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ENTECH expands to the USA

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By Julius Grafton.

The late and very missed Caroline Fitzmaurice-Grafton would be stoked. She lived and breathed ENTECH for the first decade and now the Australian Roadshow for the Audio, Video and Lighting biz is set to stretch out all over many of the United States. We have two tours, each of four cities, on sale now for 2019 and we have signed some of the major global brands across audio, video and lighting. I’ll announce them all as soon as I have all the logos loaded on our website.

Early this year Jason Allen took over editorial control of all of CX Network, and he has done a brilliant job rebranding, redesigning, and reinvigorating this grand old publishing house. We are approaching 30 years, all in print too, and the way things are headed we should be able to hit another 30, provided Jason doesn’t age too quickly!

I’ve been in the USA a lot with my wife Kate who this year became the event manager for our roadshows. She’s done 13 shows this year – 14 if you count the ENTECH Melbourne ‘situation’ where we booked and configured another venue just 48 hours out. But I can’t talk about that, since I’ve taken some ‘shut-up’ money and signed my very first ‘gag’ order.

While ENTECH in Australia and New Zealand relies on a team of three (us plus Steve James, our long-suffering business development manager) the American team numbers four sales, plus our partner Brian Blackmore, and his team of three. Given the USA roadshow will be a modest 2.5 times larger than Australia, that’s around about right. We have limited the size of the show in the USA because one of our unique attractions is we do not have ‘miles of aisles’, like any mainstream tradeshow.

When we launched ENTECH USA we found there are no fewer than 74 separate events across the USA in 2019, so we had to break through that clutter to sign on some serious exhibitors. Which the team have done, but not without more meetings, memos, emails, calls and documentation than we have ever even dreamed of. The picture above covers our recent sales meeting in New York, on Kate’s right is Brian, then Gene Kinsella and Kathy Mackay. Not pictured are Michael Mitchell and Joe Palombo. These are all trusted and seasoned sales people from various USA trade magazines – so they know the exhibitors.

We’ve been advancing (visiting) more venues for 2020, and currently have a list of 28 cities which we expect to cull down to 5 x tours of 4 cities each. That year we also have ENTECH Australia, New Zealand and our partner show SECTECH, which adds up to around 33 shows – not many by rock and roll touring standards but more than enough for us to deal with.

I’m 61 years young, and ready for anything – so long as I have strategised it first. The differences between the USA and down-under are many and varied. We’ve had to work around and acquire knowledge which I consider research and development. The launch costs for the USA are quite high, and our half of that is money we have and money we were prepared to lose if it didn’t work. Thankfully after the financial disaster that was Julius Events College ended in 2010, I’ve been able to get back on my feet, with a lot of help from some incredible people close to me, and with thanks to a whole bunch of great customers in Australia and NZ.

Cat Strom has been collecting some testimonials which are at our website, and the kind words of some industry leaders here have influenced some of our new USA customers. The other nice thing is that when the USA potential customer contacts an Australian distributor, all of them have been really helpfully positive about ENTECH. I don’t think anyone can just ‘launch’ a trade-show anywhere any more without serious support and I am deeply appreciative to everyone who has helped us.

If you’re curious about the depth of work needed to get this project over the line, have a look at the NEWS area on the website with all the various UPDATES we send out each week.

Finally, this isn’t all about the Grafton family cashing up. I’m committed to helping others in many ways, and the more work I can do, the more I can share that love. We’re keeping it real, keeping costs (and prices) as low as we can, and also shining a light on the obscene add-ons and price gouging that some of the major trade shows get away with. You wouldn’t believe what we have found out.

Viva ENTECH Global!

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