Article first posted in July of 2019
TPG Trade Show and Event Marketing was recently a featured supplier in Diversity Professional Magazine. We were spotlighted for our relationship with American Honda Power Equipment and its ongoing effort to support supplier diversity. It was a milestone event and tremendous honor. We caught up with TPG Owner and Executive Director, Christina Piedlow, to get her take on diversity, our growing capabilities and continued success.
How long has TPG been in business and tell us a little about your background and interest in trade shows.
We’ve been in business since 1995, so we are excited to be coming up on our 25th anniversary in 2020! My mom founded the business having already made a career in the trade show industry as talent. I remember working my first trade show as a little girl. It was E3, and I was talent in the Sony display hired to play video games in a family room setting. Trade shows have always been a part of my life. I joke that there’s been a copy of Exhibitor Magazine in my bathroom ever since I could remember. I started working professionally as a brand ambassador when I was 18 and then as a presenter. In 2003, I began working part-time for TPG. I worked in every role at the company before taking over as Executive Director.
When vying for the American Honda Power Equipment shows and exhibits contract, what do you feel TPG may have offered that was different from any other supplier?
Honda was looking for a strategic partner that would not only be able to efficiently manage their show services but would also find ways to more effectively market and position Honda Engines and Honda Marine within their respective industries. We offer robust marketing services with a focus on maximizing ROI. We brought the desire to focus on maximizing exposure and investment, while still creating efficiencies.
What has our relationship with Honda Power Equipment meant to TPG and why do you think this collaboration has been a success?
In the article I remarked that I’ve never had a client invest the time and resources getting to know us as a business. Their incredible team was determined to make sure that the vendor they chose was going to be a strategic partner and be able to deliver exceptional results. Because we had the ability to learn each other’s strengths going into event season, we are now able to work together to leverage those strengths to create a successful team and therefore, a successful attendee experience.
How does being a Certified Women Owned Business add value in the events industry?
The events industry has gone through a tremendous evolution over the past 50 years. Half a century ago, the only women that were seen in events were modeling for a product in provocative attire. Today, just as many women work in the events space as men and events look different than they did 50 years ago, due in large part, to the addition of women to the industry. Women are managing brand teams and agencies alike. Any time you add diversity to an industry, you open the doors of possibility, because different viewpoints invite change. Being a certified WBE (Women Business Enterprise) shows a level of commitment to our business and to empowering women in the workplace. It gives us an opportunity to have that discussion with our clients and to relate with other women in the event industry.
Recently, you and TPG’s Experiential Marketing Manager, Kristen Heitman, traveled to Baltimore for the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair, the largest conference for women business owners in the U.S. What were your main takeaways and memories from the event?
Having the opportunity to promote my business to corporations and other WBE’s, and in return hear their stories, was inspiring. It instilled a level of pride and confidence in myself, in other women and in corporations with supplier diversity programs. I was able to hone my leadership skills by observing the ways other women are leading their teams. My fondest memory will always be Kristen and I dancing with reckless abandon to the Emerald City Band at M&T Bank Stadium!
What would you consider to be TPG’s main capabilities and how do those capabilities help clients expand their brand reach?
We are a turnkey trade show and event experiential agency. From conception to completion, warehousing to experience design, we make our clients’ events come to life. We offer full-service production services, digital media creation, lead generation and marketing strategies to engage attendees before, during and after the event. We have produced successful product launches and we utilize the most cutting-edge technology to create impactful engagements and multiple brand touchpoints with a focus on ROI.
TPG could be described as a “boutique” experiential marketing agency. Why do you feel that may be a huge benefit for trade show and event clients?
We are a small team that does big work! So, we have the benefit of being nimble and we can work without a lot of overhead. Because we are small, we can make decisions and implement strategies and policies quickly, which is a huge benefit to our larger clients, who may not have those capabilities in a big corporation. And finally, our team is fully dedicated to the brands we serve because we have a selective client portfolio. We immerse ourselves into each client’s brand and product offerings so that we can create the best experience for their customers.
Finally, do you have an overarching business philosophy that serves TPG well in the events industry?
I’m an actor at heart, so I have an overarching improvisational philosophy that I bring into my business. The first rule of improv is to always say, “Yes, and…” I love these words because it means that anything is possible…and more. So, even if an idea may not feel right at first, I always try to make my first response, “Yes, and…” because that gives us the freedom to explore new ideas and new solutions. And from those ideas and solutions, we have created some amazing results!