trade shows

Exhibitor Tips, Participant Tips, Workshops and Webinars

Why Should I Participate in Trade Shows?

Trade shows are a vital component of many business strategies due to their multifaceted benefits. These events provide businesses with unique opportunities that are difficult to replicate through other marketing channels. Here are several reasons why trade shows are important for businesses: 1. Direct Customer Engagement Trade shows offer businesses the chance to interact directly with potential and existing customers. This face-to-face engagement allows for real-time feedback, personalized interactions, and the building of trust and rapport. Customers can see, touch, and experience products firsthand, which can significantly influence their purchasing decisions. 2. Lead Generation One of the primary benefits of trade shows is the ability to generate high-quality leads. Attendees are often decision-makers or have significant influence within their organizations. This targeted audience means that the leads collected are more likely to convert into actual sales. Moreover, they often attract people who are actively looking for solutions, making them warmer prospects compared to leads generated through cold outreach methods. 3. Brand Awareness and Visibility Participating in a trade show increases brand visibility among a concentrated group of industry professionals and potential customers. Even if attendees do not make an immediate purchase, they become aware of the brand, which can influence their future buying decisions. A well-designed booth and effective promotional materials can leave a lasting impression. 4. Competitive Analysis Trade shows provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to observe their competitors. By walking the floor, businesses can see what others are offering, their marketing strategies, booth designs, and customer engagement tactics. This competitive intelligence can inform a company’s own strategies and help them stay ahead in the market. 5. Networking Opportunities Trade shows bring together a wide range of industry players, including suppliers, distributors, and potential partners. This concentration of industry professionals facilitates networking, which can lead to strategic alliances, partnerships, and collaborations. Networking at trade shows can also lead to media coverage and PR opportunities, further enhancing a company’s visibility. 6. Market Research and Trend Spotting Attending trade shows allows businesses to keep a pulse on industry trends and innovations. They can gather insights into emerging technologies, new products, and shifts in customer preferences. This information is invaluable for product development, marketing strategies, and overall business planning. 7. Sales and Order Taking Many businesses attend trade shows with the primary goal of closing sales and taking orders. The concentrated environment of interested buyers makes it an ideal setting for demonstrating products and services and securing commitments. They often have dedicated areas for order taking, which can streamline the sales process. 8. Product Launches Trade shows are an ideal venue for launching new products or services. The gathered audience of industry insiders and media representatives provides a captive audience for product demonstrations and announcements. A successful product launch at these industry events can generate buzz and media coverage, amplifying the reach beyond the event itself. 9. Educational Opportunities Many trade shows feature seminars, workshops, and panel discussions led by industry experts. These sessions provide valuable learning opportunities for businesses to gain insights into industry best practices, regulatory changes, and innovative solutions. Staying informed through these educational sessions can help businesses adapt and thrive in a competitive market. 10. Building Relationships Building and maintaining relationships with existing clients, suppliers, and industry peers is crucial for long-term success. Trade shows offer a conducive environment for nurturing these relationships, as the informal setting can foster deeper connections than formal business meetings. Trade shows play a critical role in business development by offering a multifaceted platform for engagement, learning, and growth. The unique combination of direct customer interaction, lead generation, brand visibility, competitive analysis, and networking makes such events an indispensable tool for businesses aiming to enhance their market presence and achieve their strategic goals. By leveraging the opportunities presented businesses can stay competitive, innovate, and expand their reach in the market. For an expanded view on this topic refer to our article How to Choose the Right Trade Shows for Your Business. — About MEET MEET helps international B2B & B2G companies scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. Contact Bill Kenney to discuss your U.S. expansion goals bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Market-Entry, SelectUSA

Top Takeaways from the 10th Annual SelectUSA Investment Summit

Last week, the 10th annual SelectUSA Investment Summit took place from Sunday through Wednesday in Washington, DC. Having participated for the seventh consecutive year, we observed some noteworthy trends and insights that underscore the evolving landscape of investment in the United States. Here are our top SelectUSA Summit top takeaways: Interest in US Expansion Continues to Grow The allure of expanding into the US market remains robust, as evidenced by the diverse array of companies and investors present at the summit. The United States continues to be a prime destination for businesses seeking growth opportunities. This year, the enthusiasm for US expansion was palpable, with many international firms showcasing innovative solutions and exploring potential partnerships. The continuous interest underscores the US market’s reputation as a fertile ground for business growth, innovation, and profitability. The Support Ecosystem for Companies Expanding to the US Continues to Improve and Mature One of the most encouraging trends we’ve observed is the maturation and enhancement of the support ecosystem available to companies looking to enter the US market. From government programs to private sector initiatives, there is a robust network of resources designed to assist businesses in navigating the complexities of US expansion. These resources include: This improved support system not only makes the transition smoother for foreign companies but also enhances their chances of success once they establish a presence in the US. Founders Find More US Success by Focusing on Key Strategies Our discussions with various founders and business leaders revealed that certain strategies are particularly effective for achieving success in the US market. Here are the top three strategies that stood out: Customer Acquisition Over Government Incentives While government incentives can be beneficial, the primary focus for many successful founders is on customer acquisition. Building a strong customer base from the outset is crucial for long-term success. This involves understanding the target market, tailoring products or services to meet local demands, and implementing effective marketing strategies. Prioritizing customer acquisition ensures that the business generates revenue and grows organically, creating a solid foundation for future expansion. Building Strong Networks and Support Systems Instead of Going It Alone Another key takeaway is the importance of building robust networks and support systems. Founders who actively engage with local business communities, industry associations, and support organizations tend to fare better than those who attempt to navigate the market independently. Networking provides access to valuable insights, potential partners, and mentorship opportunities. It also facilitates knowledge sharing and collaboration, which can be instrumental in overcoming challenges and accelerating growth. The benefits of a strong network are amplified when translating an international business to the US market. Focusing on Customer Density When Establishing Traction Rather Than Selling Countrywide Finally, a targeted approach to market entry proves to be more effective than attempting to sell across the entire country right away. By concentrating efforts on specific regions and industries with high customer density, businesses can establish traction more quickly and efficiently. This focused strategy allows for deeper market penetration, better resource allocation, and the ability to build a strong local presence before expanding further. Once a solid foothold is established in key areas, it becomes easier to scale operations and extend reach to other parts of the country and other industries. The 10th annual SelectUSA Investment Summit top takeaways highlighted the continued interest and potential for growth in the US market. With an improving support ecosystem and clear strategies for success, companies looking to expand into the US are better equipped than ever to achieve their goals. By focusing on customer acquisition, building strong networks, and targeting high-density markets, founders can maximize their chances of success and make the most of the opportunities available in the United States. As we look forward to future summits, we remain optimistic about the vibrant and dynamic landscape of US expansion. For an expanded view of the SelectUSA Summit top takeaways refer to our article The 3 Truths of Gaining U.S. Sales Traction. About MEET MEET helps international B2B & B2G companies scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. Contact Bill Kenney to discuss your U.S. expansion goals bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Exhibitor Tips, Participant Tips, Workshops and Webinars

5 Reasons You Need to Start Carrying Business Cards Today!

As we all re-enter going to trade shows and events post-COVID, we’re seeing an incredible number of people, as many as 80%, no longer carrying business cards. By not sharing business cards, trade show participants are significantly limiting their ability to make valuable connections and losing lots of opportunities. If for some reason you’ve stopped printing, carrying, and sharing business cards we suggest you change course immediately! I’ll give you a quick story. I was at a trade show a couple of weeks ago. As I was meeting people I was giving them my business card. The first person I met said that they don’t have a business card but they have a QR code. When I scanned their QR code it sent me to their LinkedIn profile. The next person I met said the same thing, “I don’t have a business card but I have a QR code”. Their QR code sent me to their website. The next person I met with their QR code sent me to their email address. The next person their QR code sent me to their Whatsapp. In each case, I was getting sent to different places. The next person their QR code sent me to their profile on the trade show app. Now, I know it all sounds great that we are saving trees. The problem is as somebody who loves to follow up and wants to help connect you to value people and resources I can’t find you the next day. Having all of these different platforms that people are linking their QR codes to has created incredible confusion and complication when meeting people at events. Not to mention that none of them support easy note-taking, event association, scoring, transferability, etc. If you don’t help the people you meet have all their contact info in one place and ultimately their preferred place, you will likely not hear from them again. This isn’t because they don’t want to follow up. It’s because you’ve made it impossible for them to find you and if they can by some miracle find or remember you they won’t remember the context and priority actions. Given that there is not one online standard contact information exchange platform and that these disparate tools, including all event apps, spread the contacts you meet at events across a myriad of different platforms you need to recommit to carrying and sharing business cards as the only reliable option for professionals to exchange contact information. Here are our 5  key reasons why you need to carry and pass business cards at every event: An affirmative exchange of your contact information is solid. You don’t have to worry about technology. You don’t have to worry about anything at all other than handing your card to somebody. As you’ll see in the next four that that handoff does quite a bit to empower action from the people you meet. It’s your branding. This is actually an opportunity to hand your logo to someone and they’ll accept it. You’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars to build your brand yet you somehow resist handing it over to people. If somebody is willing to accept your brand give it to them. Give them two! Give them ten! They can give it to their friends! Giving a business card enables note-taking which empowers future action. You’re going to meet people who think of something or someone that they can connect you to. Without their easy ability to take notes that information gets lost. If you’re sharing a QR code with your LinkedIn or all these different other platforms it’s both impossible to find you the next day and very difficult to catalog actions. Maybe you’re looking for investment. Maybe you’re looking for customers. Maybe you’re looking for a key employee. None of that stuff can be written down or cataloged easily without a tangible business card and therefore it’s not actionable. Empowers speedy connection to key internal resources. You make it easy for the person you meet to hand your contact info with notes to the more appropriate person in their team for follow-up. The person you meet from an organization at events isn’t always your best company contact. When you pass an analog business card you remove the friction and allow the quick transfer of your contact information with notes to the right internal resource. This empowers fast and accurate follow-up. Empowers real-time connection to key external resources. It’s not unusual to meet good matches and connections for people you meet at events while you’re still on site as these are places where like-minded people gather. Having these opportunities in real-time makes it even more important to have contact information and notes easily accessible. Nothing is easier than having someone’s business card in your pocket and handing it to or allowing a target resource or powerful connection to take a photo of that new contact’s card. As you continue to reduce and eliminate friction in exchanging contact information at events, you’ll make more and better connections. Using business cards will make it consistently easier for the person you meet to take favorable action on your behalf and you for them. If someone will accept your brand image hand it to them every time! Hand them 2 cards. Hand them 10 cards! Watch or listen to the podcast: Youtube Spotify About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Exhibitor Tips

Trade Show Exhibitor Preparation with Joel Roy, Creative Dimensions

Link to Podcast Available HERE Transcript to podcast found below: Bill : Hi and welcome to the next episode of belly2belly Bill Kenny here and today we have a really cool topic and it’s all about trade show exhibitor preparation, and I’m joined by Joel Roy from Creative Dimensions. Hi, Joel. Joel : Hey, Bill, how are you today? Bill : Fantastic. It’s great to have you with us and you know this topic. It’s something that it just seems like such an amazing issue. I think I’ve when I think about preparation, I think of what did Woody Allen say said 80% of life is showing up. And if you think about, you know, I actually was talking to a very big exhibitor large enterprise company that exhibits all the time. Not that long ago, and I asked them, you know, how do they define success and just to give context, in this company, there’s no sort of event department and, you know, sort of people have other functions and then they, you know, they also sort of manage the trade show presence, but they bring 30 people to a trade show, so they invest tons and tons and tons of money into this. But, you know, they really struggled with how do they measure success, which I thought was amazing. And I said, Do you is, you know, do you feel relief, when you actually just arrive? Is that just the fact that you got there with all the materials, and you got the printing done at the end and all that kind of stuff? Is that is that some measure of success? And they said yes, which seems like you know, you’ve totally missed the, the whole opportunity and I guess, when you start thinking about, you know, preparation for trade shows, what are some of the things that come to mind for you, when you think about you know, that the keys for an exhibitor? Joel : Oh, as a trade show organizer, slash designer slash builder. There’s a lot of parts involved. I mean, our job is to make the process as painless as possible. I, it comes with the client vision, really, I mean, we need to do a discovery process, go through a whole discovery process with them learn what it is that they’re trying to achieve. What is their look? How are they going to go through the process? How are they measuring that show? And, you know, understand what the end game is going in. You know, typically, we’re going to have what we call a discovery meeting. And it’s going to talk about all of those things. And our job is to do as much or as little as that client wants us. To do. Some people are savvy, and they want hands on and they’re going to go there and they’re going to take on the world and set it up and be ready for that show. And some people want to sleep in and show up at the booth that day, and everything’s all set for them. So I will say in COVID right now. Though, coming out of it. A lot of companies have lost their staff. And so they’re going to probably be relying on us a lot more. We have We also are short of staff. However, you know, that’s something that we’ve been talking about in the industry. In some of our calls and our you know, meetings with everybody comparing notes, and they’re just saying that people need to expect it to be different than it used to be. So I don’t know if that answers your question, Bill. Bill : Yeah, I guess I’m thinking about the individual exhibitor. And so I think a little bit of what you talked about was sort of how, how you prepare them, but what are from the exhibitors perspective, when you think about, you know, what are the what are they the keys, you know, for example, how important is it to consider who the customer is, and sort of designing things around as you said the outcome, but quite often it’s a business development related outcome. So what is the I guess when you think about you know, the preparation you know, are there some specific things around sort of Prospect identification and whatnot that that you consider in terms of preparing for a trade show? Joel : Yeah, I think there’s a lot of shows out there. You can be at a show that’s the perfect target or you can be at one that might not hit it, right. So I think it’s incumbent on them to understand their product and go out and research the best show for them. That gives them a fighting chance going in. They have to also decide how they want to measure what they’re doing. I mean, obviously, with social media these days, and everything else, some, some pre-event touches are maybe a lot easier than they used to be. So knowing identifying those customers knowing who they are reaching out to them ahead of time, I think if you are if they plan to set up meetings, at the show or in the booth, it’s going to raise their level of success versus just kind of sitting and hoping. But being in that target market is going to help that happen. You know, what we’re seeing is that a lot of people going to the shows are more of the decision makers than they used to be used to be a lot more of a party, everyone to go and is like hey, went to the show and let’s go to the pool. But I think the people are going now people are spending the money. They’re taking their people offline. They’re either Manning their booth, or and, or going in hunting for people at shows. And those people are more specific than ever, I

Market-Entry

5 Keys for Trade Show Success This Fall

Link to Video: HERE Podcast Transcript below: Bill : Hi there Bill Kenny here with MEET and it’s great to see you today. Welcome. Our topic today is five keys for trade show success this fall. And you know, certainly the last 18 months have been crazy and trade shows. We’ve gotten totally virtual. Looking ahead. We look ahead 18 months it probably a bit clearer than it is looking ahead, you know, for the next four or five or six months in terms of what the marketplace will look like. But we have to plan for the fall we have to think about how do we leverage the current and dynamic environment to help our businesses grow to get the right number of high quality prospects which is really what trade shows are about is how do we generate a consistent and growing volume of high quality prospects? So we’re going to offer these five keys that we think will really help us stay focus through this process.  Number one key [to trade show success] is to affirm your goals and targets and this is something you should do on a quarterly basis not just going into the fall in a kind of an unusual year. It should be done quarterly because this is as again, what we learn as we do events as we do our marketing. We should be learning all the time doing small experiments, and continuing to refine who we’re focused on. And certainly our goals should change based on what we accomplished in the first half of the year. We should be looking at how you know accomplishing our ultimate annual budget goals and quite often our performance in the first half of the year sort of dictates that we have to have a certain focus and a certain addition or a certain change in how we go about accomplishing our goals. So again, number one is affirm your goals. And targets.  Number two [key to trade show success] is confirmed event opportunities and schedule. Again, we’re in a very dynamic situation here. Some events are going in person, some are going virtual, some are going hybrid. Some are going off the schedule, new ones are always coming on the schedule, and so we want to make sure this isn’t about just going and doing what we’ve always done. It’s about saying what is the current landscape and how do we most efficiently accomplish that flow of high quality prospects that we want to get? And so it may be a totally different set of events than what we did before hybrid or virtual allows us to go much further than maybe we would have done before. On the other hand, in person events are beginning to come back. And those are certainly highly effective. If the focus is correct so number two confirm event opportunities and schedule. Number three [key to trade show success] is execute effectively. This is always critical but as things are dynamic, we there are different techniques we need to use when events are virtual. There are different techniques we need to use when events are hybrid. And certainly there are different techniques when we’re in person and it’s really about how are our people prepared. How is our plan for this event and the type of buyer that will be there are we very focused on a specific buyer persona and do we have a relevant and salient message for that buyer persona that attracts and converts them? These are all real important keys and certainly we can have the best plan possible, but poor execution will ruin that and so making sure that we’re continuing to understand the event and audience that we’re going to and making sure that that gets executed effectively, so that we get the best return. So number three was execute effectively.  Let’s go into number four [key to trade show success], measure and assess always critical so we want to make sure that we have a key one or two key metrics that we look at that are leading indicators of trade show return or event return. So you know one of the ones that we go to quite often all of our focuses with b2b companies is appointment set with decision makers. So again, there it’s gonna vary a bit depending on company, but that’s one that has been a very strong standard, because we know if we have a certain number of first appointments with decision makers or with prospects, people who have a need have money and are urgent, then we know a certain number of those will garner contracts or close and so it’s really just a formula from there. And obviously, depending on the sales cycle anywhere from six months to two years with most of our clients, we don’t want to wait six months or two years to know our ROI from events. So looking at things that are we know we’ll be able to measure within a week or two extra three weeks from the event, or it’s going to be a much more consistent and effective way to have a sense of return from these events in a much more effective way. So number three, measure and assess and so that obviously allows us to compare not only this event versus others we’ve done recently, but also this event versus this event last year and the year before and so we can look at these events in a variety of different ways. So number four was measure and assess.  Number five [key to trade show success] and to close this up, be nimble, continue to look for ways to leverage the current events seen and and and obviously we’re going to fairly quickly have our eye to 2022, which we probably already have a little bit because they’re already events being planned. We need to be cognizant of that. But make sure that

Uncategorized

The Less Obvious Benefits to Measuring Trade Show ROI

There are many reasons for measuring trade show ROI. The most obvious: to improve marketing performance. After all, without baseline metrics of your returned value, it’s impossible to know where and how to make improvements to maximize the results of your in-person event strategy. At MEET, we’ve identified a number of benefits to measuring trade show ROI for our clients, some of which are less obvious. In this post, we’d like to share two rarely considered benefits to measuring trade show ROI and nailing a performance-based strategy for growing your company. The ROI calculation Calculating ROI is a critical measurement for any marketing strategy. On the surface, it’s a fairly easy equation with two variables. ROI = Gains – Costs / Cost In other words: ROI = Delta / Costs Efforts to maximize trade show ROI boil down to decreasing costs and/or increasing gains or both. (For more on the intricacies of calculating ROI, including the multiple ways to understand gains, check out this post. ) ROI as a relative performance tool Once you understand ROI as a set of variables, it becomes easier to see how this data can be used as a relative performance tool. In the beginning, all trade show ROI data will be abstract measurements of an individual event’s performance. Overtime and year-to-year, period-to-period, or event-to-event, this data can be used to evaluate ROI comparatively, informing how your marketing strategy is progressing (or failing to progress). For more on how to develop a metrics toolkit that works for you, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics and ROI, Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results.   Use data to empower your team A rarely considered benefit to calculating trade show ROI is how this data can be used to empower your event team. Performance without goals is like a race without a finish line, i.e. impossible to measure success. Optimizing your event team’s results requires clear expectations and benchmarks that both guide and inform their unique function within a broader marketing strategy. We recommend using trade show ROI data as part of your pre-event training activities. You’ll be surprised by how motivating and affirming these metrics can be, particularly at trade show events that require sustained focus and physical stamina. Help event hosts improve your trade show ROI Once you’ve developed a comparative trade show ROI database: Note which events are at the bottom of your performance ranking Make some assumptions about why this might be the case. At MEET, we do this assessment on a quarterly basis for our clients. We then take this data and approach the hosts of these events as partners. After all, trade show success is a win-win for exhibitors and hosts, making trade show ROI a shared goal. On behalf of our clients, we ask hosts how we can improve our performance at their event. Assuming you’ve done your event selection research and determined the most effective booth strategy to attract your target prospects in attendance, improved performance may only require a few simple adjustments. Back to our ROI formula, these adjustments will either reduce costs or create higher gains. Whether it’s by discounting exhibiting fees or moving your booth to a location with higher floor traffic, there are a variety of ways that event hosts can, and are willing to, work together to improve your trade show ROI. In our experience, event hosts are extremely open to making these adjustments when met with an exhibitor who is approaching their participation strategy from an analytical versus emotional perspective. Measuring trade show ROI removes the elements of chance and surprise that many assume are part and parcel to any marketing strategy. The truth is, there’s more to know than you might think. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel. About
 MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Return on Investment

A Lesson in Maximizing Trade Show ROI from Great Bakers

  What is there to learn about trade show ROI from great bakers? The answer: ratios. For example: Bread = 5 parts flour : 3 parts water Cookies = 3 parts flour : 2 parts fat : 1 part sugar The beauty of understanding baking from the perspective of ratios versus recipes is that it opens the baker up to a world of exploration and a higher likelihood of success. At MEET, we like to use this baking analogy when making the case for maximizing trade show ROI. In fact, we like the analogy so much, we’ve designed two cookbooks for our clients: The Sales Management Cookbook and the Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook. Here’s a preview of how they work. The Sales Management Cookbook MEET’s Sales Management Cookbook is a great tool for establishing baselines for your existing marketing and sales strategy. Through simple calculations, the Cookbook empowers Managers with key data points such as the average value of a customer, and the ratio of suspects and prospects to new customers. Critical Definitions: Prospect – has a need, money, and is urgent Customer – someone who pays you money For example: to understand the average value of a customer, take your total revenue for the most recent 12-month period and divide it by the number of customers you invoices. No need to over-complicate it—it’s just that simple. To figure out the ratio of how many suspects are needed to deliver a new customer, you’ll need a variety of inputs from within a discrete-time period, including: # of suspects engaged (for example people who approached your booth at a trade show) # of suspects qualified as prospects # of prospects who agreed to a first meeting # of proposals submitted # of contracts signed # of 1st orders From there you’ll be able to determine how many suspects were needed to deliver a new customer. You’ll then be able to use this benchmark data to inform your sales and marketing strategy with knowledge-based decisions around where investments are needed. (For a visual, step-by-step demonstration of how we did these calculations and others, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics and ROI, Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results or feel free to reach out and we’ll send you a sample.) The Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook What makes the Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook unique is not simply the math but the science. In measuring for trade show results, it’s critical that you understand two things: The variety of functions in and outside the booth that contribute to trade show ROI. The target of your marketing strategy, which is roughly 1% of trade show attendees, i.e. quality/quantity. Remember, prospects have to have a need, money, and urgency. For more on MEET’s approach to trade show staffing in and outside the booth, check out this post. For more on narrowing your target prospect, check out this post. Understanding the science behind trade show ROI strategy will dictate where and how you measure success. Our Cookbook will help you break down your strategy into a series of activities, goals for each of those activities, and how to incorporate basic data inputs from your Sales Cookbook, e.g. average revenue per customer. For a quick tutorial of how to calculate trade show ROI using this tool, we recommend that you tune into our recent webinar or set up a call. We’re happy to walk you through it. What do MEET Cookbooks spit out? Management gold. Your Cookbook results may indicate that each member of your booth team needs to find one new, qualified prospect every 15 minutes to meet your trade show ROI goals. The beauty of having a clearly defined objective like this is that it makes the work more rewarding, easier to manage and incentivize. Boiling down the practice of marketing to a numerical science opens the doors to a world of results-driven innovation. What’s amazing is how many scaling companies operate without the slightest idea of how their marketing investments are helping (or hindering) to achieve their goals. Cookbook tools have the ability to inform every aspect of your marketing and sales strategies—from goal-setting and event selection to staffing and management. So throw on an apron and get baking. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel. About
 MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Uncategorized

Navigate Your Marketing ROI GPS-style

It’s hard to imagine driving these days without GPS. The experience of getting lost or struggling with oversized maps has all but disappeared…and no one is mourning the loss. GPS has fundamentally changed the experience of driving by putting valuable real-time data in the hands of the driver—whether to avoid traffic, find the closest pit stop, or make a drive more scenic. And when it comes to getting from point A to point B, that knowledge is power. At MEET, we like to use the analogy of a built-in GPS system when designing a B2B marketing strategy for our clients. In many of the same ways that GPS systems make smart drivers, building in regular opportunities to collect data and measure results can lead to smarter growth and fewer wasted resources. Not sure what we mean? Try calculating your marketing ROI. The marketing ROI calculation Calculating ROI is a critical measurement for any marketing strategy. On the surface, it’s a fairly easy equation: ROI = Gains – Costs / Cost Essentially, the top of your equation measures what you gained from a marketing activity minus what you spent. As trade show and in-person event specialists, we’ll use these for our example. Placing this delta over your total investment will uncover your ratio of profit to loss. The costs that are entered into your equation fall into two categories: direct and indirect. In the case of a trade show, direct costs are inputs such as entry/exhibiting fees, travel, hotels—basically any and all initial and obvious outlays. Indirect or softer costs include time designing collateral and employee training. Whether direct or indirect, coming up with a total sum of your investments in a particular event should be relatively straightforward. If not, talk to the folks in your accounting department. Calculating gains is a little more complicated There are a number of ways to define success and as such, a number of different ways to calculate it. Fundamental to any approach you take is a clear rationalization of why these metrics are true indications of success for your company. Pitfall alert: trade show marketing managers often think the number of business cards collected is a sufficient measure of trade show success. While this exercise can be useful for anecdotal data, it’s not going to tell you much about ROI. Determining how many people your team engaged (e.g. number of cards) is good to know. To truly inform your trade show and marketing strategy, however, you’ll need to find ways to measure the quality of those individuals as prospects. In the B2B world, first appointments are a great gauge At MEET, we like to use the number of new prospect appointments as a key metric of ROI gains. Recognizing the time it will take to set these appointments, you should aim to collect this data 15-30 days after an event. Note: The criterion for this metric is that these are first appointments with new prospects. We do not count follow-up meetings with existing prospects engaged at a show, though the number of existing prospects who are moved further down the sales funnel is also valuable data. The beauty of this data point is that it’s calculable in a relatively short timeframe, again 15-30 days. The faster you are able to gain a handle on marketing ROI, the better and more empowered your marketing team will be at making smart investments. At MEET, we aim to make calculating marketing ROI as fundamental as getting in your car and throwing on your GPS. By integrating a variety of simple ways to collect valuable data, our clients eliminate the unknowns in their marketing strategy. And with little mystery comes little reason for excuses. So jump in the driver’s seat. For more on how to identify and incorporate metrics into your marketing strategy, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics and ROI, Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, visit our YouTube Channel. About
 MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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How to Ensure Your Trade Show Strategy is Complete

  If you follow our blog and webinar series, you know that trade show strategy is a big focus of our work. For one, it’s because we truly believe that a well-crafted, well-executed strategy is critical to maximizing trade show ROI. Second, we’ve noticed that many B2B marketing strategies stop short at goal setting and lack the type of validation measures to justify the time and resource commitments therein. Assuming you’ve jumped into 2020 with a trade show strategy in place, how can you guarantee that your plan is complete? Will it deliver sustained ROI? Beyond setting goals and selecting events, what are the indicators of a complete trade show strategy? Start by asking these questions. What will I learn? Let’s assume that you’ve followed our advice and identified a minimum of one event per month for the next 12-months. Remember, none of these events should be place-fillers; each presents a unique audience and opportunity to achieve your marketing goals. It’s critical that every commitment of resources be understood not only in terms of ROI, but as an opportunity to learn. Testing, specifically A/B testing, is one of the easiest ways to learn about the effectiveness of trade show strategy plan. At MEET, we typically recommend that our clients test the effectiveness of at least one of three areas at every trade show: Buyer persona Have you identified the right persona? Value proposition Are you using the right value proposition for this particular audience? Call to action Does your call to action trigger high-quality prospects to self identify and opt-in amongst the sea of trade show participants? We recommend performing these A/B tests by breaking down a full or multiple-day event into half-day segments. Test one assumption in the morning, and a different assumption in the afternoon. For more on A/B testing, check out this post. The goal of testing is to provide greater insight into which technique produced the most value. You can then use this knowledge to inform your trade show strategy for future engagements, hence adding significant depth to your overall marketing plan. Orienting yourself toward learning is a simple and effective way to implement a feedback loop into your strategy, in turn ensuring consistent opportunities for iteration and improvement. Who will lead? The key to actualizing your trade show strategy is identifying who will take the lead at each event. Simply allocating staff to events (i.e. bodies to marketing goals) is unlikely to deliver sustained ROI, if any at all. Identifying a leader for each event in your plan and viewing these responsibilities as professional development opportunities is an important indicator of a well-crafted plan. At MEET, we emphasize the importance of event staff training and preparation prior to each event. That means ensuring that team members know their roles and responsibilities and understand how their unique function, whether it’s prospect identification, engagement or enrollment, contributes to the team’s larger goals. For more on how to prepare your event team for success, check out this post: Help Your Event Team Help You. Identifying one onsite leader for each event is a great first step. Developing a curriculum for team orientations, and a schedule for multiple pre-event engagements is also important for encouraging shared ownership and clean lines of communication. Finally, focusing on leadership helps build sustainability as the next generation of leaders is developed. Accountability What’s the best indicator of a complete trade show strategy plan? The answer is never letting it hit the shelf. Because whether your bailiwick is marketing, sales, communications, or partnerships, every measure of success boils down to an accountable process. Building opportunities for testing and training will get you there. For more on how to ensure trade show success in 2020, check out our recent webinar on this topic. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Return on Investment

The Best 2020 Event Selection Strategy

You might be thinking: “Wow, they’re confident!” In fact, we are. Because when it comes to developing an event selection strategy for our clients, we focus on a results-centered process rather than specific events. Get the process right, and failure becomes nearly impossible. Tell us if you agree. Step 1: Determine your buyer persona In order to begin the event selection process, you need to identify a target or buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Using whatever technique’s necessary, you should be able to answer the following questions: Age and demographics Role and responsibilities Interests Concerns (What keeps him/her up at night?) Most pressing needs Obtaining answers to these questions will help you to: Make decisions about which events to participate in and how Develop messaging and offers to attract these buyers based on their concerns Step 2: Map event opportunities The next step is to search for events that will put you in contact with this buyer persona. At this stage, don’t worry about perfection—for the time being, more is better. How do you collect this information? Google (use a range of keyword searches to find relevant events) Network (ask friends in the industry which shows they attend) Exhibitors (people who have exhibited at the shows on your list). Ask them which other events they go to and how these events compare in terms of ROI, the organizers, and the audience. Competitors (see questions above).  You can do this anonymously. Partners (who may be able to identify additional events, not on your list) Now it’s time for analysis. Step 3: Create an event scorecard There are many different types of scorecards and the variables used within them may vary based on your objectives. (For a preview and explanation of the scorecard we use with our clients, check out this webinar) The basic criteria, starting with the benefits, include: Quality Score: target audience/total audience %
Because this input is substantially more important than the other factors you’ll be accounting for, we recommend weighting this score. For example, consider making it three times more valuable than your other variables. Quantity, i.e., number of projected attendees Duration (days) Exhibiting floor location as a measure of audience exposure. On a 1-5 scale, how would you rate the projected exposure opportunity with target prospects? Now moving onto the costs: Exhibiting versus sponsorship Travel and staffing Feel free to contact us for more details on how to create a weighted event selection scorecard for your company. Step 4: Make your decision It’s time to decide which events will be entered into your annual strategy. At this point, you should have a ranking of high to low priority events. But you’re not quite finished. Next, you’ll want to overlay this ranking with additional data, such as the date and duration of each event, prioritizing the highest-ranked events within each quarter. Note: your goal is not to create an unlimited number of prospects. Rather, your goal is to create a steady stream of as many prospects as you can handle at one time based on your capacity. There is no reason to create more prospects than you can manage. That is just wasted potential energy. Because marketing and sales do not happen in isolation, it is also important to overlay sales goals. Whether it’s at the end of each event, month or quarter, you’ll want to know the number of prospects needed to reach your sales goals, taking into account the 6-12 month sales cycle. Creating an even flow of events throughout the year is optimal for helping to achieve these goals. Step 5: Embed your event selection strategy within your broader marketing plan While we believe trade shows and in-person events to be the best content marketing opportunity for B2B companies, it’s critical that your strategy is embedded in and integrated with additional modes of marketing. Whether it’s a Lunch and Learn, an executive briefing, or a new product release, make sure that your event schedule complements and leverages these opportunities within your existing marketing cycle. Updates and iterations Congratulations! You’ve completed your event selection strategy. Now don’t go putting it on a shelf to collect dust. You’ll want to refresh your strategy based on measured results and new events that pop up. At MEET, we recommend adjusting your plan once a quarter, extending the projection from that point on so that you always have a 12-month strategy on hand. Have we convinced you? There’s only one way to find out. Let us know if you have questions. For more on how to ensure trade show success in 2020, check out our recent webinar on this topic. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel. About
 MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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