Senior marketer and brand enthusiast This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. leverages years of experience in....more

How To Get More Clicks with Online Advertising

A solid advertising strategy considers both the environment of the ads placed as well as what is being displayed in each of those ads.

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Marketing to Engineers

Marketing communication methods to Industrial Manufacturing Engineers has changed to provide a single-focused brand message to get their attention and follow-up with easy-access to greater detail on product specifications and information.

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Get Out of the Way of Design

CEO's, product managers, sales managers, and other internal customers can overdrive the design and big ideas for marketing campaigns, which can make them ineffective.

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Our Sales Incentives Are Upside Down

The internet has changed everything relating to engaging customers in the sales process, and sales commissions have done little to adjust to this change. Spread incentives wider than field sales and create order-takers with up-sale incentives and give big commissions to field sales for promoting new technology.

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Evolution of Your Sales Approach

Customers access information on your products and services online with web site, reviews, video, and more. Now organizations need to look at their sales approach differently and include everyone who works with the customer as a salesperson.

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How Archaic Is Your Sales Approach?

Consider how much the internet, smart technologies, and social media have changed the way industrial manufacturing customers receive information and connect with vendors and other customers, and then think about how little our sales philosophy has changed.

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Why Do Salespeople Only Follow Up On 20% Of Trade Show Leads?

It seems kind of crazy from a marketing person's perspective that 80% of the leads collected on the trade show floor are not contacted by the sales team after the show. For years, this statistic was reported by the exhibit industry.   My personal experiences in researching the contact management systems of most companies I’ve worked with proved that about half of the leads are contacted. Still, the number is frustrating to a marketer as well as the executive staff, so I started getting serious about finding out, “Why?” I found out two major points.   1. The definition of followup from a salesperson’s perspective and a marketing person’s perspective is different. 2. The statistic in the industry wasn’t backed up by hard facts.   I’ll address the definition point first. In talking with salespeople, most of them called all of their leads but considered the act of leaving a voicemail or email completed the followup. As a professional salesperson, they feel that multiple calls and emails would be considered ‘bugging’ their potential customer. If there was a quote involved, they were more aggressive with the followup, but most leads from a show are contact names that request literature and do not specify a project. In that case, they feel a call/email is appropriate to give the requested information and provide their own contact numbers. Many marketing people define a followup as a belly-to-belly or live telephone conversation with a ‘next step’ reported. You may think there is a disconnect with the sales and marketing organizations, but it is more in the preparations of properly defining and communicating the expectations and providing an easy and useful way of reporting the results.   Now let’s address the myth of 80% of trade show leads are not followed up. In 2010, Exhibitor magazine was so frustrated with not having the proof of this statistic that they conducted a survey themselves. They found that less than 47% of companies that exhibit actually track their trade show leads, and only 28% have some way of evaluating ROI from the leads collected. Only 5% had a computerized system of capturing and then providing follow-through on the life of the lead.   Sales and marketing need to be aligned in their objectives and expectations before the show. The two people responsible for these roles need to collaborate and then set and communicate the goals. This includes not only establishing the target number of leads but also the expectations for taking action such as the timeframe, type of information to report, and appropriate way to communicate results.

Put Your Tradeshow Signs On Steroids With QR Codes

With ICE under our belts and CPP Expo, Label Expo and the K Show coming up, I challenge all exhibitors and attendees to download a QR code reader app and hit the floors armed with the reader. The experience at the show will be much more enriched. If the exhibitors do it right, they will have QR Codes on their trade show signs directing visitors to a product-specific web page that may contain video demonstrations, technical specifications, and even offers to get the product or service quickly.   Are you an exhibitor that wants to enhance your prospect’s experience at the show and demonstrate your cutting-edge prowess? Then take some action with this 4-step guide on how to easily create QR codes.   Step 1 – Provide your customer with a very purposeful webpage that will load onto a smartphone or tablet. Make sure you are not just re-purposing something they are already seeing in the booth. Create video, make an offer or provide testimonials that support the message they see next to the QR Code they will scan. Step 2 – Copy the URL of that webpage, and go to a free QR Code Generator site. There are many available; my favorite is KAYWA, found at   Step 3 – Paste your URL into the field, select the “Static” button before clicking on “Generate.” Your QR Code image will be on the left. Step 4 – Single right-click the QR Code image, and select “Save as…” Then save the image onto your computer so you can insert it into your tradeshow graphic. It’s that easy. Make sure the size is large enough to scan from the reader app on a smartphone or tablet and, of course, test, test, and test before printing!   One last thing… There is an etiquette to using QR Codes, so make sure you don’t use them in a digital environment (email, webpage) because a simple URL link would be more appropriate, and don’t lead the users to content that they already have in front of them. Give them a pay-off for doing the work to scan your code. I’m breaking the rules with my sample image of a QR Code (which technically I have on this page to show you what it looks like) but if you scan it, I have provided you with a little treat once you get to the web page. Go ahead; check it out… It’s worth viewing!

What Can QR Codes Do For Manufacturing?

Learning how to use QR (Quick Reader) codes in manufacturing has been a low priority because many deem them as having a more ‘retail’ or ‘consumer’ application. But QR codes can be extremely effective in not only your print marketing communications (trade show signs and banners, print ads, etc.) but also in manufacturing, supply chain processes and project management. They are easy to create and are capable of carrying much more information than barcodes. For example, you can use them throughout your building to connect employees to your intranet and give them updated information about things such as a manufacturing process, HR policy, training video and much more. In fact, QR codes were originally used in 1994 in the automotive industry to track car parts in Japan through the manufacturing process!   So what is a QR Code? A QR Code is a 2-dimensional, typically black & white square image that can be scanned with a smartphone’s QR Code Reader to direct the phone’s web browser to a web page. Recent innovations in QR Codes include printing the code in different shapes and colors, but in the simple form they are black and white and square.   How do I read a QR Code? First, you must have a smartphone, tablet or type of barcode reading device that has a camera, can download an application and direct the user to a webpage. In the “App Store” of the device, find an application that can ‘read’ the QR Code (see a list of examples below). Once installed, open the application and point the frame of the application over the QR Code in front of you. Technically, your device is using your camera to take a picture of the image and lead you to a web page. That webpage should have expanded information or even a video about the product, service or message in front of you.   Popular products to use include: QR Barcode Scanner QuickMark Barcode Scanner QR Code Reader / Scanner Scan, Inc.   Though this quick video is consumer focused, it gives you a good idea of how to use your application to scan a QR code…    Creating a QR Code is another topic, one I will cover in the future.

The Dance, Part Two: The Marketing Plan Approval Process

In my last blog entry, I started the discussion about the frustration many marketers experience when they attend “the dance” at the end of each year where they meet with the executives to get approval of their marketing plan. Most of these meetings end in anguish for a marketer who expects to get approval of their plan as-is; however, it’s not a healthy expectation to go to this meeting with that mindset.   This dance (er… meeting) is an opportunity for the marketer to get closer to the constantly evolving and somewhat confidential vision of the top leadership in the company. The marketing plan may be picked apart but the purpose is to align the recommended marketing approaches (based on the written business strategy and technology roadmaps) with the direction of the organization’s leadership. It’s also an opportunity for the executives to discover trends that connect with their marketplace. The outcome can seem like a mish-mash of tactics, but trust the process, as the result is most likely the best for the overall business.   In the last blog entry I provided two of four preparation tactics (Align The Business Strategy & Research Every Opportunity) to prepare your marketing plan. Following are the remaining two.   Determine Your Marketing Budget Unless you have a significant product launch or brand initiative planned for the year, estimate that your marketing communications budget is approximately 2-3% of sales revenue. If you have a major launch planned, that percentage could rise to 3-5% (in some industries, it could be as high as 20%!). If your organization is spending less than 2%, consider this a red flag as it demonstrates they are not investing in the future, or they are putting the pressure on other areas of the business (service or sales, for example) to make up the difference. Even if you are the low-price leader, you still need to invest in getting the word out. The elements in your budget should be split between brand promotion (sales literature, website, brand advertising, social media labor), and lead generation (campaigns, direct advertising, events, direct mail).   Track Progress and ROI Quarterly Once approved and distributed, revisit the plan and budget at least quarterly and report back to the executives. Make sure you have a system in place to track the metrics of each campaign. It may be challenging to track the value of some items such as brand advertising and sales literature, but account for their expenses and demonstrate the value.   The next time you show up to the dance and the executives start picking through your recommended marketing plan, keep the perspective that this experience is a healthy part of the business process. The executives of a company aren’t necessarily able to communicate the knowledge and tactics they are working on, but they do know a lot about the direction in which the company is going. Stay strong in your convictions, but remember that it’s their dance… let them lead.

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