Booth Setup Day

It’s the day before the show.  You’ve bought your booth space and spent weeks and months working to ensure your space at the trade show will draw the most prospects possible. You wake up on Booth Setup Day fully ready to hit this one right out of the park, confident that your efforts will pay off.  You walk into the convention center…and right into what could easily pass as a set for a post-apocalyptic movie.  Making your way through throngs of people, you push, shove, sprint, and crawl to your booth space.  You make it there alive, but what do you do now?

Expect Complete Chaos:  The room will be dirty.  There will be people running around everywhere trying to get their booth in order.  There will be no food and, if your show takes place in the summer, potentially no air conditioning.  Plan for all of these!  Don’t try to wear a suit to this.  It may look classy at first, but after hours in these conditions, you’ll be hot, sweaty, and potentially spending a lot of money on a dry-cleaning bill to fix rips and tears from the toils of booth setup.

Lots of Exercise:  You may have to park multiple blocks away from the show site.  Purchasing and using the proper cases for all of your booth accessories will help the transportation process immensely.  Are you the only person from your company going to the show?  Make sure you plan transportation ahead of time.  You don’t want to accidentally get locked out of the convention center with half of your materials inside the building and half still in your hands, searching for another entrance!  While intricate booths may look amazing to potential clients, they potentially could be hard work to put together. Plan ahead and bring tools you may need for setup so you aren’t searching for anything when the time comes.  Undercover Printer also offers easy-setup displays and backwalls that give you a professional look without the stress.

Prepare for What-If’s:  What if there’s a shipping issue and your display is stuck in the Midwest in a flood?  Make sure your staff can think on their feet if a potential client is around, booth or no booth.  Coming from out of town and need a booth in a hurry?  Undercover Printer offers 24 hr turn on booth displays.  What if someone trips and falls, taking part of your booth down with them?  Do you have the spare parts to save the day if disaster strikes?

Intimidated yet?  Despite the potential for disaster present at each setup day, a little bit of planning can help keep you in control of the situation.  And even if everything spirals out of your control, just remember it will all be worth it on show day, when you just might meet your dream client!

-by Jenna Marie, Chief Code Breaker

The 6 Booth Staffers We All See (though we wish we wouldn’t!)

At a trade show, a vendor’s main goal is to get noticed.  They want their booth to be the talk of the show due to the knowledge of their staff or the usefulness of their product, but sometimes it backfires when one of their employees creates an embarrassing persona for himself!  We’ve all seen these people at shows, though we may wish we hadn’t!

Squirrel Hoarding His Nuts     Uninterested     Overeager Carnie

The Overeager Carnie:

Typical Saying: “Step right up, step right up!!  Have I got the product for you!!!”

We get it.  It’s exciting to be in a room with so many opportunities and a little nerve-wracking to think of how you are going to impress all those potential clients, but these Energizer Bunnies of the exhibition center take it way too far.  They force their way to the edge of the aisle, calling out to anyone and everyone to come see the best darn product since sliced bread!  Energy is good for any sales situation, but too much begins to look fake and people passing their booth feel like they’ve stepped out of the trade show and into a traveling circus!

The Uninterested:

Typical Saying: “…”

Ever been interested in a booth’s product and had to spend ages searching for an employee who didn’t consider himself too busy to answer your questions? Whether they’re deep in conversation with their coworkers or completely shutting out the entire world to read their newspaper, these booth staffers make it perfectly clear that you are infringing on their time.  After what feels like hours of scouring the booth for someone to help you, you decide to leave them to their solitude, wondering what they expected to do at a trade show if not talk to people!

The Texter:

Typical Saying: “OMG LOL”

Once The Texter’s phone comes out, it’s like some indestructible force field surrounds him, preventing him from any contact with the outside world until he’s finally beaten his best score at Angry Birds.  A parade of dancing elephants could have passed through the convention center and he would be none the wiser as long as that phone is in his hands.

The Stalker:

Typical Saying: “Fancy meeting you here again!”

You sit next to a perfectly nice person at one of the show lectures.  He mentions his product and it’s exactly what you’re looking for so you exchange business cards.  You leave the seminar and all seems to be well…until you start seeing him everywhere!  You pass him in the hallway, he tries to strike up conversation.  You head to the elevator after happy hour, he’s there waiting for you.  You go visit another booth, he’s right next to you, shoving his way into another conversation with you.  Soon you consider changing your name, dying your hair, and disappearing without a trace just to escape another awkward encounter.  His attempts to be friendly backfire substantially when you find yourself shredding his business card as soon as you finally stop feeling like you’re being watched!

The Squirrel Hoarding His Nuts

Typical Saying: “*crunchcrunchcrunch*”

There are few things more awkward than trying to talk to someone who has to keep covering their mouth because they won’t stop snacking!  Like a squirrel, this trade show baddie keeps stuffing more and more nuts, chips, pizza, or whatever else is available into their mouth the entire time you’re speaking to them.  They shoot out stats about their product between bites, but you just find yourself fervently hoping that he doesn’t accidentally spit all over you!

The Car Salesman:

Typical Saying: “You don’t need this, but let me try to sell it to you anyway!”

The fast-talking Car Salesman will say anything to try to get a sale, but all you really get from him is a strong aura of smarmy.  Even after you say you’re not interested, he’ll rave about how amazing his product is, or how great a deal he can get you for something you don’t even need!  If you try to escape his iron grip, he finds a way to corner you and draw you back into the booth until you finally manage to break free, screaming to try to warn any unsuspecting passersby as you sprint back to the safety of the crowd!

These staffer archetypes have been at every trade show since the dawn of time.  Even though their behavior so obviously turns off potential clients, more and more offenders keep popping up!  Keep an eye out for these types in the staffers of your own booth, so your booth becomes trade show famous for only the right reasons.  Let your awesome product be the talk of the show, not your staffer’s antics!

What about you?  Is there another trade show horror story you’ve encountered people should be on the lookout for?

-by Jenna Marie, Chief Code Breaker

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Mission: Trade Show

So you’ve bought your booth space for the next trade show?  How much is it really costing you though? With the cost of displays, salaries for employees manning the booth, and promotional items, you are probably spending too much to risk an unsuccessful show, but how can you be certain your booth will draw in the contacts necessary to make your time and money worthwhile?

Think ahead.  Every good spy knows the importance of useful contacts.  You wouldn’t go into an important top secret mission without knowing who to meet, so why would you go to a trade show without knowing potential clients? Reach out through social media and try to find, and get to know, other people who will be there so you have leads before you even walk in the door.

Creativity.  Draw a crowd with a game or video.  Find a clever way to draw people into your booth that pertains to your particular business.  Anything that will help you establish a more personal relationship with potential clients is fair game, so be creative!

Effective Displays.  Small booths can be spectacular! Get creative with graphics and eye catching displays that will stand out from the rest.

This unique display fits perfectly in a 10-ft box space, but stands a crowd-attracting 11 feet tall!  While personalized booths like this may cost a bit more, they will pull their weight by attracting floods of impressed passersby.

Effective Staff.  Just as super sleuths are trained well before going out into the field, it’s important to train your staff beforehand if you want a truly successful show. It could be helpful to come up with a list of conversation openers to break the ice with potential clients without getting straight to business.  Dress your staff in black pants and branded, brightly colored shirts to complete the professional look.

A little planning plus a little more investment might just catch the eye of your dream revenue client!  How much are you willing to put into your next show?

-by Jenna Marie, Chief Code Breaker

Taking Back Uniforms

What do you wear to work?  It seems that more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon of giving their employees uniforms to wear. For some, however, the word “uniforms” brings back memories of itchy plaid skirts, choking neckties, and pinching shoes from school as a kid.  Despite their less than stellar reputation, uniforms should not have to live in the shadows of bad connotations and unpleasant memories!  Good company apparel is bringing new light to a dark past. How?

Company Morale: While some may argue that company uniforms are detrimental to individuality and hamper creativity, I take the decidedly opposite view.  From soccer teams to high school marching bands, I’ve been a part of many teams in my life and have seen firsthand how a strong feeling of community can lead to greater productivity and success than a group of isolated individuals with little attachment to their team.  When someone feels like they are an integral part of a community, they feel more comfortable and are willing to work harder and express ideas, leading to a more efficient and imaginative office setting.

Casual Fridays: Office uniforms not your thing?  Some offices use company apparel for casual Fridays as a way to allow your employees to “dress down” a bit while still professionally representing the company.

Easier for Customers: One of the most obvious reasons for easily recognizable company apparel is probably also the most important. Ever had a question in a store and had to hunt down an employee?  Ever spent twenty minutes looking for someone before just giving up?  By giving your employees a simple uniform, you are making it that much for potential clients to get the help they need.  If they can’t find you, it will be difficult for them to support your business.

Out of Office: Company camaraderie does not end when the workday does!  More and more offices are sponsoring events like employee picnics, charity walk teams, and even interoffice competitions to better create a bond between coworkers. Wearing company apparel at these fun events will reinforce your company’s position in their minds as more than just someplace they go to make ends meet.

With all the easy-care, wrinkle-free, and stylish options available, employees can proudly wear your brand while being comfortable and looking professional.

-by Jenna Marie, Chief Code Breaker

A 5-Year Marketing Investment for just $5 ?

Did you know that people hold onto t-shirts for an average of five years? 
I heard this statistic and was frankly a little skeptical until I took a look in my own t-shirt drawer.  My absolute favorite t-shirt is bright orange with the logo of the leadership camp where I purchased it from. It’s going on four years old and I have no intention of giving it up anytime soon!  Our CEO confessed to her favorite tee being seventeen years old! Looking around outside, you see people who pull on their favorites to run errands or meet friends on a relaxed day off.  How many times have you been cleaning out your closet, but refuse to get rid of an old faithful because you’ve developed an almost sentimental attachment to its easy charm?

How can you use our culture’s love of t-shirts to your company’s advantage?

Large Events:  Are you going to be helping out at a large event soon, such as a charity walk, sporting event or festival?  Pairing your shirts with a big event would provide an easy way for potential clients to associate your brand with nostalgia of the good time they had at a music festival or the sense of accomplishment after finishing a particularly difficult marathon.  T-shirts often give the best deal when bought in bulk, some priced lower than five dollars for a quality shirt, so you can get your brand out to a large number of potential new clients for little sting to your marketing budget.

Sponsorships: Instead of selling your own t-shirts at an event, you could offer to cover the cost of the t-shirts for the people hosting the event.  In return, you could ask to place your company logo on the back.This would be another easy way to help prospective clients associate your brand with the memories they made.

Client Gifts and Giveaways: People love feeling appreciated! When clients receive gifts, no matter how simple they may be, it creates a more personal relationship and clients are often more than happy to show their support for a company that cares about them.

A comfortable t-shirt can go a long way!  By giving, selling, or sponsoring t-shirts, you are essentially creating a walking advertisement for your company for the next five years,  for as low as five dollars!  What about you?  Look in your own closets!  Is there a t-shirt you own and continue to wear despite its advancing age?  Whose logo is on it?

-by Jenna Marie, Chief Code Breaker

The Business Card Investigation

Undercover Printer is out networking in the business community — a lot! We see all types of companies getting the word out and building relationships. We also see a lot of businesses making one huge mistake – they are seriously damaging their first impressions by handing out common, boring, flat business cards.

Did you know that the business card is the #1 marketing piece that people hang onto? It is small, fits into a wallet or suit pocket, and carries all of the necessary contact information a person needs. It is the one piece that never goes out of style – and will continue to be used when all the other electronic media completely takes over.Custom-business-cards-undercover-printerUndercover Printer sells more business cards than we do any other marketing piece. We print all sorts of cards, including the aforementioned high demand common boring cards – the cards that are so affordable everybody thinks they are getting a huge deal – but is it a great deal is it if your card gets tossed after cocktails?

A business card is like the front of your store in the networking world. If created properly, it tells people who you are, what you do, and what kind of company you are. Take a look through the stack of cards I am sure you have somewhere on your desk. Which ones stand out? Which are memorable?

die-cut-silk-business-cards-undercover-printerThere are a ton of options out there for affordable, creative, stand-out cards. Of course, we offer these options to our clients, but whomever you use for design and printing – if your cards are not a showpiece, isn’t it time to invest some of your marketing dollars into the front of your “store”.

Click here for some more ideas on Customizing Your Business Cards.



There is nothing like the power of a good connection. Just by mentioning garanimals in last month’s post, we were contacted by the company via Twitter (@garanimals). And what a cool company they are. We may never do direct business with them..but, then again, we just might!

It is astounding the number of ways to connect with your clients and prospects, and to connect them with each other. Building a network and learning how to work those connections is invaluable to the success of your business.

Are You Connecting your Connections?
Helping others connect is truly the key to building a successful network. Hiding in your network may be your client’s dream connection that could change their business. Take a little extra time when meeting with your clients to see how you can help them, and who you may already know that can solve that problem. Everyone is looking to meet someone –and that someone just might be your next door neighbor! Always be on the lookout for connecting others!

Let’s Get it Together, People!

Garanimals. Remember these? Without them, I can’t imagine how my mom would have dressed me – or how I would have dressed myself. It was so easy to coordinate outfits – even I as a young child could figure it out. Bottoms and tops are paired by matching the tags: lions with lions, elephants with elephants – simply genius!

If only coordinating your marketing was that simple! Where are the instructions for how to match up the right marketing pieces with your message and your designated target? How do you know what to do first… or next? It helps to get the advice of a marketing strategist to help plan out the strategy and execution of that strategy. But then you actually have to implement the plan – a part where many businesses fall short. Other things get in the way of that email blast that coordinated with the special of the month and consequently the incentive item that follows up the email….phew! I think my head is spinning!

A couple ideas to get it together:
- Coordinate your team’s efforts with the marketing strategy
- Coordinate your marketing to have a consistent, clear message
- Coordinate all aspects of the strategy to drill that message into your prospects memory with 5-7 touches over time

Result: Successful Marketing Mission! Oh, and parents…garanimals have made a comeback. There is hope for the children of the fashionably-challenged!

Networking or Notworking?

So many businesses are jumping on the networking bandwagon to increase their referral sales. But is your networking really working? Are you meeting the right people to add to you business circle or just finding yourself hanging out at the bar with a few friends? Or both?

  • Take time to research the events you plan to attend and walk in with a plan for success. At first glance, some events seem like a success due to the flurry of attention you may get as a newbie. But, are the right contacts at this event for you to expand your referral circle?  If you don’t leave every event with at least one good contact to follow up with, the event may not be one worth attending again.
  • When joining an organized referral group such as a lead share or a BNI chapter, do your homework and make sure you can afford the time commitment to really make it a success. Also, be sure you get into the best group for your business. Every group has its own culture and mix of members. “Court” several groups to find the one that suits your culture and that has the members you want to build relationships with and can refer business to.
  • Investment vs. Return. The monetary investment may not be that much, but the time commitment can be very expensive. Every three to six months, run a revenue report and check off every sale you received as a result of the various networking activities. This is a great tool when deciding which events to continue pursuing, and which to ditch!

Most of all, when you are networking, whether at a Smart CEO event, mixer, a speed event, a lead share group, or at the Chamber casino night, ask for the referral that you want  (or the person that you want to meet). You can’t be paired with the perfect referral, if people do not know who you are looking for!

Stick it to them!

undercoverprinterSo you’ve made the effort and gone around to say hello to your clients – now what? How often will you have contact with them? Once a year for a check up on your services? Make sure you leave behind reminders of you and your company so that they don’t forget.

Now, wait just a second before you order up a fresh batch of chip clips or $.50 pens. Are your clients only worth half a dollar to continue doing business with you? Will the items you leave behind make an impression or end up in the receptionist’s drawer with the unwanted? Take the time, and the money, to plan out the ideal leave behind that portrays the value of your product or service and the value of that client or prospect to your organization.

I’ve never heard of an IT company making an impression with a chip clip – think about it. Seek the advice of an expert or a creative thinker if you are having a hard time finding that perfect thing to keep your message sticking around all year. Have fun and be creative! Make the giveaway a part of your brand and something with a perceived value that will not be tossed aside or consumed before it is remembered.