Tag Archives: Business Services

If It Ain’t Broke… Then Just Enhance It

I recently returned from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)  trade show in San Francisco for our client Manheim.  We repurposed last year’s “sports lounge” booth, enhancing a few key elements.  Why would we want to use the same sports lounge concept from last year?  Well, it worked.  How do we know it worked?  We looked at the results.

We didn’t just look at anecdotal comments from industry leaders such as Kathy Jackson of Automotive News, who stated in her blog, “They really had it going on at the Manheim booth – sports bar with lots of flat screen TVs and free beer, wine, soft drinks and nuts.  You would have thought you were on the set of ‘Cheers.’  The bar was packed.”  We also looked at last year’s results, such as 800 unique attendees engaged at the booth for an average of 28 minutes per person.

So going into planning for this year’s trade show, the consensus was to go with what worked last year and aim to make it even better.  The primary goals were to increase the number of attendee engagements as well as time spent with the attendees.

First, we increased the size of the booth footprint, making the sports lounge 10 feet deeper.  Since the sports lounge was packed last year, we figured attendees may appreciate more seating and more elbow room.  And, oh yeah, we may be able to engage with even more attendees.

Second, we promoted the sports lounge with news racks near the trade show and pre-show e-blasts to dealers, promoting an NFL replica football giveaway.

Third, we secured and branded a nearby sports bar with 31 interior and exterior window banners, two continuously looped, closed-circuit television spots, napkins and cups.  We invited attendees to join Manheim and watch the “Big Game” between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on February 6th after the trade show.  There, we gave away more footballs, iPod touches and iPads.

The results:

  • An increase in unique engagements over last year, from 800 to 1,150.
  • An increase in average time spent in-booth with attendees, from 28 minutes to 32 minutes.
  • Engagement with more than 350 attendees for an average of THREE-PLUS hours at the off-site sports bar.

So what does it all mean?  First, by establishing measurement criteria up front and looking at results, you can evaluate program-to-program performance objectively.  Second, even if previous results were good, they can always be better.  Third, you may not need to reinvent the wheel to drive results.  And finally, people like free beer and sports.

Gary Sayers, Vice President, Account Director

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Filed under advertising, Customer Experience, Engagement, Measurement, Trade Show

Embracing Measurement

As I have said before, with marketing being held to a higher standard, the days of running programs and hoping that they worked are over.  The old saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” rings true today, more than ever.  Nearly every target interaction can be measured in some manner.

But how do your get your marketing team to embrace measurement?

If you truly want measurement and accountability to permeate your organization, it can’t be just lip service.  You must make a wholesale change and bake it into the DNA of your company.  It may sound difficult, but it isn’t that hard to do.  We’ve helped many of our clients implement analytics programs to track and improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Here are a few of the keys.  Make sure you…

  • Put your analytics plan in place prior to any implementation.
  • Get input and buy-in from senior management.
  • Measure the right things – the data points that tie back to your specific objectives and can truly have an impact on revenue.  In some instances, 2-3 items will suffice.  In other cases, you may need to track 10-15 items.  It is fine to track softer items (e.g., awareness, favorability), but it is also critical to develop mechanisms to track leads/engagement and hard business metrics.
  • Create a conversion funnel that, where possible, tracks all the data points from each customer interaction all the way through to revenue.
  • Develop a scorecard to track the data.
  • Assign the team members who will be responsible for each data point.
  • Set a reporting schedule… and stick to it.

Don’t be afraid of measurement.  Embrace it.  Your future may depend on it!

— Stephen Weinstein, Director of Account Management

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Is It Time To Rethink Your Trade Show Strategy?

Having attended more than my fair share of trade shows over the past six months, I have one question. To quote a former NFL coaching legend, “What the hell is going on out there?”

No matter the industry or size of the show, it seems that the current economic climate has caused most exhibitors to go back into their shells and rely on the dull, boring, and overused means of generating awareness and impact, attracting folks into their booth, and conducting business.

Attendance at many shows is way down, and companies are sending fewer representatives, if any at all. That’s a fact. Dragging the same old booth to the same old show with the same old speech just won’t cut it anymore. I would argue that it has never been more critical for exhibitors to get out there and do something different to make an impact with show attendees.

What can you do differently with your presence and/or your booth space to stand out from your competition, generate traffic and buzz, and achieve your goals? Try doing something totally different. We’ve had several clients do a trade show 180 over the past year, and the results have been dramatic.

CHANGE YOUR BOOTH: Get into the current mindset of your target. Survey your audience ahead of time. What are their points of pain? What solutions are they looking for? What needs are they trying to fill? Focus your team’s goals, your booth, and your talking points in these specific areas…and find a way to do it differently than everyone else! One of our clients recognized that a key trade show was right in the middle of the Daytona 500. They also knew that their audience loves car racing and drinking beer. So, they turned their booth into a giant weekend sports bar, complete with numerous hi-def flat-screen TVs that showed nonstop sports programming, including the Olympics! Booth attendance was like nothing they had ever seen before, and showgoers lingered and engaged with the reps for much more time than in previous years. The PR generated from doing something so unique was an added bonus.

It was unique, aligned with the brand strategy, and crushed the money-blowing machines, Wii bowling, prize wheels, and washed-up ex-pro-athlete autographs that other booths were using to stand out.

SURROUND THE SHOW: Consider taking your message outside of the convention center walls to stand out. Once again…get into the mindset of your target. Where will they be staying? What will they do at night or for fun while they are there? Will they all fly into the same place or travel along the same route? Do a scouting trip or two and get inside the head and the potential itinerary of your key attendees. Talk to the convention center, nearby hotels, and nightlife spots. Challenge them with ideas that they may have never seen before. We have taken this approach for several of our clients and have implemented some very unique ideas at convention centers, airports, hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, and even on the sides of buildings.

So consider doing something different at your next show. It could pay off in a big way.  And make sure you save some time to walk the show. You’ll get a great sense of what is going on in the marketplace, and how you should position your brand to stand out.

– Stephen Weinstein – Director of Account Management

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Cross-selling services is good business. Except when it’s not.

Timing is everything.  And while I fully endorse capitalizing on opportunities to sell a customer another product or service, particularly when you have them on the phone, or in the store, doing so when that customer is extremely annoyed with you is… how shall I put this… NOT SMART.

Take my recent encounter with a leading satellite provider, for example.  In the short time I have been a customer, I have experienced three multiday service disruptions.  Most recently during the season premiere of LOST (which made me even more unhappy).  So let’s just say my sentiments toward this particular company are not favorable at the moment.

But that’s not something I can blame on the poor customer-service rep who happened to receive my troubleshooting call.  It was all going fine at first.  I explained the problem.  She walked me through the steps to try and resolve it.  She was cordial and professional.  I was cordial back.

Until she chose that moment to try to sell me another product, no doubt following the script she was handed.  A product that would protect me from having to pay more money if they had to come out to make the service actually work.  I don’t think so! I’m actually quite proud of how I handled it, as I did not take it out on her, though I did tell her that she didn’t have a happy customer on her hands, and that trying to sell me something new was not well timed.

Her response?  “I can appreciate that, ma’am. But don’t you think…”  etc.

Moral of the story:

1)  Train your front lines to think.  Not just follow a script.

2)  Make sure they understand that it’s way cheaper to keep a current customer than it is to acquire a new one.

3)  Equip them to choose their moments wisely.  Lest they meet up with a customer far less cordial than I.

— Ellen Repasky, Account Director

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