Archives For marketing speaker

How do you get people to attend your next marketing event?

Recruiting attendees for your next marketing event may not be as simple as it looks. The tendency here is to assume that you know how to do this, and when everyone seems too busy to get involved, to assume that a call center is a great alternative.  The problem is, I have yet to see this work.  Since event attendees really need to be management level, and if possible, senior level – asset owners, there is more selling required here than might be obvious.  A track record from past events suddenly becomes irrelevant when you look back and realize, most of your events have been sold out to IT and other non-asset owners.

In a recent event, where the invitation process was contracted out, I was told by the manager of the call center, “We are professionals and don’t require any input.”  Wow!  That’s great, so I can stop worrying about attendance, and just show up to speak on the appointed date?  Far from it.  Instead, their response turned into a last minute fire drill, with rooms rented, food ordered, speakers paid for, and only 2 qualified attendees signed up.  With two weeks to go, this solution provider was forced to either cancel and take a loss of the committed expenses, or open the doors to unqualified IT-level attendees.  The lesson here is this; the call center can fill seats, but it takes a higher level of expertise to reach people who can actually buy something.  Our event went forward, with predictable results.  A long list of attendees, high attrition on the day of the event, and very few resulting sales.  Event marketing can be highly effective, but when approached incorrectly, can produce “nothing” at a great cost.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Social Media and The Internet – Marketing Available to You.

When I started my company the first thing I did was build a website.  Within minutes of launching I was talking to the entire world for about $30/month.  Since then some great tools have been introduced, allowing me to interact, create content, publish, reach out, collect names…and it continues to grow.  Many of these tools are free to me as an individual…

By using the right tools, I can reach millions of people no one knows about, reach into countries I’ve never been to, automate interaction, schedule ahead, and broadcast live, and go global.  And the great news is, this is nearly free.  The key is, figuring out exactly who I really want to reach, and building my program to reach them.  Just because the entire world can see me, doesn’t mean they will, or that I want them to.   As a sales person, you can also narrow this down, targeting a special group in your region.  While the entire world can see you, your content is highly dependent on search criteria, which means you can refine your search-ability or become Google-able (this will likely be in the dictionary before too long) to a niche group simply be setting your content up with your target market in mind.

Now, marketing depends on changing your mindset.  Forget about oldschool marketing, and having your marketing department write, print, publish, and somehow build your brand.  Online, it’s all about you and the content you push out.  You are the thought leader here; the person people buy from because you solve problems.  Online you can promote that single-handedly.  This kind of marketing is not putting out HTML and banners, or pop-ups that annoy websurfers, but rather content that is searchable, using key words and phrases that people will find as they research problems online.

Becoming the adviser now means something new.  It means:

–       Moving from advertising to content

–       A willingness to put intellectual content online for free

–       Believing content will draw new prospects

–       Being real – people want you, not some vanilla website

–       Participating in blogs and forums

–       Writing things that help people – providing real answers

So start writing – interacting, and putting out content that matters.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo Taken on My Blackberry

Well, we completed the first phase of our marketing strategy yesterday, but more importantly, I was delighted to find that Winter Haven, FL, has some great pizza!  Who would have guessed…Not sure of the name of this place, but it’s right next to Arabella’s, another great place to eat if you enjoy Italian food (we did have dinner there).  This Pizza is slightly thicker than a traditional Brooklyn style pizza – more like you would find in Manhattan…cooked in a brick oven, a full size pizza (meaning their large pie is 18 inches unlike the 14 inch large at fast food pizza chains like Papa Johns and Domino’s), and the sauce and cheese are excellent.  I believe they make their own sauce, meatballs, and use fresh mozzarella.   The pizza folds like a real slice should, so that you can eat it without everything falling off.  I had pepperoni, sausage, ham, and meatballs on mine…Definitely give this a try if you are traveling through the area.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

I was talking with one of my clients this morning about Demand Generation follow-up.  After inviting and presenting to over 40 potential buyers – executives who have both risk and liability, he is in the process of calling them to schedule next steps.  A quarter of the way through his list and so far, everyone he has called has agreed he should come in to review their security…why is it so hard to get sponsorship for these events with this kind of results?  A few tips on funding…

1. First, my client is doing something most don’t do – that is, following up immediately.  In his case there were multiple solution providers involved. The sponsor made the mistake of assuming they needed more attendees.  In this event, my client invited most of the attendees and his results would have been even greater for the the sponsor if he had been there alone.  You must convince your sponsor that the number of attendees is less important than the number and quality of attendees who agree to a follow up assessment.  This is where impact and likelihood will be demonstrated!  This is where the deal will close.

2. Sponsors are not seeing the ROI on these events.  Why?  Two reasons; if there is a strong response, solution providers may not be keeping the sponsor informed.  But more likely, the hosting solution provider is not inviting the right people to the event.  More often than not, sales invite their IT level clients and the sponsor is invited to be the speaker.  This does not make for an effective event in most cases.  In the above case, we did reach out to Asset Owners – making the follow up meetings much more likely to produce business.

3. The presentation, or presentations are not geared to driving business.  That’s right, the presentation must be crafted to drive people to buy.  Purely informational presentations are generally technical in nature and do not lead to emotional response.  On the other hand, product pitches are often hour-long commercials geared to technical audiences with no money.  Interesting, informative, but not built to drive new sales.  The above meeting was focused on cybercrime trends – my client will follow up with details on why security strategies are failing, showing his prospects how to make sure they don’t have unwanted intruders hiding in the bowels of their network.

How do you get funding?  It’s a bit like getting angel investors to fund a new venture…JMF used to be there, just waiting for you to announce a date.  Those days are over.   Both large a small companies have to justify the use of JMF;  here is how to approach it:

Use a letter:

  1. Have a plan; dates, venue, speaker, target audience (which should be buyers), a current hot topic (like a security briefing), and a great speaker with a message that will both attract high level attendees and drive toward the need for follow up.
  2. Choose your sponsor list – select and prioritize your vendor partners who seem most likely to contribute or Invest in this opportunity.  Think of this as an opportunity – one that will land your sponsor a strong return on investment.
  3. Agree to work on this as if you have angel money – meaning you really do intend for there to be a return on investment, and you are committed to there being one.
  4. Send a personal letter to each sponsor – with some customization to each, sharing your plan, your expected outcome, and how it will contribute to their sales incrementally.  If you are not aware of your local channel manager’s quotas, you should be.  Sell this program as a way of helping them hit their numbers.
  5. Offer them sponsorship levels.  For different investment levels, offer different levels of involvement.  This might include an opportunity to say something, have a table, have logos displayed, etc.  Like a trade show, different sponsors will pay for different levels of advertising.
  6. Agree to keep them informed as to your progress.  Share with them something from past events to let them know you understand your program and demonstrate you have a track record of success.
  7. Follow up with a phone call to review and sell them on the idea.
  8. Like sales – don’t take no for an answer…

Not every company you resell for will sponsor you.  There are some vendors who are focused on driving higher level business and invest only in their top producers (you may of may not be one of them).  Some are focused on small and medium markets, others on enterprise business  (where do you fit and is this a good partnership to be in?).  Going through this process should clarify who will sponsor you in the future.  If they say no, find out why.  Is there a performance issue on your part from past events or sales?  Make sure you understand who is going to sponsor you in the future, who is helping you grow your business, and who is truly interested in helping you serve the market you work in.  These are the companies you want to wrap your services and intellectual capital around going forward.  If they claim there is no JMF – remember, its like any sale; budget doesn’t really matter when the ROI likelihood is strong.

© 2011, David Stelzl

 

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

It takes a few years longer, but hiring my kids to work with me has been the best decision I’ve ever made (not to mention the tax advantages)…It takes about 15 years of dedicated work and mentoring, but in the end, the quality is unsurpassed.   My wife and I are raising entrepreneurs!

Some home schoolers are accused of raising socially inept teens.  While I have not seen this to be true, no one is accusing me of this.  Sometimes I do get comments about child labor laws, but lucky for me they don’t apply to your own children.  I know, because I tried using that line when I was a teen.

So meet David, my 16 year old sales rep.  Born and raised in our house; he started his first business managing a bee farm about four years ago (still going strong), builds incline stretching platforms for local physical therapy offices in Charlotte NC, and is in the process of rebuilding his bathroom from the studs up (new tub, cabinets, walls, tile, plumbing, etc.)  He’s a problem solver, enjoys building, math, science, and gourmet cooking; on weekends we mountain bike together, along with his three younger brothers.  One day he hopes to run his own bed and breakfast – perhaps in the nearby Blue Ridge mountains.  In the mean time he is learning about business.  He sells online classes for me, is studying and working with my accounting system, and attends events I speak at, to assist with logistics, AV, and product sales, while learning to interact with business people. Most recently he attended a demand generation event in the mid-Atlantic and closed his entire table of eight on moving forward with a security assessment (to be performed by the sponsoring reseller).  We’re looking forward to a great year together!

© 2011, David Stelzl