u.s. market entry

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.

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 (meetroi.com) 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: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Uncategorized

The Less Obvious Benefits to Measuring Trade Show ROI

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

Return on Investment

A Lesson in Maximizing Trade Show ROI from Great Bakers

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

Uncategorized

Navigate Your Marketing ROI GPS-style

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

Uncategorized

How to Ensure Your Trade Show Strategy is Complete

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

Return on Investment

The Best 2020 Event Selection Strategy

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

Exhibitor Tips, Return on Investment

The Four Biggest Stumbling Blocks to Trade Show Success

A report by PwC values the B2B trade show market at $14.3 billion. By 2021, that figure is expected to reach $16.8 billion. Renowned as the best content marketing strategy for B2B companies, these figures come as no surprise. By offering face-to-face exposure to large numbers of high-quality prospects, there are few if any comparable B2B marketing opportunities than trade shows and in-person events. But just because trade shows have the capacity to deliver ROI doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. Critical to achieving trade show success is identifying and removing the most common pitfalls and stumbling blocks. Fortunately, we’ve come up with the top four challenges that every B2B company should be sure to avoid. 1. Lack of focus Whether a company has misidentified their target prospect or failed to identify one at all, lack of focus is a serious risk. In the absence of a clearly (and narrowly) defined buyer persona, it is impossible to develop a well-aligned, effective marketing strategy to attract, engage, and enroll future customers. For more on developing a clearly defined buyer persona, check out this post. 2. Persona creep In the presence of 1,000, 10,000 or even 100,000 people at a trade show, marketing professionals have a tendency to widen the scope of their carefully conceived buyer persona in hopes of attracting more prospects. At MEET, we refer to this tendency as persona creep—the dilution of marketing and messaging in hopes of broadening reach. The problem with persona creep is that it attracts too many suspects—picture people on the trade show floor looking for a free pen or to Enter to Win your free I-Pad. The result is that high-quality prospects are crowded out, wasting valuable resources in the process. 3. Opportunities are not refreshed With so many complex growth strategies in place, many B2B companies let their trade show plan run on autopilot, failing to refresh and analyze new ways to reach target prospects. Beyond that, many companies select trade shows based on what’s been done in the past or by following the industry crowd. At MEET, we recommend basing your trade show selection on a range of criteria, all of which enhance your overall engagement strategy. The obvious place to start is with shows that feature your target persona and your industry. But don’t stop there. Remember that it’s also important to go to shows that are only relevant to your prospect, i.e. not relevant to your industry. Sitting in the audience alongside prospects allows you to build relationships, learn their language, and gain further insight into how to address their concerns. Events such as these may also help you find additional, even unexpected partners. Keeping tabs on all kinds of in-person event opportunities available to you and your customers is fundamental to maintaining a successful trade show strategy plan. Need help identifying a range of high-value opportunities? Reach out to us today. 4. The Lazy Susan Approach If you’re familiar with a Lazy Susan, you can picture a device that rotates for the purpose of conveniently delivering content. The problem with a Lazy Susan approach is that in exchange for convenience, your view is limited. You don’t see the entire picture of what is available to you. As each opportunity pops up you are left to decide – do I take it or do I leave it? When a client asks us whether or not to attend an event, our response is always the same: let’s look at how it fits within your annual trade show strategy. At MEET, we strive to help our clients approach each decision from an analytical rather than emotional perspective, utilizing formulas that allow for good decisions to be repeated and optimized. What’s the best approach to overcoming the four most common stumbling blocks to trade show success? Four words: trade show strategy plan. And while building and managing your trade show strategy plan may seem like a large investment, the ROI is incomparable. For more on how to ensure trade show success in 2020, check out our recent webinar on this topic. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel. About
 MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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Achieving Trade Show Success in Ways You Never Expected

  As 2019 comes to a close, many CEOs of scaling ventures are taking stock of the year’s marketing investments. They’re looking at their budgets and sales pipelines, and asking the ultimate question: what was our ROI? This time of year is not only about reflecting back—it’s about projecting forward. Setting goals and benchmarks, and determining new definitions of success based on well-situated growth strategies. At MEET, we help international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. We believe these opportunities are crucial to most any B2B marketing and sales strategy and work in every way possible to guarantee trade show success for our clients. With 75+ years of experience, we feel confident in our assessment that approximately 90% of trade show exhibitors fail to maximize ROI. There are a number of reasons why this is the case and while some are more obvious, others may come as a surprise. Here are three ways of guaranteeing trade show success in 2020 that you may never have expected. Engage the minority The primary purpose of trade shows is to connect with and enroll volumes of high-quality prospects. Whether there are 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 attendees at an event, your goal is not to engage as many of them as possible. Your goal is to engage the minority who are actually prospects. Many companies either miss or fail to identify their target prospect persona before participating in an event. As a result, they cast an overly wide marketing net and waste time and money engaging people who are not viable prospects. There are three qualities that we have found best define a prospect for any company: 1. They have a NEED for your solution 2. They have MONEY or the resources to satisfy that need 3. They are URGENT We call it NEED, MONEY, NOW. If a company presents only two of these qualities, they are not a prospect. At least, not today. The percentage of attendees who meet all three criteria may be less than 1%. This is ideal as it helps focus your energies on the highest potential opportunities as opposed to clogging up your funnel with “suspects” that will never close. Therefore, your first step to achieving trade show success is to develop a marketing strategy to engage the minority of trade show attendees who are true prospects. Don’t even try to make B2B sales from inside the booth At MEET, we work closely with our clients on booth strategy and have written a number of posts on our staffing philosophy.  We firmly believe that the best role for salespeople at a trade show is in pre-set 1-on-1 meetings with prospects who are already in the sales funnel, customers, partners, and centers of influence. In essence, salespeople should not expect to make sales from inside the booth. As such, they shouldn’t be inside the booth at all. In the booth, you want transaction experts—those capable of delivering your offer to qualified prospects within 1-2 minutes. A well-crafted offer will ensure that the stacks of business cards your team collects by the end of the event are those who have a need, the money to satisfy that need, and urgency for a solution. Events are not only about you While enrolling high-quality prospects remains your number one goal, trade shows and in-person events have other valuable assets besides filling your pipeline. We encourage all our clients to use trade shows and in-person events for competitive intelligence. In addition to doing competitive research prior to the event, it’s important to leverage the full scope of learning opportunities. For example: Make sure your sales team has time to walk the floor, observe and even engage with competitors Make time in their schedules for event content and hospitality, underscoring the importance of noting who is in the room and what is being said. The factors that contribute to trade show success are no mystery. That said, some of the best techniques could come as a surprise. For more on how to ensure trade show success in 2020, check out our recent webinar on this topic. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel. About
 MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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