Marketing Challenge: Communicating Our Key Differentiator
Kitzing Inc designed and built custom tradeshow exhibits and then developed the tradeshow marketing programs that turned the structures into “selling machines.” Fred Kitzing was the father of tradeshow marketing and was pushing the use of the Tradeshow Marketing Agency when talking about the company. He developed the concept that the effectiveness of an exhibit was not based on its architecture or aesthetics, but on the exhibit’s overall contribution to a company’s marketing and sales effort. To support his concepts, Fred:
- Produced the first professional live product demonstration
- Developed the first staff training programs for exhibit representatives
- Delivered tradeshow marketing plans to clients as part of the product deliverables
While the company is perceived by some in the industry as a leader in tradeshow marketing, we appear to new prospects to be a player, rather than a leader, in the tradeshow marketing arena. While Fred created the concepts, the company no longer owns the niche. Based on his health, Fred was also not able to deliver the message himself. How do we leverage Fred's concepts, reclaim the position and make tradeshow marketing the company’s key differentiator?
We highlight Fred Kitzing and lead with his vision. We take his message out in a number of ways:
- In print with first-person authored articles. Here is the article Setting Objectives is Vital that I ghostwrote under Fred's name that appeared in Business Marketing, November 1991. Fred’s response when he saw the article in print was, “I sure am a pretty smart guy.”
- With validation of Fred's work through industry recognition. Fred as awarded the International Exhibitors Association (IEA) Distinguished Service Award based on my nomination. The Distinguished Service Award was presented to individuals that made significant contributions to the overall exposition industry. While Fred should have been given this much earlier in his career, the award was validation of Fred’s work.
- By showing examples of his concepts working in the real-world. I developed a standard format for reporting tradeshow successes from our customers that we could use as marketing pieces showing Fred’s concepts at work. Here are examples showing Immediate At-Show Sales and New Product Introduction
- As presentations delivered at key events. I developed 2 presentations Llona Kitzing gave at industry events
- Tradeshows: The Key Ingredient to Your Direct Marketing Program – Aimed at marketers to ensure they understood what tradeshows could do for their overall marketing success
- Effective Tradeshow Marketing: Salesmenship or Showmanship? – Aimed at companies already in tradeshows to ensure they understood the underlying sales potential each show offered