By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect
In 2020, companies and businesses turned to online events as an alternative to in-person events due to COVID-19. With those who previously held face-to-face events, 4 in 5 or 78% of people converted to online. Although online events were successful, people are starting to feel burnt out from them.
According to Activate Marketing Services in partnership with MarketingCharts, 9 in 10 or 90% of Demand Gen marketers agree that buyers are becoming fatigued with online events.
We all had to pivot last year to replace in-person events (tradeshows, association and industry meetings) … and most of us tried to fill the gap by replacing them with some sort of online/virtual event. With buyers becoming fatigued, and that will only be growing, companies are starting to redirect their focus. Instead, high-quality lead programs have risen up the ranks when respondents were asked to choose their top 3 options. That being said, companies are starting to focus more on content and engagement with their audience.
This doesn’t mean virtual events are going away anytime soon. Although I don’t know about you, but most of the online events I attended were pretty much busts.
What does your company have planned for the remainder of the year? Any in-person events? I know I’m scheduled to attend at least half a dozen trade shows between now and the end of the year and I can’t wait to continue to see people “live” and in person!
by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect
Virtual or Hybrid? It’s the question all the industry trade shows targeting the professional tradesman are facing for 2021.
2020 was a rough year for industry trade shows, with a good chunk of them cancelling or postponing their events. And for shows that tried the “virtual” route, they were met with pretty poor results.
Typically, my first quarter is packed with various industry shows, but given the pandemic, here’s how three of these shows are handling their 2021 events.
International Builders Shows (IBS)
- Co-located with KBIS, the International Builders Show typically draws anywhere from 50k-75k people
- For this year’s show they’ve decided to go 100% virtual
- I’m skeptical on the attendance and engagement for the builders and contractors for an event that’s 100% online
World of Concrete (WOC)
- World of Concrete (WOC) is taking a “hybrid” approach, with a “virtual” education portion and then a “live” in-person event
- I attended some of the live educational sessions (total of 18), which are now on-demand through the end of March
- I think the in-person event, scheduled for early June, has a chance of happening, but a lot will depend on the vaccine rollout
- The WWETT Show is also taking a “hybrid” approach with “virtual” educational sessions late February and the “live” event the end of June
- The education sessions have always been a key part of this show in the past, so I would imagine the “virtual” sessions should have some success
If you’ve attended these shows in the past, I’m curious your plan for 2021 and how are you going to participate?
If you’d like more info about trade shows in 2021, visit:
Marketing Minute: Preparing for a 2021 without In-Person Events
Ways to Make Up for Cancelled Trade Shows and Missed Opportunities
by Lisa Michaels, guest columnist
If your company has recently missed an opportunity due to a trade show cancellation or the postponement of another event, it can have a significant effect on your bottom line.
This is especially true for manufacturers who market products and services to construction, industrial or similar markets.
Trade shows are a huge opportunity to promote your company, connect with potential clients, do demonstrations and network for referral opportunities. Therefore, if you miss one, you need a way to make up for the loss of revenue and business benefits.
In this article, we will discuss several ways to do damage control for these missed opportunities. With these strategies, you can turn a bad situation into something that helps your company grow instead.
Without further ado, let’s get started:
Deploy Your Sales Reps
When a business event gets cancelled, many potential clients that you were going to meet are now disengaged.
You should get your sales reps to reconnect with these companies and attempt to maintain the relationship and gain new sales deals. Here are some ways you can do that: (more…)
By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter
This year’s NAHB International Builders’ Show was as robust as ever, with more than 90,000 attendees and 1,400 exhibitors packed into the massive, 60,000-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center. The show has always been a special and important time for builders, remodelers, design professionals, architects and specialty contractors to learn and share their new ideas.
Strong Educational Focus
The show offered more than 150 education sessions in seven different tracks and dozens of hands-on demonstration opportunities. Examples were the “Tech Bytes” sessions, which featured two stages delivered via headphones and attendees could choose the program they wished to follow by using a switch on the headset. The topics for these programs focused on technologies that are changing the home-buying experience and how attendees can better plan their projects and business operations. Other key highlights from the educational portion of the show included the “Game Changer” keynotes which addressed critical issues in the housing industry and the “High Performance Building Zone” which offered practical demonstrations on topics like blower-door testing and rainscreen-sliding details.
The Future of “Smart” Homes
From a tech standpoint, one of the greater themes from this year’s show continues to be “smart” technology and digital assistants and how attendees could incorporate them into their future home building projects. The CEDIA® Technology Pavilion gave attendees the chance to familiarize themselves with hundreds of products and ideas that they could apply to their kitchen, bath, energy efficiency and other construction and remodeling projects.
Another showcase for the latest in smart tech came from The New American Home® and The New American Remodel® model homes which featured some of the industry’s smartest and most energy-efficient products on the market. Some of the highlights from these models included motorized window shades, climate control solutions and in-wall touch panels for sound systems. (more…)
CLEVELAND – September 2019 – Sonnhalter, a communications firm marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, partnered with Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity for a tenth year during its annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive, which ran the entire month of August and collected $28,000 worth of tools and building materials. Since Sonnhalter began its efforts in 2010, it has collected nearly $280,000 in donations.
Organizations, businesses and residents were encouraged to donate new and gently used tools, as well as building materials, furniture and appliances, to Sonnhalter to help benefit Habitat for Humanity’s cause of eliminating substandard housing and homelessness.
“Cleveland Habitat for Humanity eagerly awaits Sonnhalter’s annual Tool Drive,” said John Habat, president/CEO of the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. “It replenishes our inventory and generates revenues to support our affordable homeownership program. Sonnhalter has been doing this for ten years, demonstrating again and again its commitment to affordable housing in Cleveland. Sonnhalter is a treasured partner.” (more…)
By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
Hi Sports Blog Fans, time for the annual Sonnhalter Super Bowl, er I mean “Big Game” ad review. As with past years, it’s not on time or really about the ads, but rather the marketing lessons manufacturers can take from all the hoopla.
This year, let’s look at the three main types of ads, and the pros and cons of each.
1) The Big Build Up
This is the type of ad campaign where there’s a buildup, or teasers dropped across different channels that all build up to a big “event” ad during the game. This year’s best example is the Crocodile Dundee movie campaign that wasn’t. Instead it was all just a build up to a new campaign for Australian Tourism.
Pros – Gives your entire message a framework and direction. Sets the tone and content for everything to come for a good long while.
Cons – It works if you’re a country or a well-defined brand. If you don’t have a clear, concise message (or lots of beaches that aren’t going anywhere) and the intestinal fortitude to stick with it past the fourth quarter, you’re throwing away money.
2) The Big Splash
This is the type of ad that seeks to surprise, jar your expectations, or thumb its nose at traditions. It also only typically works during the game. It’s there to cause a splash and get attention right then and there.
For this example, let’s look at what I think was the worst example. For me that would be the Chris Pratt Michelob Ultra commercial. Sure, the setup is kind of funny, the famous actor thinks he’s landed the role of a lifetime in a beer commercial, only to find out he’s an extra. That part is fine, but the second set of ads, with him in the background, only works then and there. It’s a waste of time and money, kind of like telling the same joke twice.
Pros – If done right (like just about any movie ad, but especially The Cloverfield Paradox), it not only works to create buzz, but builds a cascade effect with retweets, shares and mentions.
Cons – If done wrong (I’m looking at you PuppyBabyMonkey), it just leaves people scratching their heads, and makes you look like you were trying too hard.
3) The Big Launch
Similar to #2, this ad type sets a new direction for a brand. This is a big giant “reset” button that seeks to make a splash, redefine who you are as a company and set the stage moving forward. In my opinion, the best example of this was the “It’s a Tide Ad” series. It’s funny, it’s interruptive, it’s designed to make people laugh. But it also serves to show the brand’s strength. By pointing out that in every other iconic commercial, the actors all wear spotlessly clean clothes, they show the importance of their product.
For a bad example, the less said about the tone-deaf Ram Truck commercial, the better. One other ad I found to be a lesson in not what to do was the Kia campaign. Bad CGI, poor use of a celebrity, and overreaching your brand identity don’t make for an effective ad, and now they’re stuck with an expensive launch that was largely overshadowed, if not outright ridiculed.
Pros – Sets up your brand message for years to come. Serves as a flag in the ground (or hammer in the screen).
Cons – Sets up your brand message for years to come. Serves as a flag in the ground (or a Platinum stake in the heart).
The Big Lesson for Manufacturers
Think of the Super Bowl as your biggest industry tradeshow. Each of these campaign styles is also an effective (or ineffective) trade show strategy.
- The Big Build Up – Use preshow emails to preregister booth visits; just make sure you have a cohesive message.
- The Big Splash – Host a preshow breakfast or a press event; but make sure to prequalify who’s there, have a concise presentation and follow up.
- The Big Launch – Build a new booth and launch new products; but make sure the booth supports your message, the products serve a customer need and that those customers are there.