soft landing

Workshops and Webinars

Mastering Virtual Meetings with Melanie Fox, Founder, Speech Fox

Link to podcast found HERE Transcript to podcast found below: Bill : Hi and good morning Bill Kenny here from meet and this is the belly2belly podcast today we have a fantastic guest, Melanie Fox from Speech Fox, and Melanie, welcome today. Melanie : Thank you so much. Good morning. Bill : Good morning. And so you know one of the really interesting things about kind of where we are right now we’re you know, a year into roughly a year into this COVID crisis and you’re just so used to meeting online now but it it clearly, some are really good at it. Some are less good at it. And you’ve been working with folks about sort of optimizing their use of the Zoom platform, both from a technical standpoint, but also from a functional standpoint and what you know, what do they do and how do they do it? And, you know, I think this is a really interesting area to dive into, because we now have I mean, you see, you know, certainly there’s a lot less or almost no in-person meeting going on. Everything is virtualized, whether it’s trade shows, or people are doing more webinars and podcasts and all that, to try to find ways to interact. There are more virtual meetups, all different types of ways to use these virtual platforms. And but yet, you know, I think there’s still maybe it’s a variety of etiquette issues or, or, or technique issues that are opportunities for all of us that are using these platforms. So today, I’m hoping that we can talk through not just where the challenges are but maybe where some of the best practices are. Before we get into that, though, let’s take a minute and learn more about you. And do you want to just give us a few minutes on your background and your work and what you do at speech, Fox? Melanie : Sure. So, again, I’m Melanie Fox. I founded Speech Fox, about 20 years ago, it a little bit informally at first and then more formally and my specialty is coaching speech. So I’m a speech coach, but I specialize in a few things, accent production for folks from all over the world, including folks with regional accents in the United States that they feel like might get in the way and then folks who are second language learners or maybe, maybe it’s their third or fourth language, so folks who speak English as a new language that they learned right away as a teenager or older and so English is not a native tongue for them. So folks that need work on their accents are one of the primary sectors of my client base. And another function of what I do with my clients is work on presentation skills, which now is heavily virtual. I help folks with their presentation skills both on site and online. But of course, due to COVID. My work currently is exclusively online for everyone’s safety and it’s a lot of fun to coach people to use this not so new medium anymore, to really do their best work and be really engaging. So that’s part of what I do some other facets of what I do. I am a dialect coach, so I help actors change their accent. Maybe they want to speak Standard American English and maybe they want to sound like they’re from somewhere else in the world. So I do that as well. And most recently, I started work with a company called Mango Languages. It’s the language app that I’ve loved the most for years. And I was a fan of it. I met some folks at a conference got so excited about their product that a few years later turned out I wound up trying to spread the love of world language learning. And they have a we have an app and also light language lessons. So I’m the coach for English accent reduction and when I meet people who need coaching on other languages, I do that through my partnership with Mango Languages. So that’s sort of what I do in a nutshell and it covers everything from communication in English to presenting online to communicating and presenting in another language on in any medium. So I hope that sums it up. Bill : That’s fantastic. Now thank you so much, Melanie. So I’m thinking that it would be good for us to do it. Obviously there are a few different personas who are using the virtual platforms. And you know that maybe the first one that comes to mind is that person who’s hosting a webinar or some type of event like that, maybe an executive briefing or something of that nature. You know, let’s talk through some of the things that you’re seeing are important for that individual to consider maybe some of the challenges that you see people having in facilitating those types of meetings. Melanie : Sure. So one of the first things if somebody can ask me for my help in consulting on a presentation, the first thing I usually ask is, how big is the audience? What’s the goal? And you know, what, what do you envision this meeting or presentation to look like? And what the reason I’m asking this is to make sure they’re choosing the right tool or a tool that works well for that type of that type of online meeting or event. For example, Zoom is, I think, far and away I would guess, the most popular these days. And there are different flavors of zoom. There’s the regular Zoom meeting like the one we’re on now, which I think is very conducive for you know, up to could be up to 50 100 people if you’re really really skilled at manipulating zoom. And if you’re having a town hall or an event that’s large, it has people coming and going

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


Internationalization Strategy: The Difference between Nimble and Random

Link to podcast found HERE Podcast transcript found below: Bill : Hey, and welcome to the belly to belly podcast. In this episode I’m really looking forward to this is a topic that we see quite a bit. And it’s all around the difference between being nimble and random and your internationalization strategy. And we’re privileged today to welcome Karina Sotnik from World Upstart to help us to kind of dive into this topic. Welcome, Karina Karina : Thank you so much, Bill. I’m looking forward to this conversation as well. It’s near and dear to my heart. Bill : Well, yeah, let’s dive into it. So when you think about, you know, companies that you work with, and that you’ve worked with, over time, that are either nimble or random, or both, what kinds of things come to mind for you, as you sort of think about this topic? Karina : Yeah. So, you know, I worked over decades, on and off with helping companies come to different markets. And I see this, a lot of companies just take a really opportunistic approach. You know, they might be successful where they are, they start enjoying success in revenue, maybe in sort of scaling up their companies, maybe they’re well established companies have been in their country for 20 plus years. And they suddenly had a really good conversation with someone from us at the trade show, right? Or they might even have a first client in the US. And that usually triggers this, oh, there’s a big market, let me try to expand. And so without any sort of strategy, or any preparedness, they dive in. And we see not great results from that. Because US market is big and desirable. But really difficult. As we know, in almost any industry, I cannot think of industry where it would be easy. And so to have a fleshed out strategy becomes really important if you really want to scale here and not just have one more client to your to your belt. Bill : Yeah, so when you just talk about sort of the random approach, we just sort of are drawn in, and you’re looking at the shiny objects, and you say, oh, there’s, there’s an interesting opportunity. Let’s go there. And then the next week, you see another opportunity over here, and, and you just go, yeah. Karina : And the client that you might get first might not even be the client that you will end up serving in a larger scale in the US. So having strategy, and you can still be very nimble. But having strategy in what I called four buckets, is really important. You need to have your legal strategy. How do you incorporate that will affect you later, right? How do you bring people here from your country that has no how it will affect you later? How do you deal with your IP rights, all of this falls into this legal bucket, and then your industry specific bucket, you really need to have a strategy on regulatory, and we can talk a little bit about that later. But without that strategy, oh, my God, you can lose that one client pretty quickly and you cannot obtain others. And the thing to understand about us when it comes, for example, to regulatory is it’s not one country, it’s 50 different countries, right? And when it comes to packaging, when it comes to taxes, when it comes to regulatory, I deal a lot with med tech companies, when it comes to telemedicine, there’s still many states that don’t allow it legally. Right? So understanding that you’re dealing with 50 different regulations is important than your strategy. And then the third bucket is operations. And that falls into how do you hire people here because there’s so many mistakes in not bringing the right team to actually execute on that nimble strategy, right. And finally, you know, a lot of companies think that they don’t, they’re not going to fundraise in the US. They have revenue and where they are, and they’ve just like, naturally will expand to us. And then they understand that that expansion actually is expensive. And so they, most of the companies that I deal with, ended up trying to fundraise in the US, or companies come here, thinking that money will flow because us is so incredibly welcoming and rich. And that’s just not the case. Fundraising is difficult, no matter where you are, but it’s very difficult in the US because you face really stiff competition with so many other companies coming from all over the world. So those are the four buckets that companies need to think about and they can do very well. then vote and ah, but they need to address all for Bill : It. So I have legal regulatory operations funding, where does sales fit in? Karina : Oh, that’s really good question. So I think sales fit into operations when you start thinking, who to hire, and who is going to be in your team. And there you have your sales, your marketing, your people that know your product from your own country, plus people who know us market from this country. Plus, I always tell people to start thinking of adding to their advisory board with local key opinion leaders, because they can open doors. So it has to be a comprehensive strategy, strategy. You know, hiring one US person, and hoping that that person will bring sales, that never happens, it might be one client, but you know, in the larger scheme of things, you really need a combination, you need the team. And more often than not, the senior management person needs to be here, at least for the first few years, in order for the company to succeed. So thinking how to do that, while you still have your company in your own home country? It’s all

Return on Investment

A Conversation with Marketing Guru, David Berkowitz, Serial Marketer

Podcast link available HERE. Podcast Transcript below: Bill : Hey and welcome to the belly2belly podcast. This is the podcast that’s focused on Confessions of an in person marketer. So, today it’s a real privilege to welcome David Berkowitz from serial marketer. Welcome David. David : So much. Great to be here, Bill. Bill : It’s, it’s super to be with you today and you know, so our audience are our b2b companies who are either entering the US or already in the US and and expanding so these are international companies that again are either on their way here or are already here and and really working hard to develop a strong base of customers so they’re, they’re always super concerned about making sure their marketing is is spot on and very focused on the US customer and you know how to engage and enroll those customers most efficiently. So I’d love to dive into a variety of topics today that would really help those, our audience and those customers. And I guess you’re probably the best place to start is really to learn a little bit more about you and serial marketer. But do you want to just take a minute or two and share kind of a little of your background and serial marketer?   David : Yeah, sure. Thanks. So, I’ve had a mix of roles over the past 20 years where I spent most of my career so far on the agency side working on working at 360 i Under Densu and Mri under publicis group and in strategy and marketing leadership roles. Then when on past five years I’ve been focused on working with a lot of tech and product companies and trying to help them figure out how to generate demand and work with expanding their presence in the US. We’re work with a number of international companies that that that were either overseas initially or or had already come here, but then yeah, but this was still a very new market for them in the States and, and helping out with positioning and strategy, some outright business development. And along the way a few years ago, I started this marketing community Serial marketers, that’s just been a lot of fun to build out and so so now we have more than 2000 marketers in the community and it’s just been a great way to go and, and connect a lot of talented folks with each other and source ideas. And gigs and opportunities, recommendations, things like that.   Bill : That’s fantastic. Well, and you know, I think besides that you’re very modest. For the audience. You should know that David is one of the most sought after mentors in the New York ecosystem to help companies entering the US with marketing. So, you know, we’re very fortunate to have you here with us today, David. And so, you know, with that, you know, let’s talk about, you know, the, obviously they’re an ever expanding array of tools that a marketer has sort of at their disposal to help create awareness and create opportunity with with various markets, but when you you sort of survey the current landscape of tools that are available for, for marketers, and particularly, you know, companies coming into the US what are what are the kind of the top tools that are top modes that you would point to as as where maybe companies should look first to begin creating connection into the US market?   David : Well, yeah, so, so a lot of what I see is that companies either try to get a lot of their marketing in place and then but then not have a great way to distribute that and get that in front of the right buyers. Or on the flip side, is a lot of companies that right? They start with getting a salesperson on the ground but then don’t have any kind of presence. And, and so I think one of the things that that a lot especially a lot of newer businesses to this to the states, and this is true more broadly, that they don’t always appreciate is that people like to buy from someone they’ve heard of, and so so so it’s like when you’re just a lot of it is just finding that right balance. And so you do it, you do need relationships, I mean that that like like, that’s just the best shortcut if there is any where you can get directly in front of the target buyer. But if you don’t have great messaging, if you don’t have any friends, if you’re not doing anything to say, calm mind beyond that, then that’s going to fizzle really quickly. You’re gonna max out on typically those low hanging fruit and then it’s like, what are you doing with the rest of that time? And then and also, a lot of the work on the marketing front isn’t going to immediately bear fruit, but it’s stuff that kind of like you have that compound interest over time and so so the more content you put out there, for instance, then the more materials you have for sales team when they’re following up with folks, the more hooks you have out there for marketers who are looking for something related to what you do to actually find you and so the more opportunities you have to have that third or fifth third, or 10th touchpoint with a prospect All of this adds up and and it’s and the one thing I really appreciate as a business owner and and someone worked with a lot of companies like this is that it’s it’s tough to juggle all that especially when you have limited resources. We’re new to a market.   Bill : Right so so in terms of the modes, I heard content so you’re talking about either online content, or, or offline content, things

Return on Investment

Marketing: How to Move the Needle with Cindy Zuelsdorf

Link to podcast: HERE Podcast Transcript below: Bill : Hi everybody and welcome to the next episode of belly2belly. And we’re just totally excited today to have Cindy Zuelsdorf. I’m sorry, I said that wrong. Cindy Zuelsdorf with us today from Kokoro Marketing and it’s really great to have you well good and you’re also the author of the book seven marketing basics. Welcome, Cindy. Cindy : Hey, Bill. Thank you. Great to be here. Bill : Fantastic. Well, cool. So, you know, it’s, um, you know, we have the opportunity, I think, to really dig into some things that are vexing problems for companies when they’re marketing and trying to get it right. But before we kind of dive into the meat there, do you want to tell us just a little bit about your background and your company just so we have a little context for comments? Absolutely. Thank you. So I get to work with companies who want to get their story out there. But the people running those companies are maybe either feeling just overwhelmed and don’t know what to do in their marketing. Or they’re busy doing other things in their company like running it and inventing new products and services and working with customers and they know they need to do marketing, but they don’t want to do it themselves. So we kind of end up working with two groups of folks like that. And the My background is I spent a long time selling equipment to TV stations, which meant I’d put stuff in a suitcase and get on a plane and go to any country or any city and take that stuff out of the suitcase and show it to the Engineer at the TV station. So very b2b situation at that point and demonstrate equipment and do the sales and then also did some marketing around that as well. And fast forward to now I left that behind and started a new company helping people with their marketing so they can be more successful. Bill : That’s so cool. And obviously that journey has led you to writing your book seven marketing basics. Can you tell us a little bit about that? We certainly want people to buy it. So don’t tell us everything about it. But but give us you know sort of what caused you to do it and what might somebody hope to learn when they read it? Cindy : Absolutely. Okay, here’s what caused me to write it. The phone would ring and people would say can you help me real quick with this marketing thing? Can you help me real quick put this show promo together? Or, Hey, I’m doing a show in another country and I’ve never been there before. What should I do? Anyways, the questions just came wide and often and you know, on so many topics. And the one question that came up over and over again was sort of what’s working and what should I do? Because I feel like there’s too many things to do and what’s working so that came a lot. And after having my own business for a couple of years, at this point, almost six years. I just sat down one day and was like, Okay, what are we doing with our clients and I took out some sticky notes. And I started writing down all the sort of services and things in marketing and marketing automation and the important stuff. And I made a stack of all the important things and try to categorize them and I hit on seven eventually, hence seven marketing basics. And the book I really just lay out what we’re doing with our clients that works right now. And this is in response to people phoning me up and saying, Can you help me with this? And what’s working right now and I put it down in a book so I could share with everybody so you can take what we’re doing with our clients and use it for yourself. Bill : That’s really cool. So are there you know, when you look at strategies, you know, audience are primarily international b2b companies that are coming into the US market. Are there some things in particular that sort of jump off the page is important for companies coming into the US? Cindy : Yes, 100%. Yes. Can I just share an experience? Bill : Please? Yes, please. Cindy : So I was talking with a company in Korea. And they were coming to the US to do their very first trade show and show their cameras at a particular trade show in Vegas, right? And they were asking me like, Well, what do I do? I’ve been staying up till 3am. They were telling me that they stayed up till 3am responding to people’s emails, and they didn’t know how to manage that influx of leads at the show. And I went and saw the person at the show and talked to them and they were just crazy. So I talked to them before the show and at the show in person. So one thing that a person can do is have a system in place for a quick response to someone who’s interested in a product, right? And so in this case, really, really easy. We just talked through a strategy for lead follow up to where if someone’s interested in your camera, going to have in your email system, whether that’s an automated system or whatever, you’re using a simple way to click a button and send the top like five questions people have about that camera. And maybe in that email is a link to a booking, booking a meeting, booking a demo, whatever the thing is, so there’s info and then call to action to take the next step, whatever that looks like, a small call to action that like Hey, I mean, if if


Responding to YES or NO Questions

Link to Podcast: HERE Transcript found below: Bill : Hi and welcome to the next episode of belly to belly. And we’re here today with Lanie Denslow from Worldwise Inter Cultural Training and Communication and it’s just great to have you here Lanie and welcome today. Lanie : Thank you. Thanks, Bill. It’s always fun to be with you and have a conversation. Bill : Thank you. Well, today we’ve got I think a really interesting topic and it’s something I think we both see happening. And it’s I think it’s an American problem that happens as we communicate with each other. But as you know, when people come into the country it’s also a challenge for them. And this is about yes or no questions and these are questions where whoever we’re speaking with access, you know, a simple yes or no question something like, you know, is it does this have color options as an example or can I get it and my size or are there you know, whether is the, you know, price in a certain range or anything and and quite often we hear people respond to these yes or no questions with an explanation as opposed to yes or no. And so, Lainey and we’re going to probably peel this back just a little bit, but you know, how, as you think of yes or no questions, and particularly thinking of people coming into the country and maybe not knowing sort of our level of patience or impatience as Americans, how do you how would you coach somebody coming in? And let’s maybe just so there’s context, let’s just say we’re in a sales context or a sales meeting, and, you know, maybe you’ve given a somewhat of a presentation, and potential customer asked you a yes or no question. Yeah, maybe let’s start with that scenario and talk through. Yeah, how somebody would appropriately respond to it. What are the things that they should consider? Lanie : I’m starting to laugh because I realized that I want to back it up. Because what you’ve asked me is sort of get to the bottom line. Do what I need to do, tell me now and I’ll do it right. That’s why you asked me and that’s our American approach, because we’re very time focused for us. It all goes back to this concept that time is scarce. It’s a resource, there’s not much of it, and we’re in a hurry. We want to make a deal and move on. Right? But if, if you were my client coming from someplace else, in a perfect world, we would have done some coaching and talking before you ever walked into this meeting. So that first of all, you had some understanding of this American beyond time we’re in a hurry, let’s just do it. And there are several things that play into that conversation. First is understanding that because we’re in a hurry, we would rather hear yes, I can do it clearly. Or no, I can’t do it clearly. We listen for data and facts, tell me what I need to know so I can make a decision. And I had another thought that just flew off which we’ll come back in a minute. So and that is quite different than many parts of the world, let’s say the Middle East, China, where there’s a different sense of time and the importance of the relationship between the parties. So communication is as much about nurturing and not disturbing the relationship, as it is about communicating data and facts. Everybody wants to make the deal. It’s how you approach it. So it’s hard for somebody, especially if there’s a no or a maybe it’s hard for somebody to understand that they can tell you say to you know, we can’t give it to you in 10 sizes. We can only give it to you in this range, because they don’t want to lose the deal. Lose the relationship and so you and they don’t have an idea that of saying well right now we only do it in these four sizes. But if you can give us an extra two months we can get the sizing adjusted, you know, we’re kind of accustomed to, well, we can’t quite get there. But this is what we could do. Which is a long way from still more clear than a long explanation that you stopped listening to. Because you hear it as no, you don’t hear them. Maybe we could get there. You have to ask us some more questions. Hmm. Bill : So I’ll throw out another scenario and I my guess is we can probably get to set you up after a little dialogue here. We can get to some maybe some, some suggestions, but the next thing I’d like to throw out is so let’s just imagine now I’m pitching to an investor and an investor asks me a yes or no question about my you know about the business opportunity and whatnot. And I guess my observation of investors and also potential customers, and particularly investors is quite often investors are asking you questions somewhat because they want the answer, but also because they have a point to make. And, and what I’ve seen people do is again, respond to that yes or no question. And quite often, there’s very limited time to respond to investors you’ve made have, you only have five or 10 minutes to pitch and they maybe have five or 10 minutes to ask questions. I mean, it can be very curt, and you know, so the longer you respond, the less questions you get, and the less interaction you get. But the I quite often look at questions from investors almost like it’s that tip of the iceberg of what they’re really what they really want to know about. And I’m wondering, you know, that, that in that


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


Myth vs Reality for Life Sciences Companies Entering the US Market with Mark Lesselroth, BioPort USA

Link to video HERE  Podcast Transcript  Bill : Hi and welcome to the next episode of Belly to Belly. It is great to have you here with us today. So today we’re actually going to spend a little bit of time in the life sciences space and we’re joined by Mark Lesselroth from BioPort USA. Welcome, Mark. Mark : Thanks for having me, Bill. Bill : It’s great. So the title of this conversation is around the myth versus reality of life sciences companies entering the US market. We certainly want to kind of dive into that conversation. And just as a for context here, our listeners are both companies, b2b companies that are looking to enter the US market plus also a variety of Trade Representatives that are helping and support organizations that are helping these companies come into the US. Just for a moment before we hop into that really interesting conversation. It’d be great to know more about you and about Bioport. Do you mind just kind of giving us a little thumbnail of your background and also what you’re what you’re doing today with bio port USA. Mark : Absolutely. So first of all, I want to thank you. I appreciate this opportunity. You know, anytime I have the chance to spread the word so to speak, or spread the gospel, if you may. It’s a wonderful thing. So I am the president and CEO BioPort USA. Which was established in April of 2018. And the impetus behind it was, I wanted to identify innovative life science technologies, be a biotech medtech pharma in vitro diagnostics for around the world that could really improve our healthcare system. I know it sounds somewhat altruistic, but I’ve been around the world for a number of years. I was originally born in Germany, and lived throughout lived almost 15 years throughout my life in Germany. So both as a child as a student and then work there and as a result I you know, I not only learned the language, thanks to mom, who’s German but is also experiencing a lot of different cultures, not just the German culture. I was traveling a lot and I was exposed to a lot and and I recognize that while I love the United States, I think it really is a great country, that there are some amazing things happening outside and, you know, I don’t know how much longer I’ll live but I thought with the remaining years here, I want to do something good and, you know, find a way to introduce this technology just to make it easier on patients and make it easier on health care providers. Bill : That’s really cool and amazing. So oh, you know, I guess I’d start with our thesis here, which is the myth versus reality so I guess what, what’s the sort of paradigm that where you see companies that are life science companies are coming into the US? What are the myths that they’re is sort of holding closer or embracing that are challenging Mark : I’m glad you asked. I think one of the number one miss is that they know the US market. After all, we are a Western nation. Many of the International life science companies speak English. Many of them have traveled here either for pleasure or business. Some of may even studied here and work here. And so you know, the thought of well, if I went out to business here, how hard can it be? versus you know, China for example, I’ve met many people who think oh my god, I don’t speak the language. I don’t understand the culture. I definitely need help. There’s no way I can do this on my own. And with us, they think no problem. We can do it. And frankly, nothing further could be from the truth. They really don’t understand the US market in terms of how we make decisions, whether it comes to buying something, selecting something, the nuances associated with the regulatory process, they sure as heck don’t understand our reimbursement system, because most of them come from a country that offers universal health care. So that’s a big one in terms of a mess. Bill : That makes a lot of sense. So yeah, I would venture to say that many people in the US don’t understand the reimbursement system. So the idea that someone from outside the US would understand it would be difficult. So when companies, you know have these challenges where they maybe don’t understand this the sales process or the regulatory system, what challenges does it create for them? Well, how does that handicap them? Mark : Well, you know, it’s problematic because if they think they know the system, and then they go through and go about doing business as they’re used to in their home country, many of them will invariably fail. You know, they think it’s good enough to, let’s say, exhibit at a trade show and industry trade show, find a sales rep or distributor, sign an agreement and pay we’re off to the races, and nothing further could be from the truth and that holds true for American companies as well. But I think American companies for the most part, know better. Now those companies that are more successful United States are the ones that understand what you need to do in terms of developing a sales strategy, what you need to do to support a distributor how important your brand is in terms of influencing the purchasing decision. These are all concepts that for the most part are extremely foreign to the international life science community. And so many of them either fail outright or they do not achieve the success that they had anticipated. Because they weren’t prepared to adapt and adopt the US way of doing business. Bill : So, in sort of thinking about that, which would you say

Return on Investment

The Future of Events: A Look at 2021 and Beyond

  The temporary shutdown of in-person events in 2020—and subsequent explosion of virtual events in their place—has left one question on everyone’s mind.  What will the future of events look like in 2021 and beyond? With more than 75-years of experience in the U.S. B2B events industry, we at MEET get asked this question a lot—and we’re not afraid to share our opinion. But for some added perspective, we checked in with Allen Yesilevich, Head of Marketing & Growth at Accelevents, a market leader in the virtual events space, to learn more about what signals the industry is sending, and why. Accelevents, an all-in-one virtual and hybrid events platform, incorporates everything from multiple event stages, a lobby area, attendee engagement, virtual exhibitor spaces, and even gamification.  “Whether you want to do an online trade show or a summit—any type of virtual event, we can power it for you,” explains Allen. Recognizing this past year as one of the unprecedented growth for virtual event platforms, we set the stage by asking: What was 2020 like for the events industry? “2020 started off as a very difficult year for in-person event companies,” shared Allen. “Everyone essentially had no choice but to pivot into this digital realm.” He went on to describe a time characterized by a sense of discovery—“a quest to figure out the most optimal way to pivot into virtual.” “Digital was always this kind of enigma—everyone wanted to incorporate it within their live face-to-face experience but nobody really knew how. Then 2020 created this catalyst of innovation and buy-in acceptance, even though we were ‘forced’ into the situation” Industry predictions for the future of events 2021 Allen wasn’t shy about his prediction for 2021: in-person events will be back. “I can say with 100% certainty that in-person events will be back because there is no doubt that humans love to connect and engage with one another in person.” “You cannot replace the energy and enthusiasm that you feel on the trade show floor.” What he was not 100% sure about is when—that part, he admits, is out of our hands. As such, Allen reframed the question: “it’s not when in-person events will return, but when they do, what will they look like?” According to Allen, 2021 is where we’ll really start to see virtual platforms at their best. “If 2020 was the discovery phase, 2021 is going to be the optimization phase.” For event attendees and exhibitors, therein lies the opportunity for results. “The conversation has shifted to how one can leverage Accelevents—or any other virtual event platform—to maximize ROI in 2021 and beyond.” Allen believes that trade shows will never return to pre-COVID scale, mainly due to the success virtual components and hybrid event models have proven they can deliver. “Now that digital and virtual components can be infused within the in-person experience, it fundamentally changes the goals of what an event professional or a brand can achieve.” What would a hybrid event model look like? To some degree, that’s anyone’s game. “Event technology is the ‘wild west’ right now,” shares Allen. “Innovation is going to dictate exactly what a hybrid landscape looks like.” The basic model, Allen explains, requires allowing in-person and virtual audiences to engage and interact with one another while also consuming content simultaneously. “Imagine there’s a keynote session at a conference or even a demonstration at a booth, a hybrid model will allow you to live stream that digitally so the in-person audience gets that value but so does the virtual audience.” How has the move to virtual changed the ROI calculation for exhibitors? Allen believes the bar is now raised for event organizers and marketers who, through a virtual model, are held more accountable for spending money wisely.” “Event marketers will be able to determine ROI in a physical exhibit and then calculate ROI in a virtual exhibit, and see how everything is interconnected.” Striking the right balance Allen predicts that marketers will feel it’s essential to hold a number of in-person experiences or exhibits throughout the year but the vast majority will remain virtual. “The volume of in-person experiences will probably decrease because they’re so expensive but the aggregate number of events that occur throughout the year will be greater because virtual events are relatively inexpensive. But you’ll still need those physical experiences to be the tent pole events throughout the year where you can shake someone’s hand (once we feel comfortable doing that again).” Looking to determine the right mix of virtual and in-person events for your 2021 pipeline? Check out MEET’s Virtual Trade Show System to ensure you’re asking the right questions when developing an event marketing strategy. Who will come out ahead in 2021? “I do believe we’ll see some silver linings from this,” shares Allen. “The event space is going to be better for this disruption and I think that the savvy, smart event organizers who are able to adapt to the times [through virtual and hybrid platforms] are going to come out ahead.” From our perspective at MEET, the same is true for event participants. We will be stronger from this, but those who are able to adapt quickly, will come out ahead. Check out the full recording of our The Future of Events podcast with Allen Yesilevich from Accelevents for more predictions on the frequency of in-person versus virtual events, tips for event organizers on how to select the right platform and get the most out of its functions, and best practices for participating in virtual events as an attendee. About MEET ( helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, virtual and in-person events. MEET’s processes help clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Exhibitor Tips, Market-Entry, Workshops and Webinars

Digital Marketing Strategies for Market Entry How to Test, Gain Traction, and Scale

Jeffrey Cohen, Vice President at Imageworks is interviewed by Bill Kenney, Founder and Client Advocate at MEET about Digital Marketing Strategies for Market Entry How to Test, Gain Traction, and Scale on the Belly2Belly podcast. Listen on iTunes or Spotify Watch on YouTube Bill : Welcome to the belly to belly podcast where we explore in-person business to business marketing. This episode is brought to you by MEET, the company that helps international companies exhibit at US trade shows. Check them out at Welcome, everybody. My name is Bill Kenney, and I’m here with Jeff Cohen from ImageWorks. This is the belly to belly podcast. It is a product of MEET and we help international companies exhibit at US trade shows. So one of the things that is so important with trade shows and really any marketing is is to have an integrated approach and to look at really a variety of ways that you can amplify what you’re doing and really nothing speaks to that more than what you can do today with in terms of digital media and we’re so excited to have Jeff Cohen here with us. That’s Jeffrey, welcome. Jeff : Thanks. Hey, everybody. Bill : So we have people, Jeffrey. So you know, we have people watching this from all over the world, what they’re concerned about is, you know, how do I get into a new market is effectively and efficiently as possible. And these are all b2b companies typically looking to attract, you know, that executive buyer who certainly is going to have specific needs they’re going to need, they’re going to have certain language opportunities and whatnot. So we’ll let’s get into that in just a couple minutes. But first, before we do, let’s make sure people know who you are your company, so that there’s context to your comments. So do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself? I know you’ve got a company called image works, but how did you get here? Jeff : Yeah, how long do we have for this? Bill : maybe a minute. Jeff :Very storied past I actually have two different degrees, because I made a career change 30 years ago. So I have a degree in graphic design and then I have I went back to school to become a computer programmer, because I wanted a career change, not because I was smart enough to know that well if you wait another 10 years graphic design and programming are going to merge and this thing is going to be called the internet. So yeah, I found myself uniquely qualified once the internet was born. Bill : Cool, thanks to Al Gore and all his hard work. Jeff : Yes, of course. Bill : So, let’s talk about imageworks you all and I’ve known you for many, many years now. And you know, it was originally a sort of web design firm. You all have you know, bolted on as the internet is developed as really digital media is develop, you have bolted on significant additional capabilities, but do you want kind of walk us through what you all do? Jeff: Yeah, Sure. So that’s that’s actually I forget how long we’ve known each other. But it used to be that probably for the first 10 years, we were in business and we’re in our 23rd year, just to give some perspective. launching the website was the end of the project, we would shake hands, we would get paid, we would launch the website, we’d all raise a glass and good luck and they call us once every whatever if they needed update to the site. The launch of the website now has become the beginning of the digital marketing process, not the end. So we sort of and I don’t want to diminish the importance of a good website, but that’s sort of the window dressing. And I can hear a lot of people in my industry groaning at me saying that, but you have a lot of options now for getting a simple website. Done. Especially if you’re in a small service business, if you’re a restaurant, you know, you need five pages, a map with directions, pictures of your food, your menus, how to order. simple stuff, you have a lot of options of where to go. Now if you want to get that website found, that’s a whole different discussion. And that sort of begs the question now what? So about 10 years ago, we started adding the now what services in those are it’s a huge array of paid search and inbound marketing and reputation management, social media, and search engine optimization and retargeting and remarketing. It’s a really big bucket. But that’s sort of, that’s our growth area. That’s what we focus on online lead generation getting people’s phones to rank. Bill : And how long have you been working with international companies? I know you’ve worked with Many over over several years long, Jeff : yeah. Um, so I would probably say maybe 15 years. Hmm. And that has changed even more dramatically than our industry. But yeah, there’s there’s It comes with certain complexities. But yeah, for a long time, we had companies who came into the US or opened up the North America division of a German manufacturer for quite some time. Bill : Hmm, cool. So let’s then that’s an awesome segue to really hop into our topic. So I know that you’ve seen some sort of the good, the bad and the ugly of market entry with regard to digital media. Let’s talk about some of the challenges that you’ve seen. international companies have when they’re when they’re entering a new market, and Kind of pitfalls that maybe have happened on the way? Jeff : Yeah, so, um okay, so there’s the language and cultural barrier and these are in no particular order. But really having someone on your

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