Monday, March 8, 2010

One Person’s Perception is Another’s Reality

The days are getting longer as the show is getting closer. So many pieces are coming together both here at GLM and within our exhibitors’ businesses. New product releases, new booth displays, celebrity appearances, artist signings and other in–booth events in the making – these are just a few of the things that will make the Show so exciting for retailers.

But what retailers want most when they put in time and money to visit a show is to see vendors in booths that are filled with products and warm sales people ready to serve them!

This brings me to what is most on my mind after looking through the non-exhibiting manufacturer badge requests last evening. As an industry event – and one that takes place only once a year – surely everyone wants to be there. But, attending the Show in a way that best represents your business and best serves your customer is a very tactical decision.

Attendee and exhibitor badges are different colors, so at a glance the difference is clear. All badges include business type, job function and company name: Retailer, Owner, The Paper Place; Retailer, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Target; Manufacturer’s Rep, Owner, Roadrunners; Exhibitor, President, Design Design, Exhibitor, Owner, Smock Letterpress.

Non-exhibiting manufacturer (NEM) badges are denoted the same way: Non-Exhibiting Manufacturer, President, ABC Company. Non-Exhibiting Manufacturer, Creative Director, DEF Company. When established companies that should exhibit don’t, and instead attend, it sends a peculiar message to the retail customer walking the show: Why isn’t company ABC exhibiting? Is the business in trouble? Isn’t my business important enough to invest in presenting the lines to me in a booth? And, to the industry peer who has spent real time and money to exhibit and in front of whose booth the NEM stands talking to the retailer that the exhibitor has paid to see, the mindset is one of real frustration: How in the world does the NEM feel right conducting business in front of my booth? Why the heck aren’t they exhibiting? I’m going to talk to Patti about how wrong this is!

The bottom line in my head and heart is that no matter on which side of the business we sit, all of us want the social stationery industry to have a thriving future. There is one industry show – the National Stationery Show. This is where you see or you’re seen, you buy, you sell, you learn and you network. And a healthy show is one that reflects its industry at its best and most diverse, serving its customers – exhibitors and buyers - in the most productive and fair way.

I hope that if you are one of the people that have requested a NEM badge, you will call me to request a booth instead, sharing the stage with 900 of your industry peers who have fully committed the continued health of the social stationery industry.


No comments:

Post a Comment