Work - brings rewards

I sent in my portfolio this week and anxiously await the approval of my evaluators. Do you know what it takes to have CTSM after your name?

In order to receive the CTSM designation, a person is required to attend 28 classes on trade show and event marketing. It can take years to complete all of the courses. After all classes are completed, you take an inclusive exam at the EXHIBITOR Conference. Not until CTSM exam is passed are you permitted to begin the CTSM Portfolio. The portfolio is a 25-45 page paper touting your experience and what you have learned from the courses. Three people review the portfolio and give it a thumbs-up or down.

Upon passing both stages of the CTSM (Certified Trade Show Marketer) designation, you can be recognized at the EXHIBITOR Conference in March.

The CTSM designation (Certified Trade Show Marketer) is awarded by EXHIBITOR in affiliation with Northern Illinois University Outreach and reflects adherence to the highest standards of trade show and event marketing. Less than 1% of all trade show and event marketers have attained this distinction.

I spent serious time and energy putting this portfolio together and want to thank all those who offered support. I look forward to adding CTSM after my name.

What Smells? The Top 10 Trade Show Odors

Please enjoy... I asked Mel White if I can reprint this very fun (and truthful) article- hope you like it like I do. -R

What Smells? Pleasant and Unpleasant Tradeshow Odors

Like me, you probably attend two, three, or 30 trade shows or events every year. Trade shows are mesmerizing, not only for their creativity but also for their visual and auditory overstimulation. You are constantly bombarded by images, information, music, voices, and lights. The larger the show, the more the sensory overload. It can be exhausting, but for most of us, it’s exhilarating — especially for those two or three days.

It’s tempting to focus on the sights and sounds, but trade shows are about other senses as well, such as taste, touch, and smell. We don’t often think about the familiar “smells” of trade shows, but there are many, which we all recognize as both pleasant and unpleasant. Indulge me for a minute as I explore the olfactory sensations common to most trade shows and events. In other words, what stinks and what doesn’t.

The Top 10 Trade Show Odors:

  1. B.O.: You knew this would be on the list. Go ahead, call me a brainwashed, overly-sanitize consumer of the antiperspirant consortium. I accept that label. But I don’t think I’m alone in being repelled by the acidic pungency of B.O. I can deal with mild, slightly sour B.O. but the clingy stench that leaps from the B.O.’er to your clothing in milli-seconds is totally unacceptable.
  2. Peppermint: Mints are the 6th food group at trade shows. They are everywhere from standard star mints to licorice mints and from packaged promotional mints to over-the-counter mints. Thank goodness for mints. I am especially thankful for Altoids, the nuclear bomb of mints. One Altoids has the power to create a nearly impenetrable minty force field (with one exception – see #10).
  3. Hangover: This smell varies from person to person. On a scale of 1-10, with one being OK and ten being gross, here are three examples:
    • #1 – Slight musky. This person got home late, had a few too many drinks, and may have been in a smoky bar.
    • #5 – Vodka sweats. Not only is alcohol still in their bloodstream but they are perspiring booze. Whether you like it or not, you’re sharing every fancy martini they had last night . . . but with a hint of salt.
    • #10 – Vomit. Enough said.
  4. Propane Fumes: Most forklifts and hi-lifts at convention halls use propane as fuel. The smell isn’t necessarily offensive, particularly if it’s only momentary. It’s the combination of the smell and the heat from the exhaust at a summer show which can be overwhelming. I know they make electric forklifts. With all due respect to Hank Hill and the Strickland Propane Co, I prefer electricity.
  5. Windex: This smell varies depending on the brand and the cleanser, but the unmistakable aroma of cleaning solvents permeates every show hall when the doors officially open. If you’re a germaphobe, it’s the equivalent of crack cocaine.
  6. Fresh Baked Cookies: Fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies have become a trade show staple for many exhibitors. It’s a smart idea, but you have to be willing to feed not only prospective customers but also every other exhibitor within a 500 ft. radius Just writing about it makes me want to drive to the mall and purchase a half-dozen cookies at Mrs. Fields. Yum!
  7. Men’s Cologne/Women’s Perfume: Before anyone corrects me, I know there is some hoity-toity difference between cologne and perfume, but I’m lumping them together anyway. Personally I don’t mind the scent of cologne/perfume, but I emphasize “scent.” It should be subtle. Recall my earlier observation about B.O. This applies to perfume and cologne as well. If your cologne causes someone to visibly wince in pain, then you may want to scale it back a gallon or two.
  8. Feet: Your feet. Not others. Most of us are desk jockeys. We’re not accustomed to walking the show floor or standing for hours. We’re weak. I’m not saying your feet stink, but your may want to add a little talcum powder to your shoes before and after the show EVERY SINGLE DAY. And don’t even think about wearing those socks more than once. Show some mercy.
  9. Carpet and Visqueen Vapors: Visqueen is the plastic covering used to protect carpet from general abuse and tire marks during installation. Both carpet and visqueen give off vapors. New carpet in particular can be vapor intensive. Some folks love that smell. Then again, some folks love the smell of gasoline. I don’t get it frankly.
  10. Bad Breath: Yikes. Combine alcohol, coffee, late nights, and a travel toothbrush and you have the perfect petri dish for bad breath. Mints help to mask the odor, but even mints can’t subdue halitosis that’s become a living, breathing organism. With family you can hand them dental floss, a toothbrush, and Listerine, but with colleagues and strangers you pretty much have to gut it out. I once had a colleague hand a customer three Certs and then smile. I’m not that brazen.

Printed with permission from Mel White, VP of Marketing & Business Development
Classic Exhibits Inc.

Get in Front of Your Contacts, Not in Their Face

TOTT Post Trade Show Tip:

1. Stay in contact with those who need your services now or later

2. The more often your customers and potential customers hear from you the more likely they are to buy from you

3. Repetition allows you to become familiar to your prospects

4. Familiarity builds comfort, comfort brings trust

5. Be a welcome guest not annoying pest - touch your contacts in a variety of ways (phone calls, direct mail, email etc.)

How many times a year do you contact your potential customers and how?

Show Organizers offer advice to exhibitors

Show Organizers-

If you could offer advice to first time exhibitors exhibiting at your show--what would it be?

Your opinion and feedback is important to exhibitors and their staff. My team is creating training materials from the viewpoint of the show management. What is it that you would like exhibitors to know that would better their opportunities to get a higher return on investment at your show?

Can you offer marketing tips?, sponsorship thoughts?, other expertise?

Free Teleseminar

Mistakes are made at B to C Shows that could cost you money. If you exhibit at Consumer Expo's or Retail Shows, you will want to take your morning coffee break with Ruth and other exhibitors. Learn tips and strategies to increase your trade show return on investment. B to B (Business to Business) exhibitors execute many of these same costly errors at Trade Shows!

Grab a cup of coffee and a bagel or tea and a crumpet and take a half hour to start your day learning about improving your trade show bottom line. 10:00 -10:30 PDT or 7:00-7:30 EDT. Questions and Answers at the end.

The teleseminar is free (you only pay the price of a phone call). Tuesday April 14th. 10:00AM-10:30 PDT

For call information email Ruth: type "TELESEMINAR " in the subject line.

To sign-up for the Free Teleseminar:

Must sign-up by Monday April 13th Noon PDT.

Call instructions will be sent by email.

I look forward to being a part of your morning!

Quality Not Quantity

Exhibit managers are cutting back on the amount of trade shows they are exhibiting, buyers are sending less employees to each show, and they are going to fewer shows. This is not gloom and doom.

Believe it or not this is good news…

Exhibitors are re-evaluating the shows they have exhibited in the past. By looking at expenses and time away from the office, they choose the most productive shows to spend their money. Trade show ROI is finally being assessed.

When scrutinizing the show and expenses you also looking at show attendance. What do you see? In many cases the trade show attendance is down. Before you panic, let’s take a magnifying glass to the attendance quality.

With smaller travel budgets and less employees at the office, the companies who are visiting the shows are sending their team for one purpose--to get an education on the best products to BUY!

Be sure your staff is:

Well learned on how to qualify more potential buyers per show than ever before.

Understands your products and services

Knows how to go the extra mile to make a sale and a loyal customer

Are aware that chances are they will receive a greater percentage of sales from these leads if they know what to do after the show

Re-thinking your trade show participation will bring a stronger Return on Investment from each show you attend and a stronger sales team.

Be sure you are on the short list of suppliers your prospects need to see.