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Deciding Which Trade Shows to Attend This Year

1 Feb


The personal relationships and business reputation that you can develop through trade shows is an ROI that you cannot really obtain anywhere else. However, you need to attend the right shows to make sure that you are building the personal relationships and business reputation that actually matter. Your business is probably on a budget as well. Even if you have multiple shows to attend, you may have to make a choice. Here is a short post on how to choose the trade shows to attend this year.

Defining Your Intent

Before you begin looking up keynote speakers and planning logistics, plan out the objectives for your year. The trade shows that might increase your overall leads may not be the same shows that would be best for a new product launch or a loyalty plan.

Shortening the Discovery Process

There are quite a few trade show calendars that you can search for new ideas on what to attend. Before you get a shortlist, you should look around a bit. New shows are popping up all over the world. The globalized economy is more connected than ever, and you may find a show that you did not even know existed. Here is a good calendar to get you started.

Studying the Event History

Once you find a number of interesting shows, you can check the history of those shows online. In the same way that you might check a review for a restaurant before going, you can now check the event history of shows. Take a look at the comments that other attendees have left in past years. Cross-reference their feedback with the goals you set for your business when defining your intent.

Getting the Timing

You may be able to attend more shows with a little logistics work at the beginning of the year. Shows that are close to each other may save you money on travel costs. You may be able to bring exhibits from one show to another that is within the same time frame. You should also consider how the timing of shows coincides with your internal schedule. For instance, a new product expo is no good if you are not going to be done with your prototype.

Looking at the Press

In order to shorten your list, you should look at the additional marketing opportunities that each show offers you. Some shows will have sponsorship opportunities or have speaking slots that you can use to advertise. Prioritize the shows that have the highest ROI, and contact them early to get on these special lists.

Segmenting Your Audience

The total number of attendees at a trade show is much less important than you may think. You want the right people, not the most people. Although the global audience is great to touch, realize that around 50% of attendees at a trade show will come from a 200-mile radius. Is this local audience important to you? If not, then you may be able to skip the show.

Creating a Budget

You now have a shortlist of trade shows and the schedule to attend them. It is time to get the budget together to attend them all. There is a reason that the money comes after the planning stage–hopefully, you have chosen shows that will expand your profitability. If this is the case, then the upfront cost should not matter. If all of your shows brings you $100,000, then a $10,000 expense, no matter how painful in the short term, is always worth it.

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4 Essential Elements to Effectively Market Building Materials

25 Jan


Marketing is an important element of selling products and is very visible for things like consumer goods. Well-known marketing examples for items like toothpaste, refrigerators, and clothing abound. It isn’t a significant leap to apply those elements to drive sales for products in different industries. Indeed, building a brand around building materials utilizes many of the same tools, techniques, and resources.

  1. The Brand Matters Everywhere

Building a brand across multiple channels widens its reach. Instead of focusing solely on establishing a brand within the B2C space, it’s essential to extend that it to other audiences like those in the B2B environment. Establishing a presence within the B2B space can build partnerships, connections, and loyalty.

  1. Cultivate Influencers

The influencers within the building materials industry make a difference when it comes to the products that are chosen by consumers. This is true whether these consumers are homeowners or other businesses. So who are these influencers that need to be cultivated? Think about the engineers, builders, architects, and contractors that are important in the sector that you’re targeting. Those are your influencers.

  1. Don’t Dismiss Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth advertising is what traditional marketing was built on. Instead of this factor being unimportant in the digital age, it simply must be adapted so that it works for the changing times. It’s important to harness the right tools and techniques to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing in a way that presents your company in a favorable light.

  1. Identify Relevant Online Social Platforms

Though it’s likely that there will be some overlap within your target audiences when it comes to the online social platforms they use, some will be more specific to certain segments than others. LinkedIn, for example, is often where you can find influencers. Facebook and Twitter are used by both consumers and influencers. YouTube has traditionally been where many consumers get their information.

Does the marketing strategy you have in place for your building materials company contain the four essential elements outlined above? If not, can you envision a clear methodology to implement any that are missing?

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Your Best Demand Generation Practices for 2018

18 Jan


The new buzzword for improving interest in your products and services is demand generation, which is fast becoming a vital metric for many companies. Not only does good demand generation help the supply chain, it also leads to happier customers and more alignment between sales and marketing. Here are some of the best demand generation strategies that you can use in 2018.

Automate and Centralize

Marketing automation platforms have made processes in the middle of the sales funnel far more efficient than ever before. Over half of all B2B firms are now using automation to nurture leads and, believe it or not, create more personalized content. Around the top of the funnel, centralizing the source of your leads gives you additional efficiency for the automation that you employ around the mid-level processes such as closed-loop reporting, vendor management, and standardization/enhancement.

Using Account Based Marketing Strategies

Email blasting cold contact lists is no longer viable in the modern business landscape. There are plenty of new tools that can precisely target accounts based on directed strategies. Segmenting your accounts from the beginning can help immensely when it is time for your sales and marketing teams to align themselves to go in for the kill.

A New Focus on Data Quality

Big data is so 2014. If you are not properly segmenting and organizing your data, then you will find scaling your demand generation to be a big problem. The tips above can help you avoid wasting money on low-quality leads, which will usually create a higher conversion rate for the business. You must also try to enhance your current leads with more precise data points. The entire subdiscipline of MarTech is focused on this, so get digging and find the right tools.

Your Qualified Lead Velocity Rate (QLVR)

You should be looking at a hard growth in your qualified leads on a month over month basis. This growth should be consistent, as your real-time rate is the best predictor of future growth and revenues. The revenues that you report in the current month usually do not represent the leads that were converted in that month – lead times for B2B firms is usually half a year to a year. The calculation for QLVR: your current month’s MQL (marketing qualified lead) conversion/ last month’s MQL. Multiply by 100 for the final metric.

Customer Service Communications

You can expect a 36% increase in customer retention if you purposefully align your sales and marketing teams. Alignment means that sales and marketing shares vision and metrics, communicate on a regular basis, and share in each other’s successes. Improved communications in your customer service line obviously lead to better customer experiences, and your marketing team will benefit from the input from sales. Marketing can increase demand generation from the additional information about the buyer’s journey, and the department will also have more leverage to support upselling and cross-selling.

Direct Client Interface

Your marketing team must take on the new responsibility of engaging directly with clients. Your frontline salesmen have knowledge about your buyers that is unique. Your marketers need the same sort of vision in order to increase demand generation. Clients may also help your marketing team identify opportunities and industry trends that are difficult to see from high rise offices away from the streets.

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Instant Gratification: 5 Ways it Impacts Your Content Marketing Efforts

2 Jan


It’s been said that the average human attention span has gone down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just eight seconds today. With the advent of mobile just-about-everything and the mainstreaming of the internet of things (IoT), this statistic is hardly surprising—these days, it’s all about instant gratification.

But what does this mean for your content marketing efforts? For starters, it means content has to adapt to stay relevant and to even have a chance of being consumed.

Time is of the Essence

Today’s consumers are ultra-connected and always on the go. They have the internet available to them at all times, on screens of all sizes.

When it comes to content, your audience wants it in small, easily digestible portions. Content needs to be concise and easily scanned across all devices…and of course, it needs to be shareable. Consider these tactics to make your content easier to absorb:

  • Add open graph (OG) tags to your site. OG tags operate for social media much in the same way that meta tags operate for search engines: they create a compelling, attractive preview when your content is shared on social. These previews make your content more noticeable and marketable to those devouring their news feed as quickly as possible.

Rapid-Fire Website Loading is Essential

According to Kissmetrics, website visitors expect a site to load in less than three seconds. To make matters worse, visitors frustrated with slow-to-load sites typically abandon ship and head for the competition.

Try out these tips to help your customer’s gain access to your content as fast as possible:

Google AMP: Speeds up the mobile rendering experience during web browsing by offering potential visitors a stripped-down version of your site.

Facebook Instant Articles: Loads a lightweight version of your blog when a visitor clicks on your link from the Facebook app. This allows for instant loading of your website to your Facebook following, offering a faster reading experience for your customers.

 Personalized Content is the New Normal

Customers expect to get the content they need without much effort—and this includes content that is specifically targeted to their needs and preferences. To help personalize the user experience, consider these tools:

  • Google Optimize 360: Free A/B testing is available to all Google Analytics users. For enterprise users, the content personalization tool helps deliver engaging experiences through website variation testing. The testing process is followed by a tailored approach to personalization according to the results that deliver the best experience for the customer.
  • Adobe Target: An optimization solution designed to deliver data-driven results through experimentation and testing. The automated platform helps businesses boost conversions through personalization and by optimizing mobile app performance based mobile context and user behavior.

For businesses looking to stay relevant and informative in today’s competitive content world, consumers’ need for instant gratification may seem a daunting prospect.  By adapting your content strategy to stay in-line with consumer expectations, you can be sure your content delivers brand messaging that gets noticed and—most importantly—consumed and shared across all channels.

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Content Marketing Predictions for 2018

14 Dec


Content marketing is here to stay. According to a report by Smart Insights, content marketing was rated the most valuable technique for increasing incremental sales throughout 2017—and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Here are some key content marketing trends to focus on for 2018:

1. Original Content is Still Critical

Relevant, original content will continue to occupy the top spot in the digital marketing toolbox for 2018. Not only does quality content (whether video or print) help grow a business’s following, it keeps current customers engaged and connected. In order to stay relevant and competitive, businesses need to position themselves as thought leaders in their fields—and content helps convey that level of authority to customers in a way that other marketing methods simply can’t compete with.

Keep in mind that it’s never enough just to have good content—if no one is reading it, it won’t make a difference. Consider content syndication to get the word out about your blog, or invest in a white paper as gated content that you can promote through your blog or via social media. Gated content not only increases website traffic, it allows you to collect contact information for your customers that easily translates into leads for your sales team.

2. Brand Transparency is Essential

Today’s consumer is becoming jaded and desensitized with respect to marketing messaging. Millennials—the generation with $200 billion in buying power in 2017—will have the most buying power of any generation by next year. Millennials are particularly affected by brand honesty and authenticity, and they tend to be drawn to businesses that support charitable causes—as long as that support doesn’t seem forced or dishonest.

Because consumers tend to trust their peers more than brands when it comes to authenticity, influencer marketing has really taken off—but keep in mind that it can be a slippery slope with respect to transparency. The FTC, for example, takes serious measures to protect consumers from businesses who aren’t transparent in their marketing tactics: think back to the Machinima case in 2015, where the FTC cracked down on the gaming network for not disclosing paid endorsements for YouTube content producers.

The takeaway here is that brand trust is built on honesty and authenticity. To that end, a high level of transparency should be an integral part of your marketing strategy across all channels for the upcoming year.

3. IoT (The Internet of Things) Makes Off-Screen Content and Voice-Search Mainstream

Even as Google begins prioritizing mobile sites over desktop, content is no longer all about the smartphone. The Internet of Things has made content available to consumers across voice-service technologies like Siri and Alexa, to the point that optimizing content for voice search should be part of every content marketer’s 2018 strategy.

Think the IoT and voice-service tech aren’t major players just yet? Think again. Global organizations have already jumped on board when it comes to voice-service content. The American Heart Association utilizes Alexa voice technology to deliver instructions on performing CPR in a play-by-play format during an emergency, and Purina recently deployed its “Ask Purina” expert pet information service through the voice-service.

According to Gartner, with 8.4 billion connected devices in 2017 (up 31 percent from last year), the IoT brings exciting—and seemingly endless—opportunities for digital marketers to develop innovative content strategies in 2018 and beyond.

6. Pre-Recorded Video Content Takes a Backseat

Live video continues to overshadow pre-recorded content. According to Facebook, viewers engage 10 times more during live videos than when watching the pre-recorded variety.

Think your service or product isn’t particularly suited for live streaming? Consider taking an insider’s look at a business event from behind the scenes, or put together a light-hearted skit based on company culture—the opportunities are endless, and 2018 is right around the corner!

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