July 26th, 2011
By Jean Whiddon
Although most trade shows spend significant dollars on direct mail and other marketing tactics, you can maximize your print and interactive advertising investment more than you might realize through barters and other media negotiations. Print ads continue to be a strong driver for trade event registration and should be part of an integrated marketing campaign.
Bartering for advertising not only saves valuable marketing dollars, but also creates an opportunity for relationship-building between the show organizer and the industry publication, thus maximizing ROI. A good media negotiator knows who he/she’s dealing with, and the details of the potential negotiation. This attention to detail allows the negotiator to understand which cards he/she is holding, and how to leverage it for what he/she wants.
Below is a mix of sample “gives” and “gets” you might use to negotiate advertising deals. In some cases that might mean the advertising is free in exchange for alternative/trade “currency.” Your goal is to spread the marketing dollars further and the most exposure for the budget.
|XYZ Expo Gets:
- Print ads (schedule of placements TBD as trade agreements are signed)
- Banner ad w/ hyperlink on publication’s website
- Banner ad and/or event description in eNewsletter with hyperlink
- Use of subscription list
- Specialty Coverage in Calendar of Events, etc.
- Insertion of direct mail piece in publication
- E-mail blast(s) to subscribers
- A publication bin in each entrance of the Expo
- 10’ X 10’ booth with pipe and drape. Includes a sign and five (5) exhibitor badges.
- Attendee Show Badges if booth is not supplied
- One (1) Conference Show Registration
- Listing on XYZ’s Expo Partners Page with logo and hyperlink
- Pre-registration attendee list (only mailing addresses will be available) 1X or 2X use TBD based on trade
- Post-show attendee list (only mailing addresses will be available) 1X or 2X use TBD based on trade
- A dedicated furnished meeting room located on the show floor during the duration of the show. Includes a roundtable, chairs and a wastebasket. This will only be offered in lieu of booth.
Jean Whiddon is President & CEO of Fixation Marketing, www.fixation.com, a full-service marketing firm specializing in creative integrated campaigns that boost attendance and exhibit sales at trade shows and special events.
June 28th, 2011
The annual TRENDS Compensation Report results were released this week, and the findings concluded that overall, association communications professionals are paid more in DC than in other parts of the country.
For more information on the TRENDS compensation report, visit here for the DC report or here for the National version.
June 21st, 2011
By Richard Brasser, CEO, The Targeted Group
1. Differentiation – What is your niche? You are probably well aware of this but it helps to clearly understand it in the context of an online community. What skills, perspectives, knowledge or interests do your members share with each other that differentiate them from other people?
2. Competition – What other communities online offer a place for people like your members to interact? Do the research! You might be surprised that someone already owns your audience. Here is a quick example – a luxury German car company dragged their feet (for two years) while trying to decide whether or not to build their own online community. In the meantime, a community emerged that offered almost everything that these passionate car enthusiasts wanted. When the company finally decided to launch their own community, their audience yawned and found no need to leave the already thriving world they had come to love. If the company would have known about the other community, they could have taken a totally different approach and participated in that community instead of building their own.
3. Value Proposition – What are the top 3 things that a member of your community could gain from joining? Is it unique knowledge that your internal team can provide? Is it access to the other members in a much more efficient way? Is it the ability to participate and help without having to be in person? Whatever it is, you have to clearly understand WHY people will want to join your community and what will keep them coming back.
4. Business Objectives – What are you hoping to accomplish? Imagine that you have already created a community with lots of members…what value does YOUR organization get out of it? Is it the “living” database? Is it the ability to sell sponsorships or advertising around the discussions? Is it a “value-add” for the membership fees that you charge? It is CRITICAL that you answer these questions because the technologies might not cost a lot, but this will take money, time and resources. You have to know why you are doing it and what value you wish to gain from it.
5. Resource Planning – Don’t underestimate the work effort this will take! If you answered number four, you will already know the value and what resources are available based on the expected results. Make sure to challenge your assumptions, test market ideas with members and make sure to overestimate how much time and effort it will take. Bad things start to happen when this kind of initiative is tossed in the lap of an administrator who is already maxed out or an intern that is helping for the summer. Make sure you have enough time and people to manage the community, analyze the data and metrics and constantly refine the strategy.
*Quick story about #5 – I recently worked with a very large association and met the person in charge of social media. She explained that she didn’t track any posts, use hashtags or any analytics because she didn’t have any time. She was communicating constantly but gaining NO value as a result. My suggestion? Pretty simple, post 50% less and spend that time on reporting, analytics and metrics. Don’t fall into the time trap and lose out on the biggest value.
What is the gist? At the end of the day, there is a huge opportunity brewing for you to expand your audience, increase revenue and create a long lasting connection with your members through the use of a well-designed online community. Take the necessary steps to design it right, leverage people and resources that know how to put these together and you could create a legacy of value for your organization.
The storm is brewing…are you going to be ready to take advantage or is someone else going to own your audience?
June 7th, 2011
By E. Francisco Dalere, TRENDS Managing Editor
Association fights for discount, even though deadline might render use of promotion moot
Nonprofits will be able to take advantage of an experimental postal rate discount, thanks to the efforts of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Washington, though it might be too late.
The Postal Regulatory Commission last week approved the US Postal Service’s special promotion to offer a 3% discount on Standard and First-Class mail letters and flats that include a two-dimensional barcode that can be read or scanned by a smartphone. The approval directs USPS “to make the discount available to nonprofit mailers that comport with all the other program requirements.”
USPS ’ original request for the promotion, back in early April, excluded nonprofits and gave no reason, according to ANM. At the request of the PRC chairman, the Postal Commission provided three justifications for the exclusion: 1) 2D barcodes have more potential for commercial mail, because it involves the sale of products, than for nonprofit mail; 2) more limited program would be quicker and simpler to implement; and 3) nonprofit Standard Mail rates are reduced already.
The Alliance argued that there is no proof that nonprofits are not interested in using 2D barcodes, and that barring nonprofits from the promotion is unlawful under current law.
As for the argument that nonprofit rates already are reduced, “that fact[s] were sufficient to justify discrimination, discrimination against nonprofits would always be lawful,” the Alliance argued.
The PRC agreed. The promotion ends in August, and because nonprofits generally plan their mailing campaigns months in advance, the likelihood is most organizations might not be able to take advantage of the program. The Alliance said it sought a decision anyway to make clear that a precedent to exclude nonprofits is avoided “if the promotional program is extended or made permanent.”
Should this be the Alliance? (unsure)
May 31st, 2011
A study by the Relevancy Group found that untargeted emails increase costs by as much as 3.6 times over targeted campaigns, and personalizing emails – a simple feature that most email vendors offer – increases the open rates by 30%.
These are not shocking numbers, nothing that hasn’t been reiterated at every email marketing session you’ve ever attended, yet, many communications directors are not taking advantage of smaller, more targeted campaigns, and a simple mail merge feature to import contacts’ first names onto the first line of an email, likely because email professionals forget to tell us exactly how to implement these tactics to maximize e-marketing efforts.
If content is king, the communications channel is queen. Email can be a highly-effective means of communication, because most people are plugged into email 24/7, and even if a message is headed to the trash file, it’s likely that the recipient will at least see the email before discarding it. As such, it is imperative that messages are carefully targeted for the audience. This may mean changing the value message for different demographics; don’t send the collegians the association is hoping to attract as “young professionals” or “student” members the same membership email that the “lifetime achievement” members are receiving. Their needs are different, and the association that carefully hones in on these differences and crafts the messages accordingly will stay afloat and thus see more email opens and click-throughs.
Too many external links in your email give the reader too many opportunities to be distracted. Sticking to links to your product or registration pages, sharing buttons, and forwarding links is a good practice. Keep in mind that forwards can open a whole new demographic to target: if you notice that, increasingly, communications personnel are forwarding the email to HR or marketing personnel, it is worth considering broadening your reach to include others in similar positions. Similarly, collaboration across departments within your own organization will be key to crafting interesting, relevant emails. Silos can hinder the success of an association, especially if one department is working on something that could prove particularly valuable to the membership.
The unfortunate reality of email marketing is that everyone’s doing it. Your message will need to push past the noise in the inbox. Concise, meaningful subject lines and body copy yield better results. Consider that an email preview pane shows approximately 32 characters of the subject line, and most mobile platforms show 20-35 characters. The meat of a subject line should be conveyed in 25 characters (and if you can achieve that, maybe you can move the entire subject line to fewer than 35 characters consistently!). The effectiveness of subject lines can be easily tested by sending variations to small sample groups over time, and using the format that works best.
A lot of readers will be checking email from mobile devices, and this audience should be considered when crafting them. Always send out a text version with the html email – and test the html version to make sure it looks okay — for those who have pictures disabled or are reading from a mobile device.
Once the audience has actually opened the email, they need to be provoked to action. The most overlooked factor in email messages is tone. Think of emails as magazine covers: they should be beautiful and inviting, and should not make the reader frown, or feel an air of condescension. Action verbs should be replaced with benefit adjectives and nouns to lead. Instead of telling people to “register now,” suggest that “Early bird registration is 20% off until next week.” It’s okay to lead with a call to action in print, but it’s not such a great idea in email. Try replacing “please” with “kindly.” Avoid using words like “issues” or other tone/diction choices that may single the audience out, or point out a problem with the individual.
Other tips include embracing testimonials and using navy blue text, Arial 10pt font. It has proven inviting. Experts say Arial is more humanist than other fonts, and embraces the mood of the end of the last few decades, making it more familiar and relatable to readers. They also say to never, ever use Times New Roman in an email.
May 24th, 2011
As the cost of paper and ink continue to rise, the nation continues to emphasize “green” initiatives, and people are increasingly turning to portable devices for their reading preferences, a lot of Scientific Technical and Medical publishers are moving journals and publications into PDFs, instead of expending the money to print them.
Part of the allure of PDF publications, aside from the cost benefit for the association, is the ease of access. PDFs can be saved and stored to desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and are, for the most part, universally accessible across operating systems. With over 83% of STM publications and journals now available online (and growing!), libraries are able to continue to stock all of the scholarly research on which the scientists report without having to sacrifice publications because of budget. The speed of delivery is almost instantaneous, and there are more advanced metrics on just who is reading the publications.
Some are apprehensive about the decrease in price at which the journals can be sold, but this is handily accounted for by the significant decrease in printing costs. Journals can become living documents, constantly updated, linked from one to the next, able to be condensed or expanded to suit individual readers’ needs.
Concerns around open access can be assuaged by validation practices that require logging in or entering an authentication code when trying to access articles from mobile devices. This allows even more metrics to be reported back to the publisher, but also allows for customization by users for a better overall experience.
PDFs allow the publisher to maintain control over the work, while allowing the reader to carry it along and search the document with ease. And, if downloads translate into purchases, the business model around journals is unharmed. As the industry and the nation continue to move into the digital age, print publications are increasingly becoming “print to file” publications.
May 4th, 2011
The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet is holding a hearing on “ICANN Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) Oversight Hearing,” at which ICANN’s Kurt Pritz is testifying. The hearing, happening now, has sparked an outcry from pro-intellectual property advocates. Excluding Pritz, all other witnesses are strong supporters of trademark interests.
Venable’s Jacqueline L. Patt, whose practice is focused on intellectual property protections, with a heavy emphasis on Web-based communications, says “The real impact of the [generic top-level domains] program will be in the additional burdens it creates on trademark owners in protecting their brands online. There is a potential for an increase in infringement of brands under the new gTLD program, and, as a result, associations will have to be even more diligent by monitoring the gTLD process and taking action when necessary to protect their brands.”
For more information on how intellectual property laws impact your association’s communications efforts, register for “Intellectual Property on the Web: Proactive Approaches to Compliance and Safeguarding Your Organization’s Communications.”