I know trade shows are expensive, and that they are harder than they were back in the glory days of the 80s and 90s. I know it takes a consistent, coordinated effort to get good results, and requires time away from home. But guess what – all marketing is hard, and has gotten harder, too:
Search Engine Marketing
Aiming to beat Google at its own game and get your company listed higher in search engine results? While it’s not brain surgery, it’s close. Doing it yourself is more than a full time job. Or you could hire an SEO expert to improve your search results, but they may be basing their methods on what was successful last year or even years ago. That’s because Google and their ilk hide how they rank websites, and to keep it really interesting, change their formula at will.
You want to build your brand and generate leads with ads in trade magazines and business publications? At least you will have fewer competitors, as many business marketers have fled print ads because of their lack of interactivity, engagement, and provable results. Print readership has diminished in favor of websites, and print media’s online versions have further competition from bloggers.
Trying to telemarket your way into lead generation heaven? It’s tough to reach those pearly gates when Whitefang the gatekeeper screens your calls, if the target isn’t screening them herself with caller ID and voicemail. Once you do get the elusive prospect on the phone, they are offended you are taking them away from their overloaded work day to try to sell them something. And hang up on you.
Direct Mail Marketing
With higher postage and printing costs, you can no longer afford to profitably mail large quantities to drive large numbers of leads. You can still mail profitably – but only by narrowing your list down to the best prospects. Try for greater reach and watch your response rates plunge, because recipients now focus their attention on their ever-overflowing email inbox.
Email marketing offers great reach at a low, low price. However, that low cost to entry fuels a barrage of email, email, email into recipients’ inbox. Prospects tune out even the most enticing messages, if their I.S. departments haven’t already set up filters to screen them for them. Response rates have plunged to a fraction of a percent.
Social Media Marketing
Learning the ropes on social media? It’s easy to set up a blog, and accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. It’s much harder to gather a following, and then get them to take meaningful action that creates business opportunities. You’ve got to completely retool your marketing methods, because old school push marketing backfires here. And once you think you’ve got a handle on social media, just like Internet marketing, it changes.
So the next time you find yourself a bit down because of the effort to market your company at trade shows, remember that at trade shows your buyer actually pays to travel to meet you in your booth, to see how you can solve their problems, and to lay their hands on your product. There’s no SEO ranking formula to unravel, no voicemail to curse, no wastebasket to catch your mailer, no spam filter to avoid triggering. It’s just people meeting face to face. That’s not so hard after all.
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