Design and Construction Week is On in Orlando

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter After four year in Vegas, the NAHB International Builder’s Show and the HKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show move to central Florida for Design & Construction Week . A must-attend event for the industry, these co-located shows continue to be at the forefront of innovation, with more than 2,000 exhibitors and hundreds of education sessions. Here are a few highlights: 11865read more >

Are You Ready to Talk to the Media?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter We're officially in trade show season, which means planning booths, putting together promotions, connecting with customers and preparing your staff for the show. One often overlooked aspect of trade show participation is the media. When you exhibit at a trade show, you can trust in the quality and relevancy of the attendees as potential customers. You can also trust that the media that is most important to your ideal customer will be at the show, so make sure you prepare to talk with them as well. I once supported a company at their biggest industry show. I'd set up meetings with media at the show and spent a lot of time in their booth. During a lull when I didn't have anything scheduled, I decided to go eat lunch. When I returned, the sales rep in the booth handed me an editor's card and told me he'd stopped to see you. I asked about the interaction with the editors, what had been shown to him and so on, just to find out that they had given him my card and sent him on his way. Throughout the show, the booth staff was so laser focused on getting leads that every time they encountered the media, they said two words, "See her" and pointed them to me. It's important to treat the media personnel at a show as if they are just as important as a customer ... if not more. Trade media have a huge audience of hundreds or thousands of the people who you want to reach. 10317read more >

Go Hands-On for Quality Trade Show Interactions

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter One of the most underutilized components implemented by exhibitors at trade shows is the “hands on” demonstration of their product/solution. Professional tradespeople make their living working with their hands, so it should not be a surprise “hands on” product demonstrations are a favorite for this audience. Typically trade shows like to talk about the quantitative stats…number of attendees, number of exhibitors and number of speakers. But instead of focusing on the number of people walking up and down the aisles and attending these shows, maybe we should be focusing more on the quality of the interactions between trade show attendees and the exhibitors. One of the more effective quality interactions would be the “hands on” product demonstrations and skills competitions at trade shows. In general, booths that have some sort of demonstration/activity for their product tend to have more traffic and activity. The first quarter of the year tends to be a busy time for trade shows targeting the professional tradesperson. I recently attended the World of Concrete Show and was amazed at the number of hands on areas. The parking lots of the Las Vegas Convention Center were packed with manufacturer tents highlighting “hands on” demos with everything from cutting and drilling, to polishing and breaking up concrete. In another parking lot across from the convention there were as many as 4,000 spectators in attendance to watch a number of masonry skills contests, including the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500, SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER, MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge and the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block. It was amazing to see the passion, enthusiasm and support shown by the attendees watching these tradespeople showcase their skills! All of these areas outside the convention center consistently had more active traffic compared to the normal booths inside…read more >

Industrial Reinvention

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter Fabtech Expo wrapped up another great show last month in Chicago. Presented by AWS, CCAI, FMA, SME and PMA, it truly lives up to its billing as the largest metal-forming, welding and finishing event in North America. There are many great wrap ups of this show, including Fabtech’s own, but I want to share a few personal observations: Chicago is a great host city for any show, but especially this one, given its rich history of amazing architecture, manufacturing and Midwest hospitality There was an HUGE number of students and educators there, great news for the future of our industry In the North Hall, the “Big 3” welding companies each had impressive and expansive booths, each playing to their strengths, and full of new products In fact, new products ruled the day in both halls. We truly are on the verge of a 4th industrial revolution. Every booth seemed to burst with new, and most importantly, integrated products, system and solutions. The buzz on the floor and in the seminars was that to survive and thrive, manufacturing needs to embrace new technology. The common perception used to be that manufacturing wasn’t an “early adopter” and that the old ways were best. But the smart companies are now realizing that the two are not mutually exclusive. Look at products like WeldRevolution, where a little-out-of-the-box thinking has led to significant gains in productivity and quality. There are a hundred more examples from any given aisle, but the message was clear: the manufacturing floor of the future will put productivity first, and results will be seen in real-time, in the palm of your hand. Make plans to attend the 2016 Fabtech in Las Vegas, it’s sure to dazzle.read more >

Automate and ProMat: One Badge, Two Shows

I had the opportunity to attend Automate and ProMat in Chicago on behalf of two Sonnhalter clients (one at each show). A single badge got attendees and exhibitors into both shows, and the combined efforts of the automation and materials handling groups provided for a great event that included keynote presentations from Renee Niemi (director of Android and Chrome Global Business, Google for Work), John Mackey (co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods) and Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple, founder, chairman and CEO of Wheels of Zeus).read more >

Fabtech Expo Recap

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter I had the opportunity to attend the Fabtech Expo in Atlanta last week. It was my second year at the show and I am continually impressed by the immensity of this industry. The expo brought together more than 27,000 attendees and 1,400 exhibitors covering more than 500,000 square feet of the Georgia World Congress Center. Fabtech kicked off on Veterans Day and it couldn't have been more fitting since Workshops for Warriors was selected as the recipient of the Fabtech Cares campaign. Workshops for Warriors is a wonderful organization that I had the pleasure of writing about last year in Production Machining magazine. Workshops for Warriors, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to training, certifying, and placing veterans in manufacturing careers. It's no secret that manufacturers are looking for new sources of talent. At the same time, many former members of our armed forces are looking for work. Workshops for Warriors combines these efforts, giving American veterans and wounded warriors the skills U.S. manufacturing employers need. Veterans who are transitioning back to civilian life provide a vastly untapped talent pool of hardworking and disciplined talent for the manufacturing industry. Fabtech hosted a panel on the first day of the show on bridging the skills gap with veterans. You can see the progress of the fundraiser (and donate) here. Reshoring of manufacturing was definitely another popular topic. The Day One keynote actually came from Cindi Marsilgio, the VP for U.S. Manufacturing at Wal-Mart. The company has pledged to buy $250 billion of products made in the USA over ten years to encourage the creation of U.S. jobs. (You can read more about the keynote and Day One highlights on Fabtech's blog.) When walking the show and helping out in various booths, I heard the question, "Where are your products made?" Many…read more >

IMTS 2014 Stats and Highlights

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer The 30th edition of IMTS (The International Manufacturing Technology Show) 2014 was the fourth largest IMTS in history and the largest six-day show ever with registration of 114,147 representing 112 countries. [Read the Press Release Here] I was able to attend IMTS two days last week and the one main impression that I walked away with is that IMTS is a huge show. Although I made a point to visit all four halls at McCormick Place in Chicago (North, South, East and West), I regret that I could not see it all. I spent most of my time with one of Sonnhalter's clients in the North hall and kept busy most of the time. IMTS takes place every two years and the 2014 show stats are impressive: 2014 registration was 13.9% higher than 2012 2,035 companies exhibited Exhibits covered 1.282 square feet 17,767 students, educators, administrators and parent chaperones (double the 2012 numbers) I had the opportunity to talk with exhibitors, attendees and media at the show and all of them had similar comments on IMTS being an impressive and very positive show. Here were some of my personal highlights from the show: Every client booth that I visited was busy and their teams reported gathering quality leads There were a lot of students who visited the show and they asked excellent questions at the booths such as, "What does your company do?" "How does this machine work?" "Where would I see your products in my everyday life?" and many more. The exhibitors were more than happy to answer their questions. Manufacturing growth and technology advances were evident everywhere I turned, from the world's first 3D-printed car [more on that here] to highly advanced machines and robotics and many other areas that I'm excited to learn…read more >

Trade Shows: Are You Taking Advantage of the Media Opportunities?

By Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman, Sonnhalter Industry trade shows are much more than just a chance to get out of the office and mingle with prospective customers, answering questions about the newest product launches, with aching feet and dry mouths. Industry trade shows are terrific opportunities for connecting with industry trade editors who are attending the trade shows to report on the latest and greatest happenings in their markets. Here are a few ideas to take advantage of the editors' presence: 1. Schedule editor meetings at your booth. Contact the trade show management a couple of months ahead of time to obtain its list of registered media. Review the list and identify editors who are key to your industry or who are unfamiliar with your products and services, but should be familiar. Contact the editors to determine if they are interested in meeting with a company representative. Chances are they will be. Editors want to make the best use of their time at trade shows to gather information that they can share with the readers of their publications, e-newsletters and on their websites, to showcase the latest industry trends. Make sure you are prepared to walk the editor through a short presentation and demonstration of your company’s products or services at the booth and then leave them with a thumb drive or a link to follow-up press materials. 2. Press events. Have a worthy product introduction or key company news? Depending on its newsworthiness [see below], a press event, in the form of a media breakfast, media luncheon or media cocktail hour, is an extremely effective method for conveying important company information and building favorable media relationships. Depending on the trade show’s rules and regulations, the event can be held at your company’s booth before or after show hours, or…read more >

3 Reasons Why The 2014 International Builders’ Show Was A Success

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter I attended the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas (February 4-6, 2014). This was the first time that IBS and NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry (KBIS) were colocated under the Design & Construction Week umbrella. With over 1,700 exhibitors combined, covering more than 650,000 square feet of floor space, these shows delivered more than 75,000 residential construction and design professionals. Here are three reasons why I thought this year’s show was a success compared to recent years: IBS/KBIS Combination – Since both of these shows had been struggling in recent years, it was a no brainer to combine these two shows under the same roof. The synergy of this marriage helped drive renewed energy for both of these shows. Exhibitors benefited from attendees they wouldn’t normally see; that is, KBIS attendees that normally would not have attended IBS and vice versa. It is much easier to walk down to a separate hall than to plan a trip for a separate show. Each show had its own dedicated app to help navigate the vast array of booths, educational sessions and speakers. Although I wished you could search exhibitors for both shows within each respective app. Stronger 2014 Outlook – The 2014 forecast for the residential new construction market is the strongest it has been since the 2008/2009 housing collapse. This helped drive overall attendance from the number of exhibitors to the building and design professionals crowding the aisles. Las Vegas – Like it or not, Vega is still one of the best places to have industry trade shows of this magnitude.  Especially this year, given the terribly cold Midwest/Northeast winter and Polar Vortexes, everyone was more than happy rushing to the sunny and warm desert! Was IBS a success for you?read more >