Posted by on Mar 10, 2020 in Advertising, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Automation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media, Tradeshows | 0 comments

Why White Papers Are Important and How to Use them

Why White Papers Are Important and How to Use them - From Brandwidth Solutions

by Deb Harrsch

“I want to put out a white paper, but I don’t have anything to talk about.”

Believe it or not, that is a real statement – and I’ve heard it from more than one client over the course of the past fifteen years.

I am always amazed when clients tell me they have nothing to talk about. Of course, you do!

I usually say, “Have you ever done a poster at a trade show?” The response is inevitably, “Well, yeah.”

Guess what? We can use that as the basis for a white paper!

What is a White Paper?

Let’s take a quick step back for a second and start with what is a white paper? Why are they important?

A white paper tends to be a focused, technical document which delivers information around a complex topic, and provides a company’s solution or viewpoint. It’s designed to help readers understand the topic and potential resolutions.

It’s not typically an overly-formal document, but it’s not casual like a blog, either. It usually delivers information around a process, a product, or an application. A white paper could also be based on an application note or a poster you presented at a conference.

But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about a product or a service. Sometimes white papers are about big, broad topics and cover an industry like digital transformation, pharma 4.0 or AI. An example might be a white paper on AI and how it’s impacting markets.

Why Are White Papers Important?

This section is arguably the most important part of this blog post. This is why you want to use white papers in your marketing. They:

  • Educate not only your prospects, but also your sales team and the media
  • Provide decision-makers with relevant information when considering purchases
  • Produce qualified leads
  • Develop your reputation as a thought leader

And isn’t this what you really want from your marketing efforts?

White papers allow you to talk to your prospects about topics which are important to them. They explain your intellectual property via technical, process-driven content. While we obviously don’t give away your trade secrets, we do dive deep into your subject matter, demonstrating the processes you use to solve key issues for your customers.

Eccolo Media’s 2014 B2B Technology Content Survey reports that “white papers rank as the most frequently consumed content type (49%) when decision-makers consider a technology purchase.” With that many decision-makers consuming your whitepapers, it’s clear that they are an excellent lead gen tool for your marketing efforts.

While you shouldn’t “gate” or require a registration for your case studies or other literature or marketing collateral, your white papers are another story. Because the level of information and detail is more comprehensive, you can – and should – have a ‘register to download’ form gating your white papers. This gives your sales team an ongoing stream of qualified leads.

How Do You Structure a White Paper?

White papers are at least two to three pages in length – and more typically around four pages – or approximately 2,000 words. I always say that a white paper should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words. You don’t want to make them more than that, because people aren’t going to have time to read it. If you do have more information than comfortably fits into this format, you may want to consider breaking it up into several white papers focused on narrower sub-topics.

Great! So now we know how long a white paper should be – but how should you structure it?

When you think of putting together a white paper, especially a technical white paper, it will be focused in much the same way as you would approach a poster. Our typical formula for creating a white paper starts with a short abstract, which is essentially a lead into the conversation. We move on to providing information on all the elements that our client brought together to achieve the product or the service they developed. We then describe the process which created the product or solution and wrap-up with the results.

It’s very technical, and ultimately reads like a thought leadership piece.

An interesting way of adding support for the info in the white paper is to include one or more abbreviated case studies. This provides not only reinforcement of the topic and shows how your customers are using your product, but this tactic also provides a good entrance for those who are hesitating to register for the white paper.

How to Use a White Paper in Your Marketing

While people won’t give up their email and register for a case study, they are more likely to do so for a white paper, because it contains technical expertise. As I discussed earlier, white papers are a great download deliverable for lead generation. You can also use your white paper as a deliverable for gated content on third-party sites.

You should be using your white paper in your advertising as well. Whether you’re doing print or digital ads – be sure to develop a great landing page that finishes the marketing message from your ads. Once you’ve created the infrastructure, you can use the white paper in any ad you do – from trade journals to Google display ads. This gives the audience an opportunity to learn about a topic from you.

Caution! The topic of the white paper you use in advertising must match the ad or it won’t work. You can’t do a white paper on topic A and run an ad about topic Z.

By using a white paper in your advertising, you put your company in a thought leadership role. We’ve seen many situations where a prospect was not familiar with a particular company, but through advertising and white paper exposure chose to go with that company because they had discussed the topic before.

Other ways to use your white paper in your integrated marketing efforts include:

  • Social media – Because your prospects and customers are likely following you on your social channels, you should promote your white papers on your social channels along with a link to the landing page.
  • Blogs – You can re-purpose some of the white paper content into a blog post, which also pushes to the landing page where visitors can download the full white paper.
  • Press Releases – If you’re doing a press release about a certain topic and your white paper addresses that topic, you can include it as a possible download in a press release.
  • Trade Show Follow-up – You do send out mails after a trade show is over, right? In a simple “thank you for stopping by our booth” email, you can include a link to the download form for the white paper.
  • Email Newsletters – In your e-newsletters you have another opportunity to provide your customers and prospects with a link to your white paper.
  • Lead Nurturing and eMarketing Campaigns – White papers are a perfect tool to use when nurturing leads. Whether it’s a lead you met through a show, social media, or a sales call, sending a white paper as part of an ongoing lead nurturing program delivers key information to prospects when you aren’t there.

When you think about it, one single white paper can provide an ongoing abundance of qualified leads for your sales team. Every download delivers a solid reference point. “This person downloaded my white paper, so they are really interested in learning more about this particular process or thought leadership piece.” It gives your team a warm lead to follow.

Are you ready to put white papers to work? Call us today and get started.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Jul 15, 2019 in Advertising, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media, Tradeshows, Website Strategy | 0 comments

How Do I Choose the Right Marketing Tactic for My Project?

BWS Marketing Tactic TipsYou need a marketing campaign. But where do you start? And what tools should you use? There are so many options available to marketers today it can be hard to know which way to turn and which will work for your company. What’s the best marketing tactic to use?

I know the first thoughts that jumped into your mind. They were:

  1. What tools do we use?
  2. How can we get the most out of what we already have?
  3. How do we measure it?

 What is Marketing Success?

Before everyone starts enthusiastically yelling, “Social media!”Ads!” “Brochures!” let’s back up and start with creating a marketing strategy. What are your objectives and goals? Think about your goals in terms of campaigns. This will help you understand how to assign your budget to each tool and tactic you’re considering.

The next choice you’ll need to make is messaging. You’ll need to ensure that the messages you deliver in your marketing campaigns address the customer’s viewpoint of “What’s in it for me?” (Otherwise known as WIIFM.) Do your marketing materials talk about features and benefits or do they talk about the value you provide customers? I sincerely hope they discuss the value!

After you’ve got your messaging nailed down, you’ll need to decide from where and/or whom the content will come. Will you use posters, white papers, publications, or subject matter experts to produce the content for your marketing campaigns?

The final (and key) question when thinking about marketing campaigns is: What results do you want? You’ll need to decide how you’re going to measure performance before deciding what tactics you’re going to use.

Say you’re trying to drive sales leads. What does success look like to you? Are you going to measure registered downloads of a white paper or webinar? Will you measure landing page visits? Or click rates for an ad?

Understanding what your goals are and how you can measure them gives you a head start on choosing the tools you need for your campaign.

What Marketing Tools and Tactics Are Right for Your Campaign?

The short answer to that question is: Everything that will work for your audience and your business that is within your budget.

You should start with the question: What does your audience read? This will help identify specific tools and tactics to use. For example, if your prospect or customer base doesn’t read trade journals (not very likely!) then you wouldn’t use print ads or article development.

You have a multitude of tactics and tools to use. A short list includes:

  • Public Relations – press releases, speaking opportunities, press interviews, article development
  • Conferences – pre-show direct mail, pre-show e-blasts, educational seminars, show graphics, booth development
  • eMarketing – eNewsletters, products/services e-blasts, banner ads, webinars, podcasts
  • Advertising – print and digital ads
  • Social Media – strategy development, blogs, social channels, video
  • Collateral – brochures, sell sheets, case studies, tech notes, white papers

Remember to always integrate as many marketing elements as possible to ensure that your campaign is everywhere your customer is. Keep in mind that people still need to see your message a minimum of 6 – 8 times before they remember or recognize it.

How to Integrate the Tactics Targeted to Your Audience

The most important step in using these marketing elements is proper integration. As I mentioned above, your customer needs to see your messaging a number of times before they act. And they need to see that same message in multiple places. Using only one tactic may not deliver the results you need.

How do you integrate your tools and tactics?

Here are 6 tips for integrating your marketing campaign.

Tip 1

Know what you want the customer to do. Only use urls or links that go to the next step towards your goal. This may mean a landing page or a sign up for a download or a registration for a webinar – not the Home page of your website or a product or service page.

Tip 2

Keep your message simple and consistent. Make sure you’ve delivered the WIIFM value. Don’t make the customer guess what your message is. They won’t come up with the same answer as you!

Tip 3

Your website is the hub of all your marketing efforts. Make certain it is responsive design, that all your activities drive traffic to your site and you use landing pages to finish your marketing message.

Tip 4

Tell stories so customers can see how your product or service will fit into their work environment.

Tip 5

Ensure your gated downloadable content is high value. Your customer is giving you a valuable piece of information (their email address) so you need to make sure that you are delivering value to them. A simple rule of thumb is: marketing brochures, case studies and sell sheets are all free. White papers, reports, eBooks have deeper content, are more valuable and should be gated for lead gen.

Tip 6

Develop and reuse content in multiple formats. For example the same content can be rewritten or reformatted for use on social media, eBlasts, advertising, landing pages, and display ads. It’s critical to ensure that ads in your campaign are all related – having the same look, feel and message whether they are print ads or digital ads.

Measure Your Results & Reassess Your Tools

Marketing success depends on measuring results. If the tool is working, keep it. But if the results don’t meet your goals then you need to reassess and change tactics. Doing the same thing that doesn’t work over and over simply because it fits within your budget will not suddenly create a marketing success. You’ll need to identify what does work and either ramp up that tactic – or change your campaign tools and test something new.

What Does This Look Like in Practice?

Let’s take one of our clients, MeMed for an example. MeMed is a diagnostics company dedicated to reducing the use of antibiotics. The company had a peer-reviewed and validated study scheduled for release in PLOS One and wanted to reach a larger audience in the healthcare community.

We developed a media plan specific to MeMed’s goal and market segment for both North American and international audiences. We started with a press release to provide trade media and researchers detailed information and to drive traffic to the PLOS One article.

The press release was both sent on a wire service and embargoed on EurekAlert for scientific writers and reporters one week before the PLOS One article was released. We worked with PLOS One to obtain permission for this strategy and to delay their article release in order to maximize MeMed’s exposure.

What were the results? We achieved:

  • more than 10 interviews and articles from trade and popular publications – both print and online
  • website press release pickup on more than 39 sites
  • articles in Time and BBC News Health
  • an interview on BBC Germany
  • an invitation to be part of a documentary on antibiotic usage
  • a story on Select Science ranking in the Top 10 most read news stories for 2015 (No. 6)
  • and more than 100 requests/orders for their ImmunoXpert product.

Choosing the right tools and tactics for your marketing campaign is based on your overall strategy, budget and goals as well as what your audience reads. Marketing success depends on ensuring you integrate all of your tactics properly. Have questions on how you can enhance your marketing campaigns? Give us a call!

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on May 20, 2019 in Advertising, Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media | 0 comments

Are You Stealing from Your Future Revenue? The Risk of Cutting Marketing Expenses First

When it’s time to tighten the belt on the budget, what’s the first thing that goes? Other than employee perks like free coffee, that is. It’s marketing.

Why? Because it’s easy.

It’s hard to cut operating costs, research investments, or sales expenses. But it’s easy to cut advertising and PR campaigns, social media, email marketing and even content marketing. Those are simple nos.

To the CFO, marketing looks like a line item. It doesn’t show direct revenue – it just shows an expense, making this category an easy target to draw a line through. But it’s getting harder to do that now because there are marketing communications tools that can show ROI for a range of activities.

Don’t Cut Marketing Expenses First.

The economic market is always changing. We’ve had bull and bear markets. And now – after enjoying a long bull market – the forecast is that we’re headed into a down market. It’s anybody’s guess at this point. But once the bad news begins, your CFO will take a harder look at expenses and the first thing he may want to cut is marketing.

Just because it is an expense doesn’t mean that it isn’t an important expense. The way we look at it at Brandwidth Solutions is that it’s a critical investment in your future.

Remember the classic studies done on companies that invested in heavier advertising, radio program sponsorship and creative pricing tactics during the Great Depression? Those companies ultimately became the market leaders in their respective industries: Kellogg, Procter & Gamble, MGM Studios, and Yuengling among them.

The companies that cut marketing? They disappeared.

During a depression, money is tight – much tighter than in a bear market. But guess what? Human behavior remains the same and therefore this dynamic hasn’t changed. So if you’re thinking that you can eliminate your marketing budget with impunity, you may want to think again.

4 Reasons Why Cutting Marketing Spend Puts Future Revenue at Risk

There are solid reasons why you really don’t want to cut investments in marketing. Marketing activities make an impact nine to 12 months ahead of sales. If you cut marketing now, you will lose your momentum nine to 12 months later.

  1. The Challenge with Long Sales Cycles

For most of our clients, long sales cycles are the norm. If your sales cycle is 12 to 18 months long, it can be really hard to match the marketing expense you made 12 to 18 months ago to the actual sale of your product or service today. Calculating your ROI in this case is difficult.

Sometimes you can easily understand marketing ROI if your CRM is used properly or if you’ve submitted a quote. But sometimes, even when you are presented an opportunity or a request for proposal, you don’t know how or from where it came. You won’t always have a handle on exactly what marketing event generated enough interest to ask for a quote.

If you have a sales force that’s well-trained, they’ll know to always ask, “How did you hear about us?”

But let’s face it, usually the sales person is so excited about the opportunity that they’re not thinking about how a simple question like this can drive future sales. Instead, they’re thinking, “How do I get this sale? What are the things I need to do to get this sale?”

For long sales cycles, the marketing ROI is usually in the form of lead generation. If you cut marketing, you’ll cut your lead generation activities – ultimately, cutting your sales.

  1. Lasting Brand Awareness Takes Time

Your customer isn’t going to remember you just because they saw your product once. It takes time to build awareness of your brand. It takes time to build your product’s reputation. It takes time for your potential customers to understand your expertise. It takes even more time for them to make a buying decision.

It used to be that it took 5-7 “touches” (meaning exposures to your brand) before a prospect remembered your brand. Today, that number is even higher. This means that building your visibility and thought leadership is an ongoing process.

If you cut your marketing budget, you won’t be able to capitalize on the marketing investments you’ve made and like those companies in the Great Depression who cut their budgets, you’ll also disappear from the conversation in your industry.

  1. It Takes Money to Make Money

There’s a reason why this adage exists. When sales aren’t fully funding operating expenses, or when the economy looks bleak, the tendency is to try to cut costs and save your pennies to ensure your survival.

Let’s look at it another way. If no one knows about you, you don’t exist. Or, if you’ve disappeared from view (say, all of the advertising or articles you used to publish are discontinued), the assumption is you went out of business.

Not a good feeling, is it?

If you are not participating in your industry’s conversation in some fashion, you won’t be able to generate any leads. If you can’t generate leads that convert to sales, you really will cease to exist. You’ve got to continue to market your product or service even in lean times to ensure that you stay top of mind for prospects that need your product.

  1. Stand Out: Do What Everyone Else Isn’t Doing

Let’s go back to the successful companies in the Great Depression, or we can look at examples of some of the greatest investors like Warren Buffett, Jim Rogers, or John Templeton. In both cases, the choice was made to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing. That choice ensured visibility and created immense success.

If your product is “best in class” but your industry is experiencing a pull back, get out there and keep marketing. When you stay visible during downturns, your customers will see you and confidence in your company will increase. When they are ready to buy, they’ll remember you.

What Can You Do To Reduce Marketing Costs without Harming Your Business

All is not lost if you absolutely must make changes in your marketing budget. You can look at that line item and say, “Okay, we need to reduce spend.”

There are certainly elements that will keep you visible and in the decision-making mix. Your customer audience is shifting and getting younger. They search for products and services in the B2B space like they do in their personal life. These are the behaviors you’ll want to take into account when you seek to reduce your marketing spend.

What do you cut and what do you keep?

When you think about your customer profiles, you’ll want to keep social media and advertising. Maybe you decide to not do any print and you chose more digital advertising. Perhaps you use Google display ads instead of Google AdWords to cut your spend.

You should never cut down on your content because your content is your thought leadership. You can reuse it over and over. And certainly, you need to stay in the press and you’ve got to keep attending trade shows.

To make marketing a line item expense and then just put a line through it and say, “I’m not going to do this anymore,” puts you in the position of losing out on your future sales.

Don’t steal tomorrow’s revenues by cutting your marketing efforts today.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Feb 20, 2019 in Brand Strategy and Design, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media, Tradeshows | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 2: Make Your Trade Show Booth the Most Popular One in Town

Have you ever noticed that there’s usually one or two booths at every trade show that always seem to be mobbed by attendees?

Maybe it’s the giveaways (who doesn’t want the latest VR glasses!) or the cool free t-shirts, but it’s usually because a company got their pre-show promotion plan right.

Why Should Anyone Visit Your Booth?

The reason to visit your booth shouldn’t be because of what you’re giving away.

You need to make your message compelling. Let’s think about the question “What’s in it for me?” Only, let’s turn that around a little and ask instead “What’s in it for my customer?” Why should they visit my booth? When you answer that question correctly and turn that answer into your exhibit messaging, you have a compelling reason for your prospects to visit.

Your booth should allow your potential leads to quickly self-identify. Your message needs to target those who are looking for what you offer and draw them in.

Some other ideas that give your potential customers a reason to visit your booth include:

  • introduction of a new product or service
  • show-related discounts
  • sponsored events at the trade show
  • presentations

Present Your Expertise

Most trade shows have educational tracks providing ongoing learning opportunities for attendees. One of the best ways for you to gain visibility at a show is to lead a session or present research to establish your thought leadership. Look into signing up to be a presenter, teach a session or an exhibitor workshop.

Demonstrations and lectures can also occur at your booth. You should consider designing a short presentation educating potential customers about your product or service. Plan to deliver the presentation several times during the show and post the schedule at your booth. Don’t forget to invite people to attend. You may even want to hand out your presentation schedule at the show.

Contact trade journals and let them know about any new products, services or research you’re rolling out at the show. When you have news to share, you should always send out a press release and invite the press to your booth for interviews. An article about your company published after the show is a great way to keep your visibility high and new leads coming in!

Make it an Event

High energy, fun – and knowledgeable – staff is your first ingredient to making your booth the place to be. A great theme and ongoing interactive events provide visitors with an enjoyable experience they won’t forget.

You can offer a demonstration of your product or service which is always valuable. But have you thought about providing an interactive tour of your facilities or a key piece of equipment? Or how about setting up a white board and asking booth visitors to comment on a question?

Don’t forget simple things like games, giveaways and drawings. These are always excellent ways to draw traffic to your booth and and gather leads for your sales staff. Creating an overall theme for the show that relates to your offering gives you a unique opportunity to make your booth an event.

How Do You Drive Traffic to Your Booth?

You can have the best message in town, but if you don’t promote it no one will know you’re exhibiting – and they won’t visit and engage with you.

As I mentioned in last month’s post on how to exhibit at trade shows, communicating and promoting your attendance at a show is critical to getting the foot traffic you need.

It’s all about the pre-show prep and how you carry out your plans while at the show.

Trade Show Tools
Your first step in driving traffic to your booth is using the tools trade show promoters make available to exhibitors. Typically these will include:

Exhibitor lists
Show floor maps
Company listings
Show-branded email campaigns

Make sure that your listing and all information you submit to the show promoter is correct and up-to-date. You’ll also want to be sure that your benefits messaging is clear and concise. This should be a very short elevator pitch – what benefit does your product or service give your customer. And don’t forget to include a persuasive reason why they should visit your booth!

Many trade shows also offer the option for exhibitors to send customized email campaigns to their email list before the show. This is an important tool to consider since it provides a way for you to promote your booth & services to potential customers who are not already on your own email list.

Let’s not forget that conference attendees are at the show for a reason. They are looking for the products and services their companies need. They are serious about identifying the companies that can deliver the right products and services.

That means they’ve been scouring the listing of exhibitors, researching your company and putting together a short list of companies to talk with at the show.

You need to be on that list.

Use Every Promotional Channel
Promoting your trade show booth goes beyond using the tools the promoter has available. There’s a reason why the phrase “an oldie but goodie” exists. It’s because the ‘old’ ways of promoting events still work – and work well.

Direct Mail Campaigns
I think we can agree that scientists and lab personnel are probably not spending every day glued to their computer screens. Even those of us who are glued to our digital lifelines still respond to direct mail campaigns. Once you choose your trade show theme, put your graphics department to work and create eye-catching direct mail pieces that start a conversation with booth visitors.

Email Campaigns
In addition to the custom emails you can often send through the show promoter, you have a very valuable email list of your own. Your CRM holds targeted lists of your customers and prospects you’ve identified and email is the fastest, easiest way for you to get the word out about your trade show attendance and your booth.

Create interest in your booth with a series of creative, informative emails that invite your customers and prospects to visit and participate in your activities.

Social Media
Have I told you about the company who put up a single post on a social media channel and expected the world to see it and show up? It doesn’t work that way.

Social media is an excellent channel to use in concert with email campaigns and direct mail campaigns.

We always recommend an integrated approach to promoting a trade show presence. Social media can use the theme, images, and can re-purpose the content from your other campaigns to create a campaign that will extend your reach beyond your mail and email lists.

A social media campaign is not limited to just one post on one channel. By using multiple posts on multiple channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can reach new audiences, reinforce your direct mail and email campaigns and build interest in the activities you have planned for the trade show.

In addition to concentrated efforts using these 4 promotional avenues, don’t forget to promote your presence on your website as well as through digital ads and print ads. Putting your pre-show plans in place and executing on them is a sure-fire way to see the booth traffic you want and to ensure that you haven’t wasted your marketing budget.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Advertising, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media, Tradeshows | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 1: How to Exhibit, Promote & Network

What is the one event that makes even the sales and marketing departments work together in complete agreement?

A trade show.

Did you know that the minimal cost for a 10×10 booth at a tradeshow is $10,000- 15,000? Think about it – by the time you reserve the booth space, book hotels, ship your booth & products, and add your team’s travel costs, your all-in cost is around $10 – $15k. That’s not a small expense in the budget so it’s important to make it work for you.

Managing a successful presence at a conference or trade show has staff from every level of science-based companies working towards a common goal. (Click here to find out why this shouldn’t be the only time Sales and Marketing work in harmony.)

Why Trade Shows are Valuable

We can all agree that while email and other digital marketing efforts provide a solid return on investment, the value of face-to-face sales & marketing meetings (such as those at trade shows and conferences) is enormous.

It’s at in-person meetings where you build trust and engage deeply with your audience. Rob Murphy’s article cites a Meeting Professionals International report which states that “40% of prospects are converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings.”

How to Choose the Right Conference or Trade Show

Trade shows and conferences are key events where your company can get that valuable face-to-face time with prospects. In the U.S. alone, there are hundreds of science, medical and pharma trade shows each year. But with so many available to you, how do you choose which shows and conferences will be most beneficial for your bottom line?

To identify the best events for your company, you first need to look at your business goals. Are you focused on the U.S. market or is your market international? If it is U.S. only, you’ll need to build a list of all the relevant conference and trade shows in the U.S.

If you want to reach other markets, you’ll need a list of all of the international events applicable to your product/ service. Get a demographic list from the show organizers to ensure your target audience will be there.

These lists give you a starting point. The real work starts after you have the lists in hand.

You’ll want to research each event. Before you decided to exhibit, you should consider attending and walking the show to ensure that your audience is there. You’ll also want to make sure that the show has a good reputation in your industry and that it delivers:

  • Large numbers of attendees in your target audience (although what you’re really looking for is the right audience – quality versus quantity. Remember, some shows are for niche audiences and can the best ones!)
  • Attendees who make buying decisions

Once you’ve identified the conference or trade show to attend, you’ll need to put a plan in place to:

  • properly prepare for your attendance
  • take advantage of all the networking possibilities at the show
  • keep conversations going through follow-up after the event
  • build your follow-up campaign.

How to Prepare Before Attending a Trade Show

Of course, you’ll need an exhibit booth. (Make sure that your booth has both clear signage and excellent brief messaging- no one is going to stand and read your booth.)

Beyond putting your booth together, there are significant pre-show marketing actions to take in order to maximize your company presence.

  1. Communicate. You need to get the word out that you will be attending the show. Create postcard, email, & social media campaigns along with press releases to communicate to your list and your social media audience that you will be available to meet at the show or conference. Add messaging to any advertising you are doing before the conference. If no one knows you’ll be there, you won’t have visitors to your booth.
  2. Let your audience know where to find you. (I’ve seen companies tell their audience they would be at a show only once via social media – and then not give out their booth number!) But just telling everyone your booth number is not enough.

You’ll want to investigate the marketing options the show’s organizers have available to attendees. This may include marketing opportunities such as renting the list of attendees, sponsoring events or content in the pre-show communications or – depending on the conference – attendee swag. Send out newsletters to your list offering the option to pre-schedule meetings at the show. Create press releases highlighting new products or events and presentations you’ll be hosting while at the show.

If you don’t communicate and promote your presence, you won’t see the foot traffic you expect at your booth.

Need help putting together a comprehensive trade show promotion plan? Contact Brandwidth Solutions.

Take Advantage of Trade Show Networking Opportunities

Being in attendance at a trade show is not the same as attending a trade show. Your company has invested a great deal of time, energy and money to be at the show. Therefore you need to do more than sit in your booth and hope that leads drop by for a visit.

You want to have your A-list staff working the booth at the show. You want staff that engage prospects and expertly move them forward along the sales path.

The booth isn’t the only place you need your sales staff engaging with prospects. Make sure they are attending the cocktail receptions, presentations, education sessions, breakfast events or other special events being held at the show. Check whether the show’s organizers provide a ‘matchmaking’ service connecting potential buyers or partners with sellers.

Follow-Up Leads to Success

None of these trade show attendance efforts will mean anything at all if your company doesn’t follow-up effectively. If you don’t follow-up with leads you’ve collected, it will be marketing budget wasted.

After you’ve entered prospect information into your CRM, you’ll need to design a communications plan to ensure that your new contacts don’t feel you’ve forgotten them. (Although you should have created your first follow-up communication before you even leave the office to attend the show!)

Nurturing leads is critical to the ROI of trade show attendance. Be sure you have marketing assets such as white papers or case studies to send your prospects as follow-up. Once you return to the office, you may want to create webinars addressing audience needs, additional white papers and newsletter content to further nurture your leads and reinforce that face-to-face connection your team built at the trade show.

Trade show or conference attendance may be a bit more complex than most companies realize. But with a strong plan you can implement for each event you attend, your company can achieve a solid ROI from trade shows.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Oct 22, 2018 in Advertising, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media | 0 comments

Science & Social Media: Does it Work?

Wheels create power and movement – and you definitely want to have movement in your marketing! So far, in recent blog posts we’ve talked about all of the sections of the Brandwidth Solutions marketing wheel except for one – social media.

Sometimes I hear, “Well, scientists don’t use social media.”

But that’s just not true.

Scientists & Social Media

Social media not only works in the B2B space but also in our science-based world. Our clients are talking to (and want to talk to) decision makers in pharma, healthcare, life science, and in the energy sector. They’re interacting with lab directors and managers, bench scientists, doctors, practice managers, I.T. administrators, C-level execs and others.

Scientists are just like the rest of the population.

They behave the same way we do when we’re searching for information. They all have smartphones, tablets and laptops, and they use them when they’re looking for the tools they need. They search the web for information – and they also search social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

That means they are looking at white papers, case studies, blog posts, conversations – all of which can be found online.

Social Media and Science-based Marketing

When I talk to potential customers about social media, I use this analogy because I think it helps science-based marketers understand how social media will fit in their marketing mix – and how it works.

Think about social media as a tree. You have the tree trunk, you have the branches and you have the leaves. For me, the tree trunk is the blog. That’s where all of your information resides – it’s your knowledge center. The branches are all of your social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the leaves are your customers who over time, through engagement with your brand, convert into leads.

The Blog Content Feedback Loop

Using analytics, you get ongoing feedback on the content you create. The more people who read certain posts and certain types of posts – whether it’s channel choice or content type – the more likely you will be to post that kind of material and continue the conversation.

Many brands want to push the conversations they are interested in promoting, rather than learning what the customer wants to know. But the analytics rarely lie, and the implications are clear: don’t post things people won’t read or share.

Here’s how that social media tree fits into your marketing mix.

Say you’ve created all of your marketing collateral about your product or service – your whitepapers, your case studies, your sales sheets, etc. You’ve done a press release about the new product or service, you’ve attended a trade show, set-up your e-marketing, and started doing digital and print advertising.

The key to making it all work is telling your story cohesively across all the marketing channels your customer is using to learn about your company. You need to provide information through your blog and social media that ties in all of your other content marketing elements, from white papers to press releases to awards to what you’re sending out on e-marketing as you’re generating leads. (Another bonus of a blog? Continually updating your website can improve your organic SEO!)

If you miss a marketing channel (on the ‘branches’ we talked about earlier) your customers are using to gather information, you risk ceasing to exist – and you won’t be part of the conversation when your buyer gets ready to make a decision about the product or service you offer.

All of this information needs to link back to your website. That’s where your customers are going to go before they even talk to you – especially scientists, since they always research their questions before they talk to a sales rep. It’s just their way.

Social Media Works

In the science and healthcare worlds, the sales process isn’t 24 hours.

We’re not selling a pen – we’re selling a $300,000 bit of kit or a $600,000 that’s an enterprise software platform. In some cases (outsourced drug manufacturing, for example) you may be selling a long-term relationship.

Sales cycles can run 6 – 18 months, and that means you need to nurture your leads.

If you’ve got that long of a sales cycle, you want to remind potential customers that you’re still there. You don’t need to talk to them every day (that’s not good), but you’ve got to stay in front of them and nurture them with useful information. It might let them do their job better, educate them, or provide them key information to make better business decisions. But you need to give them a reason to keep your company in their sights before they make a decision.

This is where your blog and social media excels – long-term lead nurturing and ongoing brand awareness.

For one major analytical equipment firm, a number of competitors had seized the online & social space and were driving the conversation in key markets. Several competitors had established blogs which were attracting hundreds of repeat visitors each month in search of relevant content. We implemented a social media program designed to (among other things):

  • Increase their visibility to analytical equipment decision makers in the life science industry
  • Establish thought leadership
  • Educate scientists and decision makers on new technologies
  • Increase reach in the life science industry.

We integrated the social media program with their overall marketing program. Via in-depth research, we identified the key content topics of particular interest to prospects.

In the first year, we increased their online reach to 100,000+ prospects each month, grew LinkedIn referrals to website from 0 to 300+ a month, increased social media referrals to the website 40-fold, and saw blog visitors expand to 1,000 per month.

The company established a dominant presence in the online space in fairly short order – all due to the use of targeted, well-researched content that appealed to readers. Scientists like information, so the use of the blog as a content anchor turned out to be a key success factor – giving the company the ability to expand the discussion beyond the short-form content common to social media.

The goal of marketing is to help drive sales.

It doesn’t mean you don’t need a sales force – you do. But marketing should partner and integrate with the sales team to increase brand awareness, identify & convert leads and grow revenue. Given the role social media plays in our lives today, it is a key tool in furthering these objectives – especially when your competitors are already there.

Read More