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Warranties Aren't Important – Until You Need Them

by Gwen Parsons 19. December 2012 23:19

In a recent conversation on LinkedIn, a Marketing Manager asked if anyone could suggest a good company or website to purchase a 10 foot pop-up exhibit. She got over 30 replies. One supplier suggested that they try out at least four different pop-up brands to determine their strengths and weaknesses, citing the fact that many have different warranties. The supplier suggested that the Marketing Manager also find out the history and repair processes for a variety of stands because some are easier to fix than others.

Great advice!

The simple truth is that product warranties aren’t important… until you have a problem. Often the situation goes something like this: After investing in your pop-up display, you proudly send it off to the show for field personnel to set-up and tear down. Sure, instructions for installation and dismantling the booth are included with the shipment, but nobody bothers to read them. When the show is over your staff is eager to tear down as quickly as possible – again no one reads the instructions. When you receive your display back you discover it's damaged! That’s when you look for the warranty.

Many companies offer a warranty on their pop-up. They even have similar names, such as:

• Limited Warranty
• Lifetime Warranty
"No Questions Asked" Lifetime Warranty
• No fault warranty, unconditional warranty, etc.

So here are a few suggestions for how to evaluate pop-up warranties.

Get copies. You need to get a detailed description to evaluate them. Some companies publish their pop up display warranties on their website. Others don’t make it so easy. In that case, you may have to request a copy from your display consultant or customer service agent.

Compare coverage. Understand what is and is not covered. For example, is only the frame covered? How about the mounting system – channel bars, hubs, clips, fasteners? Are accessories like lights or cases covered differently?

Determine liability. Most pop-up “lifetime” warranties have a clause that states the company must inspect the product damage in order to determine whether the source is due to a manufacturing or material defect. If damage doesn't stem from one of these two, you will be given a quote for the cost of the pop-up repair. It's rare to find a warranty, like Nomadic’s “No Questions Asked” warranty that will repair or replace your pop-up for a lifetime of ownership even if the damage incurred to it is YOUR fault.

Anticipate your needs. How frequently will your pop-up display be put to use? Will set-up and tear down of your pop-up display be done by the same personnel? Who in your organization is responsible for managing property repairs?

Field vs. location repairs. Some companies promote the ability to make repairs yourself while others require that the pop-up be repaired at an authorized location. Field repairs may work if you have the spare parts on hand and instructions on how to install them. Ask yourself who you trust to execute a lasting repair of your display properly – a staff member or factory qualified professionals?

Understand the process. Do you call Customer Service for authorization to return the product? Or can you submit a repair request online? Who pays shipping to the repair location? How long does a pop-up repair usually take to complete? Who pays the shipping to return your property?

Once you’ve made your purchase decision, remember to complete and return or submit your product’s warranty registration so that if the time comes for you to use it, your supplier will be ready to support it.

What's your experience with pop-up display repairs?


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Trade Show Tips

Helpful Hints to Get You Through the 2013 Budget Process

by Gwen Parsons 12. December 2012 23:24

Since business to business exhibitions represent the largest share of the average marketing budget, you’ll need to plan carefully for the shows you want to participate in next year.  Consider these five steps: 

1. Review your 2012 trade show marketing expense categories and make a note of anything you want to do differently in 2013.

2. Compare your 2012 expense categories to those of other companies that exhibit. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) updates “How the Exhibit Dollar is Spent” annually. This year’s study revealed the following breakdown:


3. Make a list of the line items within each category so no detail slips through the cracks. For example, using the chart above take into account that:

  • Show services includes material handling, installation and dismantling, electrical, furnishings, Internet, A/V, floral, food & beverage, cleaning services, etc.

  • Promotion includes pre-show, on-site and post-show initiatives – advertising, sponsorships, giveaways, collateral, etc.

  • Lead management and measurement includes lead retrieval equipment, post-event follow up activities, tracking, etc.

4. Build your budget by allocating funds to the fixed expenses first such as exhibit space, then add in estimates for variable expenses such as promotion. To be on the safe side, you may want to add five percent to cover general cost increases.

5. Refine your projections. Look for opportunities to reduce operational expenses so you can invest more to promote your products and services! You may be able to shave some spend on items likes these:

  • Pre-order show services vs. on-site

  • Ship to the advance warehouse vs. direct to show site

  • Buy artificial floral arrangements

  • Bring your own cleaning supplies, trash can and sweeper

  • Invest in one display that scales up or down for use in different exhibit spaces

  • Rent a large display in your show city vs. shipping one a long distance

Funnel your savings into other existing categories – such as promotion; or new ones – like staff training and measurement.

What’s your biggest budgeting challenge?




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