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The Show’s Over – Now What? Part I: Time to Reflect

Please Note: This article was requested by and submitted to Scrapbook Business Magazine for their January 2011 issue. However, due to a change in the publication’s management, some articles were not published. Because I believe in honoring my commitments, and I committed to the Scrapbook Business Magazine readers that I would write an article covering tradeshow/event follow-up, I am adding this article to my blog roll. I hope their readers, and you, find it of value.

In addition, I created a Post-Event Checklist for you:
Post Event Checklist

Thanks, Stephanie

The Show’s Over – Now What? Part I: Time to Reflect

When we last left our marketing heroes and heroines they were wrapping up activities at their latest tradeshow. Now they’re back home and ready to capitalize on all they’ve done, created, learned, collected and committed to. So, where does one begin?


Let’s start with the primary mission of any marketing effort: building one’s brand. By setting goals around one’s branding efforts prior to participating in events, it’s possible to track the effectiveness of one’s efforts, to see what worked and what didn’t. So, what were your branding goals? Did you set up metrics by which you would be able to measure success or failure? How did you do? What could you have done better and what will you attempt to do next time? How did your event efforts tie into your overall marketing strategy?

Perhaps you announced a contest prior to the event. If so, what was the impact? How many participants did you have? How many of them are new followers or customers vs. previously loyal followers or customers? How many people did the newbies or loyalists tell, and how many of those became followers or customers? Were you able to convert the new followers into buyers as a result of the contest? What have you put in place to track the new leads and their sources from future programs? What’s your process for welcoming additional newbies and converting them? What’s your process for staying in touch with your current and future followers and/or customers, those you worked so diligently to attract? How will you encourage and assist them in spreading the word about your amazing offering? How will you track the success of such efforts?

Read More…

The Evolution of Marketing – A Lot Like Photography

The Evolution of Marketing – A Lot Like Photography

I was explaining to a network contact how the evolution of marketing is a bit like the evolution of photography when it dawned on me that this might be of value to my readers.

So, here goes.

There was a time when only someone who really understood the fundamentals of photography (lighting, F-stop, shutter speed, exposure, ISO, etc.) could create a great picture AND get it published.

Then, along came cameras outfitted with “automatic” mode and soon digital cameras that enabled one to see, immediately, whether or not the shot they had just taken was any good. No good? Make adjustments and take it again.

This new offering was followed by a proliferation of online photo sites where most anyone can now publish any, and every, shot they take.

How is this like marketing?

I’m glad you asked.

There was a time when one had to have a strong understanding of the principles of marketing in order to effectively market a brand. After all, the costs were high and marketing professionals had to get it right the first time out or risk losing lots of money, and perhaps, even their job! There was also little to no way of measuring “branding” effectiveness, and the chances that a customer would share your business or its products and services with more than a few of their closest relatives or friends was unlikely.

Simply trying whatever was available was not an option. Every dollar counted. Create and send a costly direct mail piece and have it fail? Not an option.

Now, with the availability of “free” marketing tools and accompanying measurement tools, and the ability to provide a platform for your fans to share your offering with others, most anyone can try their hand at marketing, whether or not they know anything about the fundamentals. It’s as easy as crafting an email and hitting send. Or is it?

Just as with photography, most of the time you get what you pay for – free is worth what you paid.

Just as a shot taken by a professional photographer is worth what it took to get the best expression, lighting and/or action, a campaign created by a marketing pro with the knowledge of how marketing works (and doesn’t) is worth the investment. Yes, one can certainly throw darts at the wall in the hopes one sticks, but it’s not ‘free’ as is so often touted. It costs you and your business resources and time. And, it can cost you something much more valuable if you do it badly: your brand and reputation.

Looking to break through the noise and make a good impression? Go back to the fundamentals. Just as a professional photographer knows what to do in situations where the lighting is poor, the environment is a factor or the talent is not exactly photogenic, a marketing pro knows how to help you portray your offering in the best light, to stand out and rise above the ‘noise,’ and make you look amazing.

It all starts with knowing the fundamentals, whether it be the fundamentals of how a camera works or how to use available light to get the best shot, or whether or not a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn are a good fit for your type of business and for reaching your ideal customer.

In the end, you get what you pay for.


As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

The Show’s Over – Now What? Part II: A Post-Event Checklist

As promised to my readers at Scrapbook Business Magazine, I created a post-event checklist.

I hope you find the list helpful in learning as much as possible from your last event, and making future events the best they can be.

Care to share it with others? Please feel free to do so by providing a link to this page.

Please remember, this content is copyrighted. Thanks.

Note: The companion article published previous to this checklist is included here:
The Show’s Over – Now What? Part I: Time to Reflect


Post-Event Checklist:

Overall Event Goals-Did we reach, exceed or miss our goals?


Yes-final numbers:

What contributed to the success?

What else can we do to further improve our numbers at future events?

No-final numbers:

What contributed to the shortcoming*?

How will we make improvements before our next event?




What contributed to the success?

Are there any new opportunities as a result of our efforts?

What action is required, by whom and by when?


What contributed to the shortcoming*?

How will we make improvements before our next event?

What action is required, by whom and by when?

  Read More…

Latest Articles Added

I’ve just updated the Press Articles section with my latest articles, the Sept/Oct issue and the Nov/Dec issue of Scrapbook Business Magazine.

Please check them out here:
Articles in The Press – I

Thanks for checking them out – I’d love to hear what you think!


As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

This Just In!

Please check out my latest articles for Scrapbook Business Magazine.

They can be found in the Press section of this site, under Published Articles, or by clicking this link:
Press Articles – II

Thanks for checking them out – I’d love to hear your feedback!


As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

Wreaking Havoc On Your Own Brand

Wreaking Havoc On Your Own Brand

It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’m in rush-hour traffic heading into downtown.

As the traffic slows ahead, I notice a magnetic sign on the tailgate of a truck that’s right in front of me. I can barely make out the image: it’s a drawing of a woman in shorts and a sexy top and whose knees are adorned with knee pads.

Getting an image?

As the truck slows and I get a better look, I realize it’s a sign advertising a business called Grout Girl Designs.

OK, change of perception. Cool, I think to myself. Perhaps it’s a woman-owned business? I like supporting other females in their entrepreneurial ventures. I need to learn more.

I get a bit closer and discover that they specialize in small tile projects, repairs and glass tile. Again, cool.

Then, just as I snapped a photo of the sign (yes, I am prone to doing that as long as it can be done safely and not at high speed!), I realize there is a smaller sign in the rear windshield (actually, it’s a bumper sticker).

It says, “Did you eat a bowl of stupid for breakfast?” OK, initial perception likely correct.

Or, at the very least, this is someone I no longer care to do business with.
How do your employees and other aspects of your business operations represent your brand?

It’s worth considering…

As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

Social Ineptitude in Real Life?

Social Ineptitude in Real Life?

With all the hype around social marketing, one would think success is all but guaranteed once a business creates a Facebook fan page, launches a Twitter account and/or posts amazing videos on YouTube, right?

But, what if you are “socially inept” in real life? And what do I mean by socially inept? I mean that when customers engage with you in real-life, they find you inept.

How many companies out there do the whole social marketing thing really well, but then fail miserably with the real-world customer experience?

Let me offer an example:

I recently signed up for the mailing list of a well-known retail chain. By signing up I was enabling them to market to me. My reward for providing my contact information was that I would receive coupons which could be used on merchandise in their stores. Since I have always liked their stores, I felt this was a fair trade – my information in exchange for discounts.

Now, it’s important to note that a retailer’s hope is that I will spend enough to cover not only the cost of the discount they offer by providing me with a coupon, but that they’ll easily encourage me to spend more and on items I might otherwise try. Smart, right?

Well, a few days ago I visited one of their locations, coupon in hand. I was all set to buy something I had had my eye on for some time, but could not justify buying at full price. And, I intended to look for accompanying accessories even though the discount would not be applied to those. So far their strategy was working.

Now, imagine my disappointment when I found the item I coveted was not where I had seen it last, and no one in the store seemed to know where it had been moved. Even worse was the made-up response I received from an employee who was too busy chatting with several other employees to ask someone in the know about this mysterious disappearance.

She confidently announced, “Those items were sent back. We no longer carry them.”

Really? A brand new and very popular item was sent back? Sent to where?

Now, since I know a thing or two about this chain, and how their merchandise comes and goes, I knew she made up her response!
So what do you think happened?

That’s right, I left…empty-handed.

And, it’s not likely that I’ll return anytime soon just because I have a coupon, something I might have been likely to do in the past.

The moral of our branding tale?

In the end, it does not matter how amazingly well you manage your social marketing strategy if the basics of customer service at the store level are completely lacking.

Yes, social marketing can be an important part of an overall branding strategy.

But, it cannot replace great customer service.

Your brand depends on customers feeling valued. My example did not leave me feeling valued. And, it certainly did nothing for my impression of this well-known brand.


As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

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