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Live From New York: Marketing Takeaways

15 Nov

Audiences Crave Experiences, Not Just Data

tonightshow720

On a recent NYC trip, I found myself with a few free hours and couldn’t pass the chance to see the “Saturday Night Live” and “Tonight Show” studios and sound stages. I took a behind-the-scenes tour of NBC Studios for a glimpse of how sets are made, talent hits their marks, copy is written, local feeds come in, and lighting is set up.

But the most impactful part of the tour? That was at the end. We had the chance to be the host of our very own late night show. An announcer chosen, as well as a band, camera operators and the control room team.

Not your typical tourist attraction, right?

The segment was shot and within 10 minutes, all participants had an email with a link to their video segment.

The editing was complete, the laugh tracks in place, credits added, the opening and closing graphics inserted. A complete piece with you as the star – all in just ten short minutes.

Soon after, the NBC pages who were our guides asked tour participants to take a two-minute survey. They wanted our feedback on the tour and insight on how the experience may be improved. The process was immediate and easy so nearly everyone agreed to participate.

The tour wrapped in the gift shop where we were handed a small flyer inviting us to connect with NBC Studios on social media. More importantly, we had immediate access to their social channels so we could quickly and easily share with followers our adventures as a late night host.

I left the studio tour with three takeaways product marketers can apply.

  1. Provide experiences – not just facts. Give your audience an experience so the learning is immersive. As building product marketers, how can we make events more interactive? How can we insert trade show experiences that let audiences be part of the event rather than simply observers? NBC could have handed us a fact sheet full of data. Instead, we were able to experience what it’s really like to produce a show.
  1. The need for speed is real. Receiving the edited video of our late night hosting experience in 10 short minutes sealed the deal for me. And, within 30 minutes of leaving 30 Rock, I’d shared that link with my social channels and raved about the tour. I amplified the experience to my followers and it didn’t cost NBC a dime.
  1. Strike while the audience is hot. Asking for immediate feedback rather than days or weeks later, elicited a totally different response than had my excitement or memory of the event faded.

Chances are, creating an experience for your audience doesn’t require a sound stage, lighting or camera operators. So ignore the urge to create one more piece of collateral jam-packed with data.

Instead, invite your audience to participate in an immersive experience that exceeds their expectations, makes them eager to offer immediate feedback and willing to share with friends and followers.

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Trade shows: What’s the real ROI?

20 Oct

People at an Exhibition

On the way home from the Remodeling Show and Deck Expo earlier this month, I found myself wondering if trade shows still matter. Let’s face it: Trade shows are expensive.

  • You build booths
  • Create collateral
  • Give away tchotchkes
  • Travel
  • Entertain clients

But the trade show budget spreadsheet doesn’t tell the whole story.

Trade shows are a rare opportunity for marketers to talk first-hand with customers – those actually using your product or service. It’s also a chance to meet in-person with your sales team and talk face-to-face about their stumbling blocks and opportunities:

  • What keeps your clients up at night?
  • Does your three-step installation process matter to clients?
  • Does the sales team really need new collateral?
  • What messages resonate with prospects?

Sometimes these responses are hard to hear. But they’re often the reality check we need to show where we should really spend our 40+ hours each week.

ERM clients attend trade shows worldwide. And most would likely put their trade show ROI on the high side.

Why?

They understand the value of candid customer feedback, seeing the sales process up close and learning about new products.

The real trade show ROI is the stuff that never makes it on the budget spreadsheet. It’s intangible and hard to assign a number.

It’s the knowledge you gain, the people you meet and the qualitative learnings that shape how your business moves forward.

For trade show tips and tricks, check out this ERM whitepaper.

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Visiting New York on 9/11: A Note on Perspective

15 Sep

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Don’t Lose Sight of What Really Matters

I recently had the unique experience of traveling to New York City for a Business Marketing Association (BMA) meeting that coincided with the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Consequently, this year was a little different than past BMA meetings in that my trip was an opportunity not only to talk about the B2B marketing industry with some of the leading companies and agencies in the country, but also to gain some important and much needed perspective.

This year, I arrived on the day of September 11 and decided to visit the memorial and see the lights, which are illuminated only a couple of nights a year. As I walked around Ground Zero, I saw firemen in dress blues from Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Miami, and many other cities. These men and women had been at Ground Zero in the weeks and months after the attack, lending a hand with the recovery, clean up, and other support efforts for their brothers and sisters in the NYFD.

As I walked from the reflecting pools where the Twin Towers once stood, I saw a big crowd around the Irish pub next to the fire station. Approaching the pub, I realized this was the place to be for all the firemen and women. I wasn’t sure if I could even go in, but as I entered, I realized I was more than welcome.

The firemen and women in the pub and the streets surrounding it were all talking, hugging, laughing, and sometimes even crying with their brothers and sisters who work to serve so many Americans in different cities across the country. Several times I attempted to buy these amazing, everyday heroes a beer or a drink. But every time, they replied with, “No, let me buy you a drink.”

“What? You’re buying me a drink? I should be thanking you.”

But because of their honor and pride, they wouldn’t allow me to buy them one.

We don’t always value the relationships with the people we serve, or who serve us. If you were offered something by the very people you serve, would you accept—or refuse and offer them one instead? Do you say thank you enough to the people who work for you? How about the people you work for?

From the memorial itself to the people I met in the city on this day, the experience of being in New York on the anniversary of 9/11 is something I wish everyone could experience. While a somber reminder of the worst attack on American soil, it’s also the location where thousands of people perished on what should have been just another typical Tuesday at the office.

As marketers, we have lots of “typical days” in the office. They tend to involve helping our companies or clients sell their products and services—they don’t tend to involve saving lives.

For us, making a mistake means a painful meeting or a brutal phone call—it doesn’t mean life or death.

When every project is rushed, we say it’s hot—but it’s not actually on fire.

We might run into a crazy meeting—but it’s not a burning building.

There is always another “typical day” at the office. But as we recognize and recall the events that forever changed our world, let’s also keep our perspective and remember that we can always be more humble, more thankful, and more appreciative of the opportunities we have. In short, more kind.

Appreciate the people you work with and work for, and those who work for you.

Do good work, but remember that your work isn’t the only thing that matters.

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Take Your B2B Offense Up A Notch

8 Jul

How to Create Effective Presentations and Repurpose Content

Home Run

I am a big Kansas City Royals fan, and I love the game of baseball. The other day while I was watching a game, I realized just what it was that made the Royals such a relentless team. Although it may be better known for its defense, the Royals are also known for keeping the line moving on offense and putting the ball in play. This had me thinking about how the approach to putting out content can be very similar in strategy.

Today’s B2B marketers are faced with an increasing amount of presentations and content that they have to create in order to match the efforts of competitors. In fact, 76% of marketers will produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015. With such a high rate of content being produced, your audience is looking for digestible content that will hook their interest and keep them engaged throughout your presentation and their experience with your brand. In this post, I will explore how keeping it simple, having a direct call to action, and repurposing content can enhance your marketing strategies and make you an all-around smarter B2B baserunner.

Getting On Base:

Whether it’s by bunting, hitting a single, or simply being selective with pitches and getting walked, the most important thing is to get on base. Simplifying your message is one of the best practices when presenting, and is sure to get you out of the batter’s box and on to the bag. You want to avoid overwhelming your audience with too much information on one slide. Keep your points direct and simple, allowing only a one point or two per slide to stay on message. This is key because your audience will process information in an organized sequence that will help them to understand your most important points. In fact, during his presentation for the iPhone, Steve Jobs only used 19 words in 12 slides, resulting in one of the most memorable and effective sales presentations, landing him in the metaphorical presenter Hall of Fame. While it is proven that visuals increase retention levels, visuals should only be used to illustrate a point and not just to fill space. It is okay to leave some whitespace, as you do not want to distract your audience from the message’s main takeaway.

Stealing Second:

Any good baserunner will tell you that reading the signs is crucial. Reading your audience is as important as timing the pitcher’s throw to home, and with the average attention span being only 8.25 seconds, you have only a short window to hook their attention. The best way to keep your audience engaged is to end each presentation with a clear call to action. Implementing a strategic ending is crucial and your strategy should adjust to get your audience engaged with your brand. For example, on a webinar I gave recently, I used the last slide of the presentation, which would normally consist of a thank you message, to advertise one of ER Marketing’s whitepapers with information on how to download it. This slide was effective because it stayed on the screen throughout our entire Q&A portion of the presentation, and converted a lot of attendees into people who downloaded and subscribed to our content. By using this slide as a direct CTA, we took a usually worthless slide and converted it to a runner in scoring position.

Taking Third:

Not every piece of content needs to take you from first to third; in fact, in most cases your past content already has you half way there. Since the need to constantly keep turning out content to keep your audience engaged is rapidly increasing, consider modifying and recycling some of the content you used in your presentation. This will add value to your marketing and further drive home your message. Repurposing your presentation can be something as simple as taking information from your presentation to create a more in-depth whitepaper or using video during the presentation to upload short highlights for your company’s website. You can also repurpose titles and headers from your presentation for Twitter posts with links to a related blog your company has written in the past. The combinations are endless.

The Home Stretch:

Home plate is in sight and you’re getting a good lead down the line, but don’t forget to take into consideration whether or not you will need to go back to tag third. When repurposing content, not only is it important to consider the medium that you want to use, but it is also important to recognize that content needs to be optimized for mobile viewing. According to KCPB, mobile digital media time is now greater than time spent on a desktop. It was also found that more people are viewing email on mobile. It is clear that mobile can no longer be treated as a separate channel, because most of your audience will be interacting with your content through mobile digital experience. Keeping a consistent experience with your content on both mobile and desktop will get you sliding into home safely.

While content and presentation curation may seem daunting, just remember to keep it simple and direct in order to drive home your messaging. As George Brett said, “When you get in that situation you simplify the approach…you play as hard as you can, win a game and come back to play another game.”

For your next presentation or webinar turn to these content tips, or visit ermarketing.net.

 

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When Selling Building Products, Opt for Simple

21 Apr

Lessons Learned from the 2016 ISC West Show

ISC West

As building products marketers, are we overcomplicating things? Do we consult with people down the channel—including customers and even our own sales teams—to make sure we are delivering the best information in ways that are easy to consume? Most importantly, who can we look to for simplification inspiration in the building products industry?

I recently attended the 2016 ISC West Show, the largest security industry trade show in the United States, with technical reps from more than 1,000 exhibitors and brands in the security industry. While there, I explored and learned about the rapidly growing segment of the connected home and the integration challenges of hardware and software in the security and door hardware industry.

The attendees of the show are typically security dealers. They sell in consumer homes, similar to a lot of building materials products. And, like a window or siding rep, they have to “win the kitchen table” if they hope to sell their product effectively down the channel.

One of the tours that did a great job of demonstrating how to “win the kitchen table” based on their product offering was the Tektronix® Connected Home booth. There, I learned how their integrated system connects the video doorbell to the alarm, the sprinklers, garage door, network-boosting light bulbs, and so on. Obviously, Tektronix is not the only company doing this, but for manufacturers not thinking about what homeowners want, this is where they need to start looking.

What I found amazing was one of the final items on the Tektronix tour, which displayed their “upsell kit.” It’s what a marketer might call a sales rep kit or in-home kit. Over the years, we’ve probably created dozens of these for clients, ranging from somewhat basic to very complex and expensive to produce. You’ve likely done these as well.

The upsell kit Tektronix showed at their booth is their most requested and used of all time. So what makes it unique? Triple fold-out panels with a wiring schematic that integrates all the cool features? Maybe some electronic component that connects via Bluetooth to the reps phone?

Nope. It’s simply a printed image of all the pieces that might normally go into the kit.Unknown

Yes, you read that right. The sample kit doesn’t have physical samples. It has pictures of them and a call out image on the inside flap of the box. It’s very light, so it’s easy to carry. It’s very cheap to produce so dealers can have several of these for all their reps.

These are home security items—technology items. These are items that protect the homeowner’s family. But even with all that, they don’t require a physical sample. I realize they aren’t picking a color or finish, but compared to what most in the building products industry have always done, many might consider it a “fake” sales kit. But for Tektronix, it works well—and suits both their customers’ and sales teams’ needs just fine.

So, I’ve challenged our team and I’m challenging you to think about this when developing your in-home sales kit and other sales enablement tools. Have you talked to the dealers to see what works or why they don’t use one item or another? Have you ever tried a completely different approach? Have you asked why your company does it that way?

And most importantly, have you asked yourself if there is a simpler way to do this? That’s what drove this change in their upsell kit. We can do this too—find things to simplify in our increasingly complex lives, both as people and as marketers.

 

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