Trade Show Tactical Musings

Donor & Alumni Solution Team
Our Team At NACDA

Are you a trade show veteran?  Your approach is all set.  Your products, solutions, collateral and team specialists are all tried and true.  That is wonderful for you but, from experience, reality changes and we know there is always room for improvement.  Your customers and prospects will know when your approach and your solutions, have grown stale.  You will know from their actions, or lack thereof.

Once you hit the convention floor, or during the chatter of the casual social mixers, is your focus on wining and dining your current customers or all about finding new customers?  Or do you find a healthy mix of both?

And how do you approach frequency?  Budget for one big show that reaches most of your target audience or do you hit the road regularly for many smaller shows, or even eschewing trade shows, as your prospects don’t travel far.  I am sure there are many factors that play into your corporate trade show decision making.

DME recently found ourselves pondering our trade show strategy as we prepared for NACDA 2017.

As 2017 began, DME and PPI merged and we were challenged to define and create distinct brand personalities for our three newly acquired solution sets. 

  • PPI: provides branding solutions via customized premium incentive products
  • PPI Loyalty: specializes in marketing solutions that establish and grow member/donor communities
  • PPI Sports Go GameDay: offers custom branded gameday solutions and promotional items

At times, the brands have been complementary but can also be perceived as overlapping depending on customer need, messaging and perception.

“People are more apt to buy products where they have a clear understanding of what it is and what it stands for and products that connect with them,” says Allen Schiffenbauer, chief research officer for the Brand Consultancy, a firm based in Washington, D.C., whose clients include Staples, Holiday Inn, and the NFL.

Branded as PPI Sports, it was judged the 2016 NACDA show was successful.  But with elements of all three brands in a smallish booth, feedback did allude to brand confusion.  The small booth made it harder to point out individual solutions based on varying customer needs.

For 2017, it was decided again one space would be shared, albeit in a much bigger showcase area!  And only two brands would be featured, PPI Loyalty and PPI Sports, but could see elements of PPI as well.  The larger space allowed for specific solutions to have their own space for customer conversations.  Many leads were generated and a few deals were closed on site, which is against the norm for what is normally a slower sales cycle at NACDA.  All agreed success was much greater than 2016.

Based on feedback from NACDA attendees, both during, and after the show, we have learned a great deal on how our brands and solutions are perceived in our marketplace and how our updates on brand definitions and messaging are working.  With 2018 ideas already being kicked around, one suggestion was made to have each solution in its own booth which could further reduce brand/message confusion.  But does that dilute the power of the well-defined, complementary brands?  That is what we will debate as we continue 2018 prep.

Please feel free share your thoughts.  Contact us at info@dmedelivers.com

The Art and Science of Storytelling

Telling your story through direct mail

First impressions are important.

The visual and verbal impact of ongoing marketing communications should create a series of memorable impressions.  You also want them to generate a lasting impression.  Most importantly, they should generate the desired call to action (CTA).

When creating engaging content for your audience, you must do your research to understand them.  Among the many questions to consider:

  • Are they Customers or Prospects? Long term, one-timers or nevers?
  • Do you know their buying habits? And when they occur?
  • What are their emotional triggers during the buy cycle?
  • Who is your competition and what is their approach?

Once audience understanding is in place, it is time for words and pictures.

Content writing is more than putting words together for someone to read and (fingers crossed) relate to your message. Rather, content writing is the art of telling a story by using the right mix of knowledge, approach, and style to speak to a particular audience in a way they feel comfortable. This will go a long way toward generating that lasting impression.

Without question, imagery also plays an important role in telling your story. Visuals should be more than just look-good, feel-good design – it’s cleverly communicating your brand and value proposition with relevant and personalized imagery. .

Content and visuals are strategically used together, and connected to the audience segments, to attract attention, and more importantly, create a sense of urgency toward the call to action.  DME has developed three types of communications that speak to audience segments:

  • Inspire communications should create a growing feeling of customer value to the cause. They should express how important their support is to current initiatives and the organizational goals.
  • Advocate concentrates on year-round “stewardship” messaging that keep customers aware of special events, occasions, and important milestones. These messages reinforce the value that their support does make a difference.
  • Motivate serves to strengthen the relationship with existing customers through a suite of communications supporting various stewardship activities – leading to the next promotion or “ask.”

An integrated marketing approach is beyond required in today’s world. Mail, email, mobile, social etc., all offer opportunity to modify communications to best fit the delivery platform.  It is important that marketing messaging be adjusted across delivery platforms to what the consumer would expect on a given outlet.  These will increase the likelihood they remember your message, and increase the odds of your CTA being achieved.

During an ongoing campaign, or throughout your career, often times you will find huge success. Then there are other times when you miss the mark.  Either way, generating customer feedback via surveys and other response mechanisms will go a long, long way towards ongoing success, or righting the ship after a misstep.

Also be sure to test, test, and test some more.

A/B testing is critical for you to better understand audience behavior. Ongoing testing and applying learned results going forward is crucial to ongoing success.

Storytelling is not meant to be used only as a selling tool, but as a technique to foster stronger relationships with customers, eventually turning them into loyalists and evangelists. Each story identifies your mission and CTA and also serves as the basis for future content development.

Alumni, Athletic and Academic Fundraising

Donor Retention & Acquisition for colleges and universities

Understanding The Challenges

Every not-for-profit organization is challenged with building and maintaining a strong donor base. Stewardship, as it relates to higher education, is similar to acquisition, retention and loyalty type programs in the world of traditional marketing. It isn’t so similar, however, that the same processes and methodologies can be applied.

PPI Loyalty specializes in alumni, athletic and academic fundraising using our proprietary, and proven, methodology.

Stewardship

Inspire. Advocate. Motivate.

Our fundraising programs are designed to add new donors, and at the same time nurture and cultivate existing donors.

Our proven solutions will grow your donor database by…

  • Renewing the Loyal
  • Re-capturing the Lost
  • Convincing the Nevers

Solutions

INSPIRE: It’s Vital to Add new Life to your Donor BaseNew donors must feel emotionally connected and that they truly can make a difference.  Managing expectations is key to showing prospective donors they will be valued.  We know it is absolutely more difficult to convince a donor to join, or re-join the cause, than it is to renew a current one.  And we know adding to your base is an equally important part of your stewardship goals.

Inspire communications should create a growing feeling of their value to the cause. They should express how important their contributions support current initiatives and the organizational goals.

ADVOCATE: Empower your Donors to become your EvangelistsUnderstanding why your donor base continues to support your mission is a major key.  For many, it’s as simple as wanting to know how their support is helping.  If they are made to feel that they are a big part of your successes, if they feel there is an emotional connection, they are more likely to stay involved.  Regularly engaging your current donors, to the point they feel evangelized, can grow your message exponentially. Your cause becomes their cause.

Advocate concentrates on year-round, post-donation “stewardship” messaging that keep donors aware of special events, occasions, and important milestones.  These messages reinforce the value that their donations do indeed make a difference.

MOTIVATE: Tie heart String to Purse Strings… Planting the seeds for growth is key to keeping your donor base engaged.  We know it is easier to retain current supporters than it is to generate new ones.  By showing your appreciation in every communication, it serves to preserve, and strengthen, your relationship.  As your relationship grows, it increases your chance of ongoing success.

Motivate serves to strengthen the relationship with existing donors through a suite of communications supporting various stewardship activities – leading to the next “ask.”

Our Inspire, Advocate and Motivate campaigns drive fundraising revenue, build a strong foundation of pride donations and further cultivate existing donors who will support the program for years to come.

Based on our more than 30 years of direct marketing experience, we understand the challenges and road blocks the collegiate world will inevitably experience when planning and launching donor campaigns. With over 150 collegiate clients, PPI Loyalty is your perfect partner for all your fundraising efforts.

Contact us to learn more about how we can grow your donor base.

 

DME Delivers Explores 3D Printing

DME Delivers has a history of exploring the cutting edge of technology. 3D printing is no exception. As 3D printing continues to evolve, we believe it has great potential for DME’s future.

DME is currently experimenting in the 3D figurine market for business and consumer use.

Other potential use may be found in the industries such as photography, gaming, fashion, medical, fitness, merchandising, and architectural design.

Architectural design and build is heading to a whole new level. Apis Cor recently printed an entire house utilizing concrete and if that isn’t amazing enough, they did it in just 24 hours.

DME has invested in Cobra, a full body scanner designed specifically to deliver superior studio and event experiences. Our machine can capture every expression, and feature, in seconds. This ‘photography studio’ has 128 Canon DSLRs and 7 strobes which allows us to capture photos for a 360-degree rendering of any person, family or pet, or a group of willing subjects!

With very short scan times, we can service an astonishing approximately 450 people in an 8-hour period. We are now exploring off-site events where we can transport a portable Cobra. This is ideal for trade shows, sporting events and other high traffic events.

3D Printing Body Scanner and figurines

Figurines range from 4-14 inches in height, and themes include action figurines, holiday ornaments, wedding cake toppers, game avatars and so much more. We understand every wedding is different so if the bride and groom prefer not to see each other dressed in your wedding attire until wedding day, we have you covered. We can take photos of you individually and then Photoshop both of you together.

All our products are photo-realistic, high resolution, and hand finished, ensuring you receive the highest quality. This is just the beginning for DME Delivers and 3D printing. In the future, we will expand and scale our 3D solutions.

If you are going to NACDA. in Orlando in June, look for our booth which will feature a mobile 3D printer!

The Main Type Of Organic Searches That Are Performed

Local Search, Broad Search

In this blog I am going to cover the different types of searches that are performed on Google. Keyword & phrase searches can be broken into three main categories and they are the following:

Broad
Auto repair, auto shop, car service

City + Niche (Local)
Your city + transmission repair, brake service, car engine repair

Long-tail Keywords (City + Specifics)
City + fast break repair, quick oil change, best auto shop for brake service

Broad keywords are typically searched when people don’t really know what they are looking for. This is important to know because that means they are not ready to buy a product or service. When someone searches for broad keywords it typically means they are in the research stage.

Local searches (City + Niche) are ideal keywords phrases to optimize your website for.  The people performing local searches typically know what they want and are more willing to buy a product or service.

When you rank for these keywords you will also rank for very broad terms as long as Google knows where the person performing the search is located.  Which Google almost always does because they know everything.

The only down side in targeting local keywords is they are more difficult to rank for because there are a ton of people competing for the same keywords. When targeting these keywords just know it will take some time before you begin appearing higher in the search.

Long-tail keywords are searched when people know exactly what they are looking for, or at least they think they do.  People who find you using these types of searches will take up less of your time, be a stronger lead, and be more willing to purchase your services.

Even better, the more specific you are the faster and easier it will be to rank for those keywords. Many businesses ignore these keywords which make them ideal for anyone who is launching a new website.

This doesn’t mean you should target “Yodeling Orlando car mechanic” because you likely won’t get any business.  You need to target profitable keywords so put serious thought into them. When in doubt refer to the google keyword tool.

Now that you know the basics I need to warn you. Make sure you abide by Google’s polices. This means no keyword stuffing, no unethical link building, and do not over optimize your site. Remember when I said Google knows everything? They have things called robots that crawl your website periodically and they will know if you are trying to cheat the system. If you are caught, they will penalize your website.