Value of Trade Shows

Trade shows are a top marketing channel for businesses yet are underutilized. These events offer businesses the opportunity to strengthen personal relationships with consumers -which potentially lead to sales increases. The beauty of a trade show is that you can share your product or service with the audience face-to-face, building new relationships while investigating the competition.

Research shows that about 50% of trade show attendees do make a purchase within 1 year of the event. Why is this?

  • Some products are more easily sold with a demonstration. You are able to give face-to-face demonstrations for your products to a large audience.Trade Show Small Business
  • You are enabling people to see YOU and your team; you are the people behind the product. You are not crooked and not just out to get their money. You are the people, honest and hard-working, who have created a product or service based on a real need.
  • Finally, the greatest thing about trade shows- Give-A-Ways. You can give a sample of your product either to every attendant or a drawing at the end of the show. Either way you are connecting with your potential consumers. Everyone loves free things.

Attending local trade shows and events is a good way for national brands to connect with local consumers. On the other end, local brands can connect with consumers that were not reachable before. Ultimately your business, whether just starting out or an established company, will obtain new referrals, quality leads, deal closures and valuable cross selling opportunities.

Mobile Health

Consumers are becoming more and more reliant on their smartphones; just thinking about a day without mine frightens me! This information presents a great opportunity for health care professionals to develop inventive strategies to reach and engage with consumers when they are on the go — from disease management to remote health monitoring, and beyond.

The mobile health movement (also known as ‘mHealth’) has fully emerged. There are a number of mobile health apps out there, but they are low quality. These apps are typically “unsponsored,” meaning there is no professional medical company running them. “Sponsored” apps are what patients want. Sponsored apps are supported by insurance companies, healthcare providers and other medical institutions, which ultimately result in higher patient adoption and engagement of an app.

HapptiqueAre you a healthcare provider and do not know where to start? Happtique is the first mobile application store, think of it as comparable to the ITunes store, developed by healthcare professionals for healthcare professionals. Happtique offers healthcare enterprises — like hospitals, continuing care facilities, and physician practices — the ability to create individually branded and secure apps that support patient mobile technology use.

The rising need of healthcare is matched by rising costs; both are only expected to increase. Providentially, mobile technology and innovation are positioned to take healthcare in a more resourceful direction. Surrendering to mHealth is your only option as patients are becoming more proactive. It will guide your on-the-go patients on a path to safer health practices and self-care. With one-fifth of Americans owning smartphones, instant access to healthcare is an important trend in 2013.

The world of healthcare is changing fast. Providers that are in the forefront of change will benefit greatliy, as will their patients.

The Power of Women

In the past few years we have seen that women have held the buying power in the market. They have made the majority of purchasing decisions. So, who is leading the companies Imagethat make the products women are buying for themselves and their families? Women. Women business leaders are at an all time high and they are only just rising.

As of July 2012, twenty Fortune 500 companies had women CEOs. This is an all-time high and proves the steady pace of women leading the largest companies in the world. We should have seen it coming. In the 2008 recession, men lost their jobs in greater numbers than women because women’s skills were more flexible. In general, men have been waiting for their old jobs to come back while women have adapted to make the most of new opportunities, even going back to school. In 2012 there were 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. Recent blockbuster films and best-selling novels have put women front and center as the heroines. These leading roles, typically played by men, are providing the cultural context and empowerment for women to take leading roles in the business world.

Now that we have talked about all the numbers, let us look into certain characteristics that are helping women become such important leaders.

The business world is now relying more on feminine traits; relationships and passion. We live in a very technology driven world, but consumers still crave that human touch from companies. They want a relationship with businesses and women are more adept at relationship building. Science proves women are more natural communicators and engagers, the key foundation of relationship building.

Having a strong emotional drive can be very powerful in leading a business. When women are excited and passionate about a product, a service or company, they become extremely driven from that emotion. Men strive to hide their emotions. I am not saying that men cannot be passionate, but men tend to downplay the positive benefits of emotion and passion as a force to drive innovation and growth.

The bottom line is that diversity has always been a powerful force in any company— including male-female diversity. It gives for better solutions, allows solving problems faster, and enables companies to see opportunities better. We are going to see the number of female business leaders grow higher because we require that balance. We need the creativity and we need men and women leading together in business. Support the women in your organization!

Story Telling for Your Business

Our lives revolve around good stories, they make us feel warm inside and connected to oImagene another. Applying this to your business, making customers feel all warm and fuzzy inside, can make them feel connected to you. Your story can capture and put into words the emotional DNA of your brand. 
 
 
Like any good story there should be some main elements: personal challenge, struggle, conquest and triumph. Think back to the beginning. What sparked the idea for your business? What inspired you? How did you launch? This is the starting point for your story. Capture consumer attention by reeling them in using a character filled with optimism and hope.
 
As any exciting story, there should be a complication. If no obstacles arose from the beginning, think of last month, yesterday, last week; any difficulties? Then, talk about prevailing or overcoming that difficulty. Do not be afraid to add drama; remember to keep it genuine though. Do not fabricate obstacles. This story, your story, must be authentic to really win over the hearts and wallets of consumers.
 
Avoid the number one mistake, adding a sales pitch. Consumers are smart and they do not like to be bought. The creation of this story is to convert consumers into brand activists; if they know and love your back story, they will share positive gossip about your business.
 

Most small business owners tell me the same things: they are not good writers, they are too busy or they have no story to tell. Frankly, ANY business can create an authentic back story.

‘Fall’ Into the Hudson Valley

Coppery colors, a cool autumn breeze, infinite activities, family and friends enjoying themselves; there’s no need to imagine a place like this. The beauty of the Hudson Valley is upon us. And, for you city-dwellers, the Hudson Valley is close yet far enough away to escape.

I was not surprised when I read that the Hudson Valley is one of the top ten most visited places in the U.S.  Everyone’s vacation desires can be fulfilled here. That’s why I adore this region. The Hudson Valley provides activities for the adventurous: hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, tubing, kayaking, white-water rafting, skiing, fishing and more. There are also more relaxing things to do like wine tasting, shopping, and antiquing. This time of year there are a lot of family activities like apple and pumpkin picking, fairs and festivals. And how could you forget the Walkway over the Hudson! It’s the longest pedestrian bridge in the world and you’ll be in the heart of fabulous fall flora above the Hudson River as you watch the passing boats beneath.

My personal favorite thing about the Hudson Valley is the dining. This region is a foodies dream come true. The Hudson Valley is filled with healthy, fresh farm-to-table restaurants. We even have the world-famous Culinary Institute of America right in our backyard! Options are endless.

When it comes down to it, a weekend outing won’t be enough to see everything in the Hudson Valley, but it’s a good justification to come back again and again. I truly feel lucky to have un-covered the majestic Hudson Valley and still awe at the Catskill Mountain and Hudson River views.

McDonald’s Moving Mobile Series

Chapter 2: Gamification and Augmented Reality

Gamification:  Gaming in the Marketing World

Implementing game-centric design techniques into a marketing campaign is proven to work if incorporated fittingly. Gamification allows brands to deeply engage with its users within an entertaining platform, thus building participation and trust.

McDonald’s recently ran a mobile advertisement for a word scramble game that incorporated dollar menu items. In addition to learning about the dollar menu items while playing, users can also find the nearest McDonald’s location. The ad for the game was promoted on popular iPhone apps.

The ad encouraged users to test their McDonald’s knowledge; “You make smart choices every day. Like thinking before you speak and buying the McDouble. Show off your smarts at McDonald’s.” After unscrambling a word, users can share their score on Facebook, which facilitate spreading the word about the McDouble promotion. Users can also browse the dollar menu to see all of the different items with a picture and description.

What worked about this game? McDonald’s challenged people by asking them to test their knowledge. Not only were people playing the game, they were also learning about products. By capturing people’s attention with this amusing game, consumers were inadvertently thinking about the products. When the consumer than goes to think about grabbing a bite to eat, McDonald’s is in front of their brain.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality adds computerized graphics and sounds to the natural world as it exists. It matches what you are actually viewing in the real world with a virtual, computer generated scene, adding extra information to what your eyes actually see. It has been around for a while but recently it is being used to give consumers an inimitable and personal experience.

Last year McDonald’s launched an augmented reality campaign that aimed to increase Happy Meal sales by engaging consumers via a Smurfs promotion. McDonald’s created a mobile Smurf game that, when inside a McDonald’s location, came to life. Smurf avatars decorated the restaurant and unlocked additional Smurf fun for consumers.

Kids were able to turn themselves into Smurfs and take part in the game to help garden with Papa Smurf. Kids learned what plants need to grow and practiced this knowledge by taking care of the digital plants on the screen.

Why did this work? In-store signage brought the individuals’ game to life. That is pretty incredible. Kids were able to ‘Smurf-ize’ themselves and see themselves on screen. The whole Smurfs campaign, from the mobile game, to signage, to the Smurf Happy Meal toys were flawlessly integrated therefore creating growth and higher sales of Happy Meals.

Harley Has What Women Want

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Since the 1920’s Harley-Davidson, America’s extremely macho motorcycle brand, has realized that focusing on women delivers the best to everyone.

There is a disconnect between how marketers view women and women’s perceptions of themselves. Most women feel advertisers don’t understand them and this has something to do with the fact that creative departments within companies are dominated by men. It is so easy to put women’s ‘needs’ data through a male filter and get it wrong. One of Harley’s communications managers is female, Amanda Lee.

Looking at what women want, you will see they are demanding more out of brands. They want companies to reach out to them, keep in touch, and come up with a tailored marketing campaign towards them. A brilliant way of incorporating these needs is in an informative website. Harley has a website dedicated to women.  Thousands of women are interested in riding but do not know where to start; the internet is where they are going to look for further information. Harley’s website does not disappoint; it is educational and inspirational for all types of women.

Social Media is a productive way to reach out to women; fifty-two percent of women “friend” a brand they like on ImageFacebook. Harley-Davidson is using social media to promote realistic female riders in its communications. You see a lot of real women in Harley’s marketing — and it comes off authentic. These women are not just the stereotypical ‘biker chick;’ a butch woman or a supermodel. The company is building awareness of its women riders, and women are responding positively.

 

Women have control of their own finances and have more spending influence than men. Before expert marketers even realized focusing advertising on women was an impressive idea, Harley knew they had to gear marketing efforts towards women because they are such a profitable segment. If you meet the needs of these women, you will exceed those of men. All in all, Harley-Davidson does it right!