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Article Contributed by Lee Bierton

Creating a Trade Show Stand Which Works in Harmony with Digital Marketing

Exhibitions and trade shows were once considered to be the pinnacle of face-to-face marketing. Product launches, meetings and most importantly selling were confined to a select few dates on the calendar. Before the digital era, the only way of establishing contacts and creating partnerships without setting up exhibition stands and meeting face-to-face, was by pulling out the phone book and picking up the phone. Now, with the advent of social media and video calls, we hardly have to leave the office to forge new relationships and nurture existing ones. Predictably, marketers have begun to question the legitimacy of such interactions when cheaper and more efficient options exist.

However, major trade shows are continuing to grow and networking in person is still as popular as it has ever been. Why? The reason is simple; there is still great value from conversing face-to-face. Confining interactions to 140 characters or a tightly structured e-mail hardly provide the breathing room for natural relationships to develop. Therefore, rather than competing with digital media; instead, trade show exhibitors are adapting to integrate these tools into comprehensive brand strategies.  The exhibition is no longer just about, ‘sell, sell, sell’, instead they provide the foundations for mutually beneficial relationships to develop.

Social Exhibitions for the Always-Connected Era

The advent of the internet has meant that we can keep in touch with people for decades, whereas in the past, they could simply drop out of memory in a week. In order to survive, exhibitions have had to adapt to attendees who can search and buy online. Event marketers will be increasingly aware when attending a trade show, they are more likely to strike up a conversation with fellow attendees, rather than be targeted by scripted sales pitches throughout the weekend. While social media channels are effective for continuing relations, they can become incredibly tiresome when forging new ones.

The ability to create a positive first impression at exhibitions is one of its core strengths. Social media can be utilised before as well as after the event to build awareness of the brand and any special promotions which are taking place on the day. Furthermore, it can be used to organise meetings throughout the weekend where you get the opportunity to truly interact with the potential client. It’s these face-to-face interactions where long-lasting partnerships can begin to be established. Free from the confines of a keyboard and monitor, the conversations are far more natural, and signals such as body language can reveal more opportunities than you might expect.

Integrating Digital Media to Enhance the Effectiveness of Branding

While exhibitions and trade shows provide the front door for creating and nurturing contacts, it is now necessary to embrace digital tools to build upon these. Depending on the nature of the product or service, sometimes it can be tough to create a lifelike representation of the work being done. The advent of augmented and virtual reality is drastically changing this. Marketers can now provide digital recreations of products and services in action, which immerses the user and provides an interactive experience, rather than reeling off the same generic sales pitch. Previously, videos were effective online and have also been implemented into exhibits, however, virtual reality creates a unique experience, one which currently cannot be conveyed through a computer monitor.

Exhibitions and trade shows have long been associated with high costs which can lead to a poor return on investment. This can certainly be the case when a lack of planning and understanding results in a disappointing performance. However, exhibitors and attendees who have been able to innovate, often with digital tools or competitions, have found great value in what trade shows and exhibitions can offer. We understand that exhibition stands must be unique to stand out against the competition. Over the years, one of the best ways in which this has been achieved is through activities and demonstrations which engage with the user without being obvious that it is a sales pitch at heart.

How to Harness Digital Exhibition Stands to Convert Post-Exhibition

Printed literature and tacky branded products were once the staple for every exhibitor. Although, outlaying a large chunk of the budget on goods which most likely head straight into the bin after the exhibition hardly seems practical nowadays. While a promising connection may be made when speaking at an event, it is important to have the means to follow up on that potential. Despite making a breakthrough in the 5-10 minutes spent speaking to the potential client, it remains crucial to have a way to follow up. Business cards are still a handy tool to have on hand, however there are a variety of digital integration options available to solidify these relationships.

To be precise, tablet computers equip the marketing arsenal with a variety of tools to introduce, illustrate and ultimately convert potential clients. They can be used to obtain contact information, sign individuals to a mailing list, illustrate the product in question or even discover unique information through interesting apps. While a business card may provide you with an e-mail address and a phone number, an interactive app may inform you of other information, such as what they are looking for which can be used to convert following the event.

Tying These Together into an Effective Branding Strategy

One of the hardest parts of exhibiting is creating exhibition stands which engage with the audience. All too often, we see exhibitors with cheap gimmicks or generic competitions which have nothing to do with the product or service they are trying to sell. Those who succeed integrate unique ideas attached to quick and simple activities. Attendees may only have five minutes to hang around, so it is important to get the point across in that window.

Where exhibitions and trade shows continue to have the advantage over the digital world is in access. The number of new users online grows every hour, but there are still many important figures who prefer to conduct business in person. Innovative exhibition stands appeal to these kinds of personalities, thereby creating opportunities which would not have been possible online.

Go Displays are a leading UK manufacturer of bespoke exhibition stands and banner stands. With over 40 years in the industry, we have extensive experience creating innovative stands for businesses both big and small. You can find out more about the service we provide by visiting us online, calling 01733 232000 or by sending an e-mail to


Sure, you know you have to create a solid business plan, market your business well, and stand out against competitors when you have are growing a startup. But, there are secrets that other entrepreneurs don’t share as much.

Why? Because they’re the true keys to success as a small business and, perhaps, learning all the secrets of successful small business owners will make you, their competition, a bit more successful. Good for you!

Take in these six secrets and use them to your advantage for true small business success.

Invest in Your Team

Your team is truly the heart of your company. If you don’t understand that quickly, your small business will soon be a failure. When you’re growing a business, it’s important to invest in your team, not just financially, but also with your time, pride, and trust.

Create an atmosphere your employees love and thrive on. Appreciate them, and make it known to more than just each individual. Actions speak much louder than words in this area.

Promote team members rather than hiring externally. Not only do these employees already know the most about your company, but they’re already invested in it almost as much as you are. Plus, it’s awesome for company morale!

Be a Corporate Event Guru

Just because you’re a small fish in a big sea at the moment doesn’t mean you can’t hang with the best of them at corporate events. Corporate events help you build, and foster, a community of your targeted audience and those involved in your company.

So, search out some corporate event ideas, like ways to volunteer in your neighborhood or holding retrospective meetings. Some should be more for business growth, such as retrospective meetings to re-hash some of the successes and failures of the previous work week.

However, others should be strictly for bonding and building team morale. Fun outings, like an evening paint class or a day at the amusement park, will surely gain you some respect and boost the company atmosphere.

And, when the public sees a business acting more like a group of friends than co-workers, it is sure to look at your company in a brand new light.

Take Risks, and Be Prepared to Fail

Without risks, you and your company will remain stagnant as both a business and a competitor of others in the industry. What entrepreneur wants to become stale?

Of course, with risks, sometimes comes failure. It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of failure. Prepare yourself to bounce back from failure and use it as motivation to move on to bigger and better things.

Have a crisis management plan in place, just in case something goes wrong. Your employees decide to quit abruptly, customers are becoming disgruntled with your service, or your social media manager inadvertently made a careless blunder on Twitter.

All are possible, even for a small business, especially when you take risks to move ahead. Knowing how to handle it if it does happen is what will set your company apart.

Connect With Industry Leaders on Social Media

You probably know the importance of having your own social media accounts for your business. Social media allows you to reach your target audience quicker than other forms of advertising, and opens the gateway for you to engage with your audience like never before.

But, did you know that by sharing the content of your own competitors, you’re actually helping yourself, too? When you share thoughtful, well-written, engaging content from industry leaders, you’re showing your audience that you are knowledgeable enough to know what’s important to them. Therefore, you can play with the best of them.

Find out who the leaders in your industry are. Search hashtags, look at what’s getting shared and commented on, and find trustworthy companies. These are the ones you want to focus on when finding content to share. Eventually, the favor will be returned.

Don’t Let Yourself Get Low-Balled

Just because you’re a startup doesn’t mean you deserve to be at the low end of the totem pole. If your clients decide to take the low road and give you low-ball offers that take advantage of your starting position, it may be time to cut them loose.

Having a few, excellent clients is better than having several disadvantageous clients. It’s okay to offer discounts to loyal clients. But, it’s not okay for them to expect special discounts that they wouldn’t ask other, more established businesses for. There’s a big difference.

Stand Behind Everything You Do

Want to know the reason Apple continues to be a world leader in technology products? Because Steve Jobs absolutely loved his company, and he expects everyone who works for him to understand it, and love it, too. In fact, Steve Jobs treated Apple like his baby and made sure his employees fell in love with Apple as much as he did.

The only way to make sure everyone else loves your business as much as you do is to believe in it, and stand behind it, even when things go wrong. You can make mistakes; all business owners do at one point or another. But, never back down in your love for your company, faults and all.

Make your employees and customers love your business as much as you do by putting your pride on display at all times. Failure doesn’t come from mistakes. It comes from getting caught up in mistakes and allowing them to lead you to a new direction.

eCommerce is not any recent-year phenomenon like the iPad or Facebook. It has been around for decades. In fact, history says that eCommerce transactions have been happening ever since the late 90s. However, their role and preview was limited to a very tiny user group consisting mainly of the government, tech lobbyists and IT enterprises.

But today, eCommerce is a massive industry with its own identity. At least one-third of the consumer goods we own have been home delivered by an online store.

What is eCommerce?

Common knowledge, yet so many seem confused about this term. eCommerce is the use of Internet and its network prowess of any commercial transaction. If you thought online shopping is only for of eCommerce, you are wrong.

eCommerce includes a variety of other transactions like online banking, ticket booking, B2B selling and buying, etc. In other words, any monetary or business transaction completed with the help of Internet is referred to as eCommerce.

The beginnings of eCommerce

As we said before, eCommerce dates back to the 90s. But they were miniatures of the real eCommerce process and were short-lived. The real beginning of eCommerce happened with Amazon. Launched in 1995 as an online bookstore, Amazon rapidly grew becoming an everything store. Today

Why is eCommerce so popular amidst vendors?

A handful of reasons why eCommerce has become popular than it was ever imagined to be:

  1. Breaks all distance barriers. You can reach for products and customers anywhere in the world.
  2. The costs are fractional compared to the costs of running a physical store
  3. The profit margin is higher since there is high business flexibility
  4. Inventory management is easier since distribution centers can be located close to customer-centric regions
  5. Digital advertising helps cut costs further compared to tangible marketing campaigns

What are the risks involved in eCommerce?

While eCommerce opens up the world for business, it is also accompanied by a range of risks that online store owners must seek protection against.

The biggest risks involved in the eCommerce business are: earning customer trust, maintaining cash flow, logistics and timely delivery.

Winning customer trust is easily said than done. The first time a customer logs into your online store, they’ll have three questions in their mind:

  • Is this store trustworthy?
  • Are the products of good quality?
  • Will my credit card information be handled with confidentiality?

No matter how great your brand name is, if you convince your customers of these three questions, you are saved.

Once customers trust your brand, there will regular orders and the risk of cash flow will slowly deplete. However, maintaining a sturdy infrastructure for logistics. Apart from owned delivery network, you may also want to set up third-party enabled delivery networks to handle peak season order fulfillment.

Further, as a wannabe noted brand in eCommerce you might also want to secure things at your customer’s end. Here are some common customer abuse instances you must stay aware and protected against.

Common forms of customer abuse in eCommerce

  • Identity theft

Identity theft is recognized as an illegal offence in most countries. Despite the legal implications, it continues to rise as a major customer abuse form that is threatening the growth of eCommerce. In identity theft, sensitive information about an individual is either stolen or faked for malicious purposes.

  • Credit information stealing

VISA found in its survey, that almost 74% of online customers pay for their shopping bills using credit cards.

Now imagine the tragedy if this vital information is either lost or stolen by unauthorized process? The customer will become liable for bill charges that he never made in the first place. Not to mention the exorbitant interest costs that will leave the customer drained of finances. Furthermore, it will hurt the public image of the eCommerce store from where such information was lost in the first place.

eBay, Target, Home Spot, are some online stores where such instances have happened in the past.

  • Over charging

“Almost 56% of online shoppers abandon costs when they are presented with unexpected costs.”~ Statistia

Unexpected costs are huge turn offs in online shopping. Not only does it take away the trust placed in the store but also makes the customer wary of logging into the store again.

Online stores with clear and transparent pricing systems tend to be favorites for customers. This includes costs for delivery as well as gift packing, scheduled delivery, etc.

  • A messed returns policy

I don’t want to shop from that store because they won’t entertain returns.” How many of us would have felt the same while browsing things online? Unlike in brick & mortar stores, in online shopping there is no facility for the customer to trial a product before deciding to buy it. Hence, when a change is required, a clear cut returns policy goes a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction. Without it, the store will fail to sustain the customer it has painstakingly won.

How to be a reliable eCommerce brand?

  • Security

The fanfare for online shopping has increased thanks to the advent of cyber security measures like SSL certificate (Secured Sockets Layer). HTTPS enabled websites make customers feel at ease. There is a reasonable amount of assurance that their private information will not be leaked or made available in the hands of unauthorized personnel.

  • Customer-friendly

Amazon is counted as the top-ranking online store in the world due to its customer-centric approach. They do small things which go a long way in impressing customer and being engaged to the brand. Wooing customers with small acts of attention like customized delivery, quick returns, etc. help build an impressive brand image.

As we said before, the eCommerce industry is not an easy one to crack with so many risks involved. But with some amount of customer-oriented approach from the store;s part, it is always possible to create a reliable brand image. A recognized brand image is the quickest way to increase your sales.

Moving goods on a pallet is arguably the safest way you can possibly transport your products. Whether you are an individual or a business, pallets allow you to pack everything together tight whether you are sending them to the next town or another country.

Because of the fact that there are very few limitations on what can be sent by pallet, ground shipping in bulk has a big advantage. Your stock can easily be sent and received. How you cover it is always important for both safety and circulation. There are four big reasons why you should consider shrink-wrapping, let’s take a look.

Keeps everything fresh

If you are moving produce or fresh goods then shrink-wrap is the perfect solution. Because it is air tight, using it will keep in the refrigeration as well as stop the arrival of any critters. This can have the added bonus of stopping any bruising or ruining of food because, if packed correctly, it won’t be moving about in the pallets.

Prevent box tears

Whatever you are sending, keeping them well sealed and in good condition has to be the number one priority. Whether they are small items or large, you can’t risk losing anything to a bumpy road or poor packing. Using a tough and durable material like shrink-wrap keeps your boxes protected and reduces the risk of losing items due to contaminants.

No more sliding packages

Due to how pallets are, they are loaded horizontally – usually with a forklift. Accidents are rare but they can happen. One example is that the prongs of the forklift are incorrectly placed and this can be a risk. Thanks to the strength of shrink-wrap, your items will be tight together and weight is distributed evenly so there is no sliding.

No spillages

Pallet deliverycan be used for a multitude of things but if your items are being sent to the Amazon Fulfilment distribution centre or a warehouse, you have to ensure that they arrive in top condition. Whether you think your facilities are well maintained or not, wetter seasons can cause issues and while in transit you need to ensure that no water seeps in. Using shrink-wrap is an great way of keeping all liquids out.

How do you shrink-wrap a pallet?

Once you’ve decided to use shrink-wrapping to protect your pallet, you have two main options when it comes to how to do it.

  • Heat shrink bag – Make sure it’s snug over the items and pallet and tuck any excess around the corners and edges of the pallet. Then you just use a heat or shrink gun, using a slow back-and-forth motion and then inspect to check it’s properly worked.
  • Manually applied film – PVC is usually the choice here as it is more common and cheaper than polyolefin. You begin at the bottom, starting slow until the base is strong before building up to the top – potentially heating at the end to finish the job.

Article Contributed By Steven D. Goldstein

No one enjoys working with a coworker with a poor attitude. Oftentimes, these employees are the first to be let go, with managers fearing that their demeanor may infect the rest of the team.

However, sometimes these less-than-positive employees have insights that can dramatically improve your business. Their anger may come from legitimate grievances that, if addressed, will lead to greater creativity and productivity in the workplace. As a leader and corporate advisor, I’ve seen numerous examples of successful turnarounds borne of employee frustration.

When dealing with this kind of worker, ask yourself:

Are they angry because much of their job is tedious, inefficient work that is sucking up their time, energy and motivation?

Everyone has parts of their job that they don’t like, but sometimes the minutia of a job can overwhelm a person. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a team member frustrated because she has  to put more hours into a status update for her boss than she can into actually making progress on a project. If your employees are consistently having to divert their efforts into tedious work, they are going to become frustrated and will drag drown the productivity and morale of an entire team. If an employee doesn’t feel like his time is being utilized, he will become angry.

So how do you combat a problem like this? Ask yourself, can the work be paired down? Can status updates be briefer or less frequent? Can meetings go from an hour to a half hour? Can tedious work be split up? Remember: billionaire Mark Cuban was once a frustrated tech company employee who got fed up with poor work policies and struck out on his own. Don’t underestimate the importance of fixing this problem, or you may never know the real talent that exists within your team. 

Are they angry because their goals aren’t clear, or because they aren’t empowered to reach them?

It is impossible to keep a good attitude when you’re chasing a series of ever-shifting goals, or you’re not given the right information or tools to achieve them. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen employees trying to rally a team together, only to be impeded by endless trips to supervisors to ask for approval, or being forced to iron out every detail before they’re allowed to execute a single aspect of a plan. This just amplifies how long it takes to get things done.  If there’s one credo I could offer to nearly every business, it’s that you’re not moving fast enough!

Even worse, and more demoralizing, is when a goal is clearly outside of the employee’s ability to achieve it. Employees need achievable goals, as well as “blue sky” goals, in order to feel like their work is purposeful, and reachable. If they are unclear (say, for example, if they’re judged on 20 different metrics) they’ll have no idea how to proceed, what’s really important, and will likely grow angry with their boss or the company itself.

Are they angry because they lack adequate incentives?

One of the number one reasons employees check out at the office is that they feel that their work is unimportant, or they don’t feel that they have an incentive to achieve more.

In most companies, money is the incentive, either in the form of a higher salary, a bonus, and in some cases, stock options. And while that can definitely help some people, it doesn’t solve the innate problem of a team member needing to feel valued. If they are paid well, but are constantly undermined by their manager and increasingly byzantine rules and regulations, how long will that money keep them? This is particularly true with Millennials, who are not swayed by the typical perks and benefits many companies used as incentive for past generations.

In particular, they want to see what good they are doing. In my new book Why Are There Snowblowers in Miami?, I spoke with Claes Landberg, general manager of YOTEL in New York City, who told me about when he was just starting out working at managing a small restaurant in Stockholm:

“…My dishwasher was talking about what a failure he was in life, because he was only a dishwasher. So the next day I decided to do an experiment…I decided not to have him do the dishes for lunch.  He looked at me like I had three heads, but did what I said.  And then we start lunch, and the restaurant fills up quickly, and I hear the chef and everybody starting yelling ‘Hey, I need plates, I need plates!’ But we’ve run out. So I stop things and I say to them…we are closing down the restaurant. We can’t stay open because we don’t have plates to serve our guests, which means none of you have jobs anymore. And I turn to the dishwasher and I tell him, ‘this is how important you are. Everyone in this room—and their families—depend on you doing your job and doing it well.’ I’ve never seen anyone wash dishes the way he did after that.”

While it’s a rather extreme example, it fundamentally showed him and his team the value of his work. Find ways for your employees to see firsthand the value they’re creating, reward them both publicly and financially, and you’ll have highly motivated workers who will step up to the plate every time.

Author Bio:

Steven D. Goldstein has thirty-five years of experience working as an operating executive at both global Fortune 500 corporations (including as Chairman and CEO of American Express Bank), midsize companies, as well as advising private equity firms with their portfolio companies. He currently serves as Chairman of US Auto Sales, as Senior Advisor to Milestone Partners and as Senior Advisor to Alvarez and Marsal.

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