As trade show manager for Demandforce Inc., an automated online marketing and communication software service firm based in San Francisco, Lindsay Rango knows the only constant in her job is adapting. In fact, her company’s tagline is “Growth. On demand.”
Demandforce, which provides email and text messages for small businesses, participates in about 400 tradeshows each year across the U.S. and Canada. Its tradeshow booths are constantly en route from one place to the next. For the last five years, Demandforce has been working with ICAT Expo (ICAT), a division of ICAT Logistics, for its exhibit transit needs.
Having inherited ICAT as a solutions provider when she was hired, Rango works with the company to ensure Demandforce booths are at the right place at the right time.
“[Demandforce] moves quickly and is constantly changing and adding new tradeshows,” said Rango. “Our tradeshow team needs to be swift in our decision making process and make sure each show is staffed with everything it needs to be successful, including its booths.
“We are moving so fast, so unfortunately we can’t always have everything planned in advance. But no matter how busy or chaotic we get, ICAT is always jumping when we say, ‘Jump!’”
Typical shipments include a 100-pound case and a monitor, and for the largest tradeshows, Demandforce might ship up to 2,500 pounds of assets.
Challenges ICAT has taken on behalf of Rango’s company include moving from one end of the country to another on short notice, sudden shipment rerouting based on changed plans or mobilizing to make same-day pickups when called at 8 a.m.
“ICAT always finds a way, I don’t think ‘No’ is even part of their vocabulary!’” Rango asserted. “No matter what challenges come up, they always rise to the occasion and deliver. We couldn’t be happier with them.”
When Rango joined the firm two and a half years ago, Demandforce was attending less than 100 events annually. Growing at an accelerated pace, the company now attends upward of 400 shows.
ICAT worked with Demandforce when it was just gaining traction. ICAT Expo Director Rob Dinker explained the critical nature of meeting shipping deadlines.
“It’s extremely important, especially in the startup phase, that your shipment arrives at tradeshows as expected. If you miss just one show, it really sets you back,” said Dinker. “Some companies go under if they don’t have their tradeshow exhibits there on time.”
Rango has become accustomed to working with ICAT in a seamless way, entering her orders in the company’s online system and trusting the job will be done as ordered—without actually talking to a representative.
“I only hear from [ICAT] when there’s a crisis or something out of the ordinary,” said Rango.
On the rare occasion that Demandforce receives a phone call from ICAT, it involves verifying a pickup if it appears the wrong date may have been entered for the order. Another instance is when a delivery is likely to exceed Rango’s given budget.
“[ICAT] let[s] us know when a pickup or delivery is going to be out of our budgeted price, so I can have that on my radar and adjust accordingly. Maybe it’s 100 miles from an airport, and on a weekend, which will incur added costs. They give me options, like arranging a pickup on weekdays. It’s very much appreciated,” Rango said.
“I’ve talked to them at 9 p.m., my time; midnight, their time. When they say they’re available 24 hours a day, it’s actually true. It’s nice for me as a customer to know they’re always available and double-checking our work, especially since I am always on call.
“At this point, I wouldn’t risk testing another shipping company,” Rango added.
When Demandforce used another shipping company that was cost-competitive, rerouting a shipment proved problematic. Rango noted issues with pickups at hotels and working with international shipments were among the reasons why Demandforce quickly returned to ICAT for its exhibit transit services.
“Our eyes lit up at the reduced rate [of the competitor]. Within two months, though, there were so many problems that I came running back to ICAT,” she said. “Even reconciling our final bill was a nightmare.”
The other company claimed to have the “personal touch, but there’s nothing that beats ICAT’s customer service and their accessibility,” said Rango. “I have the cell phone numbers of four different people at ICAT. Really, you get what you pay for. While other companies might be cheaper, I am much happier paying for peace of mind.”
ICAT proves to be a valuable and reliable partner for exhibitors such as Rango and her company, DemandForce.