Missed Media Opportunities: Industry Trade Shows

Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

Missed Media Opportunities: Industry Trade Shows

Think about it: Doesn’t it make sense to make an effort to educate media similarly to the way you’d educate a prospective customer?

Industry trade shows offer the opportunity for companies to demo their latest and greatest products and personally interact with thousands of customers and prospective customers. However, they are a major investment in terms of time and resources, so you definitely want to take full advantage of any reasonable chance to promote your business.

We often see companies miss a very good opportunity that costs them very little extra in terms of time and money: They forget about media opportunities. Some do consider media, but they put time and money into a very minimal effort and just a small piece of the puzzle such as assemble product information in a document, call it a press release and assume that media will understand and appreciate its significance.

I get it…with the logistics of producing, shipping and assembling the booth, equipment and handouts, booking flights and hotel rooms, scheduling work shifts and meeting with clients, there often isn’t much time left to think about media. Having worked dozens of industry trade shows on behalf of clients, I can guarantee that having a trade show media relations strategy definitely pays off.

Influential reporters, editors, publishers, bloggers, advertising representatives and analysts all attend these trade shows. They appreciate the time and effort you take to help them learn aspects of the industry that are important to their audiences. You may or may not get immediate media coverage, but the payoff can go far beyond the walls and the timeframe of the show.

As media become more aware of you, and you hear about upcoming topics to be covered, you’re building good relationships and becoming well positioned for future coverage. You have to have an organized approach, though, and work the show. There is a lot of competition for media time.

How We Do It

We find out which media is attending and reach out to targeted individuals ahead of time. Then we explain why a meeting is worthwhile and we coordinate appointments. Of course, we make certain that the person they are meeting is prepared with key messages and a media kit that has news and relevant materials.

We run interference if the company spokesperson is tied up with a customer. We track people down if there are miscommunications or if there are individuals who have not responded. Most importantly, after the meetings we follow up to ensure that no opportunities slip away.

Don’t let media walk right by your booth on their way to hear some other company’s product news. 
As you go over your planning checklist for your next big show, ask yourself if you are maximizing your potential for getting media coverage.

If not, let’s talk about it. Fill out the form below and we can set up a conversation.

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Sales People Want Solid Leads. Here’s 10 Tips to Make It Happen

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Sales People Want Solid Leads. Here’s 10 Tips to Make It Happen

There are many things you can do to generate leads among your prospective customers. With Geile/Leon’s 30 years of experience, we’ve compiled a list of the tried and true tactics that have been helpful to our B2B clients in the past.

1. Develop personas

The best place to start in developing a successful lead generation campaign is to know your customers. While this “tip” is now an obvious place to start, it isn’t always practiced by marketers. The reason? B2B organizations target multiple verticals. Marketers may have a high level view of the purchasing deciders in these industries, but to influence them, a more comprehensive understanding is needed. We recommend developing personas for the decision-makers in each of your important verticals. Personas should include not only the typical baseline info such as demographics, but should include information that relates to how they find information, their pain points, their personal motivations and goals, etc.  

Building personas shouldn’t be difficult. Start by interviewing your top sales people – after all, they are a wealth of information (and most like to talk). From there, use that information to visualize and direct your content to that specific person, instead of a nameless audience.

You can learn more about our process here.

2. Create a content strategy

When creating a content strategy, you first need to start at determining what your key performance indicators and goals are. Think about your personas and their pain points, then list the value your organization can offer.  Next, decide on the content you can provide and how you will promote it. How and where do you want to reach these individuals? Decipher where in the sales funnel is content being developed for.

This information will be reflected in your content strategy, but also closely relates to your personas. How and where do you want to reach these individuals? Decipher where in the sales funnel is content being developed for. A good starting point is asking your sales people how content can help support them while they work their prospects.

A common recommendation is to offer white papers, e-books and webinars to get prospects into the sales funnel (the Awareness stage).  As the prospect shows more interest (Consideration), maybe case studies and demo videos are the way to go. And finally, when it looks like they are about to take action (Preference), then product info and competitive comparisons are needed.  You can track all this through Lead Scoring if you are using marketing automation.

Here’s how we approach the full funnel marketing.

3. Start Blogging strategically

Leverage your website to attract potential customers by showing them that you are the industry thought leader through the use of blogs. Create valuable content that answers questions your buyers are asking to build up trust with them.

Blogging begins by conducting keyword research so that your blogs are showing up when your customers search those keywords. This is called SEO, or search engine optimization. Doing so will get your blog in front of more relevant potential customers, making it more likely that a visitor to your site will convert into a customer. More on this later.

Lastly, your team members with the most knowledge of the subject matter should be blogging. If they don’t have time to do so, consider a Content Download Day. The process starts with discussions between the marketing staff and product management to identify hot topics and assign SMEs (subject matter experts). The SMEs are then sent a ‘Content Development Planning Document’ which has several high-level questions to help them isolate the most important information. This document acts as a guide for a more robust conversation.

SMEs and staff from our agency (account executives, writers) then attend a recorded session, and from it, we are able to write content that is on-point with no or very little final revisions. Overall, this is a streamlined approach that minimizes the time SMEs have to dedicate while delivering quality content for marketing to use.

4. Be sure your blog is optimized

In order for your blogging strategy to work, though, you must insure that your website is optimized in a way that encourages users to convert into customers or clients.  This can be achieved by:

  1. Keep your content up-to-date and accurate
  2. Strategically placing CTAs throughout your website to encourage these users to proceed down your sales funnel
  3. Utilize forms to capture data about your visitors, which will then become your list of leads
  4. Analyze performance and optimize for more success

5. Publish other relevant educational content

In addition to blogging, you should be offering other forms of content aside from blogging. This could include brochures, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, videos, etc. Generate leads by asking for the users contact information before providing them with the content they’d like to view. You can focus the content on how to deal with industry-specific pain points.

6. Improve user experience (UX) on your website

Say your potential customers are aware of your brand and have found your website. You won’t be able to convert these leads into sales without a properly designed website.

If leads feel like it takes too much time to find what they’re looking for on your website, they will leave. Be sure your site works as its own sales funnel, ushering users through towards the end goal. Strong journey orchestration like this helps to create a positive experience for the customer, ensuring they come back time and time again.

7. Utilize Your Email Lists

If you are with a large organization, you probably have a CRM fully integrated with your marketing efforts. But do they give you the proper level of reporting to track prospects through the customer journey?

If you are struggling with navigating a big CRM or using a less sophisticated program, we recommend a dedicated marketing automation platform. There many out there including HubSpot and SharpSpring. These will allow you to track every interaction with a prospect such as email clicks, site visits, social media interactions, etc., and assign lead scores for each activity. The higher the score, the further down the funnel the prospect is.

Another value with using marketing automation is the ability to set up triggers to see when prospects are interacting with content. In most systems, the prospects can be assigned a sales person and an email can be automatically sent to the sales person so he/she can decide to respond.

Also, it goes without saying, but be sure to follow up with your leads. According to the Harvard Business Review, when companies follow up with leads within one hour, they are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation than those who wait longer.

8. Attend trade shows

Take your phone to your next trade show and make short videos. Record your product demos. Ask for customer testimonials. Interview a trade editor. All these make for nice small segment videos which can be promoted.

Another often overlooked aspect of Trade Shows is having a plan to engage the media. We offer clients a Trade Show PR program which consists of media outreach before, during and after the show. This has netted additional media coverage for our clients.  These articles and then used in lead generation efforts. If interested in learning about this, please email our VP of PR, Mary at [email protected]

9. Incorporate Video Content For Better ROI

Whether your hiring an agency for a high quality production or doing one in-house, be sure to add videos to your content marketing plan. Adding a simple product video can increase sales by 80%, according to Dream Grow. Not only do videos show a great ROI, but they build trust between you and your customers.

The big question is whether to ask for user information before viewing the video. If the video is intended for top of the funnel awareness, don’t gate it. For videos used in the final steps of the purchasing decision, consider gating it if there is enough exclusive new information. Also, if you are using a marketing automation platform, and include video links in your emails, you will know who is viewing the video, which may eliminate the need to gate it.

Geile/Leon has just recently added in-house video production to our list of services. Check out this team in action with our work for our client Club Fitness.

10. Optimize for SEO

Although this technique was mentioned in the blog section, it’s important to utilize SEO strategies throughout your entire site. SEO is another reason why you should be creating personas too – you find out what keywords your target audience is searching for online. You want your content to be showing up on the first page of Google as close to the top as possible. Smart Insights reported that the first three positions on search engine results pages accounted for the majority of clicks.

Do you need help implementing one or more of these tactics? Let’s chat about how we can help.