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First Time? Yep.

The Good Old Days
As the holidays are upon us many of us turn our thoughts to the good old days of our youth. Most people tend to focus only on the good stuff and forget the hard work in between!

Do you remember when you were just old enough to order your own meal in a restaurant or the first time you pumped the gas in your parent’s car? These simple actions seem so trivial now, but at the time they were big steps. First times can be scary! Sure we had all seen someone else pump gas or order their own food but we never did it before. There is that trepidation right before you take the plunge and just do it. Sometimes we just wing it! First times at anything can be a little awkward but then we learn how we are going to do it better next time and before you know it even complex milestones are simple tasks. Some big ones are usually the first day at a new school, driving, flying, first dates or that new job. More adventurous types might look at firsts like skydiving or scuba diving as risky first but easy now!

Firsts certainly are scary but they are the only real way to grow. As kids we learn quickly that there is a special feeling after we try something new…kind of like a reward for yourself. True, firsts are scary, but they feel good once we accomplish something.

Risky Firsts and Funny Flops
When I look at the many firsts we have experienced at Optima, some big successes and some real flops come quickly to mind! Buying our first Lambda machines and getting into Dye Sublimation Fabric were two huge departures that yielded big opportunities for our customers and we all enjoyed super cool growth patterns based on these process offerings. Feels as good now as it did then! My favorite flop is the likely forgotten Econo-Graphics: rolls of pre-colored vinyl substrate that never lose curl memory.image Apparently, when you order a lifetime supply of pre-colored anything you should make sure those are the colors that customers want! We can all laugh at that one now. Anyway, getting into Lambda and Fabric Graphics were really big risks that required many firsts for everyone at Optima and firsts for our customers who adopted early. Those early adopters learned how to sell an incremental product and reaped incredible rewards. If you remember the first time you offered the fabric option to your long-time hard panel customer – you get what I am laying down.

25 years of not always first
For the past 25 years, Optima has developed a reputation for bringing firsts to our customers. We may not be the first to market with a certain process or product per-se, but instead we bring new stuff in a package that shortens the reseller’s learning curve. You did not need to put in a new sewing and finishing function in your shop when Optima brought dye sublimation fabric graphics to the masses. We took care of that for you and with no discrimination of structure or manufacture. Easy and hassle-free, we skin anything you sell. When customers ask me about our new technology line, they ask how do I sell this? Who is buying this stuff? or explain “this is cool but our customers don’t ask us for this type of product and we have never sold anything like this.”

My answers are simple.
Remember that first time you sold something new, truly new? Something that your client really needed and they called and thanked you for helping them succeed? Felt good didn’t it? If you used to get calls like this but haven’t lately, Optima can help you.

If you are already selling an exhibit and not offering engagement and measuring tools as incremental packages you could be making a huge tactical mistake. If your customers are not asking you about these types of tools, they are probably getting them from someone else. Why do we know this? Just go to any number of trade shows in the coming year and look around: engagement with touch screens, apps, social media walls, interactive presentations and even gaming at shows are everywhere. Collecting and sharing information through packaged systems is being used in new ways. CEOs and small business owners alike are demanding qualified leads and follow-up strategies to justify marketing budgets especially for trade shows! image Optima has tailor-built the inTouch™ Selling App and the inTouch™ multi-touch system for use on sales calls and at trade shows. image Whether your client wants a hassle-free system to share the excitement of their trade show event on social media sites, run exciting spin-to-win promotions on big screens, share presentations and have all of their companies marketing materials at their fingertips, it is all there in the system. How do you sell inTouch™ and other technology tools? Easy – share with your customers a clear understanding of how important it is to capture and deliver qualified leads at trade shows then offer them the hassle-free, flexible packaged option of their dreams…all at a price that cannot be duplicated if starting from scratch. Optima inTouch provides fun, easy-to-use tools that engage with attendees in ways that are familiar to them. Tools that send them off with an email of all their curiosities and needs instead of a tote bag full of heavy, cumbersome print media and hastily taken notes. Attendees are interacting with technology everyday and the current upcoming workforce gravitates toward it. In 2014 I challenge everyone to build dynamic exhibit spaces that doesn’t leave these important tools for someone else to sell. Be first… with Optima taking on all the pre-developed packaging, support and old-fashioned legwork there is nothing holding you down. Optima has your back!  We design, gather content for and organize every inTouch™ package from start to finish and support the client moving forward.

It’s clear somebody is out there providing these tools to exhibitors. Why not make this year another milestone first…another step toward monumental growth? A few moments of discomfort that will produce that special feeling when we succeed together – First Time? Yep.

Have a first time that flopped or succeeded that you would like to share? I want to hear about it! Want more information on Optima’s technology product line?
Contact David Brown.

About the Author
Gary Camarato is the Vice President of Marketing & Creative Development at Optima Graphics and has been in the Trade Show industry since 1992.

  1. dcleft
    December 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    A great back to basics thinking process. I don’t believe that child is old enough to drive.

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