Even though this year’s SGIA Expo returned to the familiar Las Vegas Convention Center, for Roland DGA there was an increased buzz around our booth, with a new company mantra, “Built to Build Your Business”. As part of our focus on providing technology, training, service and knowledge to support company success, our rotating stage featured the always popular vehicle wrap demonstrations, alongside a new series of “How I Built My Business” interviews with influential Roland end users.
We just wrapped up our big fall show – SGIA – for color, UV, cutter & engraving products. And with the recent introduction of the new Pro4 XR-640 at the center, it looked like it would be a good show. Turns out, it was. With record attendance over 22,000, the show was packed. Not just at the Roland booth, but the whole show seemed to be buzzing with energy. It was as good a show as I’ve seen in some time, and many exhibitors I spoke with at the show echoed the same sentiment. 18%+ of attendees were international. What’s more, some 38% of all attendees were there for the 1st time. What a great first impression they must have had!
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Just got back from New Orleans and the 2011 SGIA tradeshow. Attendance was solid at over 16,000 (final numbers to be published soon) and — a stat I have a hard time believing — 35% were 1st time attendees to the show. Having new eyes on everyone’s products is a good thing for everyone including Roland. While people weren’t stamped with a “1st Time Attendee” badge on their forehead (and I’m lobbying for it in the future) it meant that we had a great opportunity to make a first impression on everyone that we met at the show.
You know it’s fall when trade shows seem to be back-to-back all the way through October, and 2011 is no different. GraphExpo’s been around for some time now, and while it’s changed (see Jim Raffel’s blog about the history of Graph Expo), this year was a good show for us with quite a bit of interest around our VersaUV lineup with a specific interest in what LED-UV curing inks allow you to print on. Packaging and labels were high on the interest list, as well as being able to print onto commercial print stock for proofing. Also at the show, we had the VS-series units showing metallic proofing applications, which really pave the way as a replacement of aging Kodak Approvals out in the field (at a dramatically lower per print cost).
As you have probably noticed from some other posts, we have been spending a lot of time at trade shows lately. They are always exciting for me because I get to see all kinds of new technology in one place, but also because I get to meet a lot of Roland users all at once, and hear about their work. While I’d like to believe that simply owning a Roland is a competitive advantage, almost everyone I talk to has some additional way to differentiate their business. One user bragged that he could turn around 8″ x 10″ canvas prints, stretched and ready to hang, within 24 hours of an online order. That means event photographs get delivered while the event is still fresh in people’s minds. Some owners have found that focusing on and perfecting one application, like wall coverings or window treatments has made them stand out.
Not your father's CNC machine. Roland's 3D products are not an easy sell. First of all, there's so much buzz about 3D printing technology, that there's little discussion room left for the older CNC technology. Second, the market is so diverse, literally a hundred different types of customers in a variety of market niches. Trust me, from a marketing perspective, selling CNC is tough. But we believe in what we're doing. Unlike previous CNC machines that demanded that you know programming.
We just hosted another full Born To Wrap 2-day workshop at our California offices and I have no doubt that our free wrap demos at SGIA will also be well attended. I believe there are two primary reasons for this continued interest in designing and installing vehicle wraps and they are profound.