Tag Archives: Trade Show

How Digital Marketing Ramps Up Results for Manufacturers

15 Aug


Having a solid trade show presence as your biggest marketing tool is no longer enough. In order to stay relevant and profitable in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, B2B manufacturers need to step up their digital marketing game.

Digital Marketing Provides Data-Driven Results

Just like traditional marketing (think: trade shows, flyers, and mailers), digital marketing means following leads, generating conversions—and ultimately, getting the sale. But here’s where things diverge: a solid digital marketing campaign allows you to deploy a more precision-based tracking system than traditional marketing channels are capable of. In other words, you can choose where to spend your advertising dollars based on hard data that results from a well-executed digital marketing plan.

With the right marketing strategy, you’ll get a clearer picture of your ROI, reliable metrics that allow you to manage your budget and set future goals, and the potential to keep your sales and marketing teams accountable with data-driven performance monitoring.

Your Customers are Digitally Present

Today, nearly everyone has access to the internet, even at work —and in many cases, that internet is in their back pocket, accessible to them at any given moment. According to GlobalSpec’s “2017 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” 61 percent of industrial professionals visit at least six and often 20 or more work-related websites each week. This translates to at least 50 percent of industrial employees spending six or more hours on websites while at work, and a full 31 percent logging nine-plus hours in work-related activities online. When it comes to finding components, equipment, suppliers, and services, 68 percent use the internet as their primary resource.

Most buyers depend on a vendor’s digital resources (like whitepapers, blog posts, and videos) when they’re at the beginning of their decision-making process—and they hold off making contact with suppliers until much later in the buying cycle. Having a reliable digital marketing strategy equipped with plenty of high-value content means you’ll be better prepared to communicate with your customers while they’re moving through the early stages of the sales funnel.

You Get Better Leads—and More of Them

When you provide relevant, quality content on your website—especially gated content like white papers and webinars, which require the contact info of the customer for access—your site becomes a lead-generating mechanism.

So, the more traffic your website receives from potential customers looking for specific content, the more leads you’ll develop.

But what about the quality of those leads?

Once again, digital marketing provides the benefit of data-driven information. With marketing automation tools like SharpSpring, you can qualify the leads you get using a point-based scoring system: a completed contact form earns 25 points, while a visit to your “About Us” page might only garner 5 points. Essentially, each of your customer’s activities on your site is tallied up for a final score that determines whether they are considered a “quality” lead—and whether they’re worth following up with in the future.

Your Digital Marketing Strategy is Scalable

As you develop, execute, and tailor your digital marketing plan, you’ll become more comfortable with the data and the overall strategy. You’ll get a better sense of what works for your business, and what doesn’t. Ultimately, deciding where to spend your marketing dollars will become second nature.

Since a digital marketing plan is easily customized to suit your business goals, your campaign strategy should align with your needs along the way. It should afford you the ability to ramp up the tactics that are working for you and scrap the efforts that aren’t producing the results you want.

If you need help strategizing for your next digital marketing effort, give us a call to discuss.

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5 Tips to Maximize Your Trade Show ROI

13 Jul

IBS Certainteed

Building an effective strategy that is targeted to maximize your trade show can make all the difference in its success. The following aspects should be included in such a strategy to improve your experience.

1. Create a Press Release

Creating a press release that you can distribute online to increase awareness of the upcoming trade show is vital to your ROI. Be sure that basics such as the use of appropriate keywords that your audience of building materials purchasers is likely to use to find what they want and a link to your website are included in this press release.

2. Add a Mention on Your Home Page

Increase awareness of your trade show attendance by mentioning it on your website’s homepage. Placing that kind of information in a prominent location ensures that everyone receives notification of its occurrence when they visit your site.

3. Coordinate a Marketing Strategy

Be sure that you and your marketing team are on the same page when it comes to the presentations, videos, and slideshows that you’ll display at your trade show booth. Doing so reinforces the information you’re delivering across all channels for the maximum ROI.

4. Be Prepared for the Media

Whether you expect to interact with members of the press or not, you should be prepared – just in case. This means checking the list of attendees to learn if any are expected and updating your press kit to hand out to those that you see. No press kit? This is the ideal time to create one!

5. Email and Blog About It

If you maintain a list of email subscribers, be sure to send out an email blast about your attendance at the trade show. Provide a sneak peek of what attendees can expect from you. Blog about the days leading up to the trade show as well as your experiences during the event.

The key to maximizing your ROI for trade shows is to increase your engagement with your audience. Keeping them informed about what they can expect and why buyers in the building materials industry should seek you out there can boost your ROI exponentially.

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6 Trade Shows Building Products Manufactures Must Attend

4 May



Trade shows are an optimal platform from which to introduce a captive audience to the latest innovative product or service you have to offer. The following trade shows are ones that should be on your short list for 2017 and ones to keep on your radar for 2018.  

 1 . National Hardware Show

Held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada, the National Hardware Show will run from May 9-11 in 2017. This annual trade show brings resellers and manufacturers from housing after-market sectors such as repair, remodeling and maintenance together. With attendance projected to top 35,000 over the course of its three-day run, 83 percent of people who have visited the trade show previously noted that they did so to look at new products. 

 2 . ENR FutureTech

San Francisco, California is the site of this year’s ENR FutureTech trade show. Hosted by Engineering News Record from May 30 until June 1 2017 , the show focuses on technology and its continuously-expanding role in construction, engineering and architecture. Combining intimate networking opportunities and interactive workshop sessions provides the opportunity for attendees to learn how technology applications can drive performance, profits and project delivery. 

 3. Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE

Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE – often shortened to R|D|J for brevity – is a three-day event that combines exhibit hall activities with workshops and other conference programs to provide training, education and networking for those in the residential construction industry. Held at the Baltimore Convention Center, R|D|J  2017 is slated to run from October 25-27. 

 4. Greenbuild

Hosted by the US Green Building Council from November 8-10 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts, Greenbuild boasts 20,000 registered attendees. Focusing on the premise that not only is green building an innovation that is shaping the current landscape of the industry, it is a concept that will continue to grow in the future, Greenbuild is dedicated to providing a forum for experts, professionals and industry leaders to connect. As the biggest conference dedicated to sustainable building in the world, Greenbuild generates a “Legacy Project” each year that is designed to deliver real-world solutions for the community whose outcomes will last for years to come. 

 5. Design & Construction Week

From January 9-11, 2018, Orlando will be the host city of Design & Construction Week. Expect more than 80,000 construction and design professionals to converge on the city to learn, talk and network at an event that is a combination of the talents of the NAHB International Builders Show (IBS) and the NKBA’s Kitchen and Bath Show (KBS). 

 6. AIA Conference on Architecture

New York City will be the home of the American Institute of Architects 2018’s National Convention. Set to go June 21st – 23rd the convention will feature intensive half-day and full-day workshops, seminars by leading architects and firms on emerging industry trends, tours of city architecture, events, and experiences covering the topic of the ever-changing world of architecture. The conference aims to create a space where a collection of talented and visionary individuals who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people in all communities come together.


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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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IBS 2016: “The New Big Thing” Is…

23 Feb

My Key IBS Takeaway for Building Products Marketers

IBS 2016

We’ve talked a lot about the 2016 International Builders’ Show (IBS) throughout the course of the last few weeks. You might even say we’re a little obsessed. But the reason why is that, for building products marketers, trade shows are a big deal. And there is perhaps no bigger one—or more important—than IBS. Every year, IBS represents where the building industry is going, from products to design trends to marketing. And every year, it’s at IBS where you can find “the next big thing.”

For me, the next big thing in trade show marketing is pretty clear: experiential booths. For a long time—too long, in fact—boring and uninspired booths have ruled the roost. Matt Hillman, our creative director at ER Marketing, even recently went as far as to describe the majority of booths as “brochures you stand in.” Not far off. But things are changing. In his post, he discusses some of the booths at IBS that delivered much better experiences for their audience. The common theme was that these exhibitors need to put on a “show” for their audience.

I think this is true no matter what trade shows you attend. In fact, it sparked my thinking on some other trade shows I’ve been to that have exemplified the experiential booth marketing that was such a hit at IBS. Here are some of the standout booth experiences I’ve had attending trade shows—experiences that should become the model for B2B marketers in the building products industry:

  1. At the Food Equipment Show, a commercial sausage making company proved the power of their product by doing multiple demonstrations using Play-Doh. This created a colorful (in more ways than one) experience for attendees.
  2. A simple product demonstration that proved effective was a window company that let attendees experience their good, better, best product offerings. By placing single, double, and triple paned windows in front of heaters, visitors could simply touch the glass to feel the difference in quality.
  3. A house wrap company had an innovative approach to showing their product’s resilience. By pulling their house wrap taut and placing it next to competitors’ products, they were able to demonstrate which was the strongest—by having a professional pitching machine shoot baseballs at the wrap.
  4. At the Deck Expo, one company created a competition in which attendees attempted to break their product with a hammer. If they were able to break it, they won a huge prize. It was simple to execute, and best of all, the loud noises of people attempting to break the synthetic decking drew a crowd.

IBS proved that the next big thing for building products marketers is creating an experience attendees will remember and breaking from tradition to do it. But that’s not exclusive to IBS—these examples demonstrate that it’s a change happening at all trade shows. B2B marketers in the building products industry need to do better. Your average, boring trade show booths are no longer effective. Worse, they’re very likely a huge waste of your money.

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