A snapshot profile of today’s Facebook as a marketing platform

Facebook's High-Wire Balancing Act Continues

Note to marketers who have been investing in Facebook: Fasten your safety belts.

Once again, Mark Zuckerberg is changing the algorithm that determines what users will see in their newsfeed.

Give Facebook credit. They announced some time ago the intent to make social media social again, and the change in algorithm is intended to give more visibility to status updates from friends and family. Positive social engagement should increase as a result.

The ancillary benefit for users is that their newsfeed will not feel bogged down by commercial content. But once again, marketers have to take a hard look at their Facebook spend.

The question: Should brands write off Facebook as a marketing vehicle?

Diosclosure: We make no money off media investments that clients make in Facebook. So our views below are relatively unbiased.

And our view on this is no, marketers shouldn’t abandon Facebook as a means of building brand awareness or community involvement.

Rationale: Mark Zuckerberg is walking a tightrope, balancing a publicly traded company’s need to hit quarterly numbers (which comes from ad revenue), and the largest social media platform’s need to remain committed to being essentially social, not commercial.

We think that Facebook’s decisions will pay off in the long run, and marketers should be reassured by the fact that Facebook literally cannot afford to push out brands altogether. So at least in the short term, there will still be opportunity for brands to market through Facebook.
In the midterm, we continue to watch the multi-year trend of sliding Facebook usership among key demographics.

Advice: Target and Moderate

Our position on Facebook is that while there are excellent targeted opportunities on the platform, our clients should not overinvest in a marketing tactic that fluctuates in reach (and therefore value) and which lacks policy transparency.

If you want to talk further about Facebook or targeted marketing over a beverage, please contact us, and stop by for a beverage.

Making the most of B2B trade show contacts

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Your pre-show prep is set

You arrive with confidence. The booth looks great. Brochures are printed. The site is looking good and working well. Time for some boot-on-the-ground reminders for game day.

Review priorities.

Trade shows are a maze of logistics, production, and human contact. It’s easy to reach the day of the show and have forgotten why you’re there. Gather your team and review and remind them what the goals of the show are. Here’s a hit parade to get you focused.

– Obtain leads or clients
– Develop relationships with existing clients
– Branding
– Educating people about your company and products
– To support your industry or the people throwing the event
– For the fun and enjoyment of the team attending the event (i.e. “a junket”)
– Recruiting
– Courting investors

Remember – it’s okay to have multiple goals, but be clear about the priorities, so tactics stay tuned in to strategies.

Staff with experts

A trade show is no place for 2nd teamers. Staff the show with the best-informed, best-looking, best-sounding people you have. Review basics with them: body language, key product messages, data capture, and not getting preoccupied with your phone.

Strong signage

Create signage that is easy to notice, easy to read, and and quickly tells your attendee why they want to learn more about you. Make your message delivery about the core value that you bring– not a list of what you sell.

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Our client Vetus/Maxwell does a great job setting up their booth with easy to read signage and product samples.

Limit the literature

Lose a lot of the full-color brochures and build a 1-sheeter. Anyone checking out your booth is either coming from or going to another company’s. Make it easy and fast for them to understand why they should be interested in your company. Nothing wrong with beautiful brochures – but they should go to top prospects and people who ask.

Get attendee info

You never know what stage of the buying cycle an attendee is in. That comes down to talented sales, marketing, and product people doing their jobs.

But even if a tire-kicker stops by, do everything possible to capture their data. You can enter it via a mobile device – or create a simple sign-in sheet. Be a little shameless. Make entering your booth conditional on sharing a business card, for example. And follow-up religiously with every contact. A simple thank you will do.

Chime in with some of your favorite tricks. We’re all ears. And have a look at our Tricks of the Trade Show Part 1.

the tradeshow must go on

dc-info-Trade1Why (some) B2B trade shows still make sense

We know many marketers who look at their budget spend for trade shows each year and groan. And we get it. Trade Show participation — if you’re serious about your presence – are resource-intensive across the board. And yes, some industries (like boating, for example) became enslaved to the idea that pulling out of a show signals weakness. Ridiculous.

But because of what digital has done to B2B communications (reducing human relationships to email and conference calls), trade shows are one of the last places where you can meet your target market face-to-face, provide hands-on demonstrations, and network over drinks and food. That’s why as recently as 2011, 40% of B2B marketing budgets were allocated for trade shows.

Our view? If you’re going to commit to trade shows, get it right.

Don’t “Show and Go”

A common practice at trade shows is the “Show and Go.” You put together a neat booth and staff it with nice people. It’s not enough. Especially in B2B shows where a strong, branded booth is table stakes, and there’s little to no impulse buying.

The Key: Start early

Success is determined months before the show. So consider the following forms of outreach.

Eblast. Eblasts are economical and provide you with up-to-date statistics. They are a good test to gauge how enticing your product or services are. Eblasts can provide you with actionable leads before the event, which are crucial in competitive trade shows.

Hint: If you have a new product or service coming out, tease it in the eblast to gain interest.

Press Releases. Trade shows are often used for launching and promoting a new product or service. But expand your thinking about what may be newsworthy. Example: If you have done research you can report on the findings and offer a presentation at your booth. Send it out to media outlets and offer interviews with your internal leaders to make the topic relevant and reportable.

Social Media Posts. Social media leverages your investment in the show. It can help to put a personal touch on your pre-show outreach, and can expand your ability to follow up. Example: For some clients we have created a contest before the event and asked attendees to post comments, pictures, or videos to a Facebook page as a way to participate.

Hint: Incentivize the target just a bit. Product giveaways are easy and make sure to announce the winner at your booth to maximize contact.

Schedule appointments. B2B targets usually hit the show with a list of booths they really need to visit. Be on those lists. Schedule meetings. Offer refreshments. Do the little things to keep them there as long as possible.

Hint: Online scheduling and appointment booking software are gaining popularity due to their ease of use.

In closing, if done right B2B trade shows can work.

And when the show must go on, we’re ready to talk.