Trade shows can be expensive. How do we ensure we get a good ROI at trade shows?
Exhibitions deliver highly qualified prospects with buying influence – many of whom target one exhibition and event exclusively. According to industry research, an overwhelming percentage (79%) of all qualified attendees represent a potential new customer for exhibiting companies.
Go the Distance
Simply having a booth at a trade show is not enough. What are you doing before, during and after the show to achieve your show objectives (you do have a trade show marketing plan, right?)? How are you getting traffic to the booth? What do you have planned for the media? How compelling is the booth design and your booth activities? Are you capturing data along the way? Are you creating brand experiences? How will you follow up and track results? How will you measure the return on your trade show investment?
Trade shows, like any other marketing strategy, will only be as successful as you make them. The key is to thoroughly plan, professionally execute and accurately measure.
Step 1: Determine what you want/need to accomplish at the show. Do you want to increase awareness? Build customer relationships? Schedule presentations? Demonstrate products? Initiate sales? Committing to specific objectives is the first step toward success. And the more specific and measurable the objectives are, the easier it will be to determine if you have achieved your objectives. How many presentations do you want to make? How many sales do you want to initiate? How many media interviews do you want to arrange?
Set specific objectives. For example, if a key show objective is to generate leads and increase sales, determine the overall show investment and the number of leads and volume of sales required to deliver an acceptable ROI. Ask yourself how many leads will you need to generate and convert (total sales) in order to justify the trade show investment?
Step 2: Identify target audiences and determine key messages. Document all target audiences you can and want to meet with at the show – prospects, customers, vendor-partners, media, distributors, sales reps, industry analysts, etc. Likewise, determine key messages to each of these audiences as it relates specifically to the show. This will ensure everyone (as well as the booth itself, presentations and videos, show literature and promotional handouts) is communicating the right messages to the right people.
Step 3: Strategize the most effective ways to achieve your objectives and communicate key messages. There is virtually no limit to the number of trade show marketing strategies you can plan and execute. The key is to ensure that any proposed strategy – if successful – will contribute to one or more of the objectives you documented in your plan.
Step 4: Measure and assess the show’s ROI. Once the show is over, your work is not complete. Besides scheduling meetings with leads generated at the show, you need to remain in front of prospects (email, mail, phone, etc.) and begin assessing the show’s ROI.
The return on investment will be realized in days, weeks and months following the show.
• How many booth attendees did you experience?
• Did your Web site traffic increase before, during and after the show?
• How many meetings occurred as a result of the show?
• Was there an increase in sales calls and/or emails?
• Did sales increase as a result of the show? If so, how much?
• If you conducted media relations, how much coverage appeared and did it effectively communicate your key messages? Did it increase Web site traffic or increase leads and sales?
• And most importantly, did you achieve the trade show objectives?
Once you have assessed the results, determine if the cost of the show was worth the investment. If so, consider how you can improve the results at your next show. If not, determine why the results didn’t meet your expectations. Were booth invitations utilized? Was the booth messaging effective? Did you effectively engage booth attendees? Did you capture visitor data? Were the show employees properly prepared? Did the show fall short of attracting your target audience?
Consider ways to improve the show results or determine if your marketing dollars would be better spent at another industry show or on another marketing strategy.
A trade show can be an effective marketing strategy if utilized properly. If you are investing marketing dollars in shows, ensure you go the distance to achieve the ROI you expect.
For more information, download our trade show marketing white paper.
At Sweeney we get the opportunity to launch some really cool consumer products. The Yube certainly falls into that category.
What’s a Yube? Yube is a new personalized furniture system featuring modular cubes that easily assemble into virtually any furniture design. You can configure, build and decorate a layout to suit your personal taste using Yube’s flexible building-block system to create tables, desks, shelves, room-dividers and any piece the user can devise.
What’s the Cool Factor? You can completely personalize your Yube structures. Build anything you can image and also develop custom doors using personal photos.
What Makes It Ecofriendly? Being almost edible, the Yube outer panels are made from Sugarcane, only someone got there first to extract the sweet juice. Rather than burn the remaining fiber as waste, it is pulped for reuse and pressed into Yube panels.
The frames of the Yube are made from Woodlite, a proprietary compound of non-toxic moldable plastic mixed with Bamboo, the planet’s fastest growing renewable wood resource. Woodlite utilizes 20-30% less non-renewable resources than similarly molded products.
What Are Media & Bloggers Saying? Yube just launched in early January. So we are still hard at work securing media and blogger coverage. But you can check out some preliminary coverage here:
Mom of 2 Dancers (Mommy Blog)
If you want to learn more about Sweeney’s product launch services, visit our product launch service sheet.
A recent issue of Packaging World Magazine suggests that CPG companies can leverage eye tracking to assess shopper behavior and validate ideas. I guess, but CPG companies should also be aware that while the eyes may indeed be the window to the soul, they are not necessarily the fingers on the trigger.
Christian Simms, an associate director of consumer market knowledge for P&G’s Pantene and Herbal Essence brands actually urges CPG companies to give eye tracking a serious look. “What consumers say and what they react to is a very different thing than what they spontaneously react to,” Simms says of eye tracking’s benefits. “We’re interested in what they can tell us without saying it to us.”
I’m sure all this eye tracking research is very cool and under the right circumstances, very useful. On the one hand, Pamela Waldron global director, Oral Care, in Johnson & Johnson’s Global Strategic Insights Group says: “The potential loss of sales to a business by diluting their equity and getting lost on shelf is enormous, and it’s not a risk one wants to take in this day and age.”
On the other hand, Simms acknowledges that eye tracking is used selectively at P&G. “It is likely to be part of the mix for a line extension, or when risk is involved in the design, such as changing artwork across an entire brand line.”
In short, eye tracking can be excellent for fine-tuning. But at the end of the day, you can learn most of what you need to know about consumer behavior and packaging from watching a few hours of Planet Earth. When snakes or birds or even elephants want to grab the attention of a fellow creature, they flash their colorful feathers, wave their seductive antenna, trumpet enormous mating calls or do their “look at me” dance.
And while any and all of these tricks are sure to turn a few heads, none guarantee they’ll be hooking up anytime soon. And it’s the same with CPG.
Consumers will always take a look at the package; they may even be mesmerized by the pretty colors and sensual curves and subliminal messaging. But more often than not, they will make their purchase decision based on price, performance, quality and brand loyalty.
We are launching a new consumer product in the health and fitness category. What marketing strategies should we consider?
When launching a new product or service, we recommend always taking the long view and complete approach. To achieve success it is critical to consider all relevant strategies, to determine the proper integration of all strategies and to establish the appropriate timeline for execution.
It is essential to start with a marketing plan that identifies your strategies, tactics, measurement/analysis, budgets and timelines. This will help you stay on track during the launch and avoid making knee jerk reactions. It is certainly okay to test, assess and revamp campaigns along the way, but you need to develop a road map before starting the journey.
Following are strategies you should consider as part of your product launch plan.
Stage 1: Market Discovery
Distribution channel development
Stage 2: Business/Product Branding
Brand name development
Positioning and messaging
Product labeling and packaging
Stationery, business forms, signage
Web Site design and optimization
Stage 3: Business Pre-Launch
Publicity and media relations
Trade show marketing
Sales training and support
Retail POP support
Stage 4: Business/Product Launch Marketing
Publicity and media relations
Social media marketing
Web and search engine marketing
Guerilla marketing and Events
Stage 5: Measurement and Analysis
Media and blog coverage results
Traffic and sales results
Stage 6: Post-Launch Marketing
Publicity and media relations
Launching a new product and don’t know where to start? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
This may seem peculiar if not downright inappropriate, but please bear with me. Martin Luther King was – among other things – one of the most effective marketers of the 20th century.
Like all great marketers, he was passionate about a product; in his case, the cause of equality and civil rights.
Like all great marketers, he understood that success required more than simply taking your product to the marketplace, but instead demanded the ability to integrate it into the marketplace.
Like all great marketers, he recognized the need to identify target audiences and establish measurable objectives (I have a dream).
Like all great marketers, Martin Luther King Jr. employed every reasonable strategy at his disposal to achieve his goals, making the world his stage. Between 1957 and 1968, he traveled more than six million miles and spoke more than 2,500 times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest and action; meanwhile he wrote five books and numerous articles. During these 11 years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience, and inspiring his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of 20 times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.
Martin Luther King Jr. did not create a brand or launch a product, he changed the world to the benefit of each and every one of us. Then he was unjustifiably assassinated – shot dead – on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis at the age of 39. Yes, he was only 39.
This Monday we celebrate his life with a national holiday… a day off of work for some, and just another day at the office for others. I implore you this Monday to take just a moment to think about Martin Luther King Jr. and what he meant to our world. Go to MLK Online and read his bio or listen to a speech or watch a video of his last speech, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.” Then close your eyes and give thanks to one of the greatest marketers – and men – of our time.
Whether your organization is “flying high” or “getting by,” it is unquestionably in your best interest to always evaluate minimum-investment, maximum-return marketing strategies as key components of your marketing plan. Following are Sweeney’s Top 5 “Must Consider” strategies for 2011 – strategies we believe cannot be overlooked and whose value should not be underestimated:
Publicity & Media Relations. Though a standard in the world of public relations, publicity and media relations have never held more potential for organizations seeking to increase awareness through traditional and online media outlets. Publicity and media relations 2.0 allow you to secure print, broadcast and online media coverage to reach target audiences with both company and product information in a cost-efficient manner. In the process you are also creating valuable content that can be used to enhance your web site and enhance your search ranking.
Online Advertising. As an addition or alternative to traditional print and broadcast advertising, online advertising (both display and PPC) can help you will build awareness while also driving traffic to your web site – traffic that you can monitor and evaluate. You can control costs, messaging and placement in both a test and campaign environment.
E-mail Marketing. The regular distribution of email to existing or rented databases is an effective, fast and efficient strategy for staying in front of and engaging target audiences (customers, prospects, distributors, retailers, etc.). E-mail marketing allows you to monitor, measure, evaluate and respond to recipient actions almost immediately.
Social Media Marketing. The use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media – allows you to produce and share content, generate and participate in conversations and establish a trusted presence among target audiences. As with the other strategies, you can manage your involvement and costs while achieving desired results.
Creative. The difference between a good and great campaign is often determined by the creative. The ad that gets responses, the brochure that gets read, the business card that elicits calls, the e-mail that gets opened and clicked… they all have one thing in common – an impactful creative design and compelling creative message. This is one corner you don’t want to cut.
Need help implementing these marketing and public relations strategies or others? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
Sometimes the best way to learn from others is learning what not to do. I received the following email below in my inbox today.
This is exactly the type of emails you don’t want to receive as a consumer or send as a marketer. Here’s why:
1. I intentionally removed the sender’s name from the email because I didn’t want to call him out personally. However, the email said it was from “Gevalia Stainless Steel Bundle Pkg” and then it listed a person’s email address. The “FROM” line of a consumer email should always be the company, in this case “Gevalia Coffee” and should not list an individual’s name (unless your the Geico Gecko).
2. The subject line is not enticing at all. Plus, I’m not a coffee drinker. The only reason I opened this email is because I was curious as a consumer marketer.
3. The copy does not encourage me to click the link. It simply falls flat. Plus there is no visual in this email at all. Why not create an HTML email with the offer right there for me to see.
4. What is with that URL? The URL should be a link to the company “Gevalia Coffee”. Not a link that looks suspicious and I have no idea where it will lead me.
5. Who is “Gevalia Coffee”? There is no information in this email to tell me about the company and why I would want to buy their coffee.
6. “Write to us”? Huh… why would I want to write to you? Plus, how do I even know who I’m sending a letter to if you only provide a PO Box?
As you can clearly see, there are many issues with this email and it is highly likely it didn’t produce any positive results. You better believe I don’t want to be receiving email again from this company. Did I mention I’m not a coffee drinker?!
If you were Howard Schultz and you finally managed to pull your stock back to levels it hasn’t seen in four years, would you take the chance of changing what is arguably one of the most recognized logos on the planet?
Such a bold move can only mean one thing: the Starbucks business is also about to change.
Brand names and logos, especially ones that have attained significant market awareness and acceptance, should not be trifled with.
It’s kind of silly when you think about it. While a good brand name and a good logo can help the cause of an organization to build awareness and engagement and loyalty, in and of themselves they are rather meaningless. Seriously, does anyone thing Google is a good name? Does anyone think golden arches make a good logo?
At the end of the day, it is the organization itself – its vision, its practice, its people, its products and services, its prices, its promise and the delivery of that promise – that make the brand names and logos work.
If Starbucks coffee tasted like gas station java (and it clearly does not), all the logo changes in the world would not make a difference. On the other hand, if Starbucks coffee is recognized worldwide as the highest-quality coffee (and it clearly is), even a minor logo change can be huge.
So when is it time to change your logo? Mostly when it is designed to reflect a change in your business. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule… even Starbucks altered its original logo back in the late 1980s when it realized a mysterious sea nymph might be more appropriate than a bare-breasted siren.
My product is expected to be reviewed in Consumer Reports. Should I be prepared both online and with retailers for a big influx in sales? Also, assuming a positive review, how can we market this information to our retailers and consumers?
If you are expecting a Consumer Reports review to be the tipping point for your business, your expectations are probably set too high. While a positive Consumer Reports review will certainly benefit your brand and your product that is tested (assuming a positive review), it is unlikely Consumer Reports will have a similar effect as “Ophra’s favorite things”.
The response will really vary by product type. If you have a high value product, like a car, flat screen television, video camera, etc., these are planned purchases people tend to research before buying. Therefore, you will not likely see a big spike in sales with a higher value, non-impulse buy product.
If you have a product that is more of an impulse buy or a product that has a shorter life cycle (e.g. a cleaning product, detergent, etc.), you could see a slight bump in sales from the review. But again, don’t expect any miracles here.
We did reach out to two consumer packaged goods companies who were recently featured in the Consumer Reports December 2010 issue and both reported not seeing a major spike in sales. Keep in mind that consumers tend to use Consumer Reports as a resource and save issues for future use. So the impact could occur in small increments over time.
With that being said, you still should be prepared online to handle an increase of sales and let your retailers know you expect your product to appear in Consumer Reports. This will help ensure they are prepared.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that Consumer Reports has very strict guidelines about the commercial use of Consumer Reports content. The publication’s website clearly states:
Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumers Union will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to not advertise or market your Consumer Reports review unless you have spoken with the publication first.
Looking to secure quality and high volumes of media coverage in 2011, contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
I consider myself a practical person. I try to be realistic purchasing things my family needs and doesn’t need. Although, my husband is completely the opposite and is always trying to get me to buy products/services I don’t think we need. It’s a constant struggle between us and one that I usually get the “cheapo” nickname for.
One recent example is the iPad, which I received from my husband for Christmas. I waited about 2 weeks before opening the box. I was struggling with the fact that we already both have iPhones, a desktop and a laptop computer at home. Why would we need a bigger glorified iPhone?
I finally threw caution to the wind and set up the iPad last night. I only had a chance to download a few apps, but I was completely and utterly sold within minutes. I had made the right choice. The apps on the iPad were so much cooler than on the iPhone and I immediately started thinking of ways we can make good use of the iPad.
My experience with the iPad really got me thinking about how amazing Apple’s products and marketing truly are to get us to purchase things we don’t really need. And look at Starbucks… do we really need a $5 coffee when we can get it for $1 at MacDonald’s?
The list of examples never ends. We basically live in a world of products and services that we don’t really need. But after all, I guess that is why they call us “consumers”.