A few days ago we covered the do’s and dont’s for attendees heading to this year’s Marketo Summit. However, if you’re a lowly vendor – like us – how do you get some respect in this big ole’ world? Events are a big party of many modern marketing organizations even in this digital age and with the investment involved we all have some pretty lofty goals at the #MKTGNation Summit this year.
To make matters worse you already know you are walking in the door with a target painted on your back as everyone hates being sold – and you my friend are painted as a salesperson as you stand there in that freshly pressed corporate gear, ready to hawk your wares. Never fear, we know just how to make sure you make the most of your time at one of the biggest marketing events of the year and avoid the stigmas that come from decades of lame booth behavior.
Here are some things you shouldn’t do…
Don’t throw your logo on just anything. Having a giveaway or tchotchke with your logo on it is just fine. BUT remember that whatever you’re giving away is representing your company. Cheap items may be appealing from a cost standpoint, but it also tells your prospective customers that you’re ok cutting corners to save money.
Don’t show up without a plan. As a sponsor and/or exhibitor, you’re making a big monetary investment into this event. Your time investment in preparing for it should be just as strong. Are you looking to generate leads? Make a name for yourself as a thought leader or industry power player? Elevate your branding? Or are you there simply because you’re expected to be there? Take time to work out what your goals are, and create a plan to accomplish them. You shoudl be well underway on this initiative as you collaborate with sales and marketing in your organization to tackle things like Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategies designed to tailor the experiences of your most valuable prospects.
Don’t be a used car salesman. We gave this same advice to attendees. No one likes used car salesmen. No one. If you have a good product, people will be interested. You don’t have to go chasing people down, make inappropriate jokes or dress up like a chicken. Just be confident in what you have to offer.
…And here are things you definitely should make sure to do:
Do work in tandem with your sales teams, service teams and executives to establish as many one-on-ones with customers, prospects and partners well in advance of the event. Events are chaos, recognize the folks you want to sit down with have a LOT to do. Thirty days out from your events, meetings should be set. If you were to visit each of these people separately the cost would be staggering – an event gives everyone the ability to experience a bit of the lost art of ‘in-person communication’ make sure to make the most of it.
Do combine offline with online strategies. We just published an article entitles ‘How to get heard in a noisy world‘ – if you haven’t checked it out I’ll summarize. Be different! Everyone will have a booth, so in the sea of “same-ness” stand out by incorporating digital. Use solutions like Facebook checkins, Foursquare/Swarm and of course iPad based surveys/forms to translate the in person to omni-person in a matter of seconds. When that prospects walks away from your booth after an opt in – give them a push notification to their phone with your contact info and some valuable next steps. Here’s the bonus tip, none of this works if you arent interesting. Give your prospects and custmers hyper-value, not just another advertisement or the digital strategy falls flat.
Do allow plenty of time to produce your signage, etc. If you’re producing signage, booth materials or any kind of handouts for the event, make sure you allow ample time to create and produce them. Production timelines can vary, and you don’t want to be left high and dry with a blank booth and no business cards to hand out.
Do come up with a memorable theme. This is a great way to “campaign” your event presence and help people remember you. For example, LeadMD is emphasizing our focus on getting people to complete benchmarks, so we’re doing a fun theme where marketers can evaluate themselves through various tools with the ultimate goal of gaining access to a “treasure chest.”
Once you have a theme, make sure to carry it through all of your event materials. Remember the first “do” and allow enough time to create, order and produce what you need.
Do be selective about who accompanies you. Again, your entire presence at the event represents your company. So be choosy about which team members you choose to be there. You want people who can not only sell your product or service, but also make a general good impression, network well and impress influencers. Pro tip: Sales is often not the no-brainer choice it was 5 years ago, choose team members that align to your audience and are able to talk their talk.
In our experience, Marketo Summit is an awesome opportunity for vendors to gain tons of new leads, prospects and customers—but only if you approach it the right way. So I guess what I’m saying is…don’t blow it!
See you there.
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.