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4 Tips for Organising Big Launch Events with Small Price Tags

Your product launching event can be just as a grand as a corporation's by following these four tips, the first of which is setting the right scene for your launch. By hosting a launch, you're letting people see you face-to-face, so engage in human interaction that can lead to good business ties down the road. Finally, create content that your attendees will want to share, and providing online offers that will create engagement with your launch. SMEs can launch like a big brand, without the big price tag, and we'll show you how. We manage the launch events for brands of all shapes and sizes and know that the building blocks for a successful launch come down to the same principles every time. The key is to focus on four key elements of your event: scene setting, authentic connections, shareable content, and online offerings. By concentrating your effort on these high-impact areas, you will keep costs down without suppressing your reach. We recently launched a new device for a large global tech company, with the budget to match. Olympians were hired to demonstrate the features of the device, the grand reveal onstage used a unique performance artist and the cocktail party went long into the night. However, a large portion of buzz created by this event can be put down to nailing the four key elements. You can distill a launch event like this down to a more affordable price point by focusing on these four elements: 1. Scene Setting Pre-event activities can dramatically impact how your attendees perceive your brand before they even set foot through the door. By setting the scene with invitations, information packs, and teasers, you will build a sense of anticipation. It’s vital every touch point before the event is on brand and echoes the same clear set of messages relating to your launch. This will ensure attendees feel a sense of familiarity with your brand and are more likely to connect authentically. 2. Authentic Connections This is the reason face-to-face events are still vital to businesses. People still like to buy from people they have connected with and have judged as worthy. A launch event is the perfect time to connect on a human level with your attendees. The best way to do this is to share your story and show the human side to your business. Maybe this is a description of your manufacturing process or the history of the companies founders. By peeling back the layers of "marketing" and showing attendees a bit about the building blocks of your business, you are proving you are trustworthy. This will set you apart from competitors. 3. Shareable Content To extend the life of your event, you will want content to be easily accessed by attendees and non-attendees. We have seen events with only 50 attendees go viral by harnessing the power of having unique decorations, which were snapped, posted on Instagram, and shared by influencers. We are also advocates for sharing your exclusive event content online after the launch. By creating an online briefcase with easily accessible presentation slides or video recordings you can reinforce your message with attendees. This is also a good opportunity to have your content reach a larger audience, encouraging your attendees to share this information. 4. Online Offerings There are so many excellent online tools to boost engagement with your attendees outside the hours of your launch event. By polling your attendees online before the event, you can tailor the experience more to their tastes and create an increasingly personalized experience. You can take this as far as you like, from the colour of their name badge to a custom cocktail for each attendee. Creating an online competition for an event can also amplify its impact. We have often leveraged a giveaway to build excitement for an event. When you advertise you will be drawing the winner of the competition at the event, giving attendees another reason to ensure they come along.

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Business to Business Selling - It's Personal

Sales managers sometimes ask me why their latest business-to-business (B2B) campaign failed. “I was sure it’d be a success,” one said to me. “We had everything in place. A great product. A truly unique selling proposition. We understood our prospects’ corporate requirements and purchasing processes. I don’t get why the results didn’t live up our expectations.” I have a pretty good idea. Many believe that B2B buying behaviour is based on logical, rational business decisions, while considering that business-to-consumer (B2C) buying is based on a more personal, emotional decision-making process. Nothing could be further from the truth – this is a bias that holds businesses back from connecting with the business buyer on a personal level. The B2B buyer’s perspective B2B buying is often a highly personal, emotional undertaking — even more so than B2C buying — due to the often inflated level of personal risk that B2B buyers experience. Yes, corporate purchasing representatives have to consider the core business implications of their buying decisions. They use their logic and reason to consider the functional benefits of their purchase. How will it affect operational performance, efficiency and productivity? They also consider the business outcomes. How will it affect expenses, revenue and profitability? Recognise the personal risk The personal stakes, however, are also high. The company buyer’s perception of their own personal value is inextricably linked to their buying decisions. At the back of their mind they consider the personal professional benefits and risks associated with their purchasing assessment. Will it make them a better leader? Will it improve their day-to-day working (and non-working) life? They consider the social benefits and risks. Will their decision help or hinder their relationships with their colleagues. Will it invite admiration or ridicule from others? They consider the emotional benefits and risks. How will their decision affect their personal confidence, enthusiasm and even happiness? They consider the benefits and risks to their self-image. Will they feel accomplished after making the buying decision? Will they feel they are making a positive contribution to their organisation and to society? The personal risks associated with B2B purchasing are almost always higher than those of B2C purchasing. B2B buyers fear the loss of a huge amount of time and energy if a purchasing decision doesn’t work out well. They fear a potential, and very public, loss of credibility. They can fear the loss of their job, or even career, if they are responsible for an unsuccessful purchase. The B2B salesperson’s response So what’s a B2B salesperson to do in response to the buyer’s peculiar cocktail of fears, apprehensions and insecurities? If you’re the salesperson, it’s important that you engage B2B decision-makers emotionally as well as commercially, as it’s their emotions that will invariably drive their decision to purchase, or to not purchase.  Make your pitch personal Let’s say you’re selling an IT solution and you’re negotiating with a buying company’s Head of IT. The fact that the solution would save the organisation money may not be the most important factor if it doesn’t provide a personal ‘win’ for this individual. If your solution is so reliable that it potentially stops people calling the IT Head outside normal working hours to fix problems, and therefore reduces this person’s stress levels (and the impact on their personal life), they are likely to favour the purchase and will be more disposed to advocate the purchase decision to other relevant stakeholders. What are the personal motivations? So how do you discover the B2B purchaser’s personal buying triggers? Research into this question was reported by the CEB Marketing Leadership CouncilTM in an article titled ‘From promotion to emotion: connecting customers to brands’, published in www.executiveboard.com. The article suggested that: Asking customers direct questions about their emotional needs or personal goals is rarely effective. Although customers are happy to share their business needs and goals, they are not always willing or able to articulate their emotions. To dig deeper, B2B sellers should use open observation of customers to spot nonverbal or contextual cues that reveal underlying emotions. Forming effective business relationships One thing’s for sure, if you can achieve a clearer understanding of your prospective customer’s personal, emotional motivations for buying, you’re one step closer to forging an effective business relationship that will serve their needs, and yours, on many levels. If you’re confident you understand your buyer’s personal decision-making process, you can also incorporate this when creating your wider sales and marketing campaigns. A great example of a company that does this well is one of Forrest Marketing Groups clients – Elders Insurance. Their personal approach is highlighted in a YouTube video showing how the Elders Insurance team helped a local business get back on their feet after a major fire destroyed their supermarket business. This really demonstrates the personal, compassionate approach taken by the Elders Insurance team. This is reinforced throughout their messaging with a strong emphasis on the fact they have representatives living and working in local communities who are on hand to help personally. Taking a personal approach in engaging with prospective customers is the best way to understand your buyer’s goals and build trust. You should always strive to engage in a person-to-person, two-way conversation, whether this be through telemarketing calls, qualitative research, psychographic research or even simply observing your customers in less formal contexts.  

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Get in-person social: Using real-world networking to grow your business

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  We’ve all heard it, and many of us have found it to be true. Networking can be the best opportunity you will have for generating real leads and growth for your business. At the core, in-person networking is about building relationships. And like any good relationship, business relationships take time – building rapport, knowledge and most of all, trust. Not everyone enjoys it, but here are a few things that I’ve picked up along the way which may help to make the networking experience more enjoyable, and profitable for your business: 8 Ways to Network in the Real World Give and receive: Be interested, not interesting and consider how you might help that person – whether it be connecting them with like-minded businesses, potential suppliers, or even better, potential customers. Care about what they’re doing – if not for you, for them and other people who you may be able to connect them with. Keep your ears open for a solution to their problem or something that might interest them. And if you’re networking with the right people, it will come back to you in droves. Do it often and choose wisely: Your business needs change and evolve, and so will your networking needs. Be sure that you choose the right network to be involved with, and if it’s not the right fit, find a replacement group or event. Mark it in your diary in advance and be strategic about the use of your time. Be clear and specific (and brief): When given the opportunity to tell people about what you do, make sure you speak their language (no lingo!), be clear about what you’re looking for, or perhaps how they might help. Don’t ramble, and give the other person the opportunity to ask questions or understand how they might be able to help you. Avoid the serial networker (and don’t be that person!): There are a number of known networking ‘personalities’– from the ‘socialite networker’ who just loves to attend events and ‘be seen’, to the ‘serial networker’ (you can usually spot them coming towards you, armed with the cards he’s already collected and a keen lack of interest in anything you actually might have to share with him!). Follow up: At this point, the serial networker would enter all their business cards into their database and start selling you their latest and greatest offer. But for those relationships that you can truly nurture, communicate regularly, and provide mutually beneficial opportunities to connect with the people who are important to you. Don’t forget social: Connect online, acknowledge those in your network publicly (if you think it will help and if it’s a fit with your social profile). Give thanks: Acknowledge those in your network privately where it’s deserved. A note of thanks goes a long way towards showing appreciation and increasing the strength of any relationship. Relax a little: Networking might make some a little nervous, but there are no prizes for the best networker. Be honest with yourself, and with the people you’re connecting with. And your results will be much better (as will your experience). For more information about Katherine MacPherson, please visit her profile.  

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The Marketing Lesson I Learnt From A 10-Year Old Lemonade Stand Seller

I will tell you a story that will help you understand the power of marketing done the right way. The thing is this, the lesson learned can be applied by both offline and online business owners all over the world. Although the story being told happened in the US, the key marketing principle being demonstrated apply to anyone involved in marketing. It all happened in good old Portland on a beautiful hot summer day. On driving around motorists would often pass children who are trying to make some extra pocket-money selling lemonade. The problem was that most would use the same old white board duct taped to their table with the wording "Fresh Lemonade at only 50 Cents". Many would simply pass these stands as they would have their own soft drinks. But, this particular day was different. It wasn't long before this one gentleman cruising around came to an intersection only to see a youngish girl of around 10 or 12 waving a sturdy board that had flashing neon lights around the outer edge of it. Now, this was different to the same old boring white boards that were commonly used by most kids. That was not all. The way the ad read intrigued motorists as well. The sign she held up read "Cool Off with Lemonade Freshly Squeezed Right in Front of You." Unlike other boards, the wording was done in red. That was true advertising brilliance, and got many a motorist to pull off and stand in line for a cup of lemonade. Once you got to the table, you got service with a smile and were given the option to make your choice with the wording "Would you like your lemonade sweet or sour?" Once you made your choice, you would have the privilege of seeing some magic unfold in front of you. The young girl would take 2 ripe lemons and lay it on her cutting board, quickly slice through it using a steak knife, and swiftly twisted 4 halves, added spoons of sugar, stir it and then drop ice cubes in it. Once she accomplished this feat, she would simply say "That will be $1.00 please" When asked what prompted her to create the colorful sign and using the catchy headline, she commented that the previous white board did not make the desired results in getting people to stop, so she thought of using the strip of old Christmas lights back home and wrote the action she was performing anyway on a pink board instead of a white one. In addition, she managed to create some energy around her stand as passers-by were buzzing around her Lemonade Stand. The enjoyed her friendliness, and the prompt way they were being served. What Do We Learn From This Experience? First, this girl took it upon herself to change her marketing message and the way it was presented to attract people to her lemonade stand. Her message and the colourful way it was presented spurred people into action. You must remember that people were feeling hot and had a need to "Cool Off". This young girl provided the solution by placing the action word "Cool Off" right up front on her advertising board. Then, she personalized her advertising message by putting in the word "You" in it. The marketing lesson that we can take away from this would be that you need to test your sales message if you find the one you have is not working. Then you would need to rend excellent customer service that is fast and efficient so they will come back for more of the same. You can bet that the motorists, who experienced this, will tell their friends to stop by at this girl's Lemonade Stand. Have you noticed what she does when her line dies down? She would grab the board and wave it around to attract attention to her stand. True marketing genius indeed. She would make use of a headline that has a CTA (Call to action), coupled with a sales message that has an enticing benefit attached to it, "freshly squeezed right in front of you." She would have a close by asking if you would like your lemonade to be sweet or sour, and let you witness the quality of her produce by squeezing fresh lemons. The girl would end it of with a call to action by saying, "That will be $1.00 please" Let me help you to focus every effort that you put into your business toward your customers thereby satisfying their needs by showing you how you to test your market, tweak your messages, and build a solid relationship with your customers both offline and online.

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True one-to-one marketing can be a reality, not just a goal. It’s all about relevancy!

Too many companies are still restricting their customer communication marketing efforts to generic or simple personalisation. Often, this is due to a failure to understand the potential inherent in their knowledge of their customer’s data.  Sometimes it’s just inertia. Many don’t realise that they could dramatically increase their response rates and reduce their volumes by spending more time at the front end of the process creating communications that are more relevant to the individual recipients. Gen Y’s and Gen Next’s are re-embracing print & mail.  Many no longer use email for anything they don’t have to, preferring social media channels.  Most however love receiving a letter in the letterbox...but only respond if it is relevant to them.  The amount of customer data and usage patterns available today leave companies with no excuses for not communicating one-to-one. It’s all about relevancy, and relevancy is achieved by using data effectively. I recently discussed this issue with Howard McDonald, current Chairman of Rodd & Gunn, previous Chairman of Myer Holdings Limited, and former Managing Director of Just Group.  He agreed, that; “absolutely, nobody wants to receive an offer for something they already have or don’t need.” We continued about the fact that today we have the data, so it “all should be about one-to-one marketing” he went on to say, and that “too many companies don’t seem to think about all of the data they already have about their customers.” I agree with Mr McDonald’s sentiments 100% and I think that the two biggest issues are: Status quo – “that’s the way we’ve always done it” and the perception that the financial and time cost of change to do anything differently will be too great. Lack of knowledge and experience – I am still amazed when I review with senior people some of the levels of personalisation that we were achieving 10 or even 20+ years ago, and get back, “really, you can do that?” Yes, simply by using the data you already have about your customers more effectively, you can make every object or component of a document variable.  Feasibly, every piece of every page of every document could be variable, whether the run is hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands or more. We’ve all received the generic letter with a “Dear Sir/Madam”.  It may have been addressed to your house, but no personalisation.  We may have even received a letter or DM piece that has some good use of our name in some fancy font, yet is trying to sell us something that we’ve already bought, or something they should know we don’t need. Gone are the days of single channel communication with your customers. But rather than trying to simply get more quantity out there, focus on getting more quality out.  If you have data about your customers, use it.  If you don’t and can source it, get it. One-to-one marketing is not just a goal that companies should aim towards, but a reality they should be implementing today. It’s all about relevancy and can be achieved for a lot less than most companies think. Do you have an example of good data use that shows greater than average relevancy? Are you looking for ways to better utilise data about your customer’s?

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