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Barry Siskind's Articles

Marketing Optics Can Cloak Reality



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One of the concerns that many marketers face in these troubled times is a reduction in marketing budgets. The knee jerk reaction is to chop the number of shows and events. Other marketers are reluctant to reduce their face-to-face marketing exposure, continue their program, albeit with a reduced budget, for fear of creating a negative impression on potential buyers

When I was young my parents told me to study hard, I would sit at my desk with a pile of books on one side, an open workbook book in front of me. When my parents would peak into my room they would say ĒItís nice to see you so busy.Ē Thatís optics.

Making decisions based on optics alone can catch up with you sooner or later resulting in bad grades, foiled campaigns and lost opportunities.

One of the concerns that many marketers face in these troubled times is a reduction in marketing budgets. The knee jerk reaction is to chop the number of  shows and events. Other marketers are reluctant to reduce their face-to-face marketing exposure, continue their program, albeit with a reduced budget, for fear of creating a negative impression on potential buyers. 

During the past few years there has been much talk about the value of face-to-face marketing. Industry experts, including myself, have detailed the process that will help exhibitors calculate a return on investment and return on objectives. Yet, surprisingly few have adopted this basic business tenant and integrated the practice into their exhibit plans.  Some opt out when they learn that their efforts have not been as good as they would have imagined, other stay because they are led by the mistaken idea that the calculation of results are only for those who sell products.

If more marketers would take the time to calculate their results, they would have the crucial answer on their return of their exhibiting investment. But the issue of optics involves one more criteria. You also have to look at the cost of not exhibiting. This may seem a more difficult number to calculate, but there is enough industry data around to help. For example the CEIR recently (Spring 2009) found that the cost of obtaining a high value lead at an exhibit was about half the cost of obtaining a similar lead without a trade show. The cost of an initial visit with a high quality contact was about a fifth of the cost when compared to non-show activity.

Statistics like these and the many more that are available point to a clear value for maintaining an exhibit program. However, what about those non-monetary values such as reinforcing a brand or gaining market share. Similar studies provide evidence that there are definite values in these non-monetary goals. In a CEIRís recent census, a survey of exhibitors found the following:

Exhibitions increase corporate and/or brand recognition:  67% Agree or strongly agree

Exhibitions assist in gaining/retaining market share:  67% agree or strongly agree

Source: CEIR, The cost effectiveness of exhibition participation, spring 20

With these numbers in mind the issue of optics comes into play. When you withdraw your support for your face-to-face program you run the risk of losing the direct advantage you sought by choosing to be there in the first place but of equal importance is that you also create a negative impression in your customer and industryís eyes that can be irreparable. Even if you canít justify your show participation by new contacts or orders written it is important to let the rest of the world know that you are not hurting. Stay visible even if you participate in a show with less space. 

However, donít shortchange your overall look and feel of your display just to be there. Stay visible in a smaller space, but maintain the optics of success. At the end of the day, your investment is sure to reap rewards.

 

©2013 by Barry Siskind