Opportunities for Israeli B2B companies looking to China
Israel and China are a perfect match – China is an incredible opportunity for Israeli cyber-security, medical devices and artificial intelligence industries.
How to break into the Chinese market:Understand the target customer and other stakeholders Find the right strategic partners to help you. Consumers in China are entirely different than what you are used to. They are on different channels, they have different expectations, and there are important cultural norms you’ll want to be aware of. A local team on the ground with the experience and tools to understand and effectively target customers is crucial to preventing big blunders. Regulatory concerns It is critical to spend time researching and understanding the regulatory environment prior to making any decision to enter the market. China has extremely strict laws protecting consumers, including quality, standards and other regulations covering most industries. Sensitive industries such as medical devices and pharmaceutical are especially strict. Trademark everything, immediately As soon as your product comes on the scene in China you can bet there will be copycats. We’ve seen it with big brands and small, if you don’t take trademarking seriously, you run the risk of expensive, messy and prolonged legal battles. Before talking to anyone, start the trademark process and make sure you own the corresponding Chinese domain names (.cn and .com.cn). Don’t assume what works in the West will work in China Look no further than eBay and Uber, two remarkably successful international companies that failed in China. Chinese consumers have different tastes, different expectations, different cultural norms and customs that are deep-rooted in society. On top of all of this is an unrelenting drive for innovation, which makes brands with a weak positioning strategy extremely vulnerable. If you take your brand to the China market and your messaging is unclear, or your branding is weak, there is a good chance your product or service will be copied and eaten up by a domestic brand. Find a decent Chinese name It doesn’t have to be a direct translation, or even exactly the same as the Western version. The Mandarin language is comprised of thousands of characters that all have a great deal of significance. Meaning there are lots of options for translations that can turn out great, or translations that can turn out… not so great. AirBnB fell prey to a naming mishap when they entered the Chinese market as 爱彼迎 (Àibǐyíng), which they explained means “let love meet each other” but to native Chinese this name conjures up images of a “love hotel”, and many complained that it is awkward to pronounce. Even if you think you’ve settled on a great name, test it, test it and test it again. Start with distribution and expand from there You don’t need to set up shop right away. After you’ve trademarked everything, going through a distributer to test the waters is a good way to enter the China market. Many SME’s in the medical industry routinely work with distributors to get their products into hospitals in China. Set up your website Number one piece of advice; put your Chinese website on a server in China or Hong Kong. Shrinking attention spans haunt every content marketer, so don’t lose your audience even before your beautifully, well-crafted home page loads. If you are hosting on a local Chinese server you are required to apply for the ICP license and this also means you need to have a local entity already organized. You’ll typically need to apply for an ICP license from the Chinese Government; this will lead to better search results on Baidu and allows you to run PPC campaigns. Don’t forget to make your website mobile optimized! In China more than 95% of Internet users are using their mobile phones to access it. Choose the right trade shows This goes hand-in-hand with understanding your target customer and stakeholders. There are hundreds of trade shows in China every year, with thousands of exhibitors. It can be tempting to try and get your foot in the door to as many as possible, but this will leave you out of budget and exhausted quickly. Can you team up with similar brands? Make connections with attendees beforehand? Enter social media with your big toe in the water With all the hype around WeChat in China, many brands are ready to dive headfirst and go all out for this mega-app, but take a step back. WeChat is completely different than Facebook, Instagram or any other typical social media platform you are familiar with using. It is important to set the right expectations, and the right strategy. Become well versed with the app, it’s functionality and it’s limitations before setting your KPIs. While it is important for brands to have a WeChat account, there may be other channels to investigate.
Moo-ving it up a notch with user experience
To encourage Afimilk’s dealers to make more purchases online and to give them access to marketing materials, OZ designed an intuitive online partner portal.
Afimilk case study: partner portalIn the world of B2B, it’s really important to nurture partner relationships and find ways to make it easier for our partners and distributors to satisfy the needs of their (and our) end customers. In this manner, you can create a win-win situation where both your customers (distributors) are happy and their customers (end users) are happy with your brand. Recently, as part of our ongoing services for Afimilk – a global leader in advanced dairy management technology solutions – we created a unique and creative solution for its partners. With the goal of encouraging Afimilk’s dealers to make more purchases online and give them easy access to marketing materials, we designed an integrated and intuitive online partner portal. This portal provides end-to-end marketing and sales support, and an easy-to-use online ordering system. It includes three valuable tools that are also integrated with Afimilk’s ERP system:
- Knowledge center – with marketing resources including brochures, presentations, and supporting materials to help dealers promote Afimilk solutions.
- Configurator wizard – builds price quotations tailored to customer requirements while promoting Afimilk’s preferred solutions.
- Market gate – intuitive online ordering system tailored for Afimilk partners to encourage online ordering.
Moving to a business-to-business-to-user mindset (B2B2U©)
Communicate with both intermediary customers and patient-consumers in this new age of healthcare by transitioning to a Business-to-Business-to User model.
It’s all about the people and building relationships
We worked together to develop a new visual identity that stands out in the global market and is also centered around Trendlines’ two foundational principles.
It’s about the people AND building relationshipsBecause Trendlines Group’s hands-on investment approach and commitment to improve the human condition through innovation are inseparable parts of the company's character, the refreshed visual identity rests strongly on these principles. The result – a new compelling brand and visual identity – was launched at Trendlines’ 7th Annual Trendlines Company Showcase attended by hundreds of biomedicine industry professionals from around the world, and sponsored by companies worldwide.
Inbound for Medical & Healthcare Companies Event
We held an Inbound for Medical & Healthcare Companies event where industry experts shared multiple insights on marketing for medical and healthcare industries.
- Matt Brown, HubSpot Specialist from Boston – US Trends in Healthcare Marketing
- Dina Gidron, VP Strategy at OZ – Opening New Channels of Communication
- Mickey Nave, Corporate Marketing Director at Lumenis – Medical marketing: generating leads that your sales team will love
- Bat-chen Grinberg, Founder of MC Forum – Digital tools that reduce your work overload
- The age of “Social Health”. The combination of healthcare reforms, the age of consumerism and mobile technology is creating the perfect climate for change in healthcare.
- We see YOU, we know YOU, we understand YOU, we want to help YOU. The digital revolution is transforming the way we do business as we shift from a Business-to-Business (B2B) to a Business-to-Business-to-User (B2B2U©).
- Patient-consumers are the center of the universe. As patient-consumers become the single most important factor in this new era, we need to open up direct channels of communication with them to understand their challenges, increase brand awareness and create bottom-up demand.
- Trends in medical and healthcare. Patient-consumers are avid researchers; marketers are targeting patient-consumers AND payers; digital channels are overtaking traditional marketing channels; and digital content is key to the decision process.
- Brands must recognize social health and deliver value across the full spectrum to drive leads, convert prospects to customers and keep them loyal.
- Inbound marketing and content marketing are well-suited to the medical and healthcare industry as it promotes targeted communication, trust-based decision-making, long-term relationships, and thought leadership and industry expertise.
Getting to know your patient-consumers
When I just started my career, an intelligent woman told me that only when I understand.
Preparing for the age of “Social Health”As healthcare reforms, the era of consumerism and mobile technology create the ideal climate for positive change in the medical and healthcare arena, we’re ushering in a new age – the “Social Health” era. As we transition into this new era, patient-consumers are becoming the single most important factor in the medical and healthcare eco-system; and as they research and shop online for medical services, products and insurance plans, the medical & healthcare industry increasingly resembles a retail industry. The impact of this shift on medical and healthcare providers is huge as it means they need to open up direct channels of communication with patient-consumers to understand their challenges and offer services and products with real value. Or in other words, there is a need to move from a Business-to-Business (B2B) to a Business-to-Business-to-User (B2B2U©) approach. As we enter this age of “Social Health”, brands need to recognize the need to deliver value across the full spectrum to drive leads, convert prospects to customers and keep them loyal.
What’s the difference between traditional and inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers through valuable content, while traditional marketing is marketer-centric and uses more interruptive methods.
It's time to attract your prospects instead of bombarding them.Inbound marketing is a customer-centric approach that focuses on attracting customers to your business through content and interactions that are valuable, helpful, and trust-building.
It’s all about using remarkable content to develop and nurture long-term relationships with your prospects so they ultimately build trust in your brand.In comparison, traditional marketing, which is marketer-centric, uses more interruptive methods to vie for the attention of prospects.
|Inbound marketing uses customer-centric tactics to attract prospects, address their challenges and goals, and build trust in your business
|Traditional marketing uses more interruptive methods to push products and services and get the attention of prospects
|Based on interactive communication that engages prospects and attracts them to you
|Based on one-way, outward communication
|Educational content such as blogs, videos, eBooks, white papers, SEO, and case studies
|Print and TV ads, banner ads, direct mail, cold calling, and mass email campaigns
|Offer prospects value through educational content and earn their trust
|Drive sales through product-centric marketing
Get your creative juices flowing with these great blog topic tips
Here are some tips to get your creative juices flowing to come up with some great blog topics.
- Consider the content’s purpose, format and topics.
- Create content that builds trust amongst your prospects.
- Get your content in front of the right people at the right time.
- Analyze & repeat. Determine what worked and what didn’t, and repeat your successes.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of engaging with contacts via automated workflows to build a relationship with them.
- Grow and nurture relationships
- Offer educational content
- Use hyper personalization
Inbound marketing in a nutshell
When I just started my career, an intelligent woman told me that only when I understand.
Why inbound marketing?We live in an age where people are bombarded with advertising wherever they turn, and for this reason, have become increasingly skeptical of standard interruptive marketing methods. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that 90% of B2B buyers never respond to cold-marketing. For this reason, instead of competing for consumer attention, inbound uses the fact that prospects seek out the information they need on their own terms. By developing valuable and relevant content with the expectation to be found, potential customers will come to you, become new clients, and ultimately be delighted by their experience.
How does inbound marketing work?Inbound marketing is based on four phases: attract, convert, close, delight
ATTRACTFirst, attract visitors to your website using tools such as blogging, website optimization, and, social media. Tools: blog, social media, keywords, pages
CONVERTOnce you have new visitors, you can convert some into leads by gathering their contact information, the currency of inbound marketing. To do this, it's important to offer them something valuable, usually in the form of additional information or useful content. Tools: calls-to-action, landing pages, forms, contacts
CLOSEOnce you’ve converted some visitors into leads, you need to nurture their interest by providing them with relevant information. In this stage, tools like email and CRM are helpful in selling to the right leads at the right time. Tools: email, workflows, lead scoring, CRM integrations
DELIGHTOnce you close a sale with a customer, your relationship is just beginning. At this stage, you need to continue to delight and engage them so they become happy promoters of your brand. Tools: social media, smart calls-to-action, email, workflows Analysis is critical to making inbound marketing work. Every strategy and technique you use, and content you create, should be analyzed regularly to see if it's working, and adjusted as needed to make it better.
Does inbound marketing work for B2B?
Does inbound marketing work for B2B businesses? Of course it does, because it doesn’t matter what you’re selling or to whom – your customer always comes first.
Attracting customers with inbound marketingInbound marketing is a customer-centric approach that focuses on attracting customers to your business. Unlike traditional interruptive marketing that vies for attention through cold calls, purchased ads, and email blasts, inbound marketing responds to prospects’ needs and interests by offering them valuable content in the right place and at the right time. “By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, not interruptive.” - Hubspot Read more about inbound marketing here.
So how does inbound marketing work for B2B?It’s often assumed that inbound marketing is better suited for businesses that sell directly to consumers (B2C); and, in the recent “push” to “pull” marketing shift, it appears that B2C organizations have more easily adopted this new marketing model. In contrast, B2B or B2C organizations appear to be more skeptical and adopt the new approach with more caution. The main reason for this is that a lot of B2B and B2B2C organizations are still trying to figure out how inbound marketing can work for them; and they often question whether this new approach is even applicable to business customers.
The answer is — of course — YES!Because the truth is that it doesn’t matter what you’re selling or to whom, the majority of your prospects are usually partially through the buying cycle before they even consider talking to a salesperson. And that’s where the emphasis needs to be — ON YOUR PROSPECTS. In order for inbound marketing to work, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your value chain and your sales model. Once you have that, you can then create valuable content that attracts visitors to your business, converts them into prospects, engages them until they decide to purchase your product or service, and then delights them so they become promoters of your brand. In this manner, you can use inbound marketing to create a win-win situation where you get closer to both your distributors and your end users, and in the process, increase brand awareness to enhance end-user demand for your brand (even if you they are not buying directly from you). But here’s the thing – you need to be in it for the long haul. Inbound marketing takes time, effort, and patience. But it’s definitely worth the wait!
Attracting the RIGHT customers to your B2B business
Inbound marketing for B2B is about attracting the right people to your business – those who become leads, then customers and ultimately promoters of your brand.
The power of content in inbound marketing
Content is the fuel behind inbound marketing – it carries the message your company wants to deliver to your customers at the right time and in the right place.
Content is what sets you apartIt’s the fuel behind inbound marketing – it carries the message your company wants to deliver to your customers at the right time and in the right place. It’s what powers a successful inbound strategy by pulling people from one stage of the inbound methodology to another and addressing their challenges and questions. It’s what attracts the right visitors to your site, converts them into leads, nurtures them, helps close them into customers, and then delights them into promoters.
Content in B2BContent marketing works for every type of business. In fact, according to a report put out by the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of B2B marketers identified the creation of quality and efficient content as being a leading factor for increased marketing success in 2016. Additionally, based on company metrics, 78% of these B2B marketers report an increase in audience engagement and 57% saw an increase in sales with use of content for their B2B marketing.
The content processNow that we've established the importance of content, where do you start and what should you focus on? The best way to optimize your content for your inbound marketing strategy is to follow a content process that involves 4 main steps:
- Consider the content’s purpose, format and topics.
- Create content that builds trust amongst your prospects.
- Get your content in front of the right people at the right time.
- Analyze & repeat. Determine what worked and what didn’t, and repeat your successes.
How can the digital revolution help you extend your reach?
As technology rocks our world, we need to get closer to our customers, understand their customer journey, and adjust our marketing and sales accordingly.
This means that before you do anything else, you need to identify, understand and talk to your customers.This involves meeting customers at different points on their journey, mapping their journey and fully understanding their needs. Once you’ve done this, you can go on to define your potential buyer personas; identify how you meet their needs, motivations, pain points and challenges; create relevant offline and online content and tools to communicate with them; reallocate marketing and sales (and other) resources to match the real needs of your customers; and create collaboration between your marketing and sales (and other) teams. But first, get to know your customers! From there, the rest will follow.
Getting creative in B2B marketing
Yes, branding is vital to success. But what about lead generation, which is also crucial to business and requires creative methods to bring in qualified leads?
What’s all the fuss about Inbound marketing?
We’ve all heard the term Inbound marketing thrown around a lot lately. It’s become the latest catchphrase in a field that’s already packed with catchphrases.
What is Inbound marketing?Inbound marketing is the process of attracting potential customers and getting them to reach out to you. This is different to more traditional marketing (also known as push marketing or outbound marketing) where you actively reach out to potential customers through methods such as cold-calling, printed magazines, and traditional advertising. But how do you attract potential customers and get them to trust you before you’ve even pitched them your product? The answer lies in content —the foundation of the Inbound methodology. By creating carefully curated content, you’ll establish yourself as a trusted source of knowledge and attract the ideal visitors to your site, convert them into leads and then customers, and keep them engaged so they go on to promote your brand. “By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, not interruptive.” - Hubspot
Inbound marketing in a nutshellInbound marketing is filled with complexities, but the following four steps (based on the Hubspot Inbound methodology) summarize the main Inbound stages:
- Attract. Before you do anything, you need to fully research and understand who your ideal customers or buyer personas are. Once you have identified them, you can get them to come to you.
- Find creative ways to “convert” these potential customers into leads by offering them something valuable in return.
- Turn your leads into customers.
- Continue to engage with your customers so they become promoters of your brand.
Inbound marketing in B2BAt this stage, you may be wondering whether Inbound marketing works in the world of B2B. The answer is a big loud “Yes!” In fact, Inbound marketing creates a win-win situation for you where you can get closer to your direct customers and distributors, and also increase brand awareness amongst end users to enhance end-user demand for your brand (even if you they are not buying directly from you). Read how Elcam used digital marketing to increase brand awareness>>
Combining Inbound and offline marketingWe’d like to emphasize that Inbound marketing does not replace the need for interpersonal interaction with your customers – especially in B2B industries where the customer model tends to be more complex and is often based on long-term relationships. The goal is to find the right communication mix for your specific B2B business needs, market and customers. By promoting your brand through a digital dialog and an inter-personal dialog, you can achieve a more effective and efficient sales and marketing process for better business results. For example, you can combine a compelling digital campaign to encourage potential customers to visit you at a trade show, and then meet them at the event to continue a direct dialogue with them. Look out for our next blog post on the need for face-to-face communication with your customers and creative ways to combine digital and interpersonal communication (coming soon).
Inbound marketing – here to stay?Another big loud “Yes!” It’s quite simple - as more and more potential buyers turn to the Internet for answers to their challenges, they look to buy from suppliers who instill trust by answering their questions and offering solutions to their problems. This means that in order to stay relevant in the marketplace, you have to be present where your potential buyers are looking for answers - online. And that’s why everyone is fussing over Inbound marketing.
The importance of branding in launching new products
Prior to the recent release of Mazor X, Oz Branding worked with Mazor Robotics to create a compelling brand promise for the new product — Align with Experience.
The changing role of CMOs in B2B marketing
Customer empowerment has led to a changing CMO role as CMOs become the customer voice within their organizations. But what does this role actually involve?
The customer leads the wayWith digital disruption and an ongoing increase in Internet and social media usage, consumers now have almost all the information they need at their fingertips. In fact, research shows that the majority of customers engage in online research and brand comparison before they commit to a specific product or service — even (and often especially) in the world of business to business (B2B) — and continue to use online platforms at multiple points across their buyer journey. This has far reaching effects on the marketplace, and businesses are being forced to adapt their marketing strategy accordingly. Instead of interruptive marketing fighting for a customer's attention and money, twenty-first century businesses need to focus on both offline and online marketing to attract potential customers, increase sales and maintain an ongoing relationship with their customers.
Expanding the CMO’s RoleThese changes to customer behavior, as well as the ability of companies to reach a more diverse and global customer base, have led to an expansion or even a complete redefinition of the CMO’s role, in both B2C and B2B marketing. As advocators for customers — or the “voice of the customer” —CMOs will need to lead changes across companies. This involves playing a more active role in areas such as global branding strategy and public profile, product development, leading the move from a product-centric to a customer-centric model, content planning and generation, digital media, and more.
Using online marketing to generate a buzz (or a moo)
When Afimilk was preparing to launch its new AfiLab, the company turned to Oz Branding for assistance in creating a combined online and offline campaign.
Afimilk case study: all you need is labWhen Afimilk — a pioneer and global leader of management technology for dairy farming — was preparing to launch its In-line Milk Lab internationally, the company turned to Oz for assistance in creating a combined online and offline campaign for the launch.
- Online – including digital ads in a variety of professional magazines, a social network campaign that was launched 6 weeks before the expo, the creation of a specific AfiLab mini-site, blog posts on the subject, a newsletter, a PR, and more.
- Offline – including brochures, a booth at the trade show, giveaways, printed ads, and more.
“Branding In” in International Branding
The answer lies in understanding the clear link between your B2B brand and your employees’ connection to your brand promise
How can we ensure that we don’t lose or dilute our essential values and brand promise as we become a cross-continent corporation?The answer lies in understanding the clear link between your B2B brand and your employees’ connection to your brand promise – no matter where they are in the world.By focusing on both implementing your brand in the global marketplace and strengthening your brand within your organization, you can more easily coordinate cross-continent corporate cultures and processes to define a common global branding language and presence that is consistently implemented across all touch points and markets. When Maytronics, a global leader in automated pool cleaning solutions, began to expand globally, the company looked for ways to build a strong and growing global brand while still maintaining a unique company culture, value, and DNA. With a focus on its core values, Maytronics and Oz Branding began a worldwide organizational and branding process that included the enhancing of the internal company dialog to reinforce its brand promise of Exceptional Experience.
Global marketing challenges for B2B companies
Challenges in global marketing for B2B companies, the complexities involved in growing a global brand, and ideas on how we can overcome these challenges.
The International B2B Marketing Conference 2015We had a wonderful time learning about and discussing the challenges in global marketing for B2B companies at our International B2B marketing Conference earlier this month. We'd like to give a big thank you to our partners at the E3 International Agency Network for working with us. And, we'd especially like to thank the over 200 people who attended, including executives who came from over 10 countries around the world! At our conference we had the pleasure to hear from several marketing and branding experts in different regions around the globe. Each of them spoke about the complexities involved in growing a global brand, the challenges all of us face, and ideas on how we can overcome these challenges. The next few posts will cover each presentation in more detail, but in the meantime, we'll give you a short summary of the topics covered by each speaker: Dirk Assent, Managing Partner at Bernstein Gmbh, Bremen, spoke about how to tackle the internal and external challenges of a divided market (or, as he puts it: Why marketing in Europe is like a polar bear.) Mike Golden, the CEO of Adsmith China, Shanghai, spoke about the marketing successes as well as the many branding failures in bringing products to China. Our very own Dina Gidron at Oz Branding also addressed the crowd about the trends in online and offline marketing, and Eyal Tryber, CEO of the Israeli Maytronics company, shared fascinating insights about building the Maytronics brand globally. We also heard from Matt Bowen, President and CEO of Aloft Group in Boston, who shared with us the success factors involved in growing your brand in the US. We gained a lot in insight at this conference and enjoyed seeing old colleagues and meeting new ones. We hope you did too!
How B2B Brands Drive Sales
One of the most difficult parts of B2B branding is selling the brand to sales. Many B2B brands fail because they haven't been integrated into the sales force
Getting the Sales Team on BoardDespite the enormous added-value of a strong brand in a purchasing price, one of the most difficult parts of B2B branding is selling the brand to sales. Many B2B brands fail because they haven't been properly integrated into – and accepted by – the sales force. To ensure that your brand is accepted by your salespeople, you'll want to make sure you're providing the answers to these questions:
1. Are You Telling the Right Brand Story?It can be helpful to first take a step back and reevaluate if your internal B2B brand story is the same of that of your customers. The same McKinsey study from above found that often the two audiences focused on completely different things --- B2B suppliers focused on sustainability, global reach, and corporate responsibility whereas customers focused on honesty, responsibility across the supply chain, and level of specialized expertise.
2. Do Your Salespeople Understand What a Brand is?Your salespeople need to understand that a brand is what happens before you enter a room and after you leave. It also provides a framework for communicating the values behind your company's product or service.
3. Do Your Salespeople Understand How A Brand Can Help Them?This is where "branding in" can be vital. "Branding in" connects the entire company to the brand promise and implements it in their day-to-day responsibilities. For starters, you'll need to make sure marketing and sales are communicating in the same language. Consider a sales and marketing workshop, where salespeople explore the meaning behind the new brand and how it can help them be more successful. One practical exercise during the workshop might be to develop a pitch book – a sales tool that should communicate what the company does, why it does it, and why it is better than the competition. This time, however, you'll want to develop it through the perspective of a salesperson who understands the value, messages, and how to communicate the company's brand.
Witness Your Brand Increase RevenueAlign your sales and marketing together in building your brand by answering these questions as a company. Bring in experts to help you if possible (we know of a good one offhand) When all of the employees in your company, including the salespeople, are working together towards the same message, value, and goals, your brand value will start to climb, and your sales will too.
The Online Approach to Event Marketing
This post will explain how to effectively integrate the two to achieve your company's greater marketing goals when it comes to marketing a conference
1. The More Targeted the Event, the BetterAt an industry conference, you want your booth and company to really stand out among the others. The larger the conference and broader the topic, the more challenging it will be for your product to grab the attention of potential customers. One of our customers, Elcam Medical, for instance, started to see fantastic results after attending more targeted events. After undergoing a branding process which sought to position the company as experts in ensuring safety in the hospital environment, they understood that they were marketing not only to their supplier, but also to their end user -- ICU nurses. You can read more about Elcam's success in integrating online and offline marketing strategies here>> As a result, instead of attending the usual larger medical conferences and trade shows, they began to attend more targeted professional conferences of nurses, albeit with a smaller booth. Since the subject was so targeted, Elcam Medical was often able to generate awareness of their product by speaking on the lecture panel at the conference.
2. Be Really Clear About Your Inbound GoalsMake sure everyone in your marketing department is working together towards the same goals. Your inbound marketing activity before, during, and after events can support your greater marketing strategy of lead generation by:
- Increasing both direct and indirect traffic to your company website
- Increasing the number of email or blog subscribers
- Educating potential customers about your specific product or service
- Increase the number of requests for a product demo
3. Identify your Call-to-Action (CTA)A call-to-action, or CTA, is an action which you want potential customers to take. This is the method by which you achieve your goal, which you've properly defined in #2. Your CTA could be to convince potential customers to register for the event, download your ebook or white paper, sign up for your webinar, take a survey, or just visit your latest product or service page. By convincing potential customers to take this action, you are driving them further along the sales cycle. Other parts of your company can benefit from trade shows as well, so it is important to sit down and brainstorm with management in different departments to get their input. One of our clients, Afimilk, decided that in order to promote their new product, the AfiAct II at the World Dairy Expo, they would run a lottery during the event to give away the product to one lucky registrant for free. We integrated a CTA into all of their marketing materials for this event, adding it to the Afimilk website homepage, and creating landing page dedicated to registrations specifically for the event.
4. Create a Dedicated Landing Page to Promote your EventThe best landing pages promote events before and after the event. How? Before the event, they help to schedule appointments with your sales and marketing team, explain exactly what your company will be doing at the event, and promote a particular product or service. After the event, they publish reactions and insights from the event as well as the speaker's presentations on the landing page. Another purpose of your dedicated landing page before the event can be to get specific info from potential customers in order for your sales team to qualify them. But in an environment where you are competing with many other companies for the attention of the same people, you'll need to stand out from the crowd. Why would they want to give you information about themselves? You'll have to offer them something in return. Think really hard about what your potential customer's pain point is and how you can help them – for free, in exchange for their contact information. Here's an example from one of our customers, Plastopil, where we inspired customers to register to an event by offering them a free iPad mini:
5. Promote Your Event via Email MarketingInvite your contacts to the event with an email beforehand, sending them to your dedicated landing page in order to register for the event or schedule appointments, educating them about your services and products, or offering them a free ebook or white paper to show them you understand (and have a solution to) their main pain point. You may want to send an email promoting the event several times beforehand – perhaps a month, two weeks, and then the week of the event. Follow up afterwards with either a thank you or a newsletter that recalls the event. If you blogged about the event, include those posts in the newsletter as well.
6. Combining Online and Offline for Maximum ResultsA major goal in B2B conferences is to build new business relationships and strengthen old ones, both of which are key in lead generation. This offline approach should not be underestimated. However, you can use inbound marketing to gain the attention of new potential business partners, educate them about your products and services, and have that first meeting be as effective as possible.
Should I Still Speak to My Customers Face-to-Face?
Are you struggling to find the right marketing mix? Get some tips on creating an offline marketing strategy that is complemented by your online strategy
Integrating online and offline marketingWith all of this focus on online marketing, we tend to think that we should invest all of our energy in our online presence. But it’s not that simple as customers don’t only spend their time online. While online marketing is crucial to growth and success, you need to also engage your customers using offline methods – especially in B2B industries where long-term relationships with customers are crucial to success. A good way to understand this is to compare it to the use of social media in our personal lives. Most of us frequently share personal information about ourselves, our families, our hobbies, and more, on social media platforms. Despite the fact that these platforms seem to “replace” direct relationships, that’s not usually the case, and most of us still make a lot of effort to meet with our families and friends on a regular basis to nurture our inter-personal relationships. If we apply this example to business, we can build well-balanced marketing strategies by combining the use of social platforms to share knowledge with potential customers and build their trust, with inter-personal, offline interactions.
Not mutually exclusiveUsing both online and offline marketing doesn’t mean that you need to create separate strategies for each. Instead, you need to create the right marketing mix for your company and field where your offline marketing strategy is actually complemented by your online strategy, and vice versa. Here are some examples:
1. Trade shows
Trade shows may be traditionally associated with “offline” marketing, but you can leverage your investment in them by using a digital strategy to promote your company’s presence at the event. This can be done through digital ads, social media campaigns, landing pages, calls-to-action, and even webinars or videos talking about the upcoming event and where to find you. These promotions can be used to both promote your business in general, and to set up meetings or collect quality leads.At the event, you’ll be able to meet these potential customers (and other) face-to-face and most importantly, to follow up after the event based on what they told you about their specific needs. Again, the follow-up communication can be done through both direct communication and digital communication such as newsletters.
2. Samples to customer
Offer potential buyers and distributors that leave their contact details via digital platforms free samples of your products (where relevant) or promotions. In this manner, you can collect quality leads from customers, communicate with them directly to get them to try your products, and continue to engage with them through online campaigns. You can also use geo-driven campaigns to attract potential buyers and then refer them to local points-of-sale.
3. Digital campaigns and demos
Use digital campaigns and landing pages to encourage potential buyers to leave their information and then call them to set up a live demo of your product. You can continue to nurture the relationship with these potential buyers after the demo through a combination of offline and online marketing techniques.
4. Join social media groups
Join and contribute to social media groups in your field, use them to increase your brand awareness, and look out for offline networking initiated by these groups, including impromptu meet-ups and offline conversations. You can also initiate such offline events in order to meet potential leads face-to-face.