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Social media and tradeshows

October 10, 2008

We helped on the strategy for a Twitter feed for a client’s tradeshow. This was a true B2B event, as the objective was to drive people to the booth.

In a recap, someone brought up the notion of ROI. As in, what’s the ROI of a Twitter feed?

It’s a question that comes up a lot in B2B. Because B2B advertising is different, I’m told. All marketing expenditures have to have an ROI (unlike B2C, where the magic word Brand shuts up ROI conversations)

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Thus, when companies give away stuff at their tradeshow, they do so because they know the ROI. Hats, bags, coffee mugs, golf balls, Frisbees, large rulers, stress balls, and other swag are given away because the ROI of these things is well known.

It’s known, to use but one example, that 200 coffee cups with a logo on it equals 17.6 sales. Add color to the logo, and the ROI increases to 18.5. Add “Made in America”, and you can expect a lift to 19.4 (+/- a few percentage points in the midwest).

As you can see, I’m pulling numbers out of my ass to make a point. The point is, people do things in B2B marketing that doesn’t have a quantifiable ROI. Companies give their best customers swag because having their logo in front of someone all the time means there’s a greater chance that when it comes time to make a purchase, they will think of that company.

Can you put an ROI on that? No. Does that mean tradeshow swag, data sheets, brochures, catalogues, and salespeople gifts ahould be eliminated? How about signage at a tradeshow, or an ad in the show daily?Should those be eliminated because you can’t place an ROI on them?

If these things are part of a communications strategy, then they can all work together to meet an objective. An ad in the show daily might drive people to the booth to get their free thing. In that moment, they get to meet and chat with a salesperson, ask a few questions, enage in conversation.

Companies spent thousands of dollars to go to tradeshows because they are seeking to have conversations with leads. Some of those leads turn into sales, and good tradeshow coordinators will place an ROI on these costs/sales expectations of any tradeshow.

But there’s also an ROO, return on objectives.

And that’s where Social media can come in.

Social media can be part of the conversation. At the tradeshow booth, invite people to carry on the conversation at the company blog, on the company social network page, or on the company micro-blog.

Look, social media isn’t going to work for every B2B place that does tradeshows. But if the company can build a few followers/fans, or whatever, it will be easier to let them know of upcoming shows, events, or yes, even sales.

Don’t think sales. Think objectives, and the ROI will work itself out.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 9, 2009 1:21 pm

    It\’s about building your network and making people like and remember you.

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