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Take your B2B marketing on the road with these 5 tips

Remember when it was rude to ignore an email or fail to return a phone call? Those days are long gone. 

Now that 196 billion emails (according to a Radicati report) are sent out every single day, decision makers don’t have nearly enough time to dig themselves out of their inboxes — let alone hear your sales pitch. For B2B marketers, this shift in etiquette has made an already challenging pursuit even more difficult. 

Trade shows, which once were considered the best way to interact with decision makers and senior leaders, are now overcrowded themselves, and 79 percent of brands that attend these events feel that very few audience members are true decision makers. Trade show floors are cluttered with messaging, bored salespeople, and pretty girls handing out premiums — but nary an interested buyer in sight.

The odds might seem stacked against B2B marketers, but a viable option still exists for successfully putting your product into the right hands. 
Take Your Show on the Road

Stop printing fliers that inevitably end up in the garbage. Give up on distributing business cards like candy. Quit waiting for prospects to come to you. 

It’s time you went to them.

By presenting your trade show material in an experiential marketing context, you can create a streamlined and memorable experience for your prospects. Pack your products, materials, and brand advocates into a truck, take your show on the road, and meet B2B decision makers at a location convenient for them.

When you transport a client to the exact location of its target audience and encourage folks to handle the product and ask questions, typical buying cycles can be cut in half and sales pipelines can double in size. This happens because customers can engage with products on a meaningful, informal level in a familiar, convenient location.

How to Create a Traveling Trade Show

Before you pack up your trade show in an old van and take to the streets, review the following tips to ensure your event will be memorable for all the right reasons:

• Make your product shine: Spend time creating a vision for your product. How do you want your clients to view its benefits? What feelings do you want to evoke? Then, create an experience that wraps clients into this vision. Examples could include turning regular spaces — such as tractor-trailers, motor coaches, meeting rooms, tents, warehouses, or hotels — into something unexpected.

When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was looking to drive excitement for its reboot of “Carrie,” it brilliantly staged a telekinetic prank in an unsuspecting coffee shop. Follow MGM's example and have fun, but remember to keep your product — and your client — the primary focus of the event.

Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

• Entice and excite prospects: Contact clients and prospects ahead of time to invite them to the event. Whichever method you choose should clearly communicate the information clients need to feel comfortable about attending and potentially making a purchase. For added fun, you could even send out a swag package that drives more interest and awareness.

• Confirm your RSVPs: Events flop when decision makers don’t attend, so be sure to confirm that they’ll actually be there. Contact them at least three days in advance (and perhaps the day prior to the event) to check and double-check that your guest list is accurate. Nothing kills a deal faster than missing participants.

• Get everyone engaged: Ditch the PowerPoint presentation. Instead, create an experience that not only showcases your product, but also invites customers to engage. Try a live demonstration or an in-depth analysis of how the product applies to customers’ day-to-day professional lives. For a good example, take a look at what Coca-Cola did with its Coca-Cola for Two campaign. You could also consider tying in a purchase order or letter of intent to close the deal while you have attendees’ interest.

• Follow up before they forget: Send attendees thank-you gifts that mirror the experiences they had at your event while it’s still in the forefront of their minds. Consider a miniature version of the tour vehicle, useful gadgets, or a picture that captures the essence of the experience and your brand as a whole. Thank-you cards can also be great, but only if they are handwritten.

Finding clients is hard; getting them to listen to you is even harder. Take a lesson from experiential marketing and get face-to-face with your clients. Show them you understand their needs and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their business. 

It will be an experience they will never forget.