Are You Using These Trade Shows Secrets?

Are You Using These Trade Shows Secrets?Did the trade show season sneak up on you and your team again this year? 

The show date seems distant, especially before the holidays, and we always think there’s plenty of time for planning.  Then the shipping date for the booth and products hits us like a bucket of cold water and the mad rush is on.

The resulting scramble usually means one thing: you’re wasting your trade show dollars.

When you and the team rush to pull off this year’s booth, you miss an opportunity to raise the bar.  Here are some trade show thought starters for you to consider to get the most out of your time and money:

5 keys to trade show success

1. Have a plan and work the plan.  Build a calendar with show milestones and stick to it.  Don’t blow off the planning meeting because the show is 6 months off.

  • Why are you going to the show (and don’t say because we always have)
  • What do you want to accomplish (that you can measure)
  • How you will leverage social media and PR (to drive buyers to your booth or create excitement around your new products or programs)

2. Show and sell.  Bring your product and brand to life in your booth.

  • Load it with new news (products, programs, demonstrations)
  • Have a unified image that leverages your brand identity
  • Have videos and signage that communicate and get attention from the aisle (plus they are great guides for the sales team to use)

3. Answer the question “what’s new” before it’s asked.  It’s the most common question and immediately gives you a chance to launch into your elevator speech on how you are innovating the category and driving their business.

4. Don’t sweat the compromises.  Murphy’s Law says something won’t make it to the show.  Or you need to shift around the booth design on the fly.  No one sees these compromises but you.

5. Follow up.  Have a plan in place on how to handle leads before you get them.

What happens in Vegas could be a team building event

What happens in Vegas could be a team building eventWhile trade shows are a business event, they are also a fantastic team building event.  Leverage that aspect without turning the show into a vacation for the team (and try to avoid the “what happens in Vegas” mindset).

For more great insights on how to maximize your trade show experience and dollars, we recommend reading Heinz Marketing’s Secrets To Successful Trade Show Marketing white paper and Whizard Strategy’s blog post Stop Wasting Money on Building Material Trade Shows.

Good Selling!

Channel Instincts: Top 10 Posts of 2013

Channel Instincts Marketing Blog - First PostChannel Instincts posted its first blog on February 16, 2013.  Since then, the site has had over 15,000 views. 

No one has been more surprised than us and we truly thank you for your interest and comments.

But not all of you have been with us for the entire journey and while we have our own favorites, your clicks have let us know which posts struck a chord and were your favorites.

Here are the best of the best as selected by you: the 10 most widely read Channel Instincts posts of 2013.

#10: The Marketing Audit: Finding the Reason for Your Success

Content-AuditWhy is your company doing so well? Why is it experiencing some difficulties?

What are you doing right? And, more importantly, what are you doing wrong?

Effective marketing requires a plan, with objectives, strategies and tactics for reaching goals.

After these steps have been taken, a review of their effectiveness should be undertaken on a planned basis. This review is called “the marketing audit” and is one tool for determining your current level of success.

#9: Is Marketing the Sales Prevention Department?

Street SmartTo hear sales tell it, marketing says “no” more often than they say “yes.”  Marketing has become the poster child for how to not be responsive to the customer’s needs.  In fact, we’ve been called the sales prevention department.

Does that leave sales with only smoke and mirrors?  Heck no.  Marketing should always be trying to show sales and the customer that we’re trying to profitably grow their business.  We can prove it in many ways.

#8: 5 Tips to Succeed with Big Boxes

How to Sell Lowe's and Home DepotMaybe you already sell either Lowe’s or The Home Depot or both.  Maybe you eat channel conflict for breakfast.  But it’s been my experience that the continuous competitive clash between orange and blue is something that is tough for many manufacturers’ to figure out.

Selling one or both of the home center big boxes is a great way to drive volume.  Each, however, works hard to differentiate themselves from one another.  That makes it had to sell both of them when you have a commodity category.  But it’s still possible to do this without being a major consumer brand.

#7: 7 Steps to Writing an Internal Communications Plan

Communication-PlanCommunication is critical within any business setting, but most importantly within a manufacturing facilities − where the right communication can really impact change and translate into business success.

What’s the best way to communicate?  How much should you communicate?  How do you make sure your messages are heard?  This guide will take you step-by-step through the communication process.  It has simple, practical, easy-to-follow information you can put to use immediately.

#6: Are You Making It Too Easy for Your Competition?

knowing your competition better than they know themselvesHow well do you know your competition?  My guess is you are feeling pretty good that you do.  But your goal should be to know the competitor better than they know themselves.

Every day your competitors are thinking about the moves that will make them a huge threat to your business.  Would it be easy for them to grab a huge share of your business just by giving your key retailers an alternative that they can use to leverage you for pricing and other things?  All they have to do in test is be “Good Enough.”  They don’t have to do better.

#5: Are You Pricing for Volume or Profit

Are You Pricing For Volume or Profit?Your costs are rising and your margins are declining.  Worse, your retail partners are demanding greater margins and it’s a scorecard measure.  You need a price increase but you run the risk of triggering a line review or losing placement.

Let’s start with a basic premise: our job in Sales and Marketing is not to merely generate volume but rather to generate gross margin.  How then can we overcome pricing issues?

Profitability without growth will only serve to create an environment with no opportunity.  Growth without profitability only serves to create a poor performing large company.  Profitability without growth will only serve to create an environment with no opportunity.  Understanding the balance between volume and price is your job!

#4: The 4 P’s of Marketing Aren’t Enough Anymore?

4 Ps of MarketingEveryone knows the 4 P’s of marketing…

  • Product
  • Promotion
  • Price
  • Place

But Gino Biondi, vice president of sales & marketing of Zenith Products, has suggested that the 4 P’s of marketing aren’t enough anymore.  Instead, he believes it takes a baker’s dozen of P’s to represent the many facets of product, channel and brand marketing.

#3: 10 Product Marketing Blogs You Need to Read

10 Product Marketing Blogs You Need to ReadFind insight and benefit from the thought-provoking blogs of these product marketing experts.  Each tackles the problems and issues that we all face as product marketers from their unique perspectives.  My top 10 list, in no particular order, includes:

  1. Shardul Mehta – Street Smart Product Manager
  2. Jeff Lash – How To Be A Good Product Manager
  3. Marlon Davis – Connecting.Some.Dots
  4. Ben Rees – Focus Product Marketing
  5. Cindy Alvarez – The Experience is the Product
  6. Stewart Rogers – Strategic Product Manager
  7. Chris Cummings – Product Management Meets Pop Culture
  8. Nils Davis – Wait, I Know This One
  9. Teresa Torres – Product Talk
  10. Rob Berman – Rob Berman’s Blog

#2: What Does “Your Price Is Too High” Really Mean

What Does "YourRpice Is Too High" Really Mean?It could mean, “I don’t like you, get out.”

It could mean, “I am testing you. I have nothing to lose.”

It could mean, “You haven’t shown your value to me.”

It could simply mean, “I’ll get a better price by saying this.”

It could mean, “I am only doing what you as a salesperson have trained me to do.”

#1: 10 Marketing Thought Leaders You Need to Follow

10 marketing thought leaders you need to followLook no further than these 10 marketing thought leaders for inspiration and insight.  Each one has a unique perspective that is worth your attention.   My top 10 list, in no particular order, includes:

  1. Steve Farnsworth
  2. Mark Mitchell
  3. Heidi Cohen
  4. Graham Robertson
  5. Michael Gass
  6. Timothy Carter
  7. Kim Garst
  8. Peg Fitzpatrick
  9. Mike Brown
  10. Jeff Bullas

There you are, our top-10 list for 2013.  We hope you’ve enjoyed our posts over the past year, and we invite you to stay in touch in 2014 by following us on TwitterLinkedInSlideshare or Google+.