Monthly Archives: April 2014

5 Trade Show Tips

Spring is often the time for trade shows and business expos.  If your business participates in trade shows, it’s important that they are successful, so here are five suggestions:

Trade Show Floor

Tip #1:  Define the desired success from your company’s participation in the trade show.  Do you want x number of qualified leads for your sales team?  Do you want to build brand awareness within your industry?  Do you want to sell x number of units?

Tip #2:  Be realistic.  Having goals for participation is essential, but keep in mind that there are variables beyond your control.  If publicity for the event is lacking, attendance may be less than expected.  A popular keynote speaker may draw attention away from booth time.  A concept some exhibitors use is to set an objective, then cut it in half and be happy with half of that.

Tip #3:  Be prepared.  Understand the event and anticipated attendance.  Do you need 40,000 brochures if the event organizers tout that there will be that many people coming through the doors?  Only if you want to waste a few thousand brochures.  Know set-up and take down time frames.  Will you promote your appearance at the show ahead of time?  To what audience?  Have you thought through how you’re going to follow-up with any leads you may get?  Are you going to have items to give away?  Who will be staffing the booth?  What does your display look like, and does it need to be updated?  Planning for the little things prevents them from becoming big things during the show, like Internet access or power for your computers.  Have you booked travel and lodging for your staff?

Tip #4:  Respect the event.  How will your company look if a sales rep who’s staffing your booth is constantly checking E-mail or sending texts to someone while she’s in the booth?  Or he’s eating popcorn while potential customers are walking by?  There are proven methods for success in staffing a trade show booth, so it’s wise to review those with staff prior to the event so they understand what’s expected.

We have found one of the most successful methods for staffing an exhibit is having a customer in the booth, either with your sales personnel or by themselves.  Think about it.  Does a prospective customer eyeing your booth want to talk to a pushy sales person?  Or would they prefer to discuss your products and/or services with someone they recognize who happens to be one of your customers?  Contact Brand Irons if you have questions on how to make this work for your company.

Tip #5:  Follow Up!  This may be shocking to some, but statistics from various surveys indicate that roughly 75% of leads generated at a trade show are NEVER followed up on!  Following up on leads is an essential part of the planning process.  Be prepared to dish out the leads to sales reps and monitor their progress.  Keep in mind that the people who stopped by the booth are expecting some kind of response, and represent potential sales.

Do the math:  If you’ve spent $5,000 to exhibit your company at a show and receive 250 somewhat qualified leads, that represents 250 potential customers for your products and services at whatever price point you use.  Let’s say it’s $1,000 in business for every new customer.  That’s potential revenue of $250,000!  If your company only follows up on 25% of those leads (62.5), you’ve reduce the revenue potential down to $62,500.  Something to think about.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand  

What’s Your Value Proposition?

What good are you?

That’s a fair question for any business if it’s coming from a consumer.  Tied to that question is:  What makes you different or better than any other company that does what you do or offers the products and/or services that you do?  That is a rather common query from today’s consumer.

What makes you different?

What makes you different?

Consumers have a lot of choices when it comes to virtually any product or service on the market.  They can shop online, weigh the variables, and make their decisions based on whatever information they can find, good or bad.

This is why your value proposition is essential.

Some marketing gurus call it your unique selling proposition (USP), and that’s close, but it really boils down to knowing your specific target audience (market segment) and the value your product and/or service provides to that specific target market.  That’s a value proposition.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a company that manufactures ceramic coffee cups.  The range of consumers for their product could include companies that retail sets of dishes to consumers, companies that produce promotional gift items for businesses, tourism and hospitality-related businesses, and the general consumer.

Is the same value proposition valid for each of these market segments?  Hardly.

When we dig deeper, we discover that the value provided by our ceramic coffee cup manufacturer to the promotional market may be an average quality cup at an economical price point.  Add a short turn-around on delivery to the promotional company or the ability to print or etch the consumer’s message on the cups and turn them around quickly, and the value to the promotional company rises considerably.  Add a variety of colors or different sizes and shapes and the value goes up even more.

The concept of a value proposition goes to the heart of your business.  What consumer markets do you, or do you want to, serve?  It is vital to know your consumer segments because the value they expect is what your company must deliver in order to meet or exceed their demands.

Weigh what you offer in terms of value, not benefits.  That means you have to look at what you offer from the consumer’s point of view.  You think of what you offer as a benefit to the consumer, where they need to see it as having value for them.  Define the value clearly; again, from the consumer’s viewpoint.  Determine how best to deliver that value message to the marketplace to earn your share of the business that’s out there.

If you need help figuring this all out, Brand Irons is here to do that, and the initial consultation is offered free of charge.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand 

Read This Now!

If you don’t read this entire article now that you’ve started, you will miss valuable information about how to get someone’s attention.  Yes!  That’s the purpose of the headline and this blog – getting people’s attention.  And yes, we’re revisiting the topic.

Headlines are attention getting devices (AGDs) in print ads or newspaper and magazine articles.  So is an opening scene or theme in a TV commercial or video and the initial sounds in a radio spot, TV commercial, and video.  With the average person being bombarded by more than 2,000 advertising messages every day, it is imperative that any advertising you do for your business stands out from all the rest.

You also have to realize that the more targeted your ad messages are to your desired audience, the greater your chances of inspiring a positive purchase decision.

Some commercials are so horrible they stand out because they’re atrocious.  Others are fabulous in that they grab a consumer’s attention and keep it until the end.  If the commercial has the intended impact, it creates a sense of urgency with the consumer to go and make a purchase.  That’s the intent of an AGD and the commercial, is it not?

Think about a majority of the drug commercials on television today.  They try to get your attention by highlighting an illness or symptom, using 10 seconds out of 30 to explain what their product can do to resolve the concern.  Then, based on the federal regulations, they spend the remaining 20 seconds telling you the potential side effects.  Do these spots keep your attention after they get it, if they get it?

Knowing your target market segment is critical to developing an effective advertising and marketing budget.  You are likely to waste money if you advertise to potential consumers outside of your target demographic.  That’s another blog, though, and often unavoidable since advertising channels (newspaper, magazines, radio, TV) have to lump people (potential buyers) together to get you to buy their space or time.

Let’s consider a relatively new commercial campaign for a fast food restaurant that has decided to launch a breakfast menu, Mexican style.  The belief is that their target audience is consumers who like to eat breakfast at the dominant player in the fast food breakfast market.  The attention getting device showcases men claiming to be Ronald McDonald who love breakfast at Taco Bell.  We asked consumers who were discussing the commercial which fast food company paid for the ads.  In shades of Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” faux pas, the majority were unable to identify that it was Taco Bell.

Think McDonald’s is going to complain about the commercials?  Hardly!  When you study the 30-second commercial,  Taco Bell is mentioned once outside of the actors’ lines and the logo appears twice … but Ronald McDonald is mentioned over and over.  One might think it’s a commercial for the golden arches.

In other words, be careful about your attention getting device.  Take the time to think things through.  We noticed Taco Bell now has some different commercials focused more on their breakfast entrees than on their competition.  Agencies don’t always have the right answers, and mistakes can be costly.  Know your market segment!

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand  

Product Presentation

One of the most important elements in marketing your business is how you present your company and your products and/or services.  Presentation sets up the perception customers and potential customers have of what it is you have to offer.  Poor presentation can develop a negative perception, and we all know a negative impression – especially if it’s the first impression – can be difficult to overcome.Presentation involves virtually every aspect of your business, from your web presence to packaging of your product, and from your corporate logo to your advertising impressions.  There are psychological reasons to pay attention to presentation.

The example pictured pertains to positioning of your product.  Most consumers are right-handed.  While that may seem insignificant, it does play a role in product placement.

Store shelves are arranged to take advantage of human nature.

Store shelves are arranged to take advantage of human nature.

Store shelves are arranged to take advantage of human nature.On a grocery store shelf, dish washing detergents are displayed with the most prominent brand at eye level, front and center.  The unwary consumer sees the top brand, notices the price, naturally grabs for a bottle, and continues on their trek through the store.  It is only when they get to check-out that they realize they’ve grabbed the store brand instead of the brand they thought they had intended to purchase.  Simple psychology applied to primarily right-handed people.

Look more closely and you realize the bottles are shaped and sized very much alike, and just as colorful so the perception is they’re all the same.  At check-out, the consumer is less likely to return the store brand in exchange for a higher-priced product so the store’s psychological ploy has worked.

Have you taken a look at your company’s website lately?  Does it present well to potential customers?  When you take the time to think through the process of a potential customer finding your business on the Internet, you understand that it usually starts with a search engine query.  If your website or other information fails to come up on the first page of search results, you only have a 25% chance of a user going further to find you.

If your website does land on the first page, it’s likely you’ve paid to promote your website, found the right key words to bring you to the forefront, and have a relevant page descriptor and relevant content that matches what the consumer was searching for.  Those are the first steps.

Your website must then pertain to what the potential consumer is trying to find, and quickly.  It should be easy to scan and locate the information they need to use your services or purchase your product.  How all that information is presented is also critical.  Make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for, and if you’re not sure what they’re looking for, ask them so you can enhance the presentation of your products and services.

You must get their attention, keep it, and get them to respond favorably to your call to action.

Presentation goes so much deeper:

  • Hand your product to a potential consumer with the label facing them.
  • Give someone your business card with the information easy to read.
  • Park vehicles with your company’s logo in conspicuous locations to maximize the advertising value, and make sure the vehicle is clean and attractive-looking.
  • Keep the entrance to your building neat and clean.

Remember, it’s hard to change a first impression.  How do your employees present themselves and your company?

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand