Blog

Category Archives: Tradeshow

Culture is Crafted, Not Duplicated

Culture seems to be a buzzword in today’s world of manufacturing. How can you create a culture throughout your organization that makes people want to come to work and make a difference? Retaining and keeping your employees engaged can come at a cost, but it’s vital to maintaining a successful company.

In September 2017, I had the opportunity to visit the Zappos Headquarters in Las Vegas. Zappos is known for their company culture, and it was clear how happy and engaged everyone was during my visit. Culture is something that Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, implemented from the beginning. The common theme employees kept referencing was “slow to hire, quick to fire.” Zappos has a long hiring process, but they want to make sure candidates are a right fit for their culture, and if not, they’d be let go quickly.

Luckily enough, I was able to experience the Zappos tour with numerous others, all in manufacturing sectors. The one thing that seemed to always come up was how to translate Zappos’ culture into our own organizations. The answer was easy – we couldn’t. Tony Hsieh had given Zappos an identity through their culture. He didn’t mimic another company’s ideals and values, he established his own.

Culture is something tailored to your organization. There isn’t a general roadmap you can follow that magically creates a great company culture. It comes from the people within the organization that all believe in the same vision. People that want to be working with each other to help achieve an end goal. Inserting a monthly happy hour or interviewing employees to see how to make the workplace better won’t necessarily solve your culture problems. It’s about having the right people there in the first place. It comes from the people within the organization that all believe in the same vision with similar values.

Trade Show Success by Design: A Three Part Series Part Three: Trade Show Lead Follow Up Basics

In the Trades Show Success by Design series, we’ve addressed the importance of trade show planning and maximizing your booth onsite.  The final blog of the series focuses on trade show follow up. Your new contacts are out of sight, but should not be out of mind. You’ve reached and acquired new leads and now is the time to cultivate those leads to nurture conversions. But before you start, having a strategy will help you reach your return on investment quicker.

Prioritizing Leads

Not all leads are equal. Prioritize your leads based on your sales approach. Some companies have detailed lead scoring that includes key demographics and behaviors. Many other companies use simple A/B/C or hot/warm/cold categories. Find an approach that works for your type of organization and is manageable. If it gets too complicated, then it’s less likely to be effective.

Follow Up with Your Leads…Quickly and Often

People buy from people. After a trade show is completed, it’s time to connect with your leads and match your solutions to their needs. Trade show follow up isn’t a single touchpoint but requires a series of touchpoints that may include phone calls, emails, LinkedIn or direct mail. Statistics float around that state nearly 80% of trade show attendees don’t receive follow up. While the exact number is debatable, the point is there is still a grand perception among attendees that they won’t hear from the companies they’ve engaged with at a trade shows.

Marketing automation is one way to keep the momentum going during the follow up process. There are various platforms ranging from sophisticated software that integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to free email marketing platforms such as MailChimp (depending on number of contacts and email volume) that offer triggered email campaigns.

Messages that Matter

Don’t let your message get lost. Go back to prioritized leads and tailor your message to their interest level. Sending a “ready to buy?” message to a cold lead will not position your company for success. Customize your message while presenting key offerings and benefits of doing business with you. But, the key is to think past the first message. Establishing a strategy for communicating throughout the lead nurturing process offers direction to keep the follow up process on track.

Trade show success can be achieved through design. A focus on planning all elements of exhibiting at a trade show – from nearly a year in advance to six months following the show – offers direction and a means to recognize a positive return on investment. This three-part blog series highlights key areas for success, but if trade show management is paralyzing for you, contact Vive Marketing and we’ll help craft a trade show plan that works for your company.

 

Trade Show Success by Design: A Three Part Series Part Two: How to Maximize Your Booth

 

In part one of the Trades Show Success by Design series, we addressed Tips for Planning a Successful Trade Show. Now you’re onsite. How do you maximize your time and resources for the most gain?

Forklifts and hand trucks are scurrying off the show floor, final carpet installation is happening and somewhere someone is trying to get their lead retrieval system working on their phone. In minutes the doors will open and it’s show time!

Qualify your leads.

Every booth staffer is essentially on a sales call. Be friendly and courtesy, yet quickly get to know your booth guest. Open ended questions about their role and current challenges will help you quickly determine if that person is just visiting or an interested prospect. Even if they aren’t a prime candidate for your business, don’t forget the power in word of mouth advertising and networking. They could share your product/service information with someone back in the office or with their colleague at lunch.

Give them something to see or experience.

Once you’ve determined the interest level of your booth guest, be sure they leave knowing what your company offers. Let them experience your brand and the essence of your company through strong storytelling (i.e. video, virtual reality, etc…) and personable interactions. Do you have equipment to demo? Be sure subject matter experts are nearby to share its features and benefits. Consider having a different level of promotional items for different levels of prospects.

Make new friends but keep the old. 

According to Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), lead generation is 80-85% of the reason for companies to exhibit at a tradeshow. But, it is also affords valuable face-to-face time to meet with current customers and prospects in the sales cycle. It could take a salesperson three days to travel and meet with several customers and prospects, but only one day or less at a tradeshow! Nurturing relationships should not be underestimated in the buying cycle. Maximize your hours at the tradeshow from morning coffee meetings to booth appointments and evening dinners.

Maximizing your booth to convey who your company is and what it offers is key for successful conversations. But, it’s the conversations that will turn leads and prospects into future business. It’s like a poker game – know when to hold them and know when to fold them. Stay tuned for Vive’s final installment in the Trades Show Success by Design series focusing on best practices after the show closes.

Trade Show Success by Design: A Three Part Series Part One: Tips for Planning a Successful Tradeshow

You want a successful trade show experience, but how do you make that happen? We’re going to answer that in a three parts: Pre-Show Planning, During the Show and Post-Show Follow-Up. Let’s begin with the planning.

It all begins before you even step foot on the exhibit floor. Echoing a statement by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” You need to commit to your trade show goals and ways to achieve them with purpose. Crafting a trade show plan serves many purposes by:

  • Organizing the approach in one place.
  • Defining the overarching goal, objectives, key messaging, strategies, tactics, timelines and budgets.
  • Providing direction when deciding on tactics.
  • Assisting with onboarding team members new to the initiative.

Planning can take almost more time than putting it into action. Here’s a few starting points.

Start early with research.

Ask questions – a lot of questions. What “big things” will your company have to talk about at the time of the tradeshow? Did you have a big success to showcase your capabilities that could be demonstrated at the show? Launching a new product or service? Are you rebranding? Often a company will hold releasing “big things” to have something new and exciting to promote at the tradeshow. This is important not only in outlining your goals and objectives, but also in determining your messaging. Also ask: What does a successful tradeshow look? Is it all about the sales numbers, or is it building your brand, quality leads and fostering current relationships.

Define your budget.

You can have all the ideas in the world, but how much money you have to spend will really determine which ones are feasible. Start with the booth experience. Estimate your structure expenses (renting vs. owning), graphic design needs, promotional items, sales collateral, lead retrieval systems, electrical, internet, etc. Don’t overlook the costs to be there. How many team members do you need to account for travel, lodging and meals? How will you promote your tradeshow presence? Include costs for trade show promotions and communications in addition to any tradeshow advertising and sponsorships that could boost your brand presence.

Set deadlines and delegations.

Starting with the show date. Then work backward and begin plotting out key show deadlines, such as shipping and service orders. Know registration and hotel deadlines. Fill in with dates to communicate your show presence and what channels – this can begin up to six months before a show like NPE2018! Then back up further and assign dates to complete booth messaging and establish the look. You’ll want that to infiltrate through all the tradeshow communication before, during and after the show.

When the trade show plan is complete and all decision makers have signed off, then it’s time to implement! Who will do the work? Gather your marketers, public relations, graphic designers, subject matter experts and any other key players you need to execute your tradeshow plan. Is it just you? Need help – ask Vive how we can help with tradeshow support. We like to say tradeshows can be like Thanksgiving dinner — it takes 10 times as long to prepare than it does to devour!