5 Ways to Maximize Your Trade Show Investment

5 Ways to Maximize Your Trade Show Investment

Chances are, your company invests tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in industry trade shows annually. But do you walk away from the shows feeling like your investment was worth it? Between the sponsorship, booth design, marketing collateral, travel and time commitment, the expense of trade shows can add up and eat away at your budget. However, there’s great value in trade shows that you may very well be leaving untapped. Next time you exhibit, consider these tips that will help you maximize your trade show ROI.

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Cision’s 2017 State of the Media Report – Initial Takeaways

Cision’s 2017 State of the Media Report – Initial Takeaways

Cision’s annual State of the Media Report is out, and I’ve summarized some of my takeaways below.

  • Being right is better than being first. An overwhelming 92 percent of the journalists surveyed agreed. That’s up four percent from 2016, presumably influenced by the swirl surrounding fake news and the much-publicized media trust gap. Perhaps this presages a return to the days of media “fact checking” before stories would run. I, for one, welcome this because brand storytelling isn’t about how much spin you can get away with, it’s about putting facts in a clearer, more relatable context.
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Not Everyone on Social Media is Talking About Trump’s Tweets

Not Everyone on Social Media is Talking About Trump’s Tweets

I started my career in television news, where our primary goal was to capture and engage audiences through their TVs. In the public relations and marketing world, television is only one of thousands of channels available to communicate with target audiences. As brand journalists, we’re constantly exploring these channels in search of ways to more effectively speak to our clients’ potential buyers, and we’ve found that influencers are key

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Showrooming: The Trend That Will Change Brick-and-Mortar Retail for Good

It’s no secret that mobile devices have made retail stores nervous for years. Ever since the widespread adoption of smartphones, it’s way too easy to find a product you like at Best Buy or Target, then scan a barcode or enter a SKU number to see if the same item is available online for cheaper. It usually is. New research from Aprimo and Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru into this trend of “showrooming” found that consumers who looked at their smartphones while in stores found lower prices 55 percent of the time. But, you may be saying, this is nothing new – stories about the impact of showrooming on retailers came out last year. This holiday season retailers are ready. Or are they? The results of the Aprimo/Forrester survey show that the trend has the potential to grow faster than retailers imagined – we’ve barely scratched the surface of showrooming. When asked why they hadn’t used a smartphone to check online prices from the store yet, about one third of consumers said, “I haven’t thought about it.” In other words, a huge segment of the brick-and-mortar customer base has continued to buy the old way simply because the idea of showrooming hasn’t occurred to them. Yet.

Maybe one-in-three isn’t scary enough for you. Drilling down further, the data are even more convincing for certain key retail audiences. Forty-three percent of 18- to 34-year olds who haven’t showroomed said they hadn’t thought about it, and the number goes up to 49 percent for women 18-to-34. That’s half of a key demographic for whom the showrooming light bulb could go on at any moment.

Photo World Travel, Flickr
Photo World Travel, Flickr

Retailers who think they have showrooming beaten have no idea what’s in store for them. Studies have shown that Cyber Monday has already surpassed Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the year.

Think a simple price match will solve the problem? Maybe this year – after all, 57 percent of consumers say that would convince them to buy in store – but we all know that going toe-to-toe with internet retailers while brick-and-mortar store overhead weighs you down just isn’t sustainable. If retailers don’t figure out how to differentiate themselves with outstanding customer service and marketing that inspires deep brand loyalty, this could be the end of brick-and-mortar stores as we know them.

Showrooming isn’t just coming for sellers of big-ticket items either; it’s something that even supermarkets and pharmacies should be worried about. The data show that almost as many consumers showroom groceries (37 percent) as consumer electronics (39 percent).

It’s not clear how this trend will play out, but there is no doubt that any retailer who hasn’t made showrooming a top priority is in for a rude awakening. Shopping services and apps from companies such as AisleBuyer, RedLaser and Sccope are making it even easier for consumers to do mobile research from the store. I’ll still do my shopping in person this holiday season, but if retailers can’t figure out how to convince me otherwise, I’ll be checking my phone as well.

Jake Navarro is a senior consultant for Greenough. Send him an email at jnavarro@greenough.biz.

Why Regulations Aren’t That Important… Until They Are

Photo: Thinh Nguyen, Flickr
Photo: Thinh Nguyen, Flickr

If you watched any of the NFL’s opening weekend, you heard a lot of discussion about the league’s big referee strike and saw replacement officials in action on the field. The replacement refs did pretty well – it appeared they didn’t ultimately decide the fate of any games – but that may have been due to good luck more than anything else. An egregious error in the Seattle/Arizona contest could easily have cost the Cardinals a victory if the ball had bounced differently. These officials (most of whom hail from division 2 or 3 college football) will certainly need more than luck to succeed in the coming weeks. All the officiating talk makes you think: Surely no one tunes in to a football game to watch the referees (except for maybe Ed Hochuli), but now that they’re gone, enforcement of the rules seems pretty darn important.  The same can be said for industry regulations, especially in marketing and PR.

People who work in and/or cover marketing don’t necessarily talk glowingly about the FTC, SEC, FDA or other agencies or regulatory bodies that oversee, and sometimes even police, what we do. Remove them, however, and we might be singing a different tune. Imagine if Bureau of Consumer Protection went on strike and the responsibility for enforcing CAN-SPAM suddenly fell to replacement BCP agents who missed some marketing violations and enforced others incorrectly. We wouldn’t be able to get the old regulators back fast enough.

By the same token, marketers – like football players – need to embrace the spirit of regulations rather than just blindly following the rules. If every player on the Jets or Redskins committed a penalty on every play of the game, there’s no way the refs (replacement or otherwise) would be able to call them all, but the game would also become unwatchable. If, on the other hand, players followed the rules to a t, defensive linemen would break through on every pass play and wide receivers would get open with absurd ease. Similarly, regulators can’t monitor every single marketing email, print ad and social media post that goes out, nor should they, but marketers must adhere to the spirit of the rules without sacrificing creativity or edginess.

A thriving marketing industry – like a thriving sports league – functions best when the playing field is level and regulation is balanced with innovation, within reason of course. Taking risks without running afoul of rules (or even industry guidelines) is a fine line to walk in both sports and marketing, but it’s what keeps things interesting, entertaining and engaging (for fans and consumers alike).

Can the replacement refs keep the game fair and entertaining? Let’s hope so (or let’s at least hope for a quick resolution to the labor dispute). Can our industry keep things fair and engaging? I guess that depends on whether we – and the regulators – can stay on top of our respective games.

Jake Navarro is a senior consultant for Greenough. Send him an email at jnavarro@greenough.biz.