Here’s good news about exhibitions, for a change!

Written by Susan Ratliff on September 5th, 2011. Posted in connecting face to face, get serious about exhibiting, industry news, marketing, Uncategorized, What's new

I think everyone is sick and tired of being sick and tired about the tradeshow industry.  I know I am ready for a new attitude. We are on the cusp of recovery or at least noticable improvement in the industry.  I know because my phones are ringing and people are spending money on new exhibits. People are calling me to help them with their tradeshow strategies and booth image.  My colleagues are budgeting for more shows and actually getting excited about the possiblilites of a successful year on the show floor.  Budgets for marketing are getting fatter and tradeshows are near the top of the list.  There are some good statistics circulating by the major industry researchers that should make us smile. You can get encouraged by reading some of the findings at

Here’s a few of the findings: The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced that preliminary data collected for the fourth quarter of 2010 revealed an increase of 5.4 percent over 2009 for attendees. They say the positive trend of attendees actually began in the third quarter of 2010 with a 6.6 percent increase over the third quarter of 2009.
They also released a report that shows the overall exhibition industry gained 2.4 percent during the first half of 2011.  That is finally something we can get a little encouraged by.

What can you do to speed up the recovery and get us back to the heyday when prospects and profits were overflowing?  You can get out there and attend the shows again, sign up for a booth, launch a new service, introduce a new product, sponsor an event, have a party or book a hospitality suite. Bring your staff to the show and make it a bonding experience.  Take advantage of the educational offerings and attend the classes.  Be present for the recovery.  Contribute to the rise.  See you there.

Let’s get face to face again.

Written by Susan Ratliff on September 18th, 2008. Posted in connecting face to face

If you’ve ever tried to justify why you should spend money to exhibit in a tradeshow, consumer show, job fair or event, to your boss, the company owner or yourself, consider this:
One of the things I love about the show floor is that it is a level playing field. What that means is whether you are a small home-based business or an emerging company you can look just as powerful, professional and successful at your exhibit as the established storefront or thriving corporation, if you spend the time to design an impressive display, engaging graphics and prepare your staff.  Perception is everything at the show.  The value for your time is also terrific if you consider that your salesperson can maybe have 8 sales calls in one day, but reach 1500 people at the show.  The other thing I love about this type of marketing is that you get to personally meet your prospects and personally engage your customers face to face. They get to meet YOU.  A real representative of the business. That is key because a personal touch, in this age of technology dominated by impersonal voice mail, email, blackberries, volp etc will stand out in someones mind.  Face to face marketing keeps you in control of the contact.  Get their information and you can be pro-active.  If they liked you and remember the encounter at the booth you will have an edge over your competitor who only sends the email without ever meeting your prospect.  My good friend, speaker, business owner and cookie queen, Susan Brooks has a terrific perspective on this exact topic.
With her permission I have included a recent article she wrote that really resonated with me. Enjoy it below and let me know your feelings on the subject.

Got a minute, Susan?

You’re busy. Your plate is full. You’re plugged in to your BlackBerry, Treo and Smartphone. You text, email and voicemail at every communication. You accept that your world’s frantically busy, frenetic pace is simply a fact of normal modern life. Sure, you are more productive, but the time and energy it takes to keep up, drains your time and energy from the ‘real world,’ the world with face-to-face potential in it.


I see our ‘disconnect’ at airports with brief reunions, quickly replaced with texting others who aren’t there; I see young children with thumbs in a blur, their minds ‘out there’ instead of in the present moment; I see people at their desks, eating lunch in huge bites while on their cell phones, clicking away on their laptops, focus split. According to Dr. Edward Hallowell, ADD expert/psychologist and author of CrazyBusy, “The Internet and TV may create the illusion that you are connected with millions of people, but opportunities for live social interactions are dropping. Studies say isolation is as dangerous as smoking and high blood pressure.”


Texting is not the same as a lunch date. Email is not the same as a thank you note. Missing out on the human connection is, well, missing out. Whether you telecommute or email your co-workers down the hall, Internet use is replacing personal interaction. The workplace is, after all, one of the richest social environments we have, no? Let’s not compromise, or, worse, undervalue, the benefits of body language, voice tone, and eye contact. Sharing the same air with co-workers and customers speaks volumes.


And what about your personal life? Solutions Research Group did a study showing that 25 million Americans use Smartphones, BlackBerrys and Treos … and, get this, 63 percent use these devices in the bedroom! 68 percent of Americans say they feel anxiety when ‘not jacked into the global mindgrid of the Net,’ deprived and disoriented without Internet access. I think we have a serious problem here…..


Everyone needs downtime.
Everyone needs to slow down…to think, and not to think.
Everyone needs to appreciate their irreplaceable human-ness.


Disconnect your technology so you can re-connect to the energy of a heartbeat or a smile or a warm embrace. After all, it’s the people — face-to-face, and heart-to-heart — that matter!

My best,


Susan Brooks
(480) 994-1918