Beacon Technology: The Near Future of B2B Marketing

9 Sep


Embrace This Powerful Technology and Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

Today, both B2B and B2C marketers are presented with an opportunity to provide enhanced customer experiences, thanks in part to a new and powerful technology: Beacon applications.

A beacon is a wireless device that communicates with a customer’s smartphone within range using low-energy Bluetooth connections. With the right app installed on a mobile device, beacons can collect a customer’s data, determine their proximity, and send them notifications and content.

It’s taking the marketing world by storm and many are seeing the benefits. An article from this past July by describes a recent partnership between Swirl Networks, a provider of a leading iBeacon marketing platform, and Motorola to deliver enhanced product, sales and service to leading retailers. As a result, retail environments can take customer interaction to a new level. Take Macy’s and Kenneth Cole for example, who are personalizing the in-store experience by engaging with shoppers through personalized digital content through beacon rollouts.

In the B2B environment, Metrie, a leading distributor of solid wood and composite wood mouldings and supplier of interior doors, released an app earlier this year that utilizes iBeacon technology to enhance the experience at its trade show booth. So, how can you begin to employ beacon marketing in the near future?

  • Events and trade shows: Similar to Metrie, beacons can significantly improve attendees’ experiences at your booth. For instance, welcome messages can be pushed out to their mobile devices once they arrive. Overall, attendee data can be delivered to exhibitors to pinpoint popular booths.
  • In-Store: Once a customer enters the store, your staff can obtain a notice to properly greet them and provide them with the information they need and want to know.
  • Content Marketing: Within store range, relevant content such as digital copies of your company’s newsletters, flyers, videos, and more can be pushed out to customers.

For more information on Swirl’s partnership with Motorola and iBeacon marketing capabilities, give Retailing Today’s article a read.

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Colors That Will Guide the Building Products Industry in 2015

4 Sep

UnrestrainedKBB Chrysalis_KBB
VoyageKBB Buoyant_KBB

The New Sherwin-Williams® 2015 Colormix Collection

As building products marketers, it’s important to stay ahead of the latest trends in the industry. The Sherwin-Williams® Colormix 2015 Collection offers a variety of color palettes for designers and other pros to consider when determining what looks will sell best in the coming months. By researching trends in art, fashion, science, and pop culture, the marketing team at Sherwin-Williams has produced four palettes of varying colors to forecast the design trends that will influence those in the building products industry and beyond in 2015.

The following four palettes should be a good starting point for those in the building products industry moving forward:

  • Chrysalis: Off-blacks, chalky neutrals, and dusty blues that evoke a sense of calm and comfort
  • Voyage: Vivid teals, greens, and purples that draw on science fiction, space tourism, and underwater adventure for more vibrant customers
  • Buoyant: Light and deep greens, corals, and purples inspired by vintage, quirky florals
  • Unrestrained: Saturated colors like yellow, turquoise paired against black and white to enhance rooms with bold, ethnic-inspired flavor

For more on the colors Sherwin-Williams is featuring in its 2015 Colormix Collection, check out this great article by K+BB.

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Small Screen Marketing is Smart Screen Marketing

28 Aug

mobile marketing  

Better enable your sales message for mobile

There’s no argument about it: customers are using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets at growing rates. Mobile devices are surpassing computers in sales, connecting customers and prospects to your business, and helping salespeople close deals. In short, mobile is becoming the first screen while personal computers are becoming the second screen. As people are increasingly utilizing their mobile devices for information on the go, the small screen is proving that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to delivering your sales message to your audience.

Consider these stats:

These stats show an important trend: people are making decisions while using mobile devices to look for products, services, and your business information. Below are five insights for what your customers want on the small screen.

  1. Your website must be mobile friendly: This is the point people miss the most when they say they are not ready to invest in a new website. At ER Marketing, we recommend at least creating a simple mobile-friendly website landing page that has key information about your services and includes contact information. Whatever the case, make sure you incorporate a mobile-friendly website in your sales and marketing strategy.
  2. Make sure your email is easy to read on mobile devices: Mobile-friendly email is a key business communication tool. Whether you’re marketing or simply communicating with your customers, you need to think about the small screen. Keep your message’s subject line short. Your brand name and call to action should be high enough on the screen so viewers easily know what you’re asking them to do.
  3. Customers want to find you: Your customers and prospects want to find you and contact you. Make it easy for them by including these key items: a readily available contact page with your address and a map that links to Google Maps, click-to-call enabled phone numbers, easily accessible email addresses, and social media links—if you’re not using it, you should be.
  4. Content is king: Content should come first in any marketing and sales strategy. Your website should easily describe what you do—but not only what you do; it should also convey the benefit of this service to the customer. When a customer is looking at your website or email on a smartphone, the content needs to be refined. Less space to get your message across can be a challenge, but it’s one worth facing. Consider using a content specialist to help you format your story and your message to fit across multiple screens. Lastly, note that forms and downloads should be mobile friendly as well if you’re looking to include them on your mobile website.
  5. Mobile devices and sales: Your sales teams are using mobile tools to help sell your products and services. If they’re not, just know that your competitors are using them. These tools can include tablets loaded with online demos, PowerPoint presentations, documents and online brochures—or they can include apps such as sales management software or even email to help them close business. This should be part of your strategy to grow your business. It will help make you communicate more efficiently and connect you to your customers.

To summarize, focus on your website, but make sure that you’re optimizing your mobile message. We believe this to be the center of your business operations, no matter the industry you’re in. Serve up a mobile-friendly website experience that allows customers to find you and contact you. As the smartphone becomes the computer of choice, companies that enable their message for the small screen will be poised to attract new business and strengthen their brand awareness. Small screen marketing has become smart screen marketing.

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10 Steps to Enable Your Building Products Event Experience (Part 2)

15 Jul

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Put a Name to Your Face With Well-Planned Trade Show Events

Not everyone is good with names, but most people can easily recall a face. That’s why events and tradeshows are such an excellent way to grow your audience and customer-base. With noteworthy information, exciting content, and a unique experience, you can make sure your building products customers know and remember not only your name, but also your face.

Events like these are a vital opportunity to present current and potential customers with the facts about your business; but more than that, it’s also an excellent way to humanize your company. With personal interactions, you put a face to the name of your company, and in doing so, are presented with a chance to secure real leads and increase relations with current customers—hopefully increasing your sales in the process.

The only problem? Creating an engaging trade show event isn’t always as easy as it seems. Luckily, we have your back. Last week, we discussed five key tips to enable your customer’s event experience. This week, we’re bringing you the final five:

  1. Connect the Dots: It’s amazing how many companies don’t have a strong pre- and post-show marketing program that goes beyond a blast email. Segmentation will easily improve the experience people have with your company.
  2. Mobilize your exhibit: Does your target base use smartphones and tablets? If they do, then they most likely have these devices with them during the event. Create ways for attendees to download content, images, or demonstrations that they can view on their own time. Are your attendees using text messaging? Think about collecting cell numbers to send links and messages throughout the show with updates and important news.
  3. Giveaways, freebies, tchotchkes: These are all items that cost money and, to most companies, are not well thought out or connected in any obvious way to your marketing and sales objectives. Think critically about the giveaway and work with a company that can help you choose the right item that represents your brand.
  4. Launch/Re-Launch: Even if you don’t have a new product to show off, promote a desired feature on an existing product. If you only have a prototype, create buzz with animations and allow attendees to interact with the product.
  5. Create a fun experience: Prospects and customers are drawn to a happy, fun place. I recently worked with a company that manufactured only one thing: fans. They could have chosen to simply put them on display and hope that people would come by and talk to them; instead they chose to be different. This company had strong interactive displays, music and a photo booth with wind blowing at attendees while their photo was taken. This company maximized their customer experience and created a very memorable trade show exhibit.

As you can see, planning an awesome event experience is no easy task, and it’s one that requires creativity and careful attention to detail. But with the combined tips from last week and this week, you’re guaranteed to make an impression and ensure that your customers and leads won’t forget your name or your face.

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10 Steps to Enable Your Building Products Event Experience (Part 1)

26 Jun

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Engage Your Audience With Well-Planned Trade Show Events

Building products companies are looking for ways to engage their prospects and customers at events and tradeshows. The return companies are experiencing on events is pushing marketers to find new ways to attract the right leads at the right time.

Many of the companies we work with now used to run into roadblocks regarding their events, so we asked them about these frustrations and how they could be resolved: Did you launch your event with your new logo? Did you utilize updated branding messages and a large screen with your scrolling presentation? Do you still feel like you look like everyone else? What customer experience do you want to portray?

Think of the ways to increase the experience that people have with your company, your products and your service. Are they memorable? Are they different? Will leads share the experience with their network? These are just a few questions you need to ask as you begin to plan out ways to improve the connection with your audience at your next event and trade show.

Here are the first five ways to maximize your customer experience. Check back next week for the last five in this series:

  1. Make your exhibit unique:Design your exhibit and event space with unique materials. Think beetle kill wood, reclaimed barn wood or recyclable materials. Whatever the case, think outside the box while also staying true to your brand.
  2. Create a theme: Connect your audience to your brand and to the problem they are trying to solve. Can your exhibit or event look like a gas station, a store, a ski shop or something unique to your brand? If so, take the idea and run with it to create a powerful customer experience.
  3. Enable technology: Marketers must look through the sales lens to understand what is a perfect qualified lead and develop the sales enablement tools to help this process. Make sure not to overlook the importance of sales enablement technology both at your event and in preparation for your event.
  4. Engage employees: The #1 item people usually remember about your exhibit is your staff.  Make sure your staff agrees with the trade show objectives, clearly understands the product and the customers’ and prospects’ needs. And hey, bringing out your best, brightest and most charismatic folks certainly won’t hurt things.
  5. Let people play: Create a reason for customers and prospects to engage your event and trade show exhibit. A top item has been adding a photo booth to your exhibit and creating an opportunity for a branded message that the prospect takes home with them, as well as the connections through social channels they engage while sharing the images. People like to touch, learn and experience. Consider utilizing large touch screens people can pick up and engage with—you’re guaranteed to stand out more than the booths that use three or four iPads for this purpose. Another idea: Create a touchscreen map with nearby restaurants so attendees can create a reservation while printing out a branded map. This is very memorable and sticks out in someone’s memory.

These are just a few ways to maximize your customer experience at trade shows and events. If you are looking for ideas on ways to improve your trade show booth or upcoming event, give ER Marketing a call and discuss how to make your event marketing memorable.

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