The Most Important Thing You Can Do At A Trade Show

If you are planning on setting up a booth at a trade show there a lot of practices out there to make the effort a success. Booth design, location, staffing, and prizes can all make the difference between meeting your lead goals and coming up short (see Hub Spot’s post on trade show marketing).

That being said, here is the most important thing you have to do when exhibiting at a trade show,

Clearly explain what it is that you do on your trade show booth. 

Yes, I know you are mandated to show your awesome marketing tag line like,

“We Do More!”

“Exceeding Expectations Since 1999”

“Leading Technology Innovation”

“We Do More while Optimizing and Bring Best in Class Value”

but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add descriptive text that explains what part of the industry you are in and what problem it is your are addressing. If you are a tech company that specializes in network security software, say so. If you are a mobile design firm focused on gaming, put it down in writing. Don’t make me guess!

It doesn’t have to be creative, just clearly written and in a big enough font that people can read it from 8-10 feet away.

The trade show floor is a noisy and chaotic environment that is already filled with enough distractions. Don’t make it even harder on the audience. Especially, those that are there looking to learn about a solution to a problem that you can address.


Image Credit:  ShashiBellamkonda

24 Marketing Books for 2012

One of my New Year resolution is to read more books.

Author and blogger Julien Smith spent 2011 reading a book a week. Why a book a week? Julien’s answers,

It feels awesome. It gives you an amazing amount of ideas. It helps you think more thoroughly. It’s better than TV and even the internet. It makes you understand the world more. It is a building block towards a habit of completion. Did I mention it feels awesome?

I love the idea and the commitment to making it a habit. However, with work, family, and finding some time to write a few blog posts and podcasts, I don’t think I can make it all the way to 52 books.

So, I am going to shoot for 2 books a month focusing on marketing and business. 24 books for  2012 doesn’t sound as impressive as 52 but I think it is still a respectable number. It will also leave me time to write-up reviews and put together a few Slideshares for the really good ones.

Here are my two picks for January:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman was selected as one of the best books of 2011 by Amazon. Here’s an excerpt from the book description,

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior.

For my second book, I am going with Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know by Mark Jeffery. Here’s an excerpt from the book description,

We live in budget-cutting times, and marketing budgets are among the first to get cut. Why? When non-marketing executives take a hard look at the numbers, they often can’t see a tangible link between marketing and overall revenue. So if you’re a marketer today, you’re probably facing the need to do more with less, justify all investments, show results, and still beat the competition. The secret to this balancing act is having—and correctly using—the numbers.

Have any recent or favorite marketing books to recommend for 2012?


Image credit:  Amelia-Jane

Top 10 Marketing Slideshares of 2011

I am a big fan of a Slideshare and I try to sort through the latest business and marketing presentations at least once a week. When I find a great deck I either use Instapaper or Evernote to save it as a resource for future use.

2011 has been a great year for presentations so I wanted to share some of my favorites. With thousands of presentations published in the business category, I am sure I missed a lot of good ones so please add your favorites to the list.

Here are my 10 favorite marketing presentations:

Mktng like jazz

View more presentations from Peter Economides
That completes my ten favorite for 2011. For extra credit, here is my favorite personal presentation from 2011 and thanks to Brian Solis, is now my most viewed deck ever:

We Need A Definition of Marketing

Why do we need a definition of marketing?

  • We have an education problem. There seems to be a never-ending confusion on the difference between advertising and marketing. When you have companies like Forrester Research and uber-blogger/ VC, Fred Wilson propagating the wrong definition, you know we have a problem.
Isn’t there already a definition out there?
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved October 2007)
  • This isn’t necessarily incorrect but I would say that it is a definition by marketers for marketers. If you want to explain marketing to someone that doesn’t understand it, this is not going to help. The mainstream definition needs to be simple, to the point, and short.
So, what definition do you suggest?
Marketing is the name we use to describe the promises a company makes, the story it tells, the authentic way it delivers on that promise.
  • And then let’s follow it up with Seth’s explanation on the difference between advertising and marketing (from Mitch Joel’s most excellent podcast) just to make sure it hammers the point home:
Advertising is a price you pay for an undifferentiated product for the masses. Marketing is the way you avoid paying that price. You avoid paying that price by designing a product worth talking about.
That works for me, so now what?
  • My idea is that one of the ways we can get others to start understanding that there is more to marketing than advertising (or social media, or content marketing, etc) is by making sure that this definition turns up first when someone searches for the term. This makes sure that when someone is trying to get educated on the topic, they start off on the right foot.
  • So here’s the ask,
Please go to The Definition of Marketing and share the page, link to it, blog about it and anything else you can do to make sure that it gets lots of Google attention.
  • It may be a small act, but as Howard Zinn said, “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
Why did you pick this definition?
  • It was the shortest and simplest that I could find from one of today’s leading authorities when it comes to marketing. Have a better one? Would love to hear your suggestion.
Image credit:  Jose Téllez