trade show strategy plan

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

The 3 Truths of Gaining U.S. Sales Traction

Have you ever gleaned lessons that you’d rather not relearn? These invaluable insights often come at the expense of trials and tribulations, leaving indelible marks that shape our future endeavors. The same is true for most companies as they learn how to get US sales traction. With over a decade of experience aiding international B2B and B2G companies in gaining traction and scaling operations in the U.S., we’ve distilled three core truths. These revelations stem from witnessing companies grappling with these lessons firsthand. The toll of failure ranged from significant financial setbacks to personal upheavals, including health struggles and even marital strains. By embracing these truths, you’ll pave a smoother path toward validating product-market fit, fostering traction, and achieving scalability within the U.S. market. Customer Density is Critical for US Sales Traction Securing a sale is no small feat, especially in a new market. The inaugural sale invariably proves the most arduous, entailing a labyrinthine journey fraught with many potholes and hazards. In the U.S., establishing trust amidst unfamiliarity—be it with your brand, customer base, or market successes—poses a formidable challenge to conversion. The path to easing subsequent sales lies in proximity. To achieve this the second customer shares a strong linkage or industry alignment with the first. This proximity capitalizes on insights gleaned from the initial sale. This leverages knowledge of customer pain points, relevant use cases, and implementation hurdles to expedite and enhance subsequent transactions. Beyond bolstering sales efficiency, prioritizing customer density streamlines onboarding, service delivery, and ongoing maintenance—a holistic approach pivotal to sustainable growth. Founder-Driven Sales A common pitfall for companies venturing into the U.S. market is entrusting initial sales efforts to local representatives. This approach often backfires due to several reasons: Lack of Foundation: Local representatives commence with zero customer anecdotes, institutional insights, or adeptness in articulating your tailored solutions to target buyers. High Turnover: U.S. sales representatives, if met with initial challenges, swiftly move on to other prospects, amplifying turnover costs. Dependency Challenges: New market entry necessitates robust support from various departments at the home office, a rapport difficult for local reps to establish. Founder-driven sales circumvent these hurdles, offering a higher likelihood of success during the nascent stages of U.S. expansion. Founders bring unparalleled historical context and narrative depth, fostering connections and they navigate organizational support structures with ease. The founder’s initial presence in the U.S., albeit minimal, gradually escalates alongside demand, persisting until a repeatable sales process emerges—typically spanning 12 to 24 months. Agile Marketing Communications Upon entering the U.S. market, companies often overestimate their grasp of customer acquisition strategies. This overconfidence manifests in rigid promotional materials, similar to casting a fishing line without considering bait or fishing grounds. Similar to planning a fishing trip, your U.S. market strategy should address three key questions: What’s the Target Fish? Where’s the Best Fishing Spot? Which Bait to Use? Adopting an agile marketing approach empowers local teams to iteratively refine marketing assets, swiftly adapting to evolving market dynamics. This nimble methodology minimizes both time and cost investments, which are crucial for establishing traction, and then identifying and scaling a sustainable sales system. By embracing the principles of customer density, founder-driven sales, and agile marketing communications, your journey into the U.S. market can be marked by strategic finesse rather than repeated trials. May these insights serve as a beacon, guiding your business through the intricacies of market entry and positioning it for enduring success in the competitive landscape of the United States. How to Get US Sales Traction Resources Learn about our Intelligent Trade Show System MEET’s Belly2Belly Podcasts About MEET helps international B2B & B2G companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Exhibitor Tips, Market-Entry, Return on Investment, Workshops and Webinars

MEET’s Intelligent Trade Show & Event System

In our more than 12 years of helping international companies scale in the U.S., we have seen the many challenges that these companies experience when they try to productively participate in U.S. trade shows & events. The U.S. market is large and highly competitive. The trade show and event landscape is abundant and complex. And U.S. buyers have specific needs and expectations. All of this makes leveraging U.S. trade shows and events particularly challenging. The top critical fail points that we see in companies trying to expand in the U.S. include They select the wrong trade shows and events to participate in They negotiate on emotion and anecdotal information rather than fact Their teams are not well prepared, directed, or empowered to leverage the opportunity They do not have a reliable method to measure and continually improve results To solve this we developed The MEET Intelligent Trade Show & Event System (video). This system is built on a series of analytic tools. TRADE SHOW EVALUATOR (video) helps you choose the best and most efficient trade shows and events for you to participate in based on your target buyer persona and expansion stage. TRADE SHOW NEGOTIATOR (video) reveals the best path to negotiate with each trade show organizer. You will be able to quantitatively value each trade show and help the organizer become an ally in your success. TRADE SHOW COOKBOOK (video) helps you identify the specific value drivers for each trade show and event to properly prepare, direct, and activate your team to engage and enroll targets effectively. Each individual will have specific performance goals pre-, during, and post-event. TRADE SHOW ROI CALCULATOR (video) helps you not only measure the result of each trade show and event against specific value drivers but also gives you a basis for accurate hypothesis testing, rate and option negotiation, and continuous performance improvement If this sounds interesting to you, please tune in. We’re going to have a few more sessions that go into the details of each tool. We’re excited about the evolution of these tools and think that they will have a great impact on your business. We certainly would appreciate any thoughts, questions, or feedback that you have. We’ll see you all again very soon. About MEET helps international B2B & B2G companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections. Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Uncategorized

Common Pitfalls When Endeavoring to Scale in the U.S. Market

Back in January, we explored issues and opportunities companies face when endeavoring to scale in the U.S. market through an interview with Blair Parks, U.S. and Canada Business Manager for the Mayor’s International Business Programme, London & Partners. The Mayor’s International Business Programme is a free 12-month program designed to help UK-based high-growth, ambitious scale-ups expand internationally. You can check out Part 1 of our conversation with Blair, where we explored some of the resources offered by London & Partners and the types of questions companies should ask themselves when considering the right time to scale. As the U.S. and Canada Business Manager, we asked Blair what criteria companies should look at when geographically assessing which U.S. market to enter first. Criteria for geographic selection According to Blair, companies should assess the market in terms of three criteria: sector, client base, and culture. “First look at where your sector is the strongest. For example, if you’re a life sciences company, look at San Diego, Boston, Nashville, etc. Do your homework.” “Next, assuming you have a pre-existing customer base in the U.S., assess their location. Many companies assume they need to be in New York but after looking at their client data discover the Midwest is a better fit.” “Finally, look to see where you fit culturally. London/UK companies tend to align better in pace and culture with east coast cities. The shorter flight also makes it easier to make frequent trips.” Blair also noted that for companies with investors, it’s critical to get their opinion on where to set up first. Common pre-scaling pitfalls Sometimes the best way to avoid a mistake is to know about the ones others have made. We asked Blair to share the most common missteps companies make before entering the U.S. market, during the discovery phase. “When engaging with potential American customers, they should feel your company’s commitment to the market.” According to Blair, too many companies fail to communicate in the same language (i.e. British versus American English) and forget to use the right time zone for their meetings. These small mistakes send a message that the company is not fully committed to the U.S. market. As Blair says, “not being in their world is a really big mistake.” This is true for investors as well. According to Blair: “going on fact-finding missions to the U.S. is a great idea, but don’t go meeting with VCs before you’re ready. You don’t want to use up those introductions and business development meetings if you’re not ready to deliver.” Common post-scaling pitfalls What are the most common mistakes made by companies who have already scaled and are just not successful in the U.S? Blair focused right in on poor budgeting as the most common mistake. Many companies fail to account for the higher costs and competition of hiring talent in the U.S. when compared with other countries. Pro Tip: More UK companies these days are sending over a senior member of their team to set up the business rather than leaving it up to a U.S. salesperson who should be tasked otherwise. Assuming you have the right person for the job, sending over a someone from headquarters will help to ensure that the culture of the company, as well as the product or service, is being transferred as intended. A common pitfall with hiring a U.S. salesperson to run any scale-up is they tend to feel isolated and may not have the same company buy-in. “If you do go with an American first hire, make sure that you’re visiting them regularly and bring them over to visit the home market so they begin to feel an attachment, get to know people and can recognize the team by face.” The importance of localized communication At MEET, we talk a lot about the importance of localized communication with our clients and how to make sure that every opportunity to interact with customers is flawlessly executed. We were curious about how London & Partners does the same. “As an American, I will look at their website and see if it serves me; I often catch some language that clearly doesn’t fit with the U.S. market.”  The Mayor’s International Business Programme will also make connections with U.S. marketing firms upon request. Regarding the website, make sure that any existing clients you’d like to promote are companies with name recognition in the U.S. Listing domestic UK companies that Americans are unfamiliar with may actually hurt your credibility. Finally, while Blair does not believe it’s necessary to regionally localize U.S. communication, she did emphasize the importance of having a U.S. address on the company website. “Americans really value being able to get in touch with someone in their home market.” You can check out Part 1 of our conversation with Blair Parks on our blog page, or access our full interview on Issues and Opportunities when Endeavoring to Scale in the U.S. Market. 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 free, no-obligation consultation bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Uncategorized

Issues and Opportunities When Endeavoring to Scale in the U.S. Market: Part 1

For foreign companies looking to enter and scale in the U.S. market, knowing when your company is ready and what resources are available is fundamental to successful growth. To explore best practices (and common pitfalls), and learn more about the valuable resources available to growth companies, we sat down with Blair Parks, U.S. and Canada Business Manager for the Mayor’s International Business Programme with London & Partners. London & Partners is the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, working to promote London internationally as the leading city to invest, work, study and visit. Administered by London & Partners is the Mayor’s International Business Programme, a free 12-month program designed to help high-growth, ambitious scale-ups who are looking to expand internationally. Through events and workshops with corporate executives who have successfully scaled their companies in foreign markets, mentoring, network-building and international trade missions, the Programme offers a full range of high-value resources to companies well positioned to succeed abroad. For more information on eligibility criteria and application dates, click here. We spoke with Blair Parks, Business Manager for companies looking to expand to the U.S. and Canada, to learn more about the resources London & Partners offers and her perspective on best practices when scaling internationally. How do leaders decide if their company is ready to enter the U.S. or Canada? According to Blair, it starts by asking a few fundamental questions: Is there even a market in the U.S. for this product or service? Is the industry comparable? What will the competition be like? Is there remaining market share? Is there an easy way to find answers to these questions? In short, no. According to Blair, finding your best answers will require hands-on research and time spent in the new potential market. “Speak to American companies, speak to American friends. There’s no shortcut for really doing your homework. That means coming to the U.S. often and really committing to this market.” Useful Tip: Blair recommends that when coming to the U.S. market, set up meetings with prospective clients or stakeholders as an American. That means sending meeting invites in U.S. time zones and using U.S. dial-in numbers so prospects don’t have to incur costs. Paying attention to these details leaves a strong impression. Once a company has determined they are ready to scale outside of the U.K., how does the Mayor’s International Business Programme help them? Helping companies build networks and connect with mentors to help guide them through this process is a critical first step. Another is helping them navigate the U.S. market in terms of best-fit locations. “Companies always think they need to look at New York and San Francisco when in fact, there are a lot more resources outside of these cities available to international companies. Places like Dallas and Atlanta will have time to speak to you and the data to help you learn about their market. They may even show you around.” “And while Atlanta is considered a tier two city in the U.S., it’s bigger than a lot of cities in Europe and around the world. One of our recent Fintech companies, who assumed they should scale in New York, was blown away by how they were received in Atlanta. It’s important to keep an open-mind when scaling.” To learn more about this topic and the work of London & Partners, check out our full interview with Blair Parks on Issues and Opportunities when Endeavoring to Scale in the U.S. Market. For access to all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market through trade shows and in-person events, 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 free, no-obligation consultation bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Return on Investment

Using Data to Improve Relationships and your Trade Show Strategy Plan

The power of applying metrics to your trade show strategy plan is described perfectly by Made to Stick  authors Chip and Dan Heath: “Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.” That’s because simple calculations such as cost per lead or average revenue per customer permanently impact how you select and invest in trade show opportunities. Developing metrics and the necessary systems to efficiently track them, is but the first step to improving trade show ROI. Data not only informs where and how we allocate resources; it has the ability to enhance strategic relationships that sustain greater ROI in the long-term. At MEET, we believe that data can significantly enhance your capacity to manage, build trust, and improve efficiency with three stakeholders: event hosts, prospects and your sales and marketing team. Here’s how. Using data to improve relationships with event hosts As experienced event hosts, we know how frustrating it feels when an exhibitor stops attending an event but can’t explain precisely why. It’s frustrating because in many situations there are relatively simple adjustments that can be made to improve ROI, however, without available data, it’s impossible to know where to begin. As described in our recent post on MEET’s customizable Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook, collecting measurable data that paints a precise picture of how each event is performing, from leads generated, to cost per appointment and cost per revenue, empowers exhibitors to work with event hosts to find ways to improve ROI. Comparing performance data event-to-event and year-to-year is an easily digestible way to present this data to event hosts, proactively improve your outcomes, refine your trade show strategy plan, and help the marketplace evolve to your needs. Why bother working with event hosts to improve ROI rather than finding new events each year?  Because exhibiting at the same events year over year helps you build relationships with that community. It may also offer opportunities to speak and do hospitality, all of which raises the profile of your company and builds sustained ROI. Using data to improve relationships with prospects Understanding the role of metrics in improving prospect relationships boils down to the question why measure at all. We measure because we want to make more intelligent decisions. We want to adjust our trade show strategy plan based on substance. A common mistake we witness time and time again is exhibitors who promote their product or service rather than the problem they are aiming to solve. Promoting the problem and not the product requires understanding your buyer persona. In other words, it requires data. Using data, in the form of buyer personas and tested marketing strategies, allows you to be empathic. Prospects who feel heard and understood by your brand are more compelled to opt-in and let you help them solve their problem. Data can also help you sustain customer relationships and minimize the risks associated with the ebb and flow growth. Using data to improve relationships with your sales and marketing team We often refer to the refrain “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” In essence, employing measurable outcomes provides new opportunities to set goals and manage the performance of your event team. For example, going back to our post on the Event Cookbook, every member of the booth team should have a clear idea of how many quality leads they are responsible for each day based on your overall revenue goals and in the context of historical event performance. Salespeople should have goals for one-on-one meetings and partner conversations. Achieving performance goals requires setting up your sales and marketing team for success. This includes establishing clear expectations and investing resources into the systems and strategy to support them. For more on using metrics to inform your trade show strategy plan and improve your relationships with event hosts, prospects and your team, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics, and ROI: Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies gain traction and scale in new markets and countries 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 at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Return on Investment, Uncategorized

Quantify your Trade Show Strategy Plan with an Event Cookbook

MEET helps B2B growth companies develop and effectively leverage trade show strategy plans. One way we do this is by offering customizable tools to maximize ROI for every prospect facing opportunity. Among our most popular tools is the Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook (Event Cookbook). By setting goals and utilizing metrics to better inform trade show strategy plans, MEET’s Event Cookbook allows clients to quantify how events are producing across a variety of indicators and over time, opening the door to new opportunities to improve ROI. Two functions of every trade show At MEET, we believe exhibitors should view expo and trade fair opportunities from two perspectives: in-booth and out-of-booth engagement. The purpose of the booth is to separate general attendees from prospects. Transaction professionals, individuals who are trained to efficiently qualify high volumes of prospects, operate inside the booth and should be evaluated using a set of metrics that reflect their unique responsibilities. The beauty of employing transaction professionals inside the booth is that they free up your salespeople to engage in longer one-on-one meetings and competitive intelligence outside the booth. These engagement activities boost ROI in different ways and therefore must be tracked using different metrics. (For more on how to best utilize salespeople in your trade show strategy plan, check out this post.) Setting Goals Differentiating between the unique revenue generating roles of your exhibiting team is the first step to utilizing the Event Cookbook. The next step is goal-setting, specifically: Prospects Potential Revenue Goal This is the potential value associated with prospects identified inside the booth by transaction professionals. Agreement Signed Revenue Goal This is the potential value associated with outcomes of one-on-one meetings between members of the sales team and existing prospects represented by closed agreements. Partner Goal This is the number of new strategic partners your sales team has enrolled through out-of-booth engagements. Competitor Goal This is the number of competitors your sales team has gathered intelligence on to better inform your trade show strategy plan, including booth offers, messaging, staffing, and event selection Your ability as an exhibitor to estimate these figures with greater accuracy will improve over time.  Calculations such as average annual revenue per customer, calculated by dividing your annual revenue by the number of customers that paid you, is among the simple input calculations we use to inform these goals. Other valuable calculations used as inputs to your Event Cookbook include: • # of prospects to yield an appointment • # of prospect 1st appointments to a proposal • # of proposals to close Feel free to contact us any time for more guidance on how to use our Event Cookbook to set measurable trade show goals. Calculating results of your trade show strategy plan As described earlier, results are tracked inside and outside the booth separately based on the different roles and responsibilities of your exhibiting team. Inside the booth metrics can be broad, e.g. leads generated per day, or drilled down to leads generated per hour per person. The power of a tool that allows you to drill down to this level of specificity lies in your ability to set personalized, daily goals for each member of your event team. A well-crafted booth offer and exhibit display will improve their likelihood for success by ensuring these leads are high-quality prospects. For more on how to improve your likelihood of success in identifying high-quality leads, check out this post. Outside the booth, from a sales perspective, the Event Cookbook allows you to track results such as cost per dollar of revenue, a highly valuable indicator of event success that can be used to track the ROI by event. Testing the effectiveness of your value proposition, booth offer, and staffing strategy will be reflected in this number. To the extent that certain factors remain constant, you can also use this data to inform your event selection process and how you engage with event hosts. Using the Event Cookbook to improve Trade Show ROI Collecting measurable data that paints a precise picture of how each event is performing, from leads generated, to cost per revenue, empowers exhibitors to work with event hosts to find ways to improve ROI. When research and experience tell you that your buyers are in attendance at a particular event but your data indicates a consistent lack of performance, that is the time to share these results with event hosts to explore how you can work together to improve ROI. Whether it’s strategies to boost sales or lower your costs, small changes in your trade show strategy plan will show up in your Event Cookbook and can be used to inform future investment decisions. Interested in previewing the Exhibitor and Trade Show ROI Cookbook? Email us or give us a call. And for more on how to use metrics to inform your trade show strategy plan, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics, and ROI: Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results.   About MEET (meetroi.com) helps B2B growth companies effectively leverage at 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 at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821

Return on Investment, Uncategorized

Measuring Milestones in your Trade Show Strategy

In our recent post, The Case for Calculating Trade Show ROI, we talked about the value of measuring trade show return on investment and provided some simple measures of success to get you started. While every sales process looks slightly different, each is characterized by a number of stages or milestones from initial contact to contract. In this post, we’ll explore where and how metrics can be applied to these milestones to better inform your marketing and sales strategy. 5 Milestones to Achieving a Sale Contact: This is your initial awareness of the individual you suspect may qualify as a prospect. Prospect: You’ve qualified your suspect as a prospect by establishing an apparent need, the resources to fulfill that need, and urgency for a solution, i.e. NEED, MONEY, NOW. 1st Meeting: You have held a first meeting with the decision-maker to qualify interest and lay the groundwork for the relationship. Second or third meetings may be necessary during this stage. Proposal: In the B2B context, a proposal is delivered to clarify the statement of work, goods or services. Contract: The point at which revenue begins to flow or a purchase order is secured. Again, while each sale will require a slightly different allocation of time and resources, applying a standard matrix to the process is a valuable first step to measuring for success. The Marketing Funnel At MEET, we like to think of the process of achieving Milestones 1 and 2 and 3 as a marketing funnel to the extent that initial contacts are moved through a lead nurturing process that over time builds increasing amounts of trust. For a visual of MEET’s marketing funnel, check out this post. At the top of the funnel, when engaging with contacts or suspects, are marketing awareness activities such as social media, advertisements and event presence. Once the contact has established interest in the product or service, there is movement down the funnel toward Milestone 2. Prospect nurturing activities start to build intimacy. They include webinars, white papers and other materials that demonstrate to the individual precisely how their unique solution can be solved through your product or service. The bottom of the funnel (Milestone 3) occurs once the prospect has established initial trust in you and your solution and is ready to begin the sales process by setting a first meeting with the sales team. The Transition from Marketing to Sales The distinguishing factor in B2B sales, particularly those initiated through trade show marketing, is the transition in responsibility from marketing to sales. Again, the goal of the marketing funnel is to employ an array of awareness and trust-building tools that nurture prospects to the point where they are ready to engage with the sales team, transitioning from a passive prospect to an active one. From a metrics perspective, milestones are an extremely useful way to measure the success of different marketing strategies based on their ability to move contacts down the funnel and into the hands of your sales team. Measuring the time and resources associated with this transition from marketing to sales, and within sales between first meeting and contract, are critical inputs to resource maximization. For example, knowing that each proposal requires an average of five meetings indicates the time and resources that will be needed at the point of transition to close a sale. While every sales process will be unique, setting a standard or benchmark will improve your capacity to accurately measure your marketing strategy’s ROI. Using the transition point between marketing and sales in your sales pipeline is a great place to start. For more on how to use metrics to inform your trade show marketing plan, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics, and ROI: Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps B2B growth companies effectively leverage at 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 at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Return on Investment, Uncategorized

The Case for Calculating Trade Show ROI

For anyone who’s tried to calculate trade show ROI, the following refrain may sound familiar: We know that 50% of marketing dollars are wasted, we just don’t know which 50%. While it shouldn’t be a mystery how marketing investments magically deliver (or don’t deliver) new customers, without a system for measuring return on investment, it’s very difficult to know what is wasted and what is not. Why trade shows deliver marketing ROI In B2B sales, most marketing dollars are spent with the hope of someday getting face-to-face with the target prospect. Trade shows deliver the most efficient way to this objective. Trade shows are the only form of B2B marketing that put you in direct contact with prospects. The challenge is that prospects are not labeled, therefore you need a highly effective mechanism for identifying them in the sea of trade show participants. Good marketing materials speak directly to your target prospects—those who have a need, the resources to fulfill that need, and urgency for a solution. How to know if you’re spending efficiently The answer is simple: measurement. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, which is to say the only way to manage your marketing budget efficiently is to know precisely how well each mode performs and how to improve it. There are two types of measurements in trade show marketing: absolute and comparative. Absolute measurements are firm or known inputs to your strategy plan. Comparative measurements allow you to measure results across events and over time. Both should inform your decisions about how much to spend to maximize trade show ROI. How to calculate Trade Show ROI Return on investment measures what we get for what it costs, over what it costs. In other words: ROI = (Gains – Costs)/Costs The easy input in this calculation are the costs: direct and indirect costs such as  event fees, display costs and staffing. For more on cost considerations, check out our post: Factoring in Display Costs to your Trade Show Strategy Plan. Gains are a bit more complicated to calculate but when done well, point directly to your greatest marketing inefficiencies. Defining gains Defining gains or metrics for success will look different for every company. Whether it’s cards collected, number of quality prospects, or media traffic generated, there are hundreds of measures that one can use to define a successful event. The key with metrics for success is to determine which is the best indicator of future sales and to set up a simple process for measuring against it. 5 metrics for success Cards Collected We notice that 10%-30% of exhibitors today offer giveaways that have nothing to do with their product or service. The iPad is a perfect example—unless you’re in iPad sales.  As a result, the contacts generated through these giveaways more likely than not have very little interest in your product or service. Depending on the extent to which you have selected an offer that speaks directly to the unique needs and desires of your buyer personas, cards collected will be a useful measure of prospects engaged versus contacts who may or may not be prospects. Number of Quality Prospects Identified Assuming you’ve come to a trade show with pre-identified buyer personas, this is a measurement of how many of these target prospects enter your booth. Cost per Lead This is a calculation of your display costs over how many leads are generated in the booth. Media Traffic A measurement of your exposure, this is especially useful for younger companies that are scaling and investing in marketing to build brand identity as well as generate sales. Younger companies may see a more direct line between marketing and revenue generated, making this a more valuable measurement. Revenue Generated One of the challenges to using revenue generated as a metric for marketing success is the amount of time it can take, particularly for big ticket items, to complete the sales process. With delays of anywhere from 3 months to 6 years, it can be difficult to link unique sales to specific trade show investments and use that information to inform your marketing strategy. A Case for Measurement The case for measurement is not simply to calculate trade show ROI. Measurements allow you to see how various techniques or hypotheses are working, and answer vital questions such as: Have we identified the right buyer persona? Is our messaging attracting these buyer personas into the booth? Are they opting in based on our offer? Is our value proposition relevant? Does our offer actually get them to give us their contact information? Answers to these questions will not only improve your trade show ROI, they will create greater efficiency and consistency in your sales pipeline, which translates to steady growth. In other words, marketing dollars well spent. For more on how to use metrics to inform your trade show marketing plan, check out our recent webinar: Benchmarks, Goals, Metrics, and ROI: Everything You Need to Know About Measuring Trade Show Results. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps B2B growth companies effectively leverage at 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 at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Return on Investment, Uncategorized

Localizing Communication to Maximize ROI

Determining whether a foreign market is right for your product or service requires due diligence. Demographic diversity, cultural norms, regional and local language differences all play a critical role in discovering whether and how your brand will be received in a new market. Time and time again we see companies try to shortcut this process by simply translating their sales and marketing materials into a new language. In reality, translation is one piece of a much larger strategy we refer to as localized communication. For more on our approach to supporting companies looking to expand to the U.S. market, check out this post. What is localized communication? To answer this question, we spoke with Fernanda Ave, Partner and Intercultural Communications Specialist at Mirrai International. Mirrai International supports companies looking to expand into the Canadian or Latin American market by helping them navigate across cultures through localized communications strategies. According to Fernanda, the first thing to know about localized communication is that it’s not about translation. “Localized communications means understanding the market that you want to enter into and making sure that your brand is being accurately relayed. It means translating your company’s message to a new culture.” Of course, there is a translation element to localizing communication, even when those languages are the same. In Brazil, where Fernanda is from, she explained that words change in Portuguese depending on the city you are in. Regional nuances exist in the U.S. as well, which may impact the way a brand is received. In essence, translation plays an important role in localized communication, but the first step is to understand your market on a cultural level. Common pitfalls to communicating in a new market As an Intercultural Communications Specialist, Fernanda specializes in helping companies overcome common challenges to communicating effectively in foreign markets. We asked her to expand on those challenges and what strategies she recommends. “Most people assume that their marketing strategy will work everywhere and that’s definitely not true. Particularly in the U.S. or Canada, people assume that because these are big countries with strong economies their marketing strategies are going to work elsewhere.” Additionally, with the growth of digital communication and social media, the number of words that companies use to express themselves and their brand has shrunk significantly. While it’s become easier to access new markets, how and where one expresses themselves digitally is critically important. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Whatsapp, selecting the right social media platform based on regional preferences is critical. How to improve your understanding of a foreign market Step 1: Market Research Prior to expanding into a new market, companies should have a good handle of who their buyer personas are within their existing market. This includes their demographics, habits, needs, and desires as potential customers. The goal of new market research is to uncover who your buyer persona will be in this foreign context. This requires understanding the market a macro level in terms of culture, customs, purchasing practices, and expectations. Step 2: Adapt Buyer Personas Now that you understand the culture and expectations of the market, it’s time to adapt your existing buyer personas to the new context. Your goal is to identify those most urgent individuals or organizations for a solution to the problem you are solving. You will also need to discover the behaviors, habits, and preferences that indicate that someone is a qualified prospect. Step 3: Calibrate your Marketing Strategy With market research and buyer personas in hand, it’s time to revisit your marketing strategy to introduce and build your brand to find your target customers. This requires adapting your full range of marketing tools—from website, to collateral and signage—to meet cultural expectations in design and language. Good marketing research will uncover which marketing modes are most important to your target persona. For example, are they very focused on digital or do they still listen to the radio? All of that research goes into your marketing strategy. Localized communication ensures that your brand and message are received the way you intend. Among the list of investments one has to make when entering a new market, localized communication is sure to improve ROI. Check out our full conversation with Fernanda Ave on Localizing Communications here. About MEET (meetroi.com) helps B2B growth companies effectively leverage at 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 at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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