When you think about what networking means, you might initially visualize shaking hands and giving out your business card at events. But networking should really be constructed around building relationships via referrals, partnering, finding vendors, asking for advice and exchanging ideas. You should not walk into a show or event expecting to make an immediate sale—honestly it will most likely turn people off to your company. Instead, approach any event with two primary goals: getting to know people and letting them get to know you as well (75% of your efforts should be geared towards getting to know other people). It’s crucial to keep in mind that networking isn’t just about YOU—it’s about the long-term relationships and long-term results.
Webinar Recap: Why Your Sales Team Needs a Networking Plan
Whether you’ve just started to dabble in basic marketing strategies or you’ve been researching effective marketing tools since ads were still only published in print, you may have realized how quickly social media platforms rose up and dominated the marketing world. We’re witnessing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram effortlessly integrate brand advertising into the feeds of personal accounts, and they are able to permeate the platforms with banners, photos, videos and more. But with all these other companies populating social media sites with ads, how do you get noticed? Start by staying social media savvy. What does that even mean? Social media savvy means keeping up with what platform is hot and fresh to the public—namely your target audience. So go ahead and delete that company MySpace account…I guarantee no one on your friend’s list has logged in since 2009. Right now is all about eye-catching photos and funny or interesting videos (but watch that time length—anything over ~30 seconds is usually too long).
Earlier this month, a few of us from The Trade Group® attended the Experiential Marketing Summit in Denver, Colorado. We were anxious to check out new, innovative technologies and ways to engage attendees for client events. Although there were a few cool pieces of technology that stood out more than others, there was not really anything extraordinary in the exhibit area, so we focused on the workshops.
My team and I attended workshop after workshop hoping to learn that magic element that would make all the difference in the events that we put on for our clients, both big and small. We would scope out our classes, coordinate our efforts to make sure we weren’t all attending the same ones, and off we went. Afterwards, we would reconvene and relay what we learned…which sadly, wasn’t much. The silver lining was – at least we are current on the latest and greatest and not missing anything – which was a relief, but we still wanted something big to take away.
Let’s imagine you’re browsing reviews online for a new smart phone that you’re looking to purchase. You see a couple phones that look pretty nice with just the right amount of cool tech abilities and the reviews seem fairly positive overall. You decide to visit your phone service provider’s store to check them out in person, and as you’re on your way you receive a push notification on your current phone that tells you one of your top new phone picks is now 15% off! Lucky, right? You head straight to that phone model in the store to try it out and decide to buy it. The next day, you receive an email that’s promoting the perfect phone case to go with your new phone. Great, now you don’t even need to shop around for one!
When building your exhibit for a trade show, there are many things to consider…budget, look and feel, attracting the right attendees, and the list goes on and on. Most people do not place being eco-friendly at the top of the priority list because it can seem like an unnecessary additional step. However, it may be more beneficial to your brand and budget than you realize. Despite popular belief, it does not take extra effort and money to create an exhibit that not only looks good but limits its impact on the environment. You can employ a variety of green tactics to save resources, attract business and impress attendees all at the same time.
While many events and trade shows are usually designed specifically for industry professionals, sponsors, retailers and the media, we are witnessing a sudden surge in events dedicated to the public—the people who actually buy and use your products and services. Groups like the Toy Industry Association are realizing that there is a huge demand from fans to attend shows that feature brands and products they are interested in—but how do they still cater to the professional side of trade shows as well?
To promote your brand or products you need to be connected with your target audience, and to do that you also need to stay relevant with social media outlets. Social media is constantly evolving to appeal to their audiences, so shouldn’t you? Following in the footsteps of apps like Snapchat and Periscope comes the new addition of live streaming video on Facebook. Live streaming video allows you to directly connect and interact with your consumers in real time, which makes them more accessible to you and you more accessible to them. People want personal, authentic interaction without the inconvenience of going out of their way to contact you.
I am sure everyone is familiar with a swag bag. For those who aren’t, it is the bag that they give you when you enter for all your take-home tchotchkes, such as lanyards, pens, coupons, and other promotional materials from event sponsors. The appeal of the swag bag is simple. It is the physical embodiment of a sponsor’s messaging and is intended to be something the attendee keeps with them throughout the event. With any luck, they will take home key chains, letter openers and stress balls emblazoned with your company’s logo, serving as a reminder for when they may need your products or services. The unfortunate reality is that unwanted materials get trashed and most of these items, including the bag itself, never make it past the hotel parking lot. The question is: Is there a better way to deliver promotional materials to attendees that cuts down on waste and gets you better exposure? The answer is: Yes, there is! It is called a Virtual Swag Bag, and it is the wave of the future.
Everyone knows the booth is the “wow factor” that initially draws attendees into a space, but how do you engage them and establish potential prospects? Videos and motion graphics are great as moving billboards but are quickly forgotten; handing out brochures will leave your opportunities strewn on the floor and swept into the trash. Populating your booth with informed and prepared booth staff is an invaluable strategy to leave a lasting impression on your guests and drive trade show ROI.