12+ Tips for Trade Show Success

June 29, 2011

Trade Show pic by jeckman from FlickrMake Your Trade Shows Count

The old fashioned trade show may not be the hottest topic coming through your inbox these days but odds are that you may still be doing quite a few events and have trade shows as part of your marketing budget. So how do you make the most out of it?

A recent MarketingProfs article, Is Tradeshow Marketing Dead?, brings 12 tips for ensuring shows deliver the leads you expect. It’s a good basic list to get you pointed in the right direction (and I’ll add my two cents right after):

  1. Start planning early
  2. Make sure the audience is a good fit
  3. Get on the presentation agenda
  4. Establish a service level agreement with sales
  5. Negotiate for the full list of registrants
  6. Promote your participation to customers and prospects prior to the show
  7. Demand aggressive and professional performance from booth staff
  8. Capture detailed lead information
  9. Provide giveaways, raffles, and tchotchkes
  10. Enter all leads into a CRM system for Sales follow-up
  11. Continue post-show marketing with an appropriate offer
  12. Hold a post-mortem review with Sales and Marketing

A few more tips

As I said, a good list but I would also add the following:

A. Hold a pre-show meeting

  • Get everyone, especially sales, who will be attending the show to jump on a conference call (or conference room if everyone is in the same building) and go over the show plan. This includes reviewing show and expo dates, setup and tear down times, and working out a schedule for staffing the booth. Tell the sales reps what the giveaways are going to be, any details about lead capture devices, and other relevant information. The goal is to get everyone on the same page and be productive once the show starts.

B. Promote your session

  • If you’re presenting a session at the show (like item number 3 of the MarketingProfs list says), then try to promote the session at your booth. Print small reminder cards and give to people that stop by, and check with show organizers if you can do a prize drawing during your session (good for driving attendance).

C. Put marketers to work

  • Ideally at least one person from the marketing team should be at the show, even if for only one day. Marketing’s goal is to help out with sales efforts and interact with customers and prospects. That’s a great opportunity for marketers to get to know the target market better and listen first-hand to what customers have to say about the company, product, and competition. Talking about competition, marketing folks should walk around the expo floor and check out what the competition is doing. Take pictures of booths and stands that are interesting, make notes of cool giveaways. Everything at the show floor is good food for thought that can help improve your own presence at the next show.

D. Blog about the show

  • Use the tradeshow as an opportunity for content creation. Blog about the show attendance, take pictures of your customers and post them in your blog. Talk to other vendors about the industry or the show, and get them to also post comments in your blog. The event can generate a good couple of blog posts at least!

E. Take pictures

  • As in the previous suggestion, take lots of pictures. If you’re giving away a prize, take picture of the winner(s). As customers stop by to say hi, take pictures of them and their sales reps. Show organizers came over to check how things are going? Take a picture of them in front of your booth. Why? Everyone loves pictures, especially if they’re in the picture. As you send out post-show emails (thanking people for stopping by, etc.), place a link to the pictures you took. Pictures also make for good blog post after the show.

F. Provide content people want to read

  • Think “content marketing” and put your content marketer hat during the show. If you or anyone else from the marketing team can’t stay for the duration of the show, make a point to get help from sales or a business partner to jot down some notes about the sessions going on at the show. If after the event you can writeup a short blog post or email with “ten great lessons from the show”, you’ve got yourself a great content piece people will read and forward.

So there you have it, 12 plus 6 additional tips for making your tradeshow a successful event!

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Content Marketing eBook and Infographics

June 23, 2011

A Content Marketing eBook

Content Marketing is all the rave, that’s part of what drove me to do some research on the history of content marketing and publish this free eBook, A Brief History of Content Marketing. I was curious to see how marketers of the past have used content marketing strategies to attract and engage customers before the Internet Age.

The result was a fun project, and many findings. Who would have thought giving away free recipe books could save a company? Or that Microsoft (of all companies) was the first of Fortune 500 corporations to have a corporate blog?

Download the eBook and let me know what you think.

Brief History Content Marketing eBook

The Rise of Marketing Infographics

Also interesting to me was the amount of Infographics, especially ones related to marketing, that I came across during my research and that have been released just now. Here are some great Content Marketing Infographics you may enjoy.

Content Marketing versus traditional marketing

Content Marketing Grid

The problem with content marketing infographic

The Rise of Content Marketing Infographic

Appetite for Content Infographic

Content Marketing Grid Infographic

 Did I miss a great Content Marketing Infographic? Let me know!


A Tough Road for Marketing Automation

June 20, 2011

Marketing Automation is a hot topic. News about multi-million dollar investments in the space has sparked not only interest from marketers but a multitude of competitors crowding an already jammed market. Is like driving down the highway only to see the traffic stopping right after you take the next curve. As the traffic is slowly moves, some cars faster than others, many drivers start wondering if they should take the next exit.

What’s Ahead for Marketing Automation Vendors

Continue reading my thoughts on what’s ahead for marketing automation vendors on a recently published article at the Marketing Automation Times website.


Email Adoption High But Lacking Best Practices

June 14, 2011

Email Marketing MailboxA Forrester Research “How US Maketers Use Email” Report sheds some light into the use of email by B2B and B2C companies. Author Sarah Glass states:

Email is the most mature and most widely used interactive marketing tool

According to the report, adoption of email marketing is high, with 88% of  B2C companies already using email and 10% planning to use before December 2011. In the B2B space, adoption at 71% is also very high but different from their B2C counterparts, 16% of B2B companies don’t plan on using it within the next 12 months.

Best Practices in Email Marketing

Maybe a surprising finding from the research is that despite high adoption, marketers at B2C and B2B companies still don’t use best email marketing practices such as cleaning the database, letting users select what products and services they want information about, and running welcome routines for newly registered users.

Despite email’s prevalent use, interactive marketers still don’t do all they can to get the full value out of their email efforts – Sarah Glass, Forrester Research

Marketing Budgets and Email Effectiveness

The report says email budgets will stay flat in 2011, but 43% of email marketers expect email effectiveness to increase over the next three years. Other channels are also expected to gain in terms of effectiveness, such as:

  • Social Media (blogs, podcasts, widgets, discussion forums)
  • Mobile (ads, applications, MMS, SMS)
  • Online Video

Getting More Out of Email

The report concludes with some advice for email marketers to get more out of their programs, suggesting them to:

  1. Invest in Analytics
  2. Clean Email Data
  3. Prioritize Relevance Over Rich Media
  4. Detect Devices Used to Access Email
  5. Embed Social Media Into Email Content

Download the Report

The Forrester Research Report can be downloaded for free thanks to Neolane.


When Leads Go Cold

June 9, 2011

Rusty Funnel by TMWeddle @ FlickrIt seems with all the systems we have today to generate, score, and nurture leads, it all comes down to sales. The amount of time it takes for a sales person to follow up with a lead can determine whether the deal is closed or not. At least, that’s what the recent HBR article “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads” states, saying that 24% of companies take more than 24 hours to respond to a lead, and 23% of companies never responded at all.

According to their research, the average response time, among companies that responded within 30 days, was 42 hours.

These results are especially shocking given how quickly online leads go cold – HBR

The article doesn’t go into much detail about whether the leads being followed up had been nurtured by a Marketing Automation system, or even a break down of industries but it does point a good possible flaw in the sales process of most companies.

What good is implementing a complex nurturing system if when the marketing qualified lead is sent to sales, the rep doesn’t follow up? Plugging this hole in the funnel takes more than software.


Marketing Automation is More Than Technology

June 1, 2011

A new research study by Sirius Decisions, “Calculating the Return on Marketing Automation“, sponsored by Marketo talks about the different levels of companies implementing marketing automation platforms (or MAP, as they call it).

“Companies using technology alone to solve their demand creation issues may actually experience negative return where it matters most”

The report breaks down companies into three segments:

  1. No Marketing Automation, and no processes
  2. Marketing Automation and wither no or weak processes
  3. Marketing Automation with average processes

Although talking about processes is not new, what I liked is that instead of just stating the obvious (no process won’t make the technology work) they try to quantify and answer the more important question of How much does a well defined process really contribute towards your overall marketing automation efforts?

Increasing Response Rates

From the report, it seems the key critical element that is impacted the most by marketing technology when it comes to automating campaign response, nurturing, and scoring your leads is the increase in response rates.

The best way to think about it is to imagine the traditional funnel. As you move from one stage to the next (inquiries, leads, qualified leads, etc.) there are only two ways to impact the outcome, either you get more inquiries or you increase the number going from one stage to the next.

According to Sirius, Marketing Automation technology paired with good processes can yield 4x to 5x the number of closed deals. The magic relies on the higher conversion rates throughout the sales cycle. Is not about getting more leads or more inquiries, is about getting the right ones and improving the odds of closing a deal at each stage.

It’s About Content and Processes

But how are processes helping make sure the system works? Here’s the intersting part, because anyone can implement technology to automate what goes out to customers and prospects. The pairing of processes means more than ensuring emails go out when they should, it takes care of ensuring the right message is sent to the right person at the right time.

And when the process includes both sales and marketing working together on definitions, on content strategy, and qualification criteria companies see higher response rates overall. As the report states:

With a handoff process in place, sales now accepts and processes more than 58percent of MQLs; the higher quality of these leads in turn yield a third conversion rate of roughly 49 percent to opportunity, and an increased close rate of a bit more than 23 percent.

Adding technology without processes may make you feel better at first, but will only serve to highlight the problems you always had. The key is to rethink your approach and use technology to leverage your processes, not the other way around.


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