From the book: BtoB word of mouth opportunities at conferences and trade shows

This week we’re taking a look at BtoB word of mouth marketing inspired by the new chapter in the revised edition of Andy Sernovitz’ best-seller, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking.

BtoB marketers spend a ton of time at conferences and trade shows. They make speeches and sit on panels. And they usually miss all the best word of mouth opportunities. Get people talking about you with these simple techniques:

For speeches

  • Never let anyone leave the room without something to share. You did all that work to prepare, you did a decent job impressing the audience — and then you let them walk away without a word of mouth topic or tool. Use handouts (not sales material) such as bookmarks, worksheets, or fun buttons.
  • Do something surprising. Share something fun with the audience or bring them a snack. Nobody will complain about the ten-pound bag of chocolate you’re passing around.

For your booth

  • A regular booth is never enough. Neither is a silly stunt or a boring handout. Every one of your competitors are doing the exact same thing. Push yourself to answer the question: “What would get people to talk about this? Why would someone drag a friend across the exhibit hall to see what we’re doing?”
  • Give them something to take back to the office. Attendees leave trade shows with bags full of gifts and flyers — and a blurry memory of their conversation with you. Focus less on how you can get a lead in the booth and more on what is going to cause them to tell everyone about you when they get home. Instead of giving them a gift, offer to mail it (so it starts a conversation a week later, when they are undistracted). Or take their picture with a celebrity in the booth and email it to them in a week. Help it go viral by posting it to a website as an e-card so they can forward it to their friends.
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