IBM @ CeBIT 2010, Hanover, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a well-run, well-attended trade show. Each one gives a niche group the opportunity to see exciting new products and to learn about a specific industry through seminars and classes. Social events help build personal networks and establish on-going friendships. And marketers have the chance to showcase the very best of what their company has to offer. But the reality is, not everyone can attend a trade show. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient. So, what can exhibitors do to broaden their message beyond the convention hall doors? Video.
If you are an exhibitor, video is a great way to communicate your marketing message to passers-by on the trade show floor. However, video can also be used to expand your reach to those who weren’t able to attend. Short, informative recap videos from the convention hall are an excellent way to give potential customers a glimpse of the trade show atmosphere. Although watching a video isn’t the same as actually being there, consumers will (in a way) be able to share in that trade show experience by watching your recap videos. They can see the convention hall. They can “meet” you and your team. They can learn about the new products your company introduced. Your time while at the trade show was spent trying to excite the public about your company, products, and services. Now it’s time to do the same for those potential customers who weren’t able to attend. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Hire a designated cameraman. If you have ever worked an exhibitor booth at a trade show, you know that things are hectic. Company reps have dozens of people they need to talk to. They don’t have time to stop, pick up a camera, and start shooting video. Invest in hiring a video professional who can spend his/her time solely on shooting footage and conducting interviews.
Use a knowledgeable spokesperson. Designate someone from your team who can speak confidently on-camera about your company and new products. Some people are great one-on-one, but don’t have that same confidence when speaking in front of a video camera. Also, select a veteran from your team, someone who knows the product(s) inside and out; someone that existing contacts and customers will recognize. Having your “President of Product Development” speak on-camera lends credibility to the video. It also says to the viewer, “These new products are so amazing that the President of Product Development came down personally to the trade show to talk about how awesome this stuff is.”
Audio, audio, audio. Trade show floors are crowded and noisy. You will definitely need to use a hand-held microphone or lavaliere microphone when conducting interviews. If the trade show floor is just too chaotic, schedule some time before the convention halls open, or right after they close, to conduct your interviews. It also isn’t a bad idea to have a second audio recorder on-hand as a back-up.
Keep a low profile. Did I mention that trade shows are crowded? Sometimes attendees and exhibitors are right on top of each other, so you don’t want to impede the flow of foot traffic down the aisles. When shooting your video, tell your cameraman to pack light. You won’t need an entire lighting setup, dolly, camera jib, c-stands, flags, and an entire crew. Your video team just needs enough to capture good audio and a professionally composed, exposed image.
Get permission. Each trade show has different rules about video and photography. Find out what the specific policies are. Be open and honest with the trade show administration about your plans for video. If you are forbidden to shoot any video during the actual event, perhaps you can grab interviews outside the convention hall. Perhaps you can shoot before or after the trade show. Perhaps your company is hosting an after-hours reception. You can capture any necessary interviews then. There is always a solution to the problem.
Trade shows are definitely a great opportunity to build sales leads and expand your network. But why should you stop once the trade show floor closes and all the exhibitors have packed up? Invest in video and you can take the trade show back with you and broaden your reach among potential customers.
This just in – your customers matter. Sounds like a no-brainer. Sounds like a topic not really worthy of discussion. Everyone knows it. What more needs to be said? As simple as this concept sounds, it seems that some businesses aren’t heeding the advice. Consumers are angry over increased fees, changes in services, changes in the business model, changes with products… you name it. When consumers feel slighted, they immediately take to the Internet to voice their opinions. Unless businesses address these concerns, they can quickly become mired in a very sticky PR situation.
All one needs to do to see the effect of this consumer backlash is to look at Netflix, who quickly ditched their plans to spin off their DVD service into a separate company called Qwikster. Or consider the uproar that Bank of America caused when they decided to start charging customers a monthly fee for using their debit cards. According to this article from USA Today, they too have backed down in the face of public opinion and have decided not to charge a debit card fee. Conversely, consider how Domino’s Pizza responded to customer feedback in late 2009.
What does all this mean for marketers, advertisers, and PR professionals who work to build up brands?
Decisions must be weighed carefully. Don’t rush into any decisions regarding marketing/advertising strategies unless you have done your homework and thoroughly understand your ideal consumer; his/her opinions, buying habits, likes/dislikes, etc.
Don’t underestimate your consumer. With social media at their disposal, customers have a very loud voice and can stir up support for their cause quickly at the grassroots level.
Difficulty awaits those who find themselves trying to rebuild trust among their consumer base. There are two items to note from the USA Today article referenced earlier. One is a quote from famed PR guru Howard Rubenstein, who said, “Every company is now sitting on electronic quicksand. It may look like solid ground, but one wrong move and you’re up to your chin.” The second is a statistic released from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The study states that “some $58 billion in transactions may be at risk from Americans who had a problem with a product or service purchased in the last year.”
Businesses can’t afford to aim wildly with their marketing, advertising, or PR decisions and just throw something at the wall to see what sticks. A company’s reputation (and its bottom line) is at stake. Well-crafted, well-executed, and well-targeted messages will always work best. Be communicative. Be consistent with who you are as a company. And remember who matters the most.
Now, more than ever, consumers want advertisers to speak WITH them, not AT them. A disconnect has formed between advertisers and consumers, because…
consumers feel as though brands aren’t really listening to them
that brands don’t really understand them
that brands aren’t willing to adapt their products/services based on consumer feedback
So, the way in which companies approach commercials and marketing videos has to shift. This is illustrated well in a short video that we posted to this blog last year, entitled The Break Up. Based on this change in attitude and behaviors, marketers and video producers have to be more focused on providing viewers with an experience. Tell them a story. The old marketing strategy (shove your product front-and-center and brag about how awesome it is) isn’t effective in drawing viewers in. Don’t misunderstand: There’s still a place for showcasing all that a product or service can do for a consumer, but companies have to be a bit more creative in how that message is communicated.
Even before YouTube, BMW was already buying into this strategy by creating a series of short films, starring Clive Owen as The Driver. Each episode featured Clive Owen driving a BMW vehicle, but the car wasn’t the focus of the story. The car was simply IN the story. If you had taken the BMW out and put any other car in, each episode still would have worked. There’s a reason why ancient philosophers, prophets, and teachers used parables to instruct; it’s because people learn and retain information best through stories. Think about how you can utilize storytelling techniques in your own videos to market your company, products, and services.
Southwestern Consulting is a company committed to developing sales leaders through business coaching services. They were ready to produce an updated testimonial video and hired us to produce a new video with a more professional, polished look. We spent a day shooting five different Southwestern clients and edited their comments into a cohesive overview of the positive impact a business coach can have on an individual’s career.
One of the podcasts I regularly listen to is the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast from John Jantsch. Each episode offers insights from John and various guests on how small businesses can better market themselves to get potential customers to know, like, and trust them.
The episode from June 22, entitled “One Thing About Marketing Strategy” goes over some marketing essentials and discusses the reasons why businesses need them and the ways they can develop them. To create an effective marketing strategy, businesses (according to Jantsch) must…
1. Understand WHY they do what they do. What is the business’s higher purpose? Why does the business exist?
2. Convey an INSPIRING story. This is the point that I found most interesting. Jantsch really supports the idea that businesses must create a story that captivates the potential customer; a story that points to something bigger than a specific product or service. Even the smallest of businesses have a story to tell, and these stories will reflect the overall purpose of that business.
And telling stories is exactly what we at Red Fox Media strive to do. With every video we produce, we are communicating (for our clients) an inspiring, practical, engaging message, that takes a viewer on a journey toward a better understanding of who our clients are and the philosophy that serves as the core of their existence.
3. Strive for INNOVATION. Businesses must find a clear differentiation between what they offer and what their competitors offer.
4. Create a FUN environment. Successful businesses will be the ones whose employees enjoy working there, because of the culture that has been developed.
5. Make things CONVENIENT for the customer/client.
6. EXCEED expectations. Give more than what has been promised.
“The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast” is certainly one that I find very insightful and extremely helpful. The tips within each episode are designed so that anyone involved in a small business can put them into practice.
And when it comes to creating a story for your business that communicates your mission and objectives, spend some time looking at the work here on our site. We would welcome the opportunity to develop a video campaign for your business that will certainly inspire.