Ideal Trade Show Timeline

10 Apr

Business people having a meeting

In order to have a successful trade show, you need to start with a timeline. Doing so helps to ensure that everything that is necessary for success is completed in a timely manner. It’s important to remember that the timeline noted below is for general purposes only. Sometimes you might not have the same amount of time specified but that can be addressed. Being organized gives you a place to start preparing.

One Year Out

A good place to start planning is with your strategy. Start developing that about a year before you plan to attend the trade show. Determine the role that your company’s booth at the exhibit will have based on this strategy. Take a careful assessment of your company’s design needs and draw up a budget.

Nine Months Out

When your strategy and budget have received the okay by your company, it’s time to identify the goals of your trade show appearance and how best to meet them. Starting about nine months before the trade show, hammer out the elements that you want to include in your trade show booth. Some areas to focus on include signage like banners and illuminated visuals, booth accessories, and marketing materials.

Six Months Out

Now is the time to start finalizing the details of your trade show appearance. You’ll want to write out your sales message. Make the final determination of your booth’s layout, lighting, graphics, and other design elements.

Three Months Out

With only three months until the date of the trade show put in your order for marketing and promotional materials. Make sure to touch base with the company in charge of the logistics for your booth. Confirm the time, location, and mode of travel for getting your trade show exhibit to the event at the appropriate time.

Two Months Out 

Now is the time to ramp up your marketing focus for the trade show. Meet with staff to ensure that they are trained properly for the event. Confirm that the delivery of all your trade show elements is on schedule. Be sure to contract with a reputable company for services such as floor accessories, installation, furniture, break down, and more.

Attending a trade show is all about delivering results. ER Marketing is here to help you achieve your trade show objectives with fresh, engaging and attention-grabbing design elements that put your company on the map. Ready to learn more? Contact us today!

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Is Modern B2C Marketing Overlapping with B2B Marketing?

5 Apr

Millennials at work

The successful methodologies that work in B2C sales funnels are not traditionally the ones that work in B2B. However, the current business landscape is anything but traditional. Technology and data are both pushing marketing in new directions. Now that virtually every company in the world has the ability to aggregate data at scale, the world of B2B is beginning to look more like B2C every day.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that modern B2C and B2B marketing overlap.

Customer Acquisition/Qualifying Leads

Traditionally, qualifying a lead in the B2B space is much harder than in the B2C space. After all, companies basically consist of many people, and to qualify a company requires research at that scale. Fortunately, third-party teleprospecting companies and improved customer acquisition/big data apps are automating and streamlining the vetting process. It is now much easier to prospect a large company, so the process is beginning to look much more like the prospecting funnel of a B2C lead process.

Timely Communications

Technology is improving the frequency of communications as well as the quality. One of the positive results is that communications can be distributed to an entire company in a timely manner. This was a privilege that was formerly limited to B2C communications in previous business generations. Today, e-commerce sites, buyer profiles that streamline entire companies into individual profiles and automated intelligence programs make personalized communications a snap, regardless of how big the prospect may be.

Building Conversion Rates

In the past, converting a prospect in the world of B2B meant an onboarding process with an account manager and plenty of customer service representation calls. The process is usually not as two way in the B2C world, but there is one striking similarity – both B2B and B2C conversions now include a buffer for buyer’s remorse. Just as quickly as large companies can get into agreements, they can also get out of them. Conversions are not really solid until they have been solidified through a few back and forth transactions.

In many ways, the world of B2B is becoming more like a B2C marketplace. This should be great news for B2B marketers – consumer marketing is usually less expensive. The trends above should continue well into this business generation, as technology, data, and consumer behavior all provide more data and technology for B2B marketers.

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3 Ways to Get Your Public Relations Off to a Good Start

3 Apr

Flat lay of business concept

With the weather continuing to improve on a daily basis throughout much of the country, the busy season for building material companies starts now. This is a great time to take a look at your public relations strategy to make sure it’s solid enough to take you through the rest of the year.

  1. Make creating content a priority

Content creation continues to be an important way for businesses to reach out to the public right where they are at any given time. Of course, today that content goes far beyond the written word as videos continue to gain in popularity.

Consider adding a human touch to your brand in 2018 as a way to increase the public’s awareness of it. One way to do this is by featuring members of your team in videos or podcasts.

On the other hand, creating white papers and ebooks is a good way to improve your standing as a thought leader in your industry.

  1. Finetune your social media channels  

When it comes to connecting and interacting with the public, few other methods can top the impact of social media. New channels seem to pop up on an almost daily basis and join the already crowd field. Should you attempt to interact with all of them? If not, how should you choose which ones to utilize?

A recent survey from Cision-PRWeek noted that 88 percent of respondents said that Facebook was the most effective social media network, followed by Twitter at 72 percent and Instagram with 52 percent.

This means that an active Facebook presence should be part of your public relations strategy for 2018. While Facebook still offers a number of tools that help you reach your target audience, recently, the social media giant shifted from a marketing focus to one that is grounded in connecting people. Be sure to post content that offers value to your target audience. Look at the most popular posts from the past and provide more within similar subject areas.

  1. Develop a measurement metric

Having an effective measurement metric for your public relations strategy in place is a vital step in determining its success. Be sure to tie those metrics to your goals. For example, if you want a certain number of people to engage with a new service or product, create a campaign that delivers data that you can measure.

On social media, likes on a particular post can tell you that people are responding to the content but interactive engagement delves deeper into their feelings. Shares and comments help you develop a complete overview of how the public is reacting to your brand.

Make sure your brand is ready to tackle the busy season by taking a look at your public relations strategy now. Use the above steps as a guideline to see if it can be improved.

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How the Role of the CMO Has Changed in Modern Business

29 Mar

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Customer data continues to increase in importance. Building massive datasets are not enough for success these days, however. Creating proprietary customer profiles and even automated intelligence platforms is now the norm. With these new standards comes a new skill set for the CMO. Here are just a few of the ways that the head marketing strategist must evolve in the modern business landscape.

Master of the Customer Journey

Mastering the customer journey is just a more complicated way to say that a CMO must have empathy for prospects. There is virtually no marketing strategy that will work today without viewing that strategy from the customer’s perspective. Every aspect of a campaign must speak directly to a prospect and keep them engaged. Consumers are also savvier than ever – they will see right through and reject a top-down, backroom, wide net campaign with no relevance to their lives.

Master of Data

The modern CMO must know what they are doing around a data stream. Augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and geolocation are just a few of the technologies that are emerging around data. Companies in all industries will eventually need to incorporate these concepts as standards – the businesses that lag behind will find themselves harshly removed from the commercial conversation.

Master of Collaboration

CMOs will be working more closely with other departments than ever before. CIOs, data scientists, and CDOs all rely on the data that the marketing department collects. Moreover, this data will serve different purposes at the same time for all of these departments. In some cases, these department heads will report to the CMO. The CMO needs to be ready for this level of responsibility, and understand and synergize the different perspectives that these departments will bring to the table.

Master of Vision

The marketing department is usually the department that leads the charge in terms of new ideas after research and development. Now that a huge part of development in business is data, the CMO will be playing the role of R&D captain in many respects. This means that the CMO must learn to look ahead, have a vision that other departments can rely on and bring viable ideas to the table that other departments can help to crystallize.

Master of Strategy

Marketing has always been about strategy, but the level of responsibility has changed drastically for the CMO over the past five years. For many companies, the CMO now sits at the head table when it comes to decisions that affect the entire company. The CMO may also be the main point of contact between companies in terms of data. All of this means that the CMO needs to balance company-wide levels of strategic planning with short-term goals that have implications far beyond the internal marketing department.

The role of the CMO has progressed and advanced, and will probably continue to do so as the proliferation of data becomes even more widespread. Look to CMOs to take an even larger role in moving successful companies forward in the future.

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Hands-Free Marketing is the Future

27 Mar

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The majority of experts fully expect the future of marketing to be hands-free, following in the footsteps of mainstream hands-free consumer technology, a la Siri, and Alexa. As people become more used to communicating with their smart devices using hands-free techniques, especially voice, marketers are looking to turn the conversation around and start selling.

There are rumors that many companies are working on technology to imitate famous celebrity voices. Word on the street is that others are creating apps based on voice snippets or voice profiles of social media influencers. These voices will provide an additional level of comfort for promotions like location-based coupons. Google recently tested voice capabilities within its Google Glass initiative, and there are some large companies leading the charge into a new level of voice hardware for modern marketers.

Voice Search

Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant and Amazon Echo are quickly becoming a daily part of mainstream life. Personal assistant apps provide another opening for marketers to move into the lifestyle of the average person as the PAA becomes more popular. Voice search is becoming more of a factor in day-to-day life as well, and it is actually the first choice of forward-thinking, tech-savvy individuals.

Voice tech is now changing the way that people query online. Because people speak much differently than they type, marketing must become more conversational as well. The keywords that marketers compete for may extend and actually imitate full sentences rather than arbitrary phrases that do not fit easily into real speech.

A New Infrastructure

Google RankBrain is leading the charge in introducing AI into the world of voice search, and thus hands-free marketing. With RankBrain, queries can take on a more conversational tone, with the interaction to include many questions rather than just one. Queriers have the ability to narrow down their searches based on a multilevel stream of questions that relies on Google’s ability to bring up information from past searches and interpret how those results should affect future searches.

In addition to RankBrain, Google is also pioneering the idea of completely hands-free conversational shopping. For example, you will be able to tell Google to order a pizza for you, sit back, and wait to hear the doorbell. Google will be able to quantify your request based on the pizza shops near you as well as your past behavior when ordering pizza.

One can only imagine the ways that the pizza shops will use voice technology to market to people who are looking to order a pizza. The same voice tech that is used in one direction may be used in the other, allowing for a two-way conversation between buyer and seller.

The Dominance of Google…Gone?

As voice tech makes its way into the mainstream, the days of optimizing content for this search engine alone are coming to an end. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are just the major competitors that are developing voice tech products to compete with the Google products.

Consumers will see changes first in the world of personal assistance. Experts say that the next huge competition will come on the paid advertising front, as Google and its rivals compete to put ads on their PAAs.

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