Of the many areas COVID-19 has disrupted, trade shows are one of the biggest. In some ways, it’s hard to believe that just back in January and February, they were in full swing. But they were, and businesses trying to share news took full advantage of them.
One of those businesses was our clients at Plastatech. They’re a Saginaw-based company specializing in waterproof PVC membranes — handy for things like containing wastewater or lining artificial ponds. Plastatech introduced a brand-new product line this spring, and they knew a trade show was just the place to launch it. But they also knew that to stand out, they’d need a good display.
We got involved when Plastatech asked us to create a custom display for them. Before lockdowns canceled trade shows, we designed and built an innovative display tower to help Plastatech show off its new products.
That’s the quick version of the story, anyway. Our contact at Plastatech, Mike Rose, can explain it in a lot more detail than we can. We spoke to him early in February, right after finishing the display, and he was more than happy to explain Plastatech’s new development and why having a new display helps them out.
Could you introduce yourself and explain what you do at Plastatech?
My name’s Mark Rose; I’m the sales manager for Plastatech. So I oversee all the non-roofing products — that means geo-membranes (which are liners that go in the ground), any type of PVC foam that could be used in packaging, and just any general-use film.
Why did Plastatech want a new trade show display?
We are introducing a new product line. In addition to our normal lining material that we just sell in bulk rolls, now we’re making custom flashings. For those who don’t know, a pipe flashing seals the liner base, which is on the corner of a wall, to a pipe that protrudes through it, in order to make it watertight in some way, shape, or form (whether it’s keeping water in or keeping water out). We were looking [for] some way to highlight the flashing itself and show people what we’re capable of doing.
When you go to a trade show, what are you trying to accomplish?
The trade shows that we attend are very industry-focused, so if we’re trying to sell to the waste-management area, we go to the waste-management-type shows that are highlighting the equipment and the materials and process to handle municipal waste. In that example, we’d highlight our geo-membranes and our liners, and the capacity we have for making a liner for a landfill, or refuse lining. If it’s in fish farming, if we go to an aquaculture trade show, we will focus on our liners for aquaculture. So it’s essentially positioning ourselves in that trade, with our product, to talk about that product line in the industry’s language, so to speak, their jargon.
The show where we’re utilizing the display that ZENTX is providing for us is really the big industry show for us. It’s the Geosynthetics Conference, so it’s all about geo-liners. So that’s why we’re introducing this new product line with all its accessories. It’s really to highlight to the industry that we have this new product offering.
And what makes it unique is there’s really nobody else in the industry that’s doing what we’re doing. We’re doing factory-pre-fabricated stacks or corners, depending on what you’re looking for.
Is there a standard for what trade show booths in your industry typically look like? How is the custom display that ZENTX designed different?
We really wanted something that was gonna pop, something that was gonna stand out from everybody else. Everybody tends to have a display that fits into a little suitcase crate — they pop it up, they’re done in five minutes. They put maybe a couple lights on it [and] add some snazzy graphics, but it’s kind of the general everyday look.
We wanted something that was going to set us apart from everybody else, so that’s why we approached ZENTX and said, “hey, what can you offer?” And then [you] came up with what we thought was a novel design that would separate us from everybody else.
How would you describe the experience of working with ZENTX?
It’s been pretty smooth [and] painless; it’s very casual. The staff has been open and honest with their feedback and their ideas. They haven’t had any difficulties. We came in with the concepts, they ran with it, presented a couple different ideas, and really moved forward — and there was a tight timeline as well. We came in towards the end of last year knowing we had to have something [by] late first quarter, and that timeline seemed to work fine.
To see more photos of Plastatech’s new display, check out the portfolio page here.