Attracting the Right Customers to Your Trade Show

26 Apr


Whether your business is to sell cleaning products or dog treats trade shows can be an effective way to introduce your product to distributors that can help your products gain popularity and bring about success. But just acquiring space in a convention center is not enough to make sure that the right people are stopping by your booth and checking out your products.

Know What You Want

No matter what you have to offer, it is important to know how participation in a trade show can best be worthwhile to your trade show ROI strategy. Are you looking to build relationships with other businesses as a wholesale supplier to help bring about future sales down the road? Perhaps your ultimate is for your business itself to be noticed for its value and sold to provide an opportunity to franchise or start another business? With a targeted audience in mind, you have a better chance of finding the right time and place to reach your goals.

Research the Right Spot and Prepare in Advance

Planning ahead is good advice in a lot of instances, and when you are booking a spot in a trade show, it is no different, Just as the “early bird gets the worm,” the early planner gets the best pick of potential trade show space and in many cases gets a discount, Before the show actually happens, find out as much information about any potential competition as you can.

Once you know the where and when of your trade show, it is time to self-promote. If you maintain retail space, be sure to let your customers know that you will be participating in a trade show and where it will be. Your business’s website and social media accounts also provide great opportunities to get the word out about your plans. Advertising early, including booth number information will give your customers a chance to plan ahead and help you achieve more sales and build stronger relationships.

Invest in Installation and Design

Whether you have a DIY tradeshow booth or hire professionals to help you get things set up and take things down it is important to give yourself plenty of time for both set up and the dismantlement of your display. You can purchase premade displays or work with professionals to customize the look of your booth to draw more customers.

Keep Perspective When Measuring Success

Participation in a trade show can be costly, and if you measure success solely based on what you sold, chances are you will wind up disappointed in the outcome of your trade show, but there are many things to take from the experience that you can’t put a firm dollar value on. Take notes on any feedback you get while at your show, including constructive criticism. Or by sending a trade show feedback questionnaire to attendees you networked with at the show. Even when businesses don’t seem similar, they can still offer insights that can help you in developing better products and forging the way to long-term relationships.

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How Will New Data Privacy Regulations Affect You?

24 Apr


New data privacy laws around the world are going to affect North American business more than ever, and savvy executives are taking note. In a globalized economy that is more co-dependent with each passing business cycle, companies cannot afford to ignore any regulation based solely on the geographic location of its inception.

The European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are set to limit a number of actions that businesses normally take when addressing prospects. The most important of these is the “right to be forgotten,” or the right of the prospect to request that a business delete all information. EU countries face additional limitations, but the right to be forgotten will affect companies around the world doing business with EU countries.
If your outreach relies on email blasts that are not opt in, you should change your strategy immediately. You should also create measures to prove that you have deleted records from customers who have requested to be forgotten. It is much easier to accommodate this request that deal with the huge penalties that could become a part of your life very quickly if you ignore it.

North American Copycat Lawmakers

Lawmakers in North America are watching the new regulations from the EU closely. Experts have stated that the EU regulations took inspiration from Canadian law. You can bet that the international data community, which is becoming a larger political bloc by the year, will put pressure on North American lawmakers to protect their interests should the EU laws turn out to be successful.

Enforcement Across Borders

North American businesses have a legitimate question concerning data privacy regulations from the EU – how can they punish me even if I get out of compliance? Great question, and the answer is exactly why EU regulations apply to you in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Data protection agencies reach across country lines in the European Union. They also reach across continental lines. For example – as an America business person, if you purposefully eschew the laws just passed in the EU, you will likely be facing American regulators, not EU regulators. If your company has customers across borders, you will find your business thwarted until you pay the massive fines levied by the new regulations. If you do not, you will still have US regulators in your inbox and mailbox, because they must protect the precedent being set for the international business community.

If you are located in North America and you thought that data privacy issues around the world weren’t your problem, think again. Non-compliance may cost you the ability to expand your business into emerging markets and established populations across seas, and that will definitely not sell well at the next board meeting.

As a business in the US (or anywhere else), do not ignore the regulations that are being passed in the EU and the ones that have been passed in Canada (the Canada Anti-Spam Law). You may not think that international law can reach you. Nothing is further from the truth.

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3 Trade Show Booth Elements You Shouldn’t Skimp On

19 Apr

black-and-white-blackboard-business-356043When you attend a trade show, you pour many of your company’s resources — such as time, staff and money — into making it a success. This underscores the importance of your booth and making sure that it captures the attention of attendees while helping you achieve your objectives. The three trade show booth elements outlined below are ones that you shouldn’t skimp on.

1. Eye-popping trade show graphics
Did you know that your trade show booth has a maximum of three seconds to capture a person’s attention and convince them that they should learn more about your brand? One of the most powerful ways of doing so is by investing in eye-popping graphics that demonstrate your brand’s personality while supporting its objectives. Consider elements such as the typeface and fonts that are used, the trade show materials your graphics are made of and any taglines or other messages that can further support your company’s goals.

2. Skillful lighting
Like the graphics you use, the skillful use of lighting can help you capture the attention of trade show attendees from afar. Backlighting, for example, is an inexpensive lighting element to implement that also is an effective method of highlighting your brand. Be sure to start off at eye level when placing lighting elements so you can attract the attention of people as they come near. Then work your way up to make your booth visible to those who are some distance away.
Quality lighting elements deliver continuity and consistency in terms of tone, color and shade for your brand. In addition to making your booth appear professional, high-quality lighting also tends to last longer.

3. Innovative design ideas
The above two suggestions are primarily used — at least in part — to capture the attention of attendees when they are elsewhere on the trade show floor. Design elements, however, tend to be more subtle and can better be appreciated by people when they visit your booth. Make these count by integrating different textures and materials — like metal and wood or transparent and sheer fabrics — to give attendees an unexpected experience that creates a buzz. Instead of sticking with the standard box shape booth design, add contrasting items like round seating or a gently-curving sign to make it less angular and sharp.
Making sure that you don’t cut corners with the above three elements will help your brand’s appearance at trade shows become memorable. They are well worth your investment and will pay off every time you use them.

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Why B2B Marketing Content Must Be Customer-Centric

18 Apr

Aerial view of businessman using computer laptop

While many forward-thinking B2B marketers aim for customer-centricity, according to a recent study commissioned by Squiz, many brands still have much work to do. Despite the fact that 83 percent of those surveyed who rated customer centricity as crucial, 41 percent of them still thought more work needs to be done in order to make their organization more customer focused.

The digital transformation business determined that the issue is mainly the failure of buy-in at the C-level. Almost half of the marketers surveyed stated that they struggled to attain the budget to invest in strategies to help improve customer experience, while 14 percent claimed to have difficulty securing C-level support, due mostly to their inability to prove ROI.

Lack of direction and failing to invest in supportive technology were also the blame. In the study, 73 percent had no clear goals or KPIs with which to measure their customer’s experience, and only 35 percent had invested in new marketing technology before it was required.  Additionally, the study showed confusion within the businesses about who owned the experience, with 74 percent believing it was the marketer’s responsibility – yet 46 percent thought other people in their organization would agree.

One solution to the experience ownership issue is the trend of businesses appointing a chief customer officer to focus on improving customer experience – yet only 1 percent of FTSE companies surveyed had put anyone in charge. According to the founder of Squiz, Stephen Morgan, senior marketers should take the lead, as the CMO is best positioned to be in charge of managing and improving the customer experience B2B brands offer. With investment in marketing technologies gaining traction, a senior marketer has access to more insight and data than anyone else on the team, and they have the best overview of ongoing customer lifecycles and the sales cycle funnel.  In order to provide an excellent customer experience, the CMO needs to be the hub to break down silos and the go-to person for every customer-facing team,, according to Morgan.

How best to focus your B2B marketing on customer experience? For building industry B2B marketing, the tendency is to focus on relaying product specifications, not the customer experience. The following are rules to keep in mind in order to develop a more customer-centric business.

Listen to your customers attentively  –  Your customers have a huge wealth of information at their fingertips out there in isolated silos as well as on social media. Bringing all this data together, and understanding it will help your company form a more comprehensive picture that enabling you to become more customer-centric.

Interactions before transactions – Your customers need to be impressed with new interaction methods before they commit to doing business with you. Advanced technologies like virtual and augmented reality will play a big part in this interaction. For example, in the consumer world, being able to place a sofa in your room to see how it looks, and within the building industry, to help manufacturers, architects, distributors, and builders work out complex problems.

Wearable tech will expand the customer experience – With a projected four billion connected devices pulling in four trillion in revenue by 2020, the Internet of Things is going to be huge. Going far beyond fitness apps, wearable devices will be used in myriad ways, for example, to allow entry to a hotel room or to make a payment.

A personalized experience is key – The increase in data will result in an increased need to provide personalized customer experiences. For example, the weary business executive whose flight has been canceled needs a different experience than an excited family who vacations once a year.

Keyboards will become obsolete – Technology such as AI-powered bots and the voice-controlled Amazon Echo assistant will help customers through a wide variety of assistance such as providing a medical diagnosis to fulfilling supply demands to ordering pizza. Advanced technology assistance will become common and your customers will become used to and rely on having a keyboard-free experience.

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How to Ensure Your Trade Show Strategies Meet Your Goals

12 Apr

Aerial view of business data analysis graph

Before attending a trade show, it’s important to hammer out what your goals for the event are. Only with that knowledge can you then put the strategies in place that help achieve those goals. Below, you’ll find the top three goals that most companies that attend trade shows want to meet as well as ways to build strategies that support them.

  1. Introduce New Products

One of the primary goals of attending a trade show is that it provides your company with the opportunity to bring your newest products to the attention of those attending. In order to stand out from the competition, use visuals in smart and fresh ways including product demos and video presentations. In addition, offer free samples so that attendees can see for themselves what your product offers them.

  1. Generate New Leads

Every company knows that you can’t rely simply on your established customer base in order to grow and thrive. Reaching your sales and profit goals means generating new leads and capturing sales in that manner. Here, visibility is going to be a primary feature in getting the attention of attendees. In spite of the competition of nearby booths, the smart use of lighting, images and other attention-grabbing elements means that your company can draw the audience you are targeting.

  1. Solidify Brand Awareness

Ideally, your brand will conjure images of what you most want your target audience to think about. One of the key ways of doing so is to be consistent with your brand. This means that all your marketing materials and every image on your website should all reflect the same brand, logo, colors, and tagline. When developing these elements, keep in mind the features that would most appeal to your target audience.

At ER Marketing, we combine our innovative skills and ideas with our extensive experience to develop results that meet your goals. Contact us at (816) 471-1400 or by using our contact form and let’s make 2018 a memorable year!

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