101 B2B Marketing and Sales Tips from The B2B Lead

VOLUME THREE

Event Marketing
Generating Leads and driving revenue through webinars, customer events and trade shows

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101 B2B Marketing and Sales Tips from The B2B Lead

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16 Event Marketing Tips for Driving Lead Generation
With the ups and downs in the economy and advances like virtual trade shows, event marketers need to find creative ways to make the most out of every event. Tradeshows can be true lead generating events, webinars can have high attendance and customer events can help create lasting relationships while increasing revenue. In this collection of 16 event marketing tips from The B2B Lead, you will find information on increasing webinar attendance, driving more trade show traffic, making the most out of customer events and much more. Here’s a few of the included tips in this eBook: • Ten Tips for Using Webinars for Lead Generation • Leverage Exclusive Events to Increase Trade Show Traffic • Drive Revenue from Customer Events • Using Events Spend to Drive Sales Conversions If you like what your see here, be sure to check out theb2blead.com for more B2B Marketing and Sales tips.

Content contributed by: Amy Hawthorne, Director of Marketing at ReachForce Pam O’Neal Mickelson, VP of Marketing at BreakingPoint Suaad Sait, CEO at Reachforce Andrea Stout, Marketing Programs Specialist at NetQoS Leigh Anne Wallace, Marketing Coordinator at ReachForce Cody Young, Customer Success Manager at ReachForce

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Table of Contents
Webinar Tips 1. 12 Ways to Turn 300 Webinar Attendees Into 3,000+ Part I 2. 12 Ways to Turn 300 Webinar Attendees Into 3,000+ Part II 3. Quick Webinar Tips 4. Ten Tips for Using Webinars for Lead Generation Tradeshow Marketing Tips 5. Make the Most of Your Tradeshow Investment Using Word of Mouth Marketing 6. Develop an Integrated Theme for Trade Shows 7. Top 10 Ways to Get Booth Traffic at a Tradeshow 8. Leverage Exclusive Events to Increase Trade Show Traffic 9. Trade Show Accountability 10. How to Get 3,190 People to Watch a Demo at a Tradeshow 11. Leveraging Current Customers at a Tradeshow 12. Driving More Traffic at Trade Shows 13. Using Events Spend to Drive Sales Conversions 14. Another 90% Statistic About B2B Marketing; Really! More Event Marketing Tips 15. After the User Group Conference, How to Stay in Touch? 16. Drive Revenue from Customer Events

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12 Ways to Turn 300 Webinar Attendees Into 3,000+ Part I
A Roadmap for Webinars in a Web 2.0 World
This week’s Marketing Profs B2B Forum has been an enlightening experience. Not only have I picked up a few great social media ideas and techniques (thank you Erickson Barnett), but I’ve started to shift the way I think about the role of traditional Marketing techniques in our Web 2.0 world. In this case, I’m referring to Webinars–that old staple of lead generation for B2B Marketers. So, as I prepared for my presentation on Webinars in a Web 2.0 world, I came up with a list of tips for producing and promoting webinars or really any form of educational content. Thought I’d share them with you in a 2 part post. Here are the first 6 tips. Feel free to chime in with any others that I missed. 1. Start by getting into the right mindset to make the most of your webinar. It is important to realize that webinars are just another part of “the conversation” you are having with your customers and the community as a whole. So stop thinking about marketing them like an event. Think about using them as a way to keep the relationship alive, build a community of followers, to spark group discussions or change the way people think about an issue. 2. Next, package the webinar to make promoting it more successful. You might consider breaking it into a series of webinars to be held every 6 weeks to keep your followers interested in what you have to say. Produce complimentary content such as white papers, assessments, tools, etc. that you can email to registrants. 3. When you draft the promotional copy, remember to write for your target personae. Use simple, but compelling language. Drive home the WIIFM (What’s In It for Me) message. NOTE: You should also use the right words in your copy. Use Google Trends to see which terms your audience is using to search. For example: the word “webcast” is searched for far more often than the word “webinar.” 4. Here’s another important tip for packaging your webinar. Post your slides prior to the day of the webinar so people will have a good idea of the content you will cover. Several years ago, I engaged in a survey with Webtorials to assess the effectiveness of podcasts vs. webinars and understand why – for my company—customers responded better to webinars. The key: the slides. Funny, how people love to hate PowerPoint, but when it came down to it, they really needed the slides for comprehension to assess whether they wanted to spend a precious 30 to 45 minutes listening in. 5. Use social media to trigger viral distribution of your invitation. Identify a list influencers, reach out and ask them to help you spread the word about your webinar. Use Twitter to tap the influencers with a large following and “direct message” them. Post to Facebook groups interested in the topic. And, share with your LinkedIn network. After all, you are offering a service to these folks – the opportunity for free education on a topic of interest. 6. Post your slides using slide sharing sites to get your content in front of people who are actively seeking content/education. If your slides are crafted well, you will trigger what the authors of Made to Stick call the “pain of knowledge gaps” which should entice the viewer to tune in to your webinar. And, speaking of knowledge gaps, there’s more to come in the next post with 6 clever ways to get additional mileage out of the actual content you produce.

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12 Ways to Turn 300 Webinar Attendees Into 3,000+ Part II
In the first half of the B2B Lead blog series on 12 Ways to Turn 300 Webinar Attendees Into 3,000+, I shared 6 tips for getting the most out of your webinar. I recommended that you start by getting into the right mindset. It is important to realize that webinars are just another part of “the conversation” you are having with your customers and the community as a whole. Think about using them as a way to keep the relationship alive, build a community of followers, to spark group discussions or change the way people think about an issue. In today’s post covering tips 7-12, I’m going way out on a limb to suggest some other cutting-edge practices that a new generation of B2B marketers are using. 7. Turn your webinar into a twebinar –a webinar and Twitter mash-up where conversations take place in real-time before, during and after the webinar, on Twitter. Twitter is a great way to spread the word before the day of the webinar, and an even better way to facilitate Q&A or capture suggestions during and afterward. 8. Don’t wait to reach out and engage with registered attendees. Contact those who registered early to offer more information and continue the conversation. Some ideas for this include sharing a white paper on a relevant topic, distributing event materials or research findings. Bulldog Solutions claims that this will enable you to engage with 10 % of the registrants before the webinar takes place. 9. Pick one core slide that is most intriguing or highlights your core content. Draft a few soundbites around the slide and excerpt the content for a Podcast. Embed the slide image and podcast in a press release or on your community site. Use this to market the archived or “on-demand” version of the webinar. 10. Don’t forget to promote your webinar series via all of the programs you are normally producing including: trade shows, press releases, PPC search engine ads, web pages including your home page, community, blog and customer support pages. 11. Continue the conversation on your blog by using it for Q&A. If your material is good, the Q&A segment can produce lots of great content. Take the conversation to your Community area to show prospects all of the materials they can find there. This will help you keep a loyal audience. 12. It’s officially the “Remix Era,” so take the materials you developed for the webinar, remix them and post where appropriate. Issue a press release with highlights embedded. Transcribe and post the content as a contributed article on Hub pages or Scribd. Syndicate the archived event on sites like On24. I’m really interested to hear what you have found to be successful on the Webinar marketing front. Is a twebinar really effective? Do attendees really convert to blog readers? Can you effectively engage with registrants before they attend the Webinar? Chime in with your thoughts.

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Quick Webinar Tips
I have recently attended a few webinars on creating webinars. Both were sponsored by GoToMeeting. I don’t have a lot of experience with webinars but I am planning one for next quarter and I hope to implement all that I learned. Here are a few good tips I picked up: • Always stick to the time frame • Promote through partners – make it very easy for them to add a link to a landing page. Consider co-sponsoring a webinar for increased visibility. • Know what your goal is and don’t misrepresent it to your attendees – Don’t make it a sales pitch if it has been promoted as educational. • 2 Speakers can be better – different speaking styles and presentation skills will engage different listeners • Give an incentive – publicize it in all communications, make it valuable (a compelling whitepaper is always good), Reward people who listened to the entire presentation by giving the incentive at the end • Be sure to prepare ahead of time - check all audio and technology ahead of time • Engage your audience with polls and Q&A • Experiment to see what dates, times and length will work best for your audience • Maybe we have just been conditioned but both webinars said hour long webinars Tuesday-Thursday at 1 or 2PM EST work best. • Profile your audience when they register so that the speaker can be more relevant to the audience • Promote that the audience will get a chance to engage with the speaker(s) – “This is your chance to ask Seth Godin anything you want” (If this is a big part of the draw be sure to allow plenty of time for Q&A, possible ask for questions ahead of time. People will tune in to see if their question is answered) For more tips on increasing webinar attendance check out 12 Ways to Turn 300 Webinar Attendees Into 3,000+ Part I - B2B Marketing and Sales Tip #105 and 12 Ways to Turn 300 Webinar Attendees Into 3,000+ Part II - B2B Marketing and Sales Tip #107

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Ten Tips for Using Webinars for Lead Generation
Webinars have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. Not sure if that’s because the cost to travel to live events has sky rocketed or if its because webinars can now be re-purposed into a variety of onDemand events that can have multiple uses and draws. The biggest challenge still exists though, regardless of the event being live or online - getting people to give up their time and actually show up. At ReachForce we are gearing up for our own webinar series and have been doing a lot of research on best practices we want to be sure to implement. I’ve read a lot of great information so I thought I’d share what I’ve found and will be sure to implement… Getting people “there” – 1. 2. Get their attention from the beginning with an eye catching event title It always amazes me how little time is spent on naming Webinars. The right Webinar title can immediately elevate your Webinar to a “must attend” event. How do you decide on a Webinar title that stands out in the inbox? Start with your Sales team/s. Find out what they are hearing out in the marketplace and ask them to help identify hot buttons you should consider for your title. Other details - Be sure the Webinar titles run no longer than 30 characters, and consider using words like “Webcast” or “you’re invited”. Format Invites for Maximum Engagement People just don’t read anymore so you have to be sure to get to the point quickly. People seem to read the first sentence and then look for things like photos of your speaker/s, bullet points or other images included. Make It Easy to Register Seems like a given, right? We’ve all tried to sign up for Webinars that took us to multiple landing pages or asked us to fill out a form that was just too long and wanted too much information. Keep it simple and map out a plan to collect more information from registrants as you continue to follow up with event reminders. Sell Your Event, Not your Products or Services Remember to sell the benefits of your offering in the context of the event. Here’s an example – Instead of saying, “Our solutions accelerate sales cycles by 2X,” say, “Join us for a free webinar and learn how to accelerate your sales cycle by 2X”. Call to Action: Front and center Don’t wait until the end of your invite to ask people to register for your event. Remember lots of people scan/view emails in the preview pane. Include clickable links or buttons in the header or headline and in the body of the email at least twice. It may seem like overkill but your goal is to get them to register, don’t make them hunt for the right buttons to do so. Remind them why they are there, on your landing page that is Recent tests have shown tests that B2B prospects prefer more detailed information on Webinar landing pages. They want more information on what to expect from your webinar and what is going to be discussed before they commit. Don’t forget to include your speaker bios here too. People like to know more about who they are signing up to listen to.

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Consider a personalized landing page (PURL) and pre-populated forms In a recent test, more than 75% of Webinar registrations came from PURL recipients. People like the idea that the invite and information is being customized for them. Most marketing automation systems have this capability, be sure you’re using it. Add links to additional information or content in your landing page This specific webinar may not be of interest to your prospect but that doesn’t mean all of your offerings and/or content aren’t of interest to them. Offer additional information in different formats, maybe a previous webcast, a podcast, whitepapers or eBooks. Offer an OnDemand Recording of the Presentation Somewhere between 33% and 50% of the people who register for your Webinar will actually show up. So be sure to offer an onDemand recording of your event for those that can’t make it and remember to tell them it’s out there. This is a great excuse for follow up with those that didn’t attend and those that did. People that did attend may want to forward the onDemand version on to others in the decision making unit. That way, people can view your content at a time that works best for them.

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10. Say Thank You Don’t forget your common courtesy. Remember people took time out of their busy schedule to hear what you had to say. Follow up with a thank you and be sure to include links to more applicable information. Follow those click-throughs for laser targeting your next message.

Have we missed anything here? What has helped you drive more leads out of your webinars?

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Make the Most of Your Tradeshow Investment Using Word of Mouth Marketing
Attention Conservation Notice: The following post provides a few tips on how to turn your tradeshow experience into a word of mouth marketing success. When most B2B Marketers think of Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing, they think of online/viral campaigns or customer referral programs. But, tradeshows can be the perfect setting for some of the best WOM marketing campaigns. Where else can you get so many people of like mind together in one place, short of Internet forums. There’s nothing like a good stunt to get everyone at an event talking about your organization which contributes to both brand awareness and demand generation if you handle the lead capture and nurturing process appropriately. The guys over at GamePlan Marketing have been praised for their stroke of genius, “Operation Blueshock¸ a guerilla stunt that involved sending 150 male and 150 female models dressed to the nines onto the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) show floor to talk up the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. For video of the stunt, visit http://www.gpexperience.com/work.php. The results were staggering: on the day the models showed up at CES, the Bluetooth website had 18,500 hits– a 42-percent spike. In the post-show survey, 60 percent of respondents said they knew more about Bluetooth than just two days before. So called “guerilla stunts” need not be one-hit wonders, however. A successful WOM event orchestrated by NetQoS has now become an increasingly successful yearly tradition. In an effort to catch the eye of Cisco and get a very target-rich environment to talk about the company, NetQoS marketers executed a WOM “stunt” at Cisco Networkers a couple of years ago. The company sent out invitations to an exclusive party at The MIX lounge in Vegas for an after-hours party starting at 11:00 pm. This generated a great deal of buzz on the show floor with attendees clamoring for an invite. Those lucky enough to attend were given shirts to wear the next day. This resulted in more than 200 NetQoS-clad advocates in sessions and on the show floor which helped to increase lead generation by 120% from the previous year. The next year, we expanded our presence further, booked the House of Blues and increased lead capture by more than 300%. We also gave out Flipcams to encourage attendees to spread the word via YouTube and the blogosphere. How have you used WOM to improve your trade show experience?

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No Matter How Cool the Giveaway, Not Everyone at the Trade Show Will Want One
This week we, at ReachForce, are announcing a new data solution to help event marketers turn event booth visitors into real high-octane marketing data for lead generation. As we talk about events and the uncertainty around them being able to deliver real leads that actually convert into the sales pipeline, I’m reminded of a few of my past trade show nightmares, so I thought I’d share for a quick giggle. These will definitely be filed under Marketing WTF?? In my early days as a marketer, I was thrust into managing all trade show events for my company with absolutely no experience. My first trade show was made quite memorable by my product marketing guy. He said he knew a guy who did promo items. My first time CEO was convinced that branded coffee mugs were the hot giveaway. This being my first trade show, I didn’t know what to expect so I went with it. The only thing they asked me was how many attendees will be at the show – 6,000. This was the last of the mug talk until I got a call the day before I was to leave for the show in NYC. Product marketing guy ordered the mugs and instead of having them sent to the show he had them sent to the hotel we were staying in. The day before I leave for the show the hotel clerk calls to tell me that the mugs have been delivered. My immediate response - Great! No, he says, “You don’t understand Miss. There is a semi outside blocking traffic trying to deliver 6,000 coffee mugs to you here at the hotel.” At that time I still don’t think I understood the magnitude of the problem. We agreed that I would just pay for that night at the hotel and they would move the mugs into my room. When I arrived the next day, it was like I was a celebrity. When I got there and announced my name at the check in counter, people started coming out of the woodwork. Everyone wanted to see the girl that stopped traffic in Manhattan over some coffee mugs. I just smiled and apologized, still not having a clue what I was in for. Finally, I was greeted with the floor to ceiling boxes covering my room. There was little to no room to walk around. This was going to be fun – NOT! The show was okay and we tried to give everyone we saw a mug but we didn’t get through even half of the boxes. Now what? I hate these mugs…Could I leave them in NYC (still in my hotel room)? I couldn’t possibly pay FedEx to ship them all back to Austin… so instead I decided to call a freight moving company to come pick them up and take them back to Austin, in no hurry I might add. Thinking I was all set, I scheduled the freightliner to come the next morning. You see what’s coming next – once again I shut down traffic in Manhattan for these silly mugs. Needless to say the hotel was glad to see me go. Lessons learned – 1. 2. 3. Never let product marketing make decisions alone when it comes to event give aways. You never need as many giveaways as there are people expected to attend. Logistics, logistics, logistics.

Since there were so many mugs left they went to the next show as well. But this time we lucked out and the booth across from us had a keg and was giving away beer. It was like we had planned to be next to them with mugs in hand. Maybe the more important takeaway I have learned from the giveaway fiasco is that obviously not everyone will want your cool giveaway but does the cooler the giveaway translate into even more “leads” that have NO interest in buying my product?

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Develop an Integrated Theme for Trade Shows
One of the greatest challenges for event marketers is standing out from other booths at a trade show. The obvious way is to have the biggest badest booth in the expo hall, but with tightening budgets, spending more may not be an option. A more low-cost approach is to have a theme. Here at ReachForce, we have a history of getting attention (mostly good) at DreamForce, salesforce.com’s annual user group conference. Each year we have a different, fully integrated theme to help attract more booth visitors. Last year our theme was Let’s Make a Deal (you know the old game show hosted by Monty Hall). If you don’t remember the game show, I’ll give you a quick rundown. Monty Hall, the host, bartered with contestants dressed in costume and would allow them to choose their prize from behind one of three curtains or from one of several envelopes. The contestants always had an opportunity to trade in their prize for another mystery prize. We decided to play Let’s Make a Deal to drive more booth traffic and engage attendees. If you attended DreamForce last year, you may remember seeing Fred and Wilma Flintstone; that was us. Fred and Wilma walked the floor handing out envelopes with $1 bills and told attendees that they could trade in their envelope for a chance to win much more at the ReachForce booth. Those of us working the booth were in costume as well (yes, I was Little Bo Peep). Booth visitors could then play a game of Let’s Make a Deal. To do so they had to take a demo of our latest software offering. In the end, we reached all of our goals for capturing leads and gave more demos than expected. And people still remember us. One lesson learned was to consider who you are putting in costume. Our sales guy had more than a few people tell him they just could not take him seriously while he was dressed as Fred Flintstone. Be sure to draw attention but not at the cost of distracting from your message. Different areas where you might consider incorporating a theme: • Pre-show promotion • Post-show follow-up • Giveaways • Costumes • Booth signage

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Top 10 Ways to Get Booth Traffic at a Tradeshow
Pam recently blogged about how to use after hours events to drive booth traffic and buzz at your trade shows. Today, I want to share my tricks for getting the most traffic to your booth. 1. 2. 3. Know your audience - Study their likes and dislikes. This will help you select giveaways and presentation topics. Offer good content - Attendees love getting tips and best practices so focus on creating interesting and educational theater presentations. Market your presentations - Do you have a speaking slot at the show? Are you giving presentations in your booth? Design a business card that contains your presentation topic and timeslot and place it into the badge holder of the attendee you scan. Build brand awareness - Have your logo printed on stickers and place them on the badge of the attendee. Everyone will see it. I have also seen exhibitors place temporary tattoos on booth visitors. Don’t hand out junk - The best giveaways are those that can be kept on an office desk or given to children. Anything that has an LED light and flashes is popular right now. Show them the way - I’ve found that buying advertising space in conference guide rarely works. About 5% of our traffic is driven from bag inserts. Don’t waste your money – place good signage throughout your booth instead. Play music - Before you begin a theater presentation, play music. The sound will attract people from nearby booths. Shoot video - Take a Flip camera to your booth. Add the video you capture in your booth to YouTube – this will help you in search engine rankings. Location, Location, Location - Real estate is prime on the exhibit floor. Try to get a space close to the entrance as the attendees must walk by you to enter and exit the show floor. Stay away from your competitors and try to get a booth near your partners so you can get referrals. If you’re in a small 10×10 space, make sure to get a corner spot. Your booth will get lost if you are boxed in between other exhibitors. Feed them - It sounds so simple, but it works. Any time you can place a bowl of candy, a bucket of bottled water, or any other snacks in your booth – do it!

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Leverage Exclusive Events to Increase Trade Show Traffic
Ever notice how people will go way out of their way and wait in the longest lines to be part of an exclusive group or the first to experience something new, then word spreads and a frenzy ensues? Witness the iPhone phenomenon. Here are a few techniques for stimulating your own frenzy of trade show traffic. In my last position, I wanted to call out all of the stops at one major industry event to take our booth traffic to new levels and stimulate huge buzz to raise brand awareness. I decided to leverage word of mouth techniques to accomplish this goal. So, my team produced an exclusive, invitation-only after hours party at a swank club in Las Vegas immediately following the close of the show floor. We gave a small number of invitations to our customers and partners who were attending the event and they helped us generate so much buzz for the event that we had attendees lining up at the booth for a chance to get an invite to the party. Once inside the party, we lavished our guests with food, drinks, attention and gifts—one of which was a killer t-shirt that many wore to the show the next day which led others to visit the booth. The event has now become an annual affair for NetQoS which more than 500 attending the last party in Anaheim. The event is no longer exclusive, but it does have a widespread reputation as the must-attend event at Networkers. So, take a tip from New York club promoters and offer exclusives to get people excited about you and stimulate WOM. Invite your customers and partners and encourage them to spread the word for you. Oh, and here’s another related tip for driving booth traffic: sponsor a keynote drop. What’s a keynote drop? Some trade shows enable marketers to produce cards or flyers that are placed on the seats at the Keynote presentation. It’s more targeted than a hotel drop and instantly actionable. If the trade show does not offering a keynote drop, that’s even better. Contact the show organizers and offer to sponsor it exclusively! They will be happy to have the additional dollars and you’ll be the only game in town.

Playing Dress-Up is Not Just for Halloween - Marketing WTF?
Can you believe this is at a trade show and not Halloween? That’s right, at this year’s DreamForce, salesforce. com’s annual user conference, ReachForce found a fun way to stand out from all the other booths. The theme was Let’s Make a Deal. You can see Monty Hall in the center with his wacky contestants around. The theme definitely worked and gained a lot of attention for ReachForce and their debut software product, Insight. One lesson learned though was that some people had a hard time having an intelligent conversation with Fred Flintstone. If you try to get noticed at your next event with costumes, choose wisely who will wear them.

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Trade Show Accountability
I count it as good fortune … a big part of my job involves talking to dozens of different marketers every week about lead generation. Lately, I have kept my ears open for signs of downward second half ’08 pressure on budgets due to the economy. And while my report is hardly scientific, I am happy to say the majority of companies I’m in touch with seem to be in tune with the fact that the best formula for sales and marketing success (in any economic situation) is: Sustainability + Execution + Accountability = Marketing ROI In real world terms, if you’re driving somewhere, you’ve got to keep your foot on the gas and your car on the road at the same time. Marketing accountability (direction and measurement) are equal to those white lines we all strive to stay between no matter how fast or slow the speedometer says we are going at any given time during the trip. So when companies do knee-jerk reactions to economic news and paralyze their sales and marketing efforts by raiding the marketing budget, I’ve always equated it to driving by those bad planners along side of the road who have run out of gas …you feel bad for them, but at the same time you can’t help but wonder how in the heck they let that happen. Did they really think they could get to where they wanted to go, without keeping enough fuel in the tank? Taking the gas analogy one step further – in an economy where responsible marketers need to be doing more with less – I equate an over reliance on tradeshows for lead generation to rushing out and buying a Humvee. Sure, the “let’s have a parade” factor is there. The big tires, shiny grills and overhead lights look cool. You can paint logos on them and go like a bat-out-of-hell for two days. You’ll have plenty of conversations with lots of bleary-eyed people about how rugged, yet chic it all looks … but at the end of the day, poorly executed trade show campaigns are about the most wasteful thing I can think of from a lead generation perspective. I’m keenly aware that trying to steer some folks away from over relying on trade shows for leads almost means talking them into a complete redo of their very persona on a professional level. The success of too many marketers are gauged by how tricked-out booths look, or how efficiently they can ship dozens of boxes from one city to the next. Most large companies have full time employees who do nothing but register for events, manage shipping and logistics vendors and fight - oops, I mean “coordinate”- with the sales team about who to send to this or that event with exhibit hall passes, matching $60 golf polos and thousands of dollars worth of bags and trinkets that everyone forgets in their hotel room on checkout day. Then finally, the two hour meeting with finance weeks later about whether sales or marketing is going to pay for the expense reports. Sound familiar? You know who you are. For these people I’d like to I’d propose a few things that can be done as part of your trade show production to ratchet things up accountability-wise. The goal is to go beyond counting how many business cards are in your fishbowl, or the number of badges you’ve scanned with your $300 per event “rent-a-scan.” 1. As far in advance as possible, begin processing event attendee registration lists as if they were an operational database. That is, weed out irrelevant contact data, then research, segment and prioritize relevant targets. Add this data to your CRM and marketing automation systems. Then direct pre-show, at-show and post-show calls-to-action at them with embedded “key driver” messaging. It’s really about knowing who you want to speak with before your team goes to the event, instead of passively waiting for people to visit your booth after the show has started.Many events these days offer incomplete contact data for trade show registrants and/or have limitations about how it can be used. As this trend grows, a good approach is to use custom contact database builders like ReachForce to quickly research the companies who are sending attendees and provide you with names and contact information of those who are most relevant to your sales efforts. Very often these results track to same people who have registered. If not, it’s still nice to have the right names when you speak to their co-workers to arrange getting your sales people networked in. Game-plan each event as if you were a basketball coach. Consider the entire exhibit floor as the field of play with the understanding that no basketball team ever won a game with all 5 players standing under the hoop (in this case, around the booth). Depending on how many people you have going, you at least need 1) a good Point Guard (someone working the entire court, driving activity toward the goal/booth 2) a good Defensive Forward (someone working the entire court, talking to competitors, their customers, media contacts, consultants and analyst) and 3) a solid Center (someone – not a booth babe – who can deliver value proposition, demos, etc. in an intelligent and memorable way. Think of this as someone who instills confidence, with whom the visitor would want to personally do business.)

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Once you have these players in place, make sure they all have measurable objectives to shoot for. Give them a leader and mission and make known in a post show report to executive management whether or not objectives were achieved. In other words, have a solid event execution process that holds people accountable for their individual assignments. This is a good way to avoid the perception that trade shows are junkets. Rather than doing free-form sales pitches at your booth, strive to quantify what visitors think of your product or offer (usually after a demo) by using an ‘asked and answered” approach. A kiosk-based survey system can be used to pose “key-value” and “key-driver” questions with multiple choice questions. Assign point values to each response choice and tabulate them in a way that can be mathematically analyzed after the event to “score” each visitor. If you’re going to give away trinkets make them good ones, and give them to survey-takers. Set media coverage objectives for each event (by doing proper preparation work, setting interviews, etc. with attending media contacts upfront) and measure effectiveness in terms of ad value equivalency. I.e. measure what same coverage would have cost if you bought an ad from each outlet. This is not really a pure lead generation issue, but tradeshows are useful for creating thought-leadership buzz, if done correctly. It’s important to craft a compelling, newsworthy pitch such as a new product launch, or stories linking important key drivers with how your company is positioned to address them. And if you don’t have a couple of client/promoters who are willing to be a part of anything you pitch to the media, don’t even waste your time. I don’t know too many reporters willing to write a story unless there are solid use cases and customer testimonials to back your claims up.On this same note, try to coordinate the timing of your more meaningful press releases with your event schedule. A strong story released with a dateline from a major industry event is a good way to compel media contacts to meet with you there. It also helps give your presence at the event a theme to work with, which is also helpful in creating buzz. As a final dig (I just can’t help myself) always bring a fire extinguisher to each event. That way you can put out the flames from all the budget dollars you are burning when it starts to get out of hand.

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How to Get 3,190 People to Watch a Demo at a Tradeshow
After my last guest post on Getting More Traffic to your Trade Show Booth I thought I would share an inside look at the success behind NetQoS’s trade show marketing. I turned up the heat on Cisco Networkers this year with a party at the Hard Rock Hotel. Every year, companies spend millions of dollars on tradeshows worldwide. At NetQoS, there is one show each year that produces the best leads. Cisco Networkers Live is an event that brings together thousands of networking professionals for four days of training. As with any exhibition, the key to success is knowing your audience. With many booths to choose from, it’s hard to get prospects interested in visiting you. In January, the NetQoS marketing communications team met to discuss the overall strategy for the June Cisco show. Knowing that we had to choose a theme, we identified the most important characteristics of our target market. They are as follows: • Male • Aged 25-45 • Works in the IT field – most are responsible for the performance of their organizations network • Unlikely to be elected “Prom King” in high school With songs like “Party Like A Rockstar” by Shop Boyz and “I Want to be a Rockstar” by Nickelback ruling the radio, we decided that we should treat our prospects and customers like they are rockstars – network rockstars. With this theme, we were able to select promotions for the booth and plan a large customer party. Each year, we hand out t-shirts in our booth. We decided to design a shirt that fits in with the vintage shirts that are popular today. In addition, we purchased blinking guitar pins that contain our corporate logo. We have found that anything that with a flashing LED light attached to it is a huge item at tradeshows. As a general rule of thumb, if it can’t be stored on a desk or given to a child, it’s trash. For our party, we designed a landing page where customers and prospects could register online. We asked them to print off their confirmation and stop by our booth during the show to pick up their VIP backstage pass. This awarded us a lot of attention as other tradeshow attendees noticed the exclusive passes being worn around the show by our customers. Fitting with our theme, we booked the Hard Rock Hotel as our party venue. We passed out Elvis glasses as attendees walked down the red carpet. We set up Guitar Hero and Rock Band in the corner of the room which was a huge hit. In the past we learned that our guests don’t like loud music so we nixed the band this year and opted for a DJ. Also, never skimp on food. If your audience is mostly male, feed them well. We hired a photographer from Event Mall to take pictures of our guests and print copies on site. In addition, we hired two celebrity impersonators to entertain the crowd – Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osborne. The Results: For the first time, we ran out of all 3,500 t-shirts we had printed before the show was over. On the first night alone, we scanned 931 badges in two hours. We had 3,190 people sit through product demonstrations in our booth during the show. We handed out 3,000 blinking guitar pins in two days. At the party, we had 400 guests who have given us nothing but positive feedback.

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Check out examples of everything below: Hard Rock Party Landing Page: http://www.netqos.com/seo_promo/hardrock/ Flickr Photos Page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/netqos/ T-shirts: Front: Back:

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Guitar Pins:

Backstage Passes:

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Leveraging Current Customers at a Tradeshow
Guest blogger, Andrea Stout shared some great ideas Monday on Getting More Traffic to your Trade Show Booth. I want to add one more - leverage your current customers. Generally your current customers will be attending the same events as your prospects. If you can convince a few to be evangelists for you, they will be more impactful than your best sales reps. A colleague of mine had great success at a tradeshow last year. The messaging at the booth was all about being power driven which is also their company tagline. Each one of her customer evangelists wore a button that said “I am Power-Driven” while all employees wore “Ask Me How You Can Be Power-Driven.” They tripled the amount of booth traffic from the year before. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind when planning to use current customers at a tradeshow: 1. Plan ahead - Ask your sales reps and account mangers to find out if any of your best customers will be at the show. Consider inviting a few to be your guest. A customer advisory board is a great resource, if you have one. Ask in advance - Most people will be flattered that you asked. Do not wait til you see them on the show floor to ask. Set expectations - Make sure that your customers know exactly what will be expected of them. Do you just want them to just sing your praises or will they need to be able to answer questions from prospects. Integrate with your overall theme - If you have a theme or specific message for your booth be sure the customers enhance and add to your overall objectives. Give them something to wear - Ask your customer to wear a button, hat or shirt so that attendees can find them. Like in the example above, this does not have to be your logo - being different is a conversation starter. Thank your customers - Cocktail parties, dinner or a gift at the show are a few ideas. When you ask them to be an evangelist, let them know how they will be thanked

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Another idea is to include your current customers at any parties you might be throwing during the show. This can be a more comfortable environment that on the show floor. We all have a few customers that just could never be satisfied. Check with Sales and Account Management to be sure that everyone you are inviting is a happy customer.

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Driving More Traffic at Trade Shows
Driving booth traffic at a trade show can always be challenging. With so many other booths vying for attention, how do you make sure that attendees stop by your booth? Sometimes you have to get creative to use a smaller budget than your competition, and have equal or better results. Two years ago at DreamForce, salesforce.com’s user group conference, we utilized several strategies to drive more booth visitors. We created a theme to make sure all elements of our strategy tied together. Our theme was “No More Lists.” Being a provider of role-based contact databases, we wanted to end the use of traditional title-based list use. Attendees knew about us before they even walked through the doors of the Moscone center. We hired temporary staff to be picketers on the sidewalk holding various signs with the No More Lists theme and chanting, “ No More Lists!” As attendees walked past, the picketers would hand them “No More Lists” buttons and direct the attendees to the ReachForce Booth to get cash. I will note that in some ways this is a cautionary tale; we did have the cops called on us by the organizers of the event. The police actually sided in our favor, but we decided to drop the picketers for the second day of the conference to keep from ruffling too many feathers. One of us also walked the floor to hand out more buttons and direct traffic to our booth. If an attendee came to the booth, we let them pick an envelope. Each envelope was filled with cash ranging from $1 to $50. If you are trying to figure out the most compelling giveaway keep in mind that everyone loves cold hard cash. Our booth strategy was a success. We created lots of buzz with the picketers outside and exceeded our goals for booth traffic. We also generated enough revenue to pay for the cost of the show. As you are developing a strategy to drive more booth traffic, keep these ideas in mind: • Create buzz before attendees reach the show floor – this does not have to be outside the exhibit hall like our picketers. You can start the buzz on your blog, through Twitter, in a press release, a pre-show party, pre-show mailer or email. Have giveaways that people will tell their friends about – either have the latest must have gadget or a desirable giveaway for every visitor like cash. Make as many people at the show your brand ambassadors – we did this with buttons but you could also give away t-shirts or hats, anything people will wear – then reward them for wearing it.

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Using Events Spend to Drive Sales Conversions
Event budgets are typically pretty spongy. They are usually handed out in lump amounts with very little success measures put in place around these events. Here are a few ideas to drive real leads from event spend. • Make sure each person attending the event has goals assigned to them. Some examples include– X # of people scanned, X # of demos, X # of conversations had outside of the company booth, # of business cards collected. Use a little budget for prizes for the winners. Assign someone or a group of people to visit every other company participating in the event. You obviously have something in common, you are at the same event. Challenge team members to get other companies to drive traffic your way. Again, give away prizes to the company that sends the most people your way. Good use of $$ here, not only are you getting a chance to meet people who may not have stopped by to see you, you are also starting a new relationship with your forwarding friend. Ask each person that stops by your booth about the person responsible for using/buying your product or service. Give away another prize here to the team member that gets not only a name but also contact information and a referral from the person attending the show. If you have partners attending a show, put together a program that encourages people to visit your partner’s booth and vice versa. Once you return from an event and are getting ready to hand the warm and hot leads over to sales, STOP. Remember if you are passing a lead on there should be some additional information that goes along with the lead. Information that deems it Sales-ready. For these leads, use a little event budget and incent the Sales team to push these leads and to keep you posted on their progress. Everyone likes to be rewarded, a little piece of your event budget for prizes and everyone wins. Leads that aren’t Sales ready, divide those into 2 groups – those that you have the right decision makers name and possible contact info. These people are ready for a very targeted marketing program. For those that you only have the information of the person that stopped by and visited you at the show, invest in contact discovery for these. It’s worth the extra dollars to be able to turn otherwise dead event data into an actionable lead. These newly discovered leads will then be ready for your targeted marketing programs. Don’t forget to keep up with your spend. You’ll need this to calculate your ROI. You’ll also want to use this info. to measure the new tactics you are trying out. Tag event leads in your CRM system. This information will be used for follow up, for continued marketing with relevant messaging, and most importantly it’s needed to measure ROI of the event.

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Got any more creative event spend ideas? Please share.

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Another 90% Statistic About B2B Marketing; Really!
Tradeshows – Conferences – Users Group Events – May the religious wars begin. Sales loves them, marketing thinks they are cool as they make for a lot of creative fodder – CEO’s like the fact that their company is a player in the industry – businesses, at least high tech ones spend 25% or more of their marketing budget on events; to give away t-shirts and build “brand”. My view is that if you are a mid-sized business, the only branding you want to hear about is the one used to mark and track cattle. Here’s another 90% WASTE statistic I heard about from Sirius Decisions – less than 10% of trade show leads are followed up by Sales. So what happens to the rest? What are the best practices for reducing the 90% waste without all the rhetoric about branding – “was worth it because of the branding?” I get it, awareness on the business is important but why throw out the baby with the bathwater? My view, as always, is to step back take a deep breath and think about this: Why did sales only follow-up on 10% of the “leads”? What was the makeup of the “good leads” or Glengarry leads? Were the attendees (the companies) they came from a good fit? Did you come back with the right company but wrong contact names (the IT Admin was at the event but our economic buyer is someone else that we want to target)? How do we define the right company and filter them against those criteria? Who is the right person/people at the company you want to reach out to? Now that you have the answers to the question above, it’s time to turn the 90% waste into HIGH octane leads for marketing and selling. The yield will not be 100% but even if you end up yielding 1/3 of the 90%, you will be at 300% of where you are today with event leads. Don’t let the data you collect from a tradeshow sit around – mobilize it to create actionable leads in your business. Take it from sludge to high-octane data!

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After the User Group Conference, How to Stay in Touch?
User group conferences are expensive and time consuming but are the best way to have your customers network with each other and for you to get real face time with them to update them on new products and features and gather input on where you should be headed next. I was speaking with a colleague about her user group conference. She has managed them in the past but wanted a better way to stay connected with customers after the conference. Her boss wanted her to create an online community because social media is so hot right now. However, an online community didn’t seem like a right fit because her customers wanted real answers from executives not just responses from whoever in client services happened to be monitoring the discussion boards that day. I recommended that she continues to hold events throughout the year but to instead make them virtual. As part of the goody bags at the user group conference she could give everyone a web cam. Then, once a quarter, she could organize a live virtual conference on Skype (if Oprah can get housewives to use it, you can get executives to). Users may not be able to interact with each other as much, but an executive could be on hand to make announcements and answer questions. Now I am a firm believer in pushing your message through as many media as possible because everyone’s preferences are different. After the live web conference, she could turn the highlights into a webcast for those who couldn’t make it and send a newsletter with updates as well. That way people can digest the information in their own way. The point here is that no matter what you do to stay in touch with your customers, do something. We learn in school the importance of keeping our current customers, “It is easier to keep a current customer than to gain a new one.” Somewhere along the way acquiring new business became the focus and we forgot that our current customers are our gold. As a footnote, I have not executed a campaign such as this one. This was truly an idea I had in the moment when my colleague told me about her dilemma. I would love to hear from anyone out there who has done something similar!

Live Animals on the Show Floor - Marketing WTF?
In today’s Marketing WTF?, we highlight a campaign that raised the hackles of the folks at PETA. Mike Rosenfelt, Executive Vice President of MessageOne, is never one to shy away from the outrageous in an effort to generate buzz. In an odd ploy to illustrate how unexpected factors—such as a goat chewing through your fiber conduit– can take down your email system, he brought a live goat onto the trade show floor at the International Legal Technology Association show. The next year he one-upped himself by bringing alligators and pythons. The connection? The alligators had eaten the goat, or so they said. Live animals have now been banned, so we are all on pins and needles to see what Rosenfelt will think of next. As he said, they only banned live animals…

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Drive Revenue from Customer Events
In a previous life when I was VP of Marketing at a high tech software company we had thousands of customers with huge upsell and cross selling opportunities. Since many of these customers were long time customers we decided a live event would not only give us the opportunity to update them on our additional products and services but would also allow us some face time for further relationship building. Our overall goal for the event was to drive more revenue from our current customer base. As we were brainstorming on the event details we wanted to be sure we had a 3-D view on everything we did. We wanted to be sure we were educating our customers, building customer loyalty and get a better understanding how we were going to continue to monetize these relationships. I’ve included a few tips below for each of these components. Education – • • • • • Make sure your agenda for the event is not biased towards your company and what your company has going on, but instead show interest to solving THEIR business problems and what really impacts them. Think about what you want them to take back from this event? Consider bringing in industry leaders or analysts to speak on their experiences in the marketplace give away an educational book or take home information they could share with others Add a panel of happy customers to discuss their experiences and results from working with you

Loyalty – • • • Make each customer feel like they are your #1 customer Treat them to a nice venue, easy transportation and great food to start. Most importantly, make your customers feel they are part of the inner circle and by being at the event they are privy to information others aren’t. For example, show an exclusive demo of new or upcoming product releases.

Monetize – • • Hold your sales team responsible to have the right customers at the event. Ones who bring the most money, ones who have problems, ones that would benefit the most from being there. While at the event, set up customer face-to-face meetings with key executives. I had a spreadsheet with everyone I was meeting and knew their problems going into the conversation so I could bring the solutions. This was key.

Even though the event ended on a high note, we would have to wait another year for this type of customer interaction. Today, we wouldn’t have to wait another year to catch up with our customers. Companies like BD Metrics have already started to tackle this obstacle. BD Metrics’ You-Based™ personalization technology for leading tradeshows and associations to help make sure once people leave an event, all is not forgotten. I’m sure there are others out there also helping extend the momentum of live events. What have you seen or used? How are you staying in touch with your customers 365 days a year? Here’s another continuing customer event idea for you to ponder… ideas

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About ReachForce
ReachForce delivers software (SaaS) and data services that enable B2B companies to laser target their lead generation programs. ReachForce solutions allow marketing and sales teams to target market ‘sweet spots’ using CRM and website visitor data then reach the right buyers in these companies using role-based contact discovery services. ReachForce was created to ensure Marketers, keep their seat at the table. As a team of long time Marketers we decided we were tired of it being ok to be wrong 97% of the time. With marketing response rate industry averages being less than 3%, there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we as B2B Marketers have been driving lead generation initiatives. Response rates don’t equal leads and leads don’t always mean qualified buyers. At ReachForce, we don’t care about or measure response rates, we drive and measure revenue delivered to the business from lead generation initiatives. By addressing the foundation of any marketing program, the data - or “The WHO” as we call it, ReachForce was founded with one goal in mind: to provide businesses with revolutionary, high quality, costeffective data to fuel their marketing and sales lead generation initiatives.

About The B2B Lead
We’ve designed The B2B Lead blog to deliver real world, practical B2B Sales and Marketing Tips to help you capture more qualified buyers and convert them into profitable customer relationships. Each week, we will deliver snack-size how-to’s and thought-provoking commentary from B2B Marketers for B2B Marketers. ReachForce customers–who include Directors of Marketing Communications, Sales Professionals, Marketing Programs Managers–and other guest writers will share techniques that help you take a more deliberate and predictable approach to increasing the velocity and efficiency of the Marketing and Sales funnel. If you want to share ideas while learning from your peers, subscribe to our B2B Marketing RSS feed now. We hope you will make it your go-to resource for techniques to succeed in the new world of metrics-driven Marketing.

This is the third of a five volume collection of B2B Marketing and Sales Tips from The B2B Lead. Below are the past and upcoming volumes. To download all 101 B2B Marketing and Sales Tips, check back in the coming weeks. Volume One: Online Marketing Volume Two: Direct Marketing Volume Three: Event Marketing Volume Four: Marketing and Sales Alignment Volume Five: More Marketing and Sales Tips

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