Theron Whitney Discusses The New Normal of Trade Shows

Theron Whitney, Co-partner, Xibeo, was interviewed on the Mission Matters Marketing Podcast by Adam Torres.

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Theron started his career in the late 80’s selling consumer electronic goods. After acing it for seven years, he was introduced to trade show exhibit sales by a friend via a hiring post. The next moment, Theron immersed himself in trade show marketing. “It tapped into my creative abilities, and interest in problem solving. I was able to apply what I learned in retail, overcoming the customer’s objections , and creating unique solutions for them to be successful at their events” recalled Theron. Trying B2B sales was a new experience, and Theron enjoyed it for eight years until he met his partner and they immediately found a synergy together to create a business on their own.

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Theron and his partner started Xibeo after 9/11 in November of 2001. As trade shows were shut down for a short time, the partners decided to go from employees for a local exhibit company to, instead, work for themselves and build on the experience  they gained from years of working for other people. As their journey continued, in January of 2002, the event business started coming back, and people needed their services right away. Theron and his partner began renting custom booths, and hit the ground running. They haven’t stopped since then.

When asked to speak a few words for the next-gen entrepreneurs, Theron said, “Prepare for the unknown, prepare for every possible disaster, whether it’s natural or economic.  Have a plan B, and plan C. That’s what really forced my partner and I to think on our feet.”

Xibeo’s Attribution of Success

“It has always been our workforce,” shares Theron. We treat our employees like family and always did what was needed for them and their families. Though we were a small company, and not under the rules larger corporations must work within,  we acted like one and made sure they could always take the time they needed to care for their families even if it meant interrupting their work day.  When times were financially lean,   we still made sure  everybody had a little extra money at the year-end for the holidays.” 

Today Xibeo works with a versatile clientele, and Theron feels that their versatility is their USP. “Early on, we looked at every industry trade show and called on customers for that show. We’ve worked with auto, medical, pharmaceutical, children’s toys, natural food, basically any industry with a tradeshow, diversifying our client base” shares Theron.

Even during the pandemic, when most outdoor activities were cancelled, Xibeo was swift to shift its business model to hygiene barrier production, and converted their 3000sq foot showroom into a studio to produce, live internet broadcasts, and video marketing productions for clients.. 

The Future of Trade Shows 

People are looking at other avenues to hype and create a hybrid experience for a brand. “In the new normal, we may have customers saying they’re gonna do a show in September or October this year, but they may not be able to get their customers from Europe, or Asia to fly in. So Xibeo is bringing the show to the audience by doing live presentations from the trade show floor. The future of trade shows is going to grow into a hybrid of physical and virtual events,” shares Theron. 

After surviving the pandemic, Xibeo has already started working with exhibit houses and other event marketing companies, as well as their own client base preparing for trade shows and events beginning in August of this year.

About

Xibeo works closely with you to ensure you make all the right decisions for a successful trade show or event. Xibeo offers the most creative and innovative solutions in new building materials, techniques and cost savings measures for your product exhibition or trade show. To know more about Xibeo and the services they offer, visit www.xibeo.com.