buy the premium units and that he would actually like a quote to swap his graphics from the economy to the premium display stands.

Please comment to share your thoughts on the difference between price and quality for this type of display product.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Resurgence In Trade Show Attendance

Last month during the New York IBS (International Beauty Show) at the Javits Center in New York City we noticed a very significant resurgence in attendees. I personally have not seen a trade show crown like this since before 9-11-2001. Below are a few pictures that we took at the event to shows an example of the crowd.
Sure there was a big draw at this Milania booth due to the attendance of Real Housewives star Teresa Giudice, but this is a not just a coincidence. We have seen similar attendance increases at many other trade shows so far this year.
Of course it doesn't hurt to have a great looking booth like Milania and a celebrity in attendance to drive those crowds to your booth. The show was a selling show for Milania and a big success. They completely sold out of product and as you can see from some of these additional photos the shelves were full.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How To Choose a Display Brand

At least once a week we are being contacted by another new display manufacturer that is looking to sign us up as a dealer for their products and systems.

Founded in 1983, CDS Displays was a pioneer in providing lightweight, custom, portable and modular display and exhibit systems. Back then there were only a couple manufacturers and very few dealers/distributors in the US.

Most of our competition was building everything out of wood and metal which was very heavy and had to ship in large wooden crates. We competed by offering products that were much lighter weight and very portable. These solutions provided our customers significant savings and flexibility.

Back in the 80's there were only a handful of brands on the market including Featherlite, Nimlok, Channel Kor, Tiger Mark and Skyline. Today there are probably close to 100 different brands competing for space in our showrooms.

It is nearly impossible to introduce our clients to all of the brands and options available. Our approach now requires a stellar interview process regarding our customers needs and goals for their exhibit program.

Not every company is budget conscience regarding their exhibit program, but if we try too hard to understand budgets we risk being viewed as pushy. The truth is that budget concerns is the best place to start when trying to decide on a brand or system to recommend. The following are the factors that need to be understood to help a dealer figure out which of the endless brands and products to recommend.

1 - Budget (How important is it to reduce shipping and storage costs?)
2 - Design (Do you need a completely customized solution?)
3 - Ease of setup (Would you ever set this up yourself or are you concerned with show labor costs?)
4 - Flexibility (Will the exhibit always be used in the same size and configuration?)

With this information an experienced exhibit consultant can surely find you a product that will meet all of your needs and concerns.