Blog

Rolling the Dice

Ace World Companies vice president Camron Ghanemi heads to Las Vegas next week with the odds firmly in his favor.

It’s fitting that Las Vegas is one of the trade show and event hotspots of the world. Rarely in a marketing budget is more money put on the line than when planning to take a booth at an exhibition. And just like when one puts all their chips on black 26 on the roulette table, return on investment is far from guaranteed.

Trade show booths are like gambling tables stacked with chips. Every product, graphic, member of staff and piece of furniture has a cost to it. Often that cost goes way beyond what you can see from the aisles. If it’s a large equipment show, consider the freight costs and the fact that the piece of kit on the booth cannot be productive while it’s stuck in a convention center. Likewise, staff cannot take calls or honor their day-to-day commitments and many have been sidetracked by the show for many months. The list goes on—entertaining, hotels, flights, drayage, followups—but this blog isn’t about that.

What I want to focus on is what companies can do to better stack the odds in their favor. One can never guarantee a trade show or event is going to deliver ROI but many can do a better job of trying than those I frequently see, represented by red-faced, perspiring marketing professionals on the last days of shows counting a handful of leads knowing the return won’t even cover the carpet they’re standing on.

Leader of the pack

Event organizers have a responsibility to deliver an audience, but I prefer to concentrate on what an exhibitor can control themselves. Once those controllables have been identified, it’s important to put the right personnel in place to set about achieving the objectives. It’s opportune therefore to introduce you to Stacy Thomas, who has recently been promoted to marketing manager, having demonstrated an expert eye for these dealings as marketing coordinator for the past six years.

Stacy’s promotion is in part down to the astuteness she has demonstrated in coordinating our successful involvement in trade shows to date, but more to elevate her to a position where she can take complete responsibility for our exhibition profile moving forward. Stacy will have a busy year ahead with Ace taking space at a number of shows where we’re already well known and others that we’re trying for the first time to penetrate new markets or industry sectors.

Stacy knows her way around a trade show, not owing to the fact that she gets there early in the morning and is good at thinking on her feet (she does that too), but because she starts preparing for a show many months, sometimes a year, in advance. Once an industry sector has been ear-marked as a potential hotbed, she’ll research the market, look at previous audiences of relevant events and coordinate our involvement. Often, companies have a poor show because it was a late decision to attend and the opportunity was badly assessed

That’s not how Stacy rolls. This is just a sample of her checklist:

Does the show attract a target market for one or more our products?
What level of personnel typically walk the aisles?
What are the issues their businesses are experiencing?
How is existing lifting equipment impacted by that environment?
Is there much demand for new equipment? What trends suggest that is the case?
What products do we have that could be applied to this demographic?
Are we in a position to deliver product and services timely and effectively?
What size booth shall we take based on the answers above?
Where shall we locate ourselves in the exhibition hall?
Shall we go bigger on graphics or product?
How many staff shall we take? What marketing versus product expert balance do we strike?
Is the show on social media? What hashtags are people using?
What trade journals does the event demographic read?

Concrete plans

Next week we’re exhibiting at World of Concrete in Las Vegas and we’re well equipped to win, largely thanks to the groundwork Stacy has put in to make sure all the elements we can control are in order. Nothing is set in stone, but we know it will be a successful week at Booth C7427 as long as the organizers deliver the footfall, and Stacy’s research suggests that they will. For reference, World of Concrete seminars run 1-5 February but the exhibition only takes place on the last four days of the event.

Diversification was key to our 2016 trade show strategy as we continue to look for opportunities outside steel and our traditional markets. I know Stacy has worked hard to tailor our booths at each event so the products and literature appeal to the audience of the day. It’s not rocket science (although some still get it wrong) but the cranes and lifting equipment we will showcase next week will be of relevance to the concrete sector. Our staff will include marketing professionals, led by Stacy, and experts in the application of lifting equipment in the world of concrete.

I was delighted that Stacy grabbed the opportunity to take on this responsibility with both hands. It’s a particular joy to bring people up through the ranks and enhance their careers as reward for strong work ethic and consistently excellent performance. More companies should look within for individuals to lead their growth strategy. Often that’s where the most passion can be found.

Ace provides overhead bridge cranes, overhead gantry cranes, wire rope hoists, electric chain hoists, crane kits and end trucks. Follow us on Twitter at @AceWorldCompany; we’ll be Tweeting live from Booth C7427 at World of Concrete next week.

Here’s to an uplifting 2016 for us all.

Camron

Camron Ghanemi
Vice President, Ace World Companies
President, Pullift Corporation