The Devil’s in the Details

trade show, best practices, event, show tips, trade show successWhile attending a tradeshow for the packaging industry recently, I was a bit surprised to see a large number of marketing snafus that could have been easily avoided, and would have resulted in much better lead generation on the show floor.

A Necessary Evil
To some, trade shows are unavoidable—you need to be there to show your face, but they sure do consume a heck of a lot of your overall marketing budget for the year.

But think positive! They are also a highly personal, industry-focused avenue to reach your target prospects, and one of the best places for your company to shine!

Small, But Mighty
Take a step back to understand what might appeal to the weary trade show traveler (like upgraded padding…), even if it seems like a small detail.

While it’s important to make sure you’ve secured a prime location, the booth stands out with killer graphics, products arrive in time to be on display, and your booth guy isn’t head down in his phone checking email all day, it’s even more important to take stock of the little things that will make your presence that much more memorable.

Here are some of the more noteworthy fails from my recent adventure:

  • A woodcrafter with beautiful custom cases, obviously quality built, handing out a one page flyer depicting out of focus graphics that showcased his products

    (How am I going to convince my boss that your cases are actually worth the money we’re spending if I can’t show him pictures?)

  • A vacuum packaging company with a very ‘intimate feminine’ product set out in the front row of the booth as an example of the items they can shrink wrap

    (Have you looked at the gender demographics of this industry lately?)

  • A four-panel, fold-out brochure with an image spread across the fold…that didn’t line-up when opened

    (So, misalignment is a good first impression?)

Shine Through the Clutter
In a setting as personal as a trade show, attention to detail is the make or break of our industry anymore; it helps set us apart from the growing mound of noise generated throughout other marketing channels. This is your chance to really make a firsthand impression on a customer, so make sure you do it right.

To get you on the right planning path, check out this handy guide to trade show success.

Blog, Blog, Blog…Yadda, Yadda, Yadda

blog, content, seo, posting, web

 

So, you know you need a blog, but feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of creating—and sustaining—one. You have some topic ideas in mind, but how is that going to translate into a consistent, ongoing, informative and educational resource?

 

Here are a few simple tips to make sure you have content, content, content well into the future, once your initial set of topics have been crafted and posted:

 

Ways to Ensure Consistent Blogging

 

Posting Logistics

  • Start with a modest posting schedule and increase frequency after you get a feel for what it takes to generate an article
  • Share the load—assign multiple writers to develop at least one piece a month (not that you need to post it all at once, see above…)
  • Utilize guest posts—they typically come with fresh ideas and different perspectives

 

Content Ideas

  • Track a few key groups or publications and post responses or insights, linking to original pieces
  • Use everyday situations to inspire ideas
  • Conduct a quick online survey to customers and comment on results
  • Reuse the best content your blog has to offer, with an updated perspective
  • Conduct an interview with someone related to your industry
  • Create an infographic with a descriptive overview

 

For more ideas on how to get your blog up and running as well as implementing SEO best practices (to make sure it gets read!), give us a call or send us an email!

 

Have you embraced The Cloud?

cloud computing, network, online, work flow, digitalCloud computing has become more than just a place to store information; it’s an essential part of daily business operations.

 

Having moved the mobile workforce beyond merely ‘working from home’, the cloud provides a location-agnostic environment where collaboration can effectively be conducted regardless of your physical location or local time zone.

 

What is the cloud?

Simply put, the cloud is a network of servers that either provides an online service or stores data. You can then can access your info from virtually anywhere using a computer, tablet, smartphone, etc., as long as you have an internet connection.

 

What can be saved to the cloud?

Any digital file — documents, pictures, video, contact information, calendars, maps — can be stored on the cloud on both public and private networks. Common business services available via cloud computing include email, digital editing, design and publishing and some collaborative software.*

 

How can the cloud work for you?

Generally, businesses use the cloud to save money, as its more cost efficient for three main reasons.

 

  • First, it’s scalable—Businesses don’t have to spend money on limited hard drive storage. Cloud service providers only charge for storage used, with an almost unlimited amount of storage available. Businesses have the option to upgrade and expand or downsize their storage needs whenever they desire with no financial backlash.

 

  • Next, it’s flexible—The cloud can be accessed from any device connected to the internet. This means two things: employees and clients can collaborate from anywhere on the planet and files can be opened in any operating system, regardless of the word processing applications that are installed.

 

  • Finally, it’s eco-friendly—In society’s attempt to be paperless, the cloud reduces paper and ink requirements. From editing to filing, all of it can be done electronically and more efficiently on the cloud.

 

Another business benefit is enhanced disaster recovery, since cloud companies back up your data off site, and the data will be immediately available via the internet no matter the catastrophe.

 

For existing as well as up-and-coming businesses, cloud storage is a natural progression towards a modern business model that focuses on cost efficiencies and global collaboration. Check out this list of things to consider before employing a cloud-based environment.

 

*It is important to keep in mind that, as with any digital environment, precautions need to be taken to properly secure personal or sensitive business information.

 

An Open Letter to Those Employing Direct Mail

direct mail, direct marketing, tips for direct mail, direct mail best practices

 

Dear Mr. or Ms. Marketer,

 

First of all, BRAVO! It seems you already realize the importance of print in today’s digital delete-before-you-even-open-it world. That colorful mailer that crossed my desk made me pause for a moment…

 

You have obviously put considerable time and effort into developing a comprehensive, well-designed piece of literature, and, well, we feel it should go to someone who could use it.

 

See, we are a marketing communications agency, so we track relevant trade publications that are important to our clients and their markets by subscribing to the magazines and relevant sites.

 

We’ve noticed an increasing trend in publications selling unqualified leads from their subscriber list to companies, such as yours.

 

Companies are sending the wrong materials, or unsolicited information, to prospects that really have no use for it.

 

In our world, this is a big waste of valuable resources, especially when some thought, time and money has been put into those marketing materials.

 

If you are interested in discussing targeted marketing strategies that can give you some qualified leads, we’d love to talk. For starters, ask yourself these questions about your current direct mail efforts, then drop us a note when the feeling moves you!

 

If you think the checklist above is enough help, then we wish you the best of luck in your future sales and we hope the next person that receives your information finds in it the perfect solution for their next project.

 

Sincerely,

The Simon Group

Marketing Communications

More than 25 years of Business as Unusual