23 April 2012

Inbound Marketing

I have heard the term “Inbound Marketing” a lot over the past week. It might be because I attended a meet & greet seminar at my business bank and the topic was using social media for B2B and this caused me to do some more research on the topic. The topic of social media marketing for B2B is an interesting and comical topic when you are looking at the pros & cons without a passionate vested interest (passionate vested interest is trying to sell your marketing service). 

What is the value of social media and does it have a place in the B2B market? I have been dabbling at it for the past few years and believe it has a place combined with the traditional approaches to marketing. This past week the value shot up when Criterion started thinking about upgrading or replacing our business software system.  We posted a message on a local users group site for our current system asking for feedback on the current version and people's thoughts about the upcoming version due out this fall. The good news for us is the user group participants were not shy.

I went to our Twitter account and looked up the people following us who are associated with the software industry and sent them a direct message inviting them to contact me.  We contacted other people who could possible help after doing more on-line research and invited them to participate. None of this is really new, we have all done research on what to buy and gotten references from others. What is new is the speed at which we can accomplish all of this.

After doing all of this the light bulb came on brighter, “Inbound Marketing”is not the “New Wave” of marketing. It is part of the current business model used by both consumers and businesses alike. I have said this before and I hope it continues to remain true "I hope my competitors don't figure this out before I do."

04 April 2012

Enjoying Trade Shows

Many people make a living from teaching others how to correctly exhibit products at trade shows. You can learn the proper way to greet visitors, the dos and don'ts of booth etiquette, what you should do about handouts along with many other topics. I am not sure you can ever be totally prepared for what can happen at a trade show.

I have always enjoyed trade shows because it gives me a chance to catch up with friends in the industry as well as meet many new people. I can talk face to face with a customer or potential customer about why I believe Criterion's products will do the job for them. I get to hear how people envision making their products and the challenges they face making them. It gives me greater insights into the current world of manufacturing.

It is also extremely interesting watching visitors as they walk by in the aisle. They will casually walk by and then bang! something catches their attention. They may make a bee line directly to it or they may stand and stare for a while trying to figure out what it is or how they can use it. I must confess this is where I fail the classes on how to properly work a trade show because I give you time to ponder your thought before asking you any questions and trying to engage you in conversation.

Conversation at Westec 2012
Over the many years I have done trade shows always leaving with more knowledge than I began because so many people want to talk about what and how they think they can use a product. This year was no different at Westec and it makes the thought of IMTS even more exciting because manufacturing in the US has seen a nice recover from the recession. If you didn't make it to Westec, I certainly look forward to seeing and talking with you at IMTS.