An interview with Martin McGinnis, owner of Trinity Displays

Bio on Martin McGinnis:

Martin started his career in the trade show/event signage industry as a sales representative for a manufacturer of custom, potable and portable/modular displays. After gaining industry knowledge and trends, he branched off on his own starting his own business offering trade show exhibits, custom/modular trade show displays and event signage solutions, Trinity Displays ( He credits his past, present and future success to offering a high quality products, competitive pricing, both complimented by the best service to his clients.

(ERI) In your experience, how have the expectations, needs and requirements of the corporate marketing clients changed in the past three years? i.e. What are trade show managers focused on today that they were not focused on five years ago?

(MM) Most recently, I’ve noticed how essential it is to offer a creative and unique solution to meet my client’s needs. Of course, our client’s budgets have been slashed, which makes it difficult to produce an ideal solution, but that is where the fun is found. Being creative enough to develop a solution that meets the clients requirements and budget all at once.

(ERI) What type of trade show marketing programs would benefit from a custom rental solution?

(MM) If I had to choose one particular marketing program that would benefit from a custom rental solution, I would say International clients. It is too expensive for these clients to ship their booths back and forth. It is also too expensive to have them purchase an exhibit, use it here in the US and then ship it back out of the country.

I also believe that marketing/advertising agencies are a great candidate for custom rental solutions. I have found that certain agencies just want to be able to offer their client a creative solution. Most agencies have a list of clients that have a need for trade show displays, they just don’t have the resources to make sure it’s what their clients want/need.

(ERI) What type of trade show marketing program would benefit from purchasing a custom exhibit?

(MM) I believe a small/mid-sized businesses would benefit from purchasing a custom exhibit. If presented properly, this custom solution will be able to be modified into different configurations. This would allow these businesses to recycle and re-use their originally purchased exhibit, while giving themselves a different and unique look each time. The only future purchase for a new exhibit would be new graphic panels.

I also believe that the notion above would work well for large corporations as well. I recently sold a large 20x20 custom truss display to quite a large organization. The chose that particular display because it can break down into different configurations (in 20x20 format as well as 10x20 and 10x10 format) and all they have to do is purchase new graphics.

(ERI) What are some of the differences for the client between a custom exhibit and a custom rental solution?

(MM) Most people believe they are saving money choosing a custom rental solution. While this may be true with the upfront costs, if the purchased custom exhibit can be re-configured, or at least re-used, they are certainly saving money in the long run by choosing to purchase versus rental. A large cost in an exhibit is the graphics, which must be purchased whether purchasing or renting a custom trade show display. If the budget is there, I believe it is a better fit to purchase your custom rental. It truly needs to be looked at as an investment.

(ERI) What changes have you seen in the product line offerings from exhibit solution providers in the last few years?

(MM) I’ve noticed everything is becoming smaller, lighter-weight and fabric. There are still trade show exhibits that are heavy-duty and seem to be massive, but due to heightened show-services drayage costs, fuel costs (shipping) and manufacturing labor costs, people have started to go with solutions that are smaller and lighter-weight, this is where fabric comes into play.

Fabric displays are certainly lighter-weight and can pack down in a more compressed manner than traditional inkjet laminate/ Direct UV prints. They can also be dry-cleaned or steam-cleaned, making the fabric option a much more desirable solution. Not to mention, the fabric printing process is typically less expensive than aforementioned traditional printing processes.

(ERI) What are some examples of interactive event marketing?

(MM) Interactive event marketing can be best seen at any event or function put on which draws large crowds. It is not just the thought of having a presence that will make you successful at interactive event marketing. Rather, it is how you execute your product/service at that event. How many times have you walked a trade show or event and the people working at the booth are sitting behind their table texting/emailing on their phone? How many times have you seen people working one booth talking to the people working the booth next to them? The people chosen to represent that brand or organization need to be properly trained on how to communicate with the prospective “buyer”.

Just like anything, people like to have an opportunity to touch, feel or experience whatever it is that is being sold. No matter what industry you find yourself in, there has to be a way to get people to interact with your product. The main question when preparing for interactive event marketing is, ‘how can we be creative enough to get the attendees/prospects/clients to interact with our employees/products?’.

Examples of interactive event marketing can be best seen in sports sponsorships. Sure, a lot of companies decide to sponsor with collegiate, minor-league and professional sporting organizations, but few of them settle for a simple commercial or in-stadium signage. You can typically find those same sponsors with a booth/tent outside of the stadiums or a variety of tables strategically placed next to the bathrooms on the main concourse level. Those types of ‘interactive marketing’ are the solution that each of those sponsors came up with when they asked themselves, “how can we be creative enough to get the attendees/prospects/clients to interact with our employees/products?”. Usually, its most effective to ask that question and take your organization to the next level.

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