Friday, December 19, 2014

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News From the Prairie Blog

   Don't Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face (or Don't Let Material Handling Freeze the Sales Process)

"Don't cut off your nose to spite your face," was a phrase I heard my grandmother say from time to time. It's not used too often these days but it literally means, don't go ahead with an action that could make things worse for you farther down the road. This is especially true if the action is done as a quick reaction, out of anger or not thought through.  I wanted to say this to a long-time customer the other day....

 

   The Case for Building a Better Treehouse

When I was 13, my friends Markie, Ted and I decided to build a clubhouse. We didn't have any money or real know-how, but there was a construction site about a block from our houses, and the collective lunacy of three 13-year old minds went to work. We scavenged wood and other materials and very crudely, constructed a 7' cube complete with a swinging door, roof and floor....

 

   It Only Takes Money!

Brainstorming sessions are fun. The idea is to have a free-flow of ideas, wants and desires without the thought of possible impediments like actual cost and logistics. The sky is the limit and anything is seemingly possible....When it was announced that the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago was going to be home to the "David Bowie Is" exhibition for a few months, I was told I was going....

 

   Nickels and Dimes

Some friends from Germany recently visited the U.S. for the first time. We were happy that their first stop was Chicago. It was good to see them and it provided an opportunity to show off the city....The one negative comment they expressed was, when purchasing something, the price was more at check out....We call it being 'nickeled and dimed'.

 

   Kissing Frogs, Finding Princes and Trade Show Success

 A customer new to exhibiting visited our showroom last week. We talked about her goals for the event and some of the ways she could present her message. We also discussed the basic 4-step process that can work effectively in a smaller environment...Attract, Engage, Qualify and Action. ...Whoever said you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, had it right.

 

   Tech Talk

"How do you use technology in your trade show program?"  That was the topic at the last meeting of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (meepro.org).  The panel working through the discussion was comprised of two seasoned trade show coordinators, a consultant and an industry supplier....All very interesting to say the least....

 

   Team Prairie

Twenty years is a long time, but when you are busy doing whatever it is you do, it can pass in the blink of an eye. Hard to believe it was just 20 years ago (1994) when O.J. Simpson fled from Los Angeles police in the now iconic, low-speed chase in his white Ford Bronco....Harry Styles, member of One Direction, was born. Yikes! Oh, and Prairie Display/Chicago, opened their doors.... 

 

  Connections

Earlier this year, I met Alberta Bell by chance. Walking down the hallway of the extended care floor at a nursing home, I smiled and said hello as I passed her, seated in a wheelchair. "Hello!" she barked back. "I'm Alberta Bell and I was named after my uncle. His name was Albert." "Oh really?" I turned, and introduced myself. "I'm pretty sure my mother named me Steve because she liked Steve Allen." Alberta did not miss a beat.... 

 

   Check This Out

In May, I posted a commentary on why I thought certain retailers were missing the boat by offering customers the option of using self-checkout lanes. I wrote that in an effort to speed up the process and reduce labor, these retailers were actually creating distance between the value they provide...

 

   Going Smaller? Stay Realistic!

An experienced exhibit/marketing professional will tell you that participating at a trade show in an inline space is very different from exhibiting in islands and peninsulas. The amount of time spent with attendees is usually shorter. Group presentations can be challenging... 

 

  Captivate Like Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard passed away the other day at 87, in his Michigan home. For those of you who are not familiar with him, Elmore Leonard was one of the most prolific American fiction writers of westerns, crime novels and suspense thrillers, in the last 50 years. He also wrote screenplays....

 

  Pixilated About Pixelation?

I can't remember the exact date, but it was probably around 1990. The company I worked for operated their own screen print shop. That's how we produced solid color, large text and logo graphics....

 

  Can Event Marketing Be Truly Sustainable?     Part Two 

A few weeks ago, Part One of this blog was published (see below). I suggested that exhibitors and supplier partners have to do more to become eco-friendly and avoid needlessly wasting Earth's natural resources....Here are some examples of what our customers can do to reduce, reuse and recycle in our industry....

 

  Can Event Marketing Be Truly Sustainable?     Part One

According to GES' recently published 2013 "Trend Tracker", when it comes to design, sustainability should be on the minds of exhibitors and how they relate to their customers. About sustainability, it reads...

 

  Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area

If you ask me, grocery store chains and some big box retailers are messing up big time. Yep, messing up by relying on self-service checkouts. We've all used them.... 

 

  Don't Drive Thru Please!

Hamburgers are all the rage in our town. In the last two years, four new restaurants opened specializing in various types of custom (higher end than fast food) burgers. This - if we add the seven fast food restaurants and a dozen or so sit-down places where you can order a burger - brings the options for raising my cholesterol and body fat to an all time high. ...

 

  Again and Again, Then One More Time 

Leo Olson taught advertising in the Journalism Department at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois during the 1970s and 80s. Although Leo passed away in 1989, he left behind a lasting legacy to thousands of J-students who passed through the doors of Cole and Reavis Halls....

 

  Winter Blues and Convertibles

Every February in Chicago, when the winter doldrums start to really take hold and everyone is sick and tired of cloudy, gray days, the Chicago Auto Show moves into McCormick Place for a 10-day stay. The Chicago show is billed as the largest in the world and has been going on for over 100 years.... 

 

  My Trade Show with Marilyn

I recently watched the 2011 movie "My Week with Marilyn". The movie is about a young intern on a movie set in England. Marilyn Monroe is one of the actors and the intern is assigned to keep Marilyn company and get her to the set on time. Marilyn is difficult to work with...

 

  A Must-Read for All Trade Show Exhibitors

The Exhibit and Event Marketers Association (E2MA) recently posted their 2012 Advocacy Study Presentation titled "Enhancing Exhibitor Value Enables Show Growth" on their website.  I urge everyone to click on this link...


  It Wasn't Raining When Noah Built the Ark

I recently met with a new client who was just hired by her company, and one of her job functions is to handle their modest trade show program. ...

 

  An Open Letter

Dear Marketing Managers, Vice Presidents, CFOs and anyone associated with hiring personnel to manage trade shows and marketing events...

 

 First Blog: Baby Steps

About 10 years ago, a close associate urged me to start writing a book based on my experiences in sales and the trade show and event industries. I tried....

 

 

 

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