For small businesses, trade shows are beneficial since they provide an opportunity to reach potential customers,investors and journalists over a very short time. However, the limited resources of most small businesses mean you have to extract the most from each appearance. Want to know the secrets to making the contacts you want? Susan McPherson, vice president of global trade show services at PR Newswire, shares her tips for leveraging your participation in a trade show.
What tools and resources should a small business use to plan for a trade show?
Trade shows begin booking exhibitors at least six months in advance. An important step is finding out if the trade show management offers any tools to help exhibitors reap the full benefits. These may include media lists, a website for posting exhibitors’ news, and special packages and pricing with service providers. These benefits can help a business with limited resources.
Also, ask the trade show management about their PR plans. For example, if they’re issuing a news release about the event,ask if your company can be listed as an exhibitor; or offer your participation as a case study for their marketing materials. If you’re launching a new product or service, target the daily show publication, both online and in print. Also, consult the editorial calendars of industry trade publications. Keep in mind that most magazines have long leaddeadlines, so make contact early.
Lastly, if you’re launching a trade show-specific website, give it relevant content at least three weeks in advance. Ensure it’s updated while you’re on the road. Use your special event URL in all show-related correspondence and include a link to it from your main website. A well-managed site can convert leads to customers.
What’s the best way to manage a product launch at a show??
There are a few simple steps:
- Plan ahead. Develop a calendar of tasks to complete prior to the launch at least a month in advance. Account for drafting and finalising the launch release and marketing materials,producing graphics or product photos, securing customer testimonials and performing media outreach. Then, align these activities to the time-frame of the trade show. Some tasks may need to be adjusted based on trade show rules and deadlines.?
- If media coverage of your launch is a priority, preview your product for select journalists ahead of the event.
- A well-orchestrated product announcement is key to generating publicity. Check with event organisers if there’s an official news wire sponsor and if there are any rules for issuing news at the event.
- Create a standalone website or product page that can be updated quickly and easily. Populate the site with information and a link to encourage further communication.
- Get the right people staffing your booth. Product managers are essential if you are demonstrating a new service.
How should a company structure its product launch announcement if it’s being made at a show?
The only major difference between a trade show-based announcement and a standard release will be the dateline. The lead paragraph should indicate that the launch is taking place at the event.
What’s the best way to secure media interviews?
Again, plan ahead. Use the media list given by show management, and send out e-mails to reporters who’ll be attending. Or,make your own list. Initiate contact at least two weeks before the show and offer a unique angle to distinguish your company from others.
Also look to be either a keynote speaker ora participant in a panel discussion. This takes extensive planning and creativity, so start early and identify several themes you’re comfortable discussing. Don’t focus solely on topics related to your business. The most enticing speakers are those who can branch out beyond standard subjects.
What marketing materials should be on hand?
Minimal ones. No journalist wants to carry reams of paper, and with growing concern for the environment, no one likes to see waste. You should include these materials on your trade show website for easy download by journalists when the show is over.
Consumers Don’t Have An Attention Problem. It’s Just That Your Advertising Isn’t Very Good
With so much media available to consume, quality matters more than ever for ads.
If a brand releases an ad and no one sees it, is it still called “advertising”?
People have more tools than ever before to skip out on ads entirely. More than three-fourths of the people in North America engage in automated ad-blocking, and 10 percent of them block ads across four kinds of media or more, according to Deloitte. Much like the question of trees falling in forests, what good is a brand’s message at a time when people generally don’t want to hear its sound?
Ad units are shrinking in the wake of ad-blocking technology, but human attention span remains unchanged. Today’s consumers are surely more distracted than any previous generation, so they guard their attention spans more mercilessly. When advertisers can successfully command that attention for a minute or two, it means the consumer is watching an ad for the same reason he or she binge-watches Stranger Things on Netflix: The ad has managed to present itself as relevant or vital to the viewer. It wins every time.
Just 10 years ago, Gillette dominated the razor blade market. Its ads were comfortable, predictable 30-second units that reminded everyone of something they already knew: You need razor blades on the regular, so you might as well buy Gillette.
Related: Advertising Consulting Business Plan
But, the market had to reorganise itself with the appearance of Dollar Shave Club and its distinctly off-the-wall messaging. The notorious startup used quirky 90-second ads to spread its word online, presenting itself as unignorable by comparison to the competition. Even though we live in a time when people can skip ads, block ads and avoid ads, Dollar Shave Club’s marketing won major viral attention. It didn’t exactly kill Gillette’s Goliath, but it sure made Goliath sweat.
The lesson here is that people don’t hate all ads, they just hate the crappy ones. The bar for perceived quality in advertising is so low these days that many choose not to engage with anything on principle alone. People even close web pages they want to visit when the page auto-plays a video ad. When job number one of the advertiser is to interest consumers, it’s never been easier to annoy them.
Far from the rise of the six-second ad unit, there’s strong evidence that people generally want long-form content.
Ooyala reports that long-form video content consumption is up 30 percent from last year. Instagram used to be all about sharing individual photos and short videos, but now with the launch of IGTV supports 60-minute videos. The most widely subscribed YouTuber, PewDiePie, regularly posts 20-minute-long videos to a community of millions of fans. Joe Rogan’s podcast blends comedy, politics and philosophy for two to three hours at a stretch, and is one of the most popular podcasts on the internet.
People can, of course, handle stories and follow them over time. It’s one of the defining characteristics of humanity. But, there are so many stories competing for our attention nowadays that we are extremely selective about which ones we let into our lives. If any of these opt-in narratives will come from advertising, those ads must first run the ad-blocking gauntlet, then be immediately relevant and spectacular to the consumer upon arrival. The bar for perceived quality in advertising these days is actually quite high.
But, there is meaningful assistance on your way to clearing it. Social listening tools trawl the internet to learn what’s being said about and around different brands. With help from a company specialising in consumer insights and some Nielsen data, brands can better learn who their customers are, what they love and what they don’t love. This is key information in designing a vital, relevant message. In simplest terms, a brand must know its audience. The marketing needs to reflect what the audience is interested in, not what company leadership is interested in.
From there it’s only a matter of iterating and optimising. The great thing about digital advertising is that you get feedback instantly. You can iterate a campaign to make it better. Simple tweaks in copy, reframing key ideas and A/B testing can help make your campaign truly great.
Otherwise you run the risk of a mediocre campaign and a wasted media spend. No one wants to hear that sound.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
6 False Advertising Scandals You Can Learn From
Don’t stretch the truth the way Volkswagen, New Balance, Airborne, Splenda, Rice Krispies and Red Bull did.
New entrepreneurs are often tempted to exaggerate what new products or services are capable of. No wonder: Presented to a powerful investor, a stretch of the truth just might help land that series A funding.
And, less seriously, a bit of marketing flair or showmanship, in many cases, will help an entrepreneur accomplish his or her without many repercussions.
But, in other cases, if you’re that entrepreneur who is caught deliberately misleading investors or consumers, you could face false advertising charges – and the ruin of your brand’s reputation. Consider these six examples:
Forget Everything You’ve Heard — Fear Doesn’t Sell
If consumers associate your product with fear, they may not have a strong connection to your brand.
Sixty percent of Subaru owners have dogs. So in 2008, when the company decided to sponsor Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, it made a major break from previous advertising campaigns — ones that showed drivers with other cars getting stuck in the snow, for example. Alongside a pledge to donate $250 to charity for every car sold, the company began to understand how to appeal to its core audience through their own interests — and how those tied together in a Subaru.
Since 2008, the company has been running a campaign called “Love,” one that brings together all the attributes that Subaru is known for — including safety and reliability. Instead of talking to customers by telling them all the bad things that will happen if they don’t drive a Subaru (e.g., getting stuck in the snow), the company began speaking in a more positive language — including bringing furry friends along on drives.
For many, the instinctive approach toward marketing is to tell an audience why they have to buy your product. Bad things will happen otherwise, and yours is the best in market. The others won’t help you reach your goal. The problem with that logic is that it doesn’t take into account the impact of brand image on product marketing. Sure, you might skid in the snow without a Subaru, but you need to think positively of the company as a whole if you’re going to be drawn to its products in the first place.
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