JB’s Space: Going Global

When I first joined the trade show and exhibit industry mid-way through 2001, I was told that this was a “regional” industry.  Meaning that companies liked to do business with a local exhibit house in close proximity to their own location so that they could easily drive to the supplier’s location and watch their booth being built. The internet of course, was in existence at that time, as were webcams, but few companies used that technology when it came to previewing their display.  A face to face visit was considered essential to ensuring that the booth was being built to the client’s specifications and requirements. It goes without saying, but today’s technology has basically rendered that thinking obsolete.

So at that time the vast majority of our clients were within 100 miles of our offices and factory. After 9/11 we saw everything change. Immediately following the tragedy of 9/11 companies either temporarily curtailed their trade show programs or shut them down entirely. Many of us at that time worried that trade shows would become a thing of the past, replaced by “virtual trade shows” and company websites. So instead of people walking the show floor, shaking hands with other attendees and exhibitors while exchanging business cards, people would now be sitting in front of their computers watching and interacting electronically by means of a virtual trade show that didn't require a convention center or an exhibit for that matter.

For those of us who still believe that meeting people face to face at trade shows and events and being able to read their body language, hear their comments and get a sense of who they are without an electronic interface, it is a huge relief that there were millions of other people both in this country and overseas who felt the same way. So instead of simply prospecting in our own “backyard” we decided that the internet was a tool that would allow us to pursue clients who were not only out of our immediate territory but in some instances, outside the country as well.

We were quite fortunate to have found new clients outside of our region who were comfortable having designs and photographs sent to them via the net. Clients who didn’t need to be here physically to see evidence that construction on their new exhibit was proceeding on schedule and on design. That was the first step. What happened thereafter was not what we expected and certainly not something that we foresaw almost 13 years ago.

Everyone knows that today the world’s economy has gone global. What happens in Europe and the UK affects us here in the States. The same is true with China, Korea, India, Mexico and many other countries as well. The old saying of, “If America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold,” has never been more true. We learned this lesson again after the 2008 economic meltdown as our housing crisis and all that it entailed became a contagion that spread throughout the world. Then again in 2012 we all held our breath as Europe fought the potential bankruptcies of Portugal, Italy, and Greece – among others.

So if anyone ever doubted how intertwined the world is economically, the last 6 years alone have proven how interconnected we all are. We are reminded of this every day at The Rogers Company. Why? Very simply because we went from serving clients who were solely in our neck-of-the-woods to working with companies in other States and now to servicing companies who are either headquartered overseas and have U.S. subsidiaries and/or foreign companies who do business in the States but have no offices or factories here.  In addition, we have developed partners in other parts of the world who assist our clients with their overseas trade shows as well.

For us “going global” has meant that we now work with companies all across the planet. We are extremely privileged to have clients from the following countries:  Switzerland (1 client),  France (2), Germany (5), Italy (1), Spain (2), Netherlands (1), Sweden (1), Belgium (1), China (2), Greece (1), Japan (1), UK (1), India (1), Israel (1).

So in the end, where developed nations are concerned, the world hasn't “shrunk” instead its evolved to the point that we are them and they are us and no matter where you’re domiciled the opportunities to “go global” are endless.

That's JB's Space for now. Thanks for visiting.

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