Grab your Lanyard, Trade Shows are back!

Trade shows are back

A Greater Appreciation for Trade Shows

Trade shows are back after a year of cancellations. Exhibitors and attendees are ready for their return.

While organizations shifted to virtual meetings out of necessity, the experience was generally inferior compared to the live events. In many cases, even our personal relationships were forced into the virtual realm.

2020 shined the spotlight on the human need for face-to-face connections that were previously taken for granted. Trade Shows, Conferences and live Events are coming back to renew those in-person connections. Event planners and venues are adjusting their focus to attract the lanyard-wearing crowds.

The 2021 Trade Show Industry Projections

Experts in the $100+ billion US trade show and exhibition industry report that the in-person events are slowly coming back after the lost year. The uncertainty of 2020 rolled over into the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2021 leaving planners to look ahead to the 2nd half of the year for dates. Unfortunately, large Conferences and Trade Shows are booked years in advance so their window of opportunity has passed for 2021. Especially for the shows that are normally booked from January thru June.

Although 2022 will be a big comeback year for in-person events, some predict that a full recovery will not happen until 2023. For the rest of 2021, planners will have difficulty in forecasting attendance reluctant to crowd into expo halls with strangers.

Early social signals are positive for the industry as people crowd into restaurants and book Summer vacations with their families. Facebook is loaded with posts of families gathering after a year apart. Grocery stores are filled with unmasked shoppers happy to see smiles once again.

Industry Obstacles for Trade Shows to Come Back

While attendee concerns about safety and health are relaxing a bit, venues and planners are taking extra precautions to ease the concerns of some who may be on the fence. As a result, many venues have upgraded their ventilation systems to improve air cleanliness. Sanitation stations will be a mainstay in large expo halls. Even exhibitors will be a part of the solution as they hand out branded hand sanitizers at their booth.

There are still some obstacles for the rest of 2021 –

  • How quickly can trade shows get back on the venue calendar?
  • Are attendees ready to return?
  • After a year of virtual networking, do attendees feel a need to attend?
  • Do Exhibitors have budgets for in-person events for 2021?
  • Are attendees an international audience with travel restrictions?
  • Will organizations be willing to pay for in-person attendance when a less expensive virtual experience may be available?

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Even though less than 50% of our exhibiting customers we reached out to plan to attend in-person events this year, the good news is that 100% are already planning for 2022 events.

We made it through 2020 selling PPEs, Virtual Conference Kits and Commercial Printing to our customers deemed as essential businesses. Our excitement about the return of trade shows began when our first exhibiting customer, MedAmour, reached out to us to help them with their exhibit at the IECSC, International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference in Las Vegas this month. MedAmour needed Tablecloths, Signage and Tote Bags for their booth. We were happy to oblige!

Since then, the orders have been increasing from our returning exhibitor customers. Our conference planning customers are reaching out to us as they budget for their large 2022 events as well.

As a supplier of Promotional Products to trade show exhibitors and meeting planners, we’re bullish about the future of in-person events. They’re slowly coming back and we expect a strong resurgence of trade shows and conferences in 2022.

We’re happy to get back to our core business that we love.

Markit on PPEs for Your Business

Huge selection of Personal Protective Equipment

In March, OSHA released a 35 page document with Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 that includes recommendations to employers about how to create a safe workplace for employees and customers.

Empty Shelves

Initially, Essential businesses scrambled to find the appropriate PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) to keep the workplace safe but the items they needed were nowhere to be found. Suppliers, unprepared for the increased demand, also scrambled to find alternative sources to fulfill the need.

Store shelves emptied as masks, bandannas and hand sanitizers were gobbled up by the general public. Thousands of home-made masks and face-covers started to be offered on Instagram, Facebook and Etsy to fill the void. Even recipes for making your own hand sanitizer circulated around the internet.

I personally witnessed a mother at the grocery store asking for the largest, cheapest bottle of vodka to make her own hand sanitizer for her family.

We’ve Got You Covered!

In response to the high demand for PPEs for businesses to create a safe workplace, Markit has assembled over 500 PPE related products for business owners and managers to find every solution to their unique business COVID safety requirements all in one place.

Of course, we have masks (over 130 to choose from) but we also assembled a selection of distancing barriers, infrared thermometers, coronavirus safety signs, social distancing floor decals, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, UV light device sanitizers and bandannas. Basically, we think we have thought of everything a business will need for workplace safety.

A Brand-New Opportunity?

In 2009, during the first season of the hit TV show ‘Shark Tank‘, the investors were presented with an opportunity to buy into a business of custom printed surgical masks. All 5 Sharks passed on the idea in 2009 but if they were presented with the opportunity in January of 2020 I’m sure the outcome would have been very different.

Of course, we’re a branding company so we see the opportunity for businesses to prominently display their company logo, slogan or positive message. PPEs are viewed hundreds of times daily on every face in public, every retail floor and every entrance to every business the public visits.

It’s amazing how fast PPEs have become necessary in our daily life and in the operation of our businesses. With the introduction of new products with such high visibility, businesses are now presented with the opportunity to utilize this space as an effective marketing tool.

Over 500 PPE Products To Choose From

Our selection of 500+ PPE products offer businesses the opportunity to display their company brand prominently.

Browse the product categories we have assembled for your business.

For guidance in selecting PPEs for your specific workplace requirements, call us at 877.553.0857.

Markit with Power

Tuscany Power bank & Wireless Speaker

Keeping our technology powered up during the day has become a challenge as our lives become more mobile and disconnected from the nearest outlet. Our biggest surge in sales last year was in ACCESSORIES to our technology that allows us our connected, productive days at work or home.

We tax our devices with our demand on them for remote power and connectivity access. Even at our not-so-mobile desk devices we wish we had just one more USB port to plug into.

Customers are grateful for the gift of power and connectivity, and marking these useful products with your brand will energize your image and create a buzz around their office.

Simple items like USB AC Adapters can save the day in a pinch while Solar Chargers add an extra sense of comfort knowing that power is available when no outlets are near.

Even at the office where power is abundant, you can leave your mark on a USB HUB that will be permanently attached to the laptop your customer stares at all day long.

These powerful accessories can be colorful as well as useful, supporting your brand as a helpful partner in their day.

markit4events.com/Power-Banks

I ❤ Heart Shapes

Heart Pedometer

Next month’s Hallmark Holiday promotes an icon that we see throughout the year. Hospitals, Wellness Programs and Organizations who Care use this most recognizable symbol to promote their cause.

The first thought in promoting these organizations is to look for Heart-Shaped Products that can be imprinted with their logo, and we have plenty of said products to choose from in our catalog. At last count there were 1820 Heart-Shaped products to be exact.

Heart Shaped Products are probably the most requested shape that we get throughout the year because it’s so very effective. A Heart-Shaped anything with your logo on it says a lot without adding a lot of copy to read.

Heart-Shaped Stress Balls, Pill Boxes, Pedometers and Heart-Shaped Notebooks drive the point home every time your customer sees it or, better yet, holds it in their hand.

Embrace the Heart-Shapes. Connect with your customer’s emotions. Let them know you care.

And don’t forget to stop by your Hallmark Store on the way home tonight to get a jump on the crowds that appear at 4PM on February 14th every year.

www.markit4events.com

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No Holidays, No Weekends…No Way!

Calendar-Die-Cut-Houses-Calendar

Throughout history we’ve relied on our calendars to track and plan events. Without them we wouldn’t have weekends or Holidays. 45 BC was called “The year of confusion” because Julius Caesar added 80 days to the year to synchronize it with the solar year.

Our Western calendar has deep roots in the Roman calendar, so it’s no wonder the months come from Roman words. It gets confusing at the end because many of the later months are just numbers, but they are wrong according to our current calendar. The Roman Calendar started in March. It wasn’t until Julius Caesar named January as the first month of the year that we had 12 months as we know it now.

What’s in a name? Do you know the origin of the months of the year?

JanuaryJanus the Roman God of beginnings and endings

FebruaryFebrua a Roman festival of Purification

MarchMars the Roman God of war

AprilAphrodite the Greek Goddess of love

MayMaia the Italic Goddess of Spring

JuneJuno the Goddess of Marriage

JulyJulius Caesar named the month after himself

AugustAugustus Caesar also named a month after himself

September – Latin Septem “seven”

October – Latin Octo “eight”

November – Latin Novem “nine”

December – Latin Decem “ten”

Wall calendars, desk calendars, pocket calendars and journals are welcomed by all, rarely tossed in the recycling and looked at multiple times per day. Calendars are excellent for getting your brand in the hands of customers and prospects.

According to a 2018 study by the Advertising Specialty Institute, 64% of people in the workplace own a promotional calendar and they view it 850 times a year. A $3 investment in a calendar will cost only $0.003 per impression. Very Impressive!

Get your company name on one and they won’t forget you for an entire year.

8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success

Echo-Pop-Up-Kit-Full-Mural

Whether you’re a first time Trade Show Exhibitor, or a seasoned professional  attending multiple trade shows every year, the experience can be both fun and exhausting. Attracting attendees to your booth, then sorting out the qualified prospects will ‘make or break’ the experience.

You’re making a significant investment in being a trade show exhibitor so be sure you manage the process effectively after the event. Even the best looking booth won’t bring in business unless you follow through and take action on the connections you make.

8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success

1) Pre-Show Marketing

Let the attendees know you’re there and where to find you. Obtain a list of the attendees weeks before the show from the trade show facilitator so you can communicate with them before they arrive. Some effective methods of reaching attendees are email, direct mail, social media, and mentions on your website.

2) Set Goals

First you have to understand why you’re exhibiting. Most will say ‘to get sales’ but you need a more defined goal to make the goal actionable. Do you want to collect leads to pass on to your sales department for follow up? Do you want to make the sale on the spot? Maybe you’re there just for brand recognition in a specific industry.

3) Evaluate your Lead Collection Method

Simply displaying a fish bowl to collect business cards for a prize is not an effective lead collection method. All you learn is that they want a prize. Prizes are good, but be sure to have people fill out a short registration form to capture more information if that’s your draw. Not all attendees are prospects so focus on lead quality, not counts.

Ask for type of business, product interest, purchasing authority, contact info, etc.. Whether you’re using an electronic lead management system or a simple printed follow up form, include a limited number of qualifiers (hot lead, send salesperson, mail literature) to the form to get them in the correct follow up bucket.

4) Create a Winning Trade Show Booth

A free standing floor graphic wall provides an 8’ or 10’ backdrop to attract attention and tell your story. A less expensive option is to use 3 or 4 free standing retractable banners next to each other to create a similar affect. Tables are usually provided to exhibitors with a blank table throw. Use this 30” x 72” space to reinforce your brand with your own Custom Table Throw.

One note here – AVOID the temptation to place the table in front of your booth separating you from your prospects. Place it along the side of your booth to keep your space open and inviting.

5) Staff Training

Choose the employees that will staff your booth carefully. Representatives must be engaging, approachable and trained to understand the goals you set for the trade show. Not all of your staff needs to be trained for answering detailed questions about the product or service, but you should have at least one person available to field the detailed questions.

Provide your staff with qualifying questions to ask during training to avoid investing too much in the time-wasters that will show up just for the SWAG.

MarkitPopUpReady

Also provide your staff with casual uniforms like a polo shirt with an embroidered company logo so the attendees can identify them. A visually cohesive team adds a level of professionalism and strength to your brand. Selecting a shirt color that reflects your brand adds to the booth appearance. It’s also great when your team is recognized walking through the convention because of your stand out company colors.

6) Booth Giveaways

Part of the fun of attending a trade show is gathering great giveaways from each booth. Use this to your advantage and provide thoughtful items that create a buzz at the show. You don’t need to spend a lot on these giveaways for them to be effective.

A simple Toy  can go physically viral at a show while attendees play with them and others ask, “where did you get that?” Imagine colorful toys flying around the show sporting your company logo. Items they display instead of tossing in their bag are great walking advertisements.

A simple 3” dia. button that reads “My Name is Jim” can created a buzz throughout the show. Everyone will be calling each other Jim and they want their own custom button to be part of the fun.

 

Invest in some nicer Gifts for people who give you information and qualify as a good lead. Corporate logo T-shirts, branded cell phone chargers and selfie sticks with your company logo can be the most successful gifts given to a qualified prospect.

Keep your printed handouts minimal. Attendees are walking around with an event tote bag full of business cards, branded giveaways and  brochures. Their totes are too heavy for your complete printed catalog.

7) Daily Staff Debriefing

A daily staff gathering after the exhibit hall closes provides instant insights into what worked and what didn’t. Take notes no matter how unimportant the observations might seem. Most attendee feedback is forgotten shortly after the dust settles. The feedback on what wasn’t successful will help you avoid the same mistakes next time.

Remember that you’re seeing the trade show as an exhibitor but it’s the attendee experience you want to know more about.

8) Lead Follow up System

Prepare your follow up system before you exhibit at a trade show. You need to act quickly while you’re still fresh in their minds. Remember, trade shows are exhausting and attendees visit hundreds of exhibits while at the show.  Make quick notes on the back of a business card to remind you of a discussion that will set you apart.  When you send out a speedy response with a personal note it will insure you are remembered.

  • If literature or samples were requested from your company, send a daily mailing list to the office to have that information mailed out the next day
  • If they requested a call from a salesperson make sure all follow up calls are made within one week of the show.
  • If the conversation was more detailed and an estimate was requested, prepare the estimating department for multiple requests and demand that they are expedited.

An email from your company thanking attendees for stopping at your booth and reminding them that you are acting on their request will continue the relationship. This reconnection is also an opportunity to include clickable links to your website for more information.

Following these 8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success to assist in your Preparation, Execution & Lead Follow up to assure that you realize a substantial return on your investment.

 

www.markit4events.com

Easy Holiday Business Gift Giving

Every year the Holidays sneak up on us. Not that we haven’t been forewarned 4 months ahead of time when the Holiday decorations start to show up in retail stores.

At first, we ignore it because it’s too ridiculously soon to even think about it. Then, before you know it December 15th arrives and we scramble for appropriate business gifts.

Remember that your gift should be a gift of Gratitude, not a billboard. It’s not the time for a T-shirt or a Padfolio with a calculator.

Be Tastefully Thoughtful

Sweets are a universally welcomed gift for the Holidays. They’re not just for the CEO or Business Owner, but for the entire office to enjoy throughout the Season. Showing your Gratitude to the entire customer’s office will get you more kudos from the boss than giving him or her something just for them.

Neatly packaged, and Tastefully Branded, professionally prepared Food Gifts are an excellent Corporate Gift for the Holidays. Your customers and their employees will be reminded of your gratitude with every tasty bite.

Your printed logo on the ribbon is a tasteful way to show you care without being self-serving.

Get it Off Your Plate and Onto Theirs

For your convenience, many food manufacturers can ship your gifts directly to your customers. This service eliminates the hassle of shopping, packaging and shipping.

Send us Your List and We’ll Check it Twice.

Be a Thoughtful Gift Giver

Aside from having your Tower of Chocolates wrapped in a ribbon with your logo printed on it, Be creative. You can also include a Holiday Greeting Card  if you wish.

Don’t make Holiday Gift Giving an opportunity to make a sale. Be gracious, be grateful, be sincere with your gift. And leave a great taste in their mouth when they think of you throughout the year.

If we can help you give appropriately this season, we would also be grateful.

www.markit4events.com

Pro Football Season Schedules

Football_Schedule

Intercept some business from the competition with a Pro Football Season Schedule!

Compact sized and foldable, it lists every game for every week of the season in an easy to read format. Folding to the size of a credit card, this must-have for any football fan is great to carry along and handout at your next event.

Make sure to customize this football schedule with an imprint of your company name or logo and have your clients carry your brand all season long!

Thinking Outside the BAG

Cooler-Bag

Memorial Day marks the unofficial first day of Summer. It’s time to clean up the grill, find your picnic basket, and chip the ice off the pool. Sunny days, vacations and fun times guide us all to the weekends ahead.

Conference, Trade Show and Company Meeting attendees all have a bit of Summertime daydreaming dominating their thoughts so summer months are a great opportunity to have some fun with your event bags.

The Advertising Specialty Impression Study shows that over 50% of all people in the US own a promotional bag and each printed brand on the bag is viewed more than 5700 times during the lifetime of the bag. That makes bags the king of all promotional products in effectiveness.

Throughout the year, our most requested bags for Conferences are messenger bags and briefcases but in Summer you can add some fun to your business bags by adding color.

A more non-conventional (pun totally intended) Convention Bag choice may lead to an even more memorable experience for your attendees. Try mixing it up by giving them a Cooler Bag . Tablets and printed meeting handouts still fit nicely.

Duffel-Bag

Duffel Bags and Backpacks also fit into the category of fun items they can use during their Summer activities.

For 10 years our company has provided registration bags for a conference of 4300 Oracle Users. Every year we attend the conference and the overwhelming response from the attendees is that they remember the year they received backpacks instead of messenger bags.

Make it personal. This Summer give them a bag sporting your brand that will go along with them while creating memories with their families and friends. Who knows, your logo might make it into a few Facebook selfies and go viral.

The Cost of Free Design

Nothing-Sign

You’re in a meeting discussing the need for a new brochure and redesigning your company logo, when George (from accounting) offers to create the logo for FREE. Everyone’s excited that the project can be done in-house and you’ll save tons of money because it’s free.

Sounds like a great idea right?

Wrong. Nothing comes for free. Free is costly and free can be damaging.

You may not know how much revenue is lost if a design is done poorly. But if you miss the mark with your customers, you will lose business. Maybe a lot of business!

Do you have someone on staff that can design a logo for free? What does that mean anyway?

Doesn’t it mean they are going to stop doing the job you are paying them to do to dabble in design?

Doesn’t it also mean that if they were a great designer, they probably wouldn’t be working for you in accounting?

Even if your billing representative artist comes up with a new design, they may not understand the file formats needed for various projects.

An incorrect logo file format might be:

  • Rejected by a printer
  • Incompatible with different computers
  • Painfully slow to download
  • Reproduce with terrible results

Be sure your designer can do more than sketch something fresh. If the designer happens to be your boss’s sister, you’ll want to approach this gently.

Professional printers will typically ask that the artwork be created as an .eps file.

Experienced designers know exactly which file type to use.

Asking your designer to provide the final artwork as an .eps file might be all you need to do to avoid a lot of pain and money lost later.

Ready for a Redesign? Talk to an Expert Today.