As 2020 – a year unlike any other – finishes up, marketers are faced with a new world of replacing crucial business leads. One of the most impactful methods – trade shows – is still in flux. Many early 2021 shows have been canceled while others are considering postponing or moving to a completely virtual platform, which frankly just isn’t the same. And you need leads NOW. This is just the right time to utilize those trade show dollars on a few new arrows in the marketing quiver, ones that allow for pinpoint precision to offset the loss of in-person opportunities. In today’s Plain Talk newsletter, we’ll talk about a few cost-effective ways to repurpose those trade show dollars to keep qualified leads rolling in.
Utilize the Latest Media Opportunities
Study after study has shown that those who continue to advertise during an economic slump have an easier time rebounding and maintaining, or growing, market share long-term. Those who don’t advertise (or continue advertising) typically take longer to rebound (like years longer). When you combine economic challenges with the travel restrictions and other limits to face-to-face interactions, media outreach matters like never before. There is some good news, though. Because of these limitations, consumption of and engagement with highly targetable web and social media content is way up.
Total digital visits across key categories peaked during the week of April 20-26 but still remains up 31% compared to February.
Now is the time for brands to evaluate new and current media tactics, to ensure they’ve been adjusted for new work habits and environments that have changed due to COVID.
Apply those new marketing dollars to strategic account based marketing (ABM) to engage with specific high-priority accounts – the ones you may not be able to reach effectively with fewer in-person events. In order to do this successfully, it’s crucial to go through your target list data to ensure it’s as accurate as possible and meticulously focused; then evaluate and execute accordingly with some specific tactics:
- IP targeting is very effective through hyper-focused efforts that reach your audience through a digital device’s unique IP address. Even though location has impacted the options available, this technology is allowing for new, creative options to reach your target audience. One example would be to map devices that typically connect to a work IP address, in order to continue to serve your messaging to their remote locations versus their company offices.
- Prioritize methods for gathering and tapping first-party data collection that can be utilized in an ongoing capacity to spread the cost of investment with ownable assets.
- Investigate and invest in second-party data, such as partnering with trade associations and media for recent show attendee lists.
Whatever you do, make sure the paid media experience is seamless with your owned digital content for a complete experience for your B2B leads.
Nail the online experience
Fewer in-person opportunities make the digital experience even more important in representing your brand…i.e., the world is less in-person and more digital!
- Invest now in polishing the brand website to ensure you’re providing the proper experience and capturing useful analytics to continually enhance the visitor experience and lead generation.
- Optimize your brand’s owned content outside of the core website. With a workforce segment still working remotely, there is more digital time to connect with potential new leads on social channels. If there’s nothing to optimize currently, then there’s a more intensive conversation that needs to be had in order to execute a plan for consistent quality content to engage your audience.
- As part of a 360 degree experience with your brand’s story, use a trade-focused public relations team to engage with those who are able to share additional quality content about your brand – trade media, analysts and influencers.
- If participating in virtual versions of trade shows, make sure to support efforts to integrate with your existing paid and owned digital experience for leads. Don’t just throw your logo on the page. Maximize the opportunity to connect and tell your story, and potentially convert each lead.
- Think creatively about new digital-owned content channels that can engage and record new leads, such as webinars or buzz-worthy virtual product announcements. Are they the best that they can be?
Engage With Leads in New – Sometimes Surprising – Ways
After you’ve developed a sharpened media plan and compelling content to prospect, it’s time to move the lead conversion along. In the COVID-19 world, travel budgets are next to nil, but you can still be where the customers are. We recommend bringing the brand to qualified leads via shipping. Utilize trade show dollars or entertainment budgets to physically deliver an educational branded experience. Share new products, news or a uniquely clever physical presentation, to engage and move the relationship along. Surprise and delight still works!
Finally, now is the time for empathy in your marketing. While being as strategic as possible, it’s important to remember that relationships are crucial in business partnerships. Now is the time to be as human as possible, and avoid being tone deaf with generalized strategy and tactics.
If you have questions or would like to discuss how to reallocate tradeshow budgets, feel free to contact us here or give us a call at 502-499-4209 to get some time on Steve Kozarovich’s schedule.
About the Author
Steve Kozarovich is a Senior Account Director at PriceWeber. When he’s not executing successful trade show programs for brands, he’s investigating and evaluating new strategies and tactics to grow market share for them.