A variety of industries rely on trade show leads, and in the near term we've seen this marketing strategy come to an abrupt halt. We'll take a look at the current situation, speculate on the future, and consider strategies to fill in the gaps for B2B Marketing.
The State of Events
There were different levels of information circulating in February, but when Austin, Texas' huge technology and music festival, South by Southwest, was canceled, then we knew the trade show world was about to take a hit. Shortly after, a number of international trade shows shuttered the doors, and the whole event marketing space was quickly put on pause. It was a game changer for many industry's schedules and there will certainly be measurable losses in growth.
Yet, many businesses have persisted. Webinars were already a rising star, and now they had a venue to fill. In our company, we've seen these web-video resources as great learning platforms, but the networking benefits of in-person communication are not there. As an agency always keen for growth, we turned to the traditional methods: calling old connections and reaching out with direct mail. By thinking on our feet and staying persistent, we've weathered the storm, but we still have to deal with the professional (and personal) let down of missing out on our annual Las Vegas conference.
In a survey from our previous blog post, we learned from over 600 marketing agencies that 'Events' were recorded as the most effective tactic in reaching a target audience. We should unfortunately assume that mass gatherings are a long way off. Different states will have different recovery schedules, so you'll have to have a localized strategy, but don't plan for major sales numbers coming from trade conferences. What can companies do to fill in the inbound lead losses that otherwise would have been filled by Events? We're all scratching our heads on that one.
The business to business marketing world has viable strategies to stay afloat, and that is what we'll focus on. We appreciate and wish the best for our B2C marketers, as right now is a tough time to win new customers (if you aren't Amazon or food delivery). Milestone is a direct mail focused agency, and many companies are looking to this traditional advertising method. Given the success of our clientele, we've earned new business in the last few weeks by focusing on the successful numbers coming from our current clients. We updated the creative and tweaked our target demo, but otherwise we carried on with our data-driven direct mail strategies as usual. If things have been going well or at least steady during the pandemic, spread the word!
Direct Mail has seen a resurgence during these times because people have more time at home where that stack of mail is piling up. People haven't forgotten about the internet though, and we've found great success with upping our social media presence. Using LinkedIn's features, along with a moderate Facebook and Twitter presence, has greatly increased our network. From these new leads and direct mail follow up, we were able to position our company for growth despite the coronavirus.
There isn't a silver bullet when it comes to messaging during these times. Many companies are looking to trim their budgets, so you could market your product or service as a cost-saving solution. Other companies are looking for entirely new tactics, and that's when pushing awareness is key. Companies relying on digital presence have seen a decline, so they have been more receptive to our direct mail services. This won't apply to everyone though, so we've fallen back to the most reliable method of outreach – a phone call! After all is said and done, our greatest success with a warm lead has been the direct phone call, and often times many phone calls.
These are unusual economic times, and it'll be a struggle for some, but the worst thing you could do is nothing right now. Keeping the leads warm, the brand on their mind, and having a long term vision will be key for weathering the storm. Even if you're not seeing immediate new business growth, stick with it and it will pay dividends in the long run. Good luck, and have don't forget about Milestone Marketing Solutions' Direct Mail Services!