The Calm Before the Storm
August is often a quiet month, not just because people take well-deserved holidays (myself included) but it represents the calm before the storm. September has long marked the start of the trade show and event season, and this year is no different.
The season kicks off in Australia next week where Anthony Culshaw, our senior design engineer and technical committee member at LEEA, will deliver a paper titled “Lifting and Spreader Beam Design and Use” to The Crane Industry Council of Australia’s (CICA) conference, which takes place in Perth, 2-4 September.
Fittingly, Anthony will close the year at the LEEA Lifting & Rigging Conference Middle East in Dubai on 14-15 December. In between the Australia and Dubai events, we’ve got Offshore Europe, the SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop, Breakbulk Middle East, ADIPEC and LiftEx—to name just a few.
It’s a time of year that presents challenges and opportunities for businesses in equal measure. It’s not a merry-go-round reserved for the lifting industry. In whatever sector you work, conferences, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, you name it, are all packed into hotels and exhibition centres over the coming months.
One has to plan their involvement carefully. Firstly, participation in these events isn’t cheap. Every exhibition stand is sold as square footage, but the pile of money stacks high off the floor once you’ve considered everything that goes into it. Equipment needs shipping; staff need to travel and spend time out of the office or offsite; and the stand itself needs customising with graphics and literature that engage with the target audience.
Imagine the financial impact this season could have if a marketing team got over-enthused by the prospect of having a presence at every show relevant to their company, only to execute poorly when the doors opened and visitors flocked into the aisles or took their seats for keynotes and conference sessions.
It’s why we consider very carefully the shows we attend, exhibit at, sponsor and even avoid. We are now well staffed and drilled in exhibition technique and I’m confident we’ll get the best out of the season once again. I spoke in my first blog about taking the tables and chairs off our exhibition stands, for example. It’s remarkable how effectively it removes the incentive to sit down and makes you appear more approachable to attendees.
That’s so often the key to success—the ability to engage with the target audience of the day. Consider an attendee at the upcoming World Crane and Transport Summit in Amsterdam (we’re sponsoring the KHL event at the Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam this November). As they leave the conference room for coffee or lunch, what’s he or she going to think of the exhibition stand with no staff on it or, worse, the one where the team is scoffing lunch and tapping away on their smartphones or laptops?
There’s an app for that
I referenced in last month’s blog our new app, which can be accessed by distributors and their sales personnel via smart technology and other digital devices. This month we got the opportunity to demonstrate the product to our distributors in the states, Delta Rigging & Tools and Bishop Lifting Products.
Note that the app is exclusively for use by distributors, enabling them to:
- Email questions, requests and information to the Modulift team;
- Browse and download Modulift marketing images;
- View Modulift photos and videos;
- Browse and read Modulift PDF documents, including technical specifications;
- Find important contact details for our offices, team members and distribution network;
- Offline browsing and storing of important documents when used in the field.
At demonstrations in Angleton, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Grand Junction, Colorado the app received much fanfare. After a great deal of hard work in bringing the product to fruition it was hugely rewarding to receive positive feedback from the marketplace.
More importantly, the breadth of information on the app will give our distributors confidence when presenting our portfolio in the field, which, in turn, will give end users great faith in our partners and the product range. Delta and Bishop provide an array of products to a massive network of contacts. By giving them access to the app, they can provide a local service supported by the knowledge and expertise of the manufacturer.
The trip also presented an opportunity to hear first hand how the state of the oil and gas industry is likely to evolve over the short and long-term future. While demand for refinery, fracking and onshore projects remains buoyant, there is more concern about the situation offshore where demand for our larger capacity products typically comes from.
It’s important to garner as much information as possible when examining the state of a market. There is much coverage at home about the oil and gas industry, while our colleagues at Delta and Bishop can provide a Texas perspective. That, combined with what our own staff hear in the field and our order book—July was a record month—paints a more complete picture and better prepares us for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
A global perspective is also important, as proved by my recent working holiday in Dubai, where demand is being fuelled by a region preparing for the World Expo 2020, which will take place there in five years time. I took time to spend a fabulous evening with lifting and rigging firm Gaylin, with whom we’re increasingly exploring avenues of mutual opportunity.
Below the Hook magazine
Next month (September) we’re launching a new addition to our content marketing portfolio—a company magazine called Below the Hook. The magazine is just one item on our new bookshelf of content that addresses our audiences in a variety of formats.
The first issue also launches our Lift of the Year competition. To enter, simply send us a picture of Modulift below-the-hook equipment at work during 2015 and explain why it should win the first ever Lift of the Year award. We’ll announce the winner in the second edition.
Thank you for reading. Follow us on Twitter—@ModuliftUK—and use the hashtag #belowthehook to engage with us.
You can see the blog archive at Modulift.com/Blog