Exhibitor Q&A: Everything you need to know about Global Petroleum Show
There are many factors to be considered when choosing which shows to include in your exhibiting calendar, and once a particular show is penciled in, a plethora of other details to hammer out, from choosing your booth location to deciding on a size and style of display.
To make informed decisions it’s important to know as much as possible about the shows on your list. One of the best ways to find out more about a show is to talk to other exhibitors from the event. However, tracking down those people to talk to can be pretty time consuming!
At Exhibit Studio, we like to be helpful. With that in mind, I interviewed three of our clients after they finished exhibiting at this year’s Global Petroleum Show. Each of them provides a different perspective from the show. If you’re considering adding the Global Petroleum Show to your exhibit schedule, or you need to make changes to your usual booth space at GPS, hopefully these insights will help you make an informed decision.
Let’s start with an introduction around the table:
Peter Hoffman, Operations Manager at Ar-Tech Coating
Colin Livingston, Owner of CanTorque Inc.
Amy Gregson, Marketing Coordinator at Infosat
Shayla Smith, Graphic Designer & Marketing Coordinator at Exhibit Studio
First, a few background questions:
How long have you been exhibiting for? How many shows do you exhibit at each year?
Colin » CanTorque’s first show was the GoExpo in 2001.
Amy » Infosat has been exhibiting at a variety of shows for a number of years. Currently, we exhibit at 4 shows per year—one each in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary, and another that moves every year.
Peter » This was our first year exhibiting in our own booth at the GPS show. Last year we co-exhibited outdoors.
Shayla » Great! So Colin and Amy are our seasoned exhibitors, while Peter can tell us about the GPS experience from a new exhibitor’s perspective!
How does trade show exhibiting fit into your company’s marketing plan? What are your key goals when you exhibit?
Colin » Trade shows are a very important method for us to introduce CanTorque to customers. We work hard to get to as many potential customers through our sales representatives and distributors; trade shows are great as they bring many potential customers to us. Goals at a trade show are the same as from our office: To identify and prevent problems that our customers are having with any bolted connection. It’s really a balance of brand awareness and lead generation: CanTorque—Problem Solved!
Peter » We hope to generate leads, and meet existing business partners for networking opportunities.
Amy » Exhibiting is a big part of Infosat’s marketing plan each year. Our key goals when exhibiting is brand awareness (especially given Infosat’s recent rebranding), and lead generation. A big focus is gathering, tracking leads, and completing follow-up after the show.
What is your favourite part of the overall exhibiting process? Your least favourite?
Peter » Favourite part is meeting people and learning about the industry and how it is changing. Least favourite is enduring non-relevant booth visitors.
Shayla » Hey, that’s my least favourite part too!
Amy » Favourite part of the exhibiting process is speaking with potential leads and helping them realize your product or solutions can help solve their problem, and also knowing that you received a great lead. Least favourite part of show is take-down. You’re just tired from days of exhibiting and want to take-down and pack up as quickly as possible.
Colin » Favourite part? My politically correct answer is when we meet a genuine potential account that’s never heard of us and we get the opportunity to work with them to solve a problem. Non-politically correct answer: When we’re loaded and en route home!
Shayla » lol, Colin, I’d hazard a guess that’s what many exhibitors would say…
A bit about your experience at the Global Petroleum Show:
Was this your first time exhibiting at GPS?
Colin » No, we’ve been doing the Intercan / GoExpo / Global Petroleum Show since 2001 and haven’t missed a single year.
Amy » Infosat has exhibited at GPS for a number of years, since at least 2006. We still choose to go to the GPS show because of the quality of attendees, the brand awareness the show generates, and the ease of exhibiting in Calgary.
What about the overall quality of your leads—did your visitors seem qualified?
Amy » The overall quality of the leads seemed quite good and qualified for our industry. The amount of leads seem to be down from previous years, most likely due to lower attendance. However, as long as there seems to be a few promising leads the show was worth it.
Colin » This year was particularly disappointing as far as the volume and overall quality of the leads we received. We always have high expectations and rarely are they met—because our standards are very high. It was particularly disappointing after hearing during the busy times that people would have attended if they weren’t so busy; this year people claimed that, due to the downturn, they weren’t able to attend. Excuses really bother me.
Peter » Lead quality varied at the booth. It was much more effective to get out and wander.
What was the traffic flow like in your area?
Colin » Happy with our location, traffic was as good for us as anywhere that we saw.
Peter » Traffic flow was fine. Would have preferred a 20ft booth in the BMO Building next door to one our large suppliers.
Amy » This year, Infosat was able to move our booth into the main hall, which greatly improved traffic. We felt like we had an appropriate sized booth and were in a good area. The ideal spot would be at the end of the aisle or on the outer perimeter.
Shayla » We like to stress with our new exhibitors how important it is to watch traffic flow and start thinking about next year’s spot—where would you like to be? Great to hear that you guys had such good spots this year, and that you’re looking for better possible positions for next year!
What was the show service like? Did you face any difficulties or unexpected expenses?
Amy » Being a local Calgary company, we didn’t have to utilize much of show services. The GPS shows allows you to bring in your own booth as long as it’s under 5,000 lbs. This helps keep down any material handling costs for a company like us that can transport and deliver our own materials. Having electricity and carpet included is always a benefit, but we do splurge on carpet underlay. It saves the feet after a few days.
Shayla » Carpet underlay. The ultimate secret to trade show success!
Peter » We did not experience any difficulties or unexpected expenses.
Colin » Service was fine, DMG always does a great job to take care of us, as does Exhibit Studio. We show up to a booth that’s already been delivered and erected and simply have to verify layout and position our smaller items.
Shayla » Always happy to help!
Anything you noted about the Global Petroleum Show:
How was attendance at GPS15? How did that compare to previous years?
Amy » It was easy to tell that attendance was down this year compared to previous years, whether it be because of the economy, lower oil costs, or with this being the first year GPS was being run annually. Traffic in the later afternoon was very sparse.
Colin » As previously indicated: greatly reduced.
Did you get the feeling that the show was more of a local, regional, national or international audience?
Amy » The majority of leads we generated were either from local or regional locations.
Colin » Very regional attendee demographic. Virtually no international audience.
Peter » Our audience/traffic was mostly regional or national.
Shayla » It sounds like this year was all about local & regional traffic. Interesting.
Did you feel like there were missing exhibitors—companies you expected to see but didn’t?
Peter » Yes. Not sure why some suppliers were not there. Also, there was a noticeable lack of actual exhibiting from the major oil industry names.
Colin » Yes, many of our competitors either didn’t show at all or had reduced their presence.
Amy » Compared to previous years, there were very few communications solutions companies. This may be a result of the economy.
Shayla » We noticed it too. A lot of downsizing, and some key players who didn’t show at all.
Does the timing of the Global Petroleum Show seem appropriate for your industry?
Amy » The date and time work well as it is right before summer, it is around the traditional slow period for the drilling industry and a few months after the mining shows we attend.
Peter » Date was not an issue.
Colin » Very hard to answer this—the show has been the same period of time for as long as I can remember.
And to summarize:
What was your overall impression of GPS15?
Amy » Overall impression of the show was good. You get to meet with current clients, old acquaintances, and generate new leads. The show’s traffic was down compared to previous years, but it was still a great show.
Colin » Show was less than in previous years. Disappointing as we still have to exorbitant rates for exhibit space, hotels, etc.
Shayla » Colin, I’ll send you one of those cat posters that say, “Hang in there!” and we can all hope that attendance is back up next year!
Will you exhibit at Global Petroleum Show again? Will you invest more or less of your marketing budget into this show?
Colin » Yes, we will exhibit again. Despite the aforementioned I feel that it is an important show for us to be at.
Amy » Infosat is already booked to exhibit again at GPS. We feel like it is an important show to be at for brand awareness and generating new business, and will invest roughly the same amount of our marketing budget on the show going forward.
Peter » We’ll probably maintain our existing budget.
Thanks so much you guys, for taking the time from your busy schedules to discuss the 2015 Global Petroleum Show with me! I wish you all the best of success in the rest of your shows this year, and at GPS next year!
Are you thinking about adding Global Petroleum Show to your trade show schedule? Have you exhibited there (or at GoExpo) before, and need to make some changes to your space? I hope that the insights Peter, Colin & Amy have provided will help with your planning. And if anyone else has thoughts on GPS15, or the upcoming GPS16, I’d love to hear them—leave your comments below!
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