Beware of Bad Mouthing Your Competition on the Show Floor


Remember the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?”  It was definitely a reflection of good manners while we were growing up, but does the same hold true in the cutthroat business world we all live in?

While most people would feel synonymous in refraining from speaking badly about their competition at trade shows and events, there’s still a large portion of exhibitors that feel demeaning rival companies will work as a strategy in their favor.

It’s tempting to disparage the competition. Pointing out differences in quality, price, delivery times and return policies are “part and parcel” of doing business. However, it’s important to exercise discretion in the way you do these things, as it will say a lot about your corporate culture.

When you talk about your competition to your attendees, you’re doing three things:

Confusing the customer

In the fast-paced show environment, you can never take for granted that an attendee recognizes who your company is, much less whom the players in your industry are.

Giving credibility to the one company you’re trying to disparage.

No one tries to tear down the worst company in the world — if you’re attacking you’re a competitor in front of a prospect, you will more than likely give off the impression that you’re feeling inferior to them.

Adding an aura of unpleasant nastiness to your reputation.

Your booth staff members are ambassadors for your brand. If attendees perceive them as being jealous or mean-spirited, they’ll assume the whole organization thinks that way.  This is definitely not a good way to be perceived! Remember that “perception = reality” so refrain from making any spiteful comments about your competition.

When comparing your products and services, be respectful of the other companies sharing the exhibit floor with you. As Mark Twain once said, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and leave no doubt.”

SOURCE: Susan Friedmann,

The Unequaled Benefits of Event Marketing

Our clients who are engaged in an active trade show program confirm the importance of attending trade shows.

“We attended the largest conference in our industry and it was the perfect venue to launch our new product. Our booth was a positive traffic generator for us and we walked away with leads not only from the US but Europe, Asia and South America.”  -Randy Kraft, Tracking Innovations, LLC.

While many business owners realize the benefits their company can reap from exhibiting at trade shows, still many are hesitant to participate in events. If you’re looking to justify the costs of face-to-face marketing, here are a few advantages to event marketing that no other marketing effort can offer:

Start a dialogue. A two-way conversation is better than mono-directional broadcasts, and face-to-face marketing on the trade show floor or at other events is the best way to begin that communication. While your brand’s message may engage a wider audience, your booth staff has the opportunity to customize that message towards prospects of various industries and their particular needs.

A personal connection builds trust. Being in front of your company’s brand and message at an event will make a prospect feel more comfortable being approached and listening to the capabilities and services. A trade show exhibit space is one of the few places today where a “sales pitch” isn’t taboo.

You’ll also have access to a receptive audience for your message because that audience is most likely attending your event because of interest in trends in your industry.

Immediate fulfillment of prospect requests. Booth staff can answer questions, provide information, deliver catalogs, and set up accounts on the expo floor. The interested client doesn’t need to wait for a returned call, a sample to ship, or a sales person to schedule a meeting in order to get the process started.

Being present at a show also establishes or reinforces brand awareness and industry prominence. Even if your company is lucky enough to enjoy a dominant position in your market, it’s wise to reinforce that lead position and stay top-of-mind for your existing clients in addition to maintaining or enhancing your brand awareness to those who haven’t yet joined the majority.

SOURCE: Page Ballenger, Blog

Why Isn’t Your Small Business Using Social Media?

While the phrase “social media” easily resonates with business owners these days, it’s surprising how many aren’t actually involved with this ever-growing facet of marketing.

This disconnect became more concrete in the latest Small Business Success Index survey. While the SBSI showed an “almost universal awareness among small business owners of Facebook and Twitter” only 27 percent of the entrepreneurs used Facebook for business purposes, and a mere 7 percent were Twitter users. LinkedIn garnered 18 percent.

Despite the tepid survey results, small businesses that have tried social media often see results: 63 percent say it helped make their customers more loyal. Other say social media has helped them stay engaged with customers, build brand awareness and identify and attract new customers.

So why aren’t more small companies doing it?

Many small business owners worry that social media is too “time-consuming” and that getting started can be very overwhelming. When FB Displays & Designs, Inc. first decided to integrate social networking into their marketing strategy, they had hired a college intern to build all of their profiles and begin initiating relationships. Over a short period of time, solid connections were steadily built across the board and members of the team could naturally maintain and interact with others among the different sites. Today, they use their social media presence as an outlet to interact with others, share important information and retain mutually beneficial relationships with their “friends and followers”.

Creating a successful social media presence boils down to a 2-step process:

1) Listen. Where is your key audience online? Set up Google Alerts for your business. You’ll begin to see where the conversations about your business are taking place. Listening helps you develop your voice.

2) Engage. Be sure you aren’t just blasting out information and news about your business. Interact directly with your followers. Ask them what else they would like to see from you and your business.

It’s important to remember that building a social media presence requires patience. If you’re not sure which site to begin with, find out which one is most popular with your customers. Learn the site to the best of your ability, refine its use and decide whether to move on to another. Social networking is all about building relationships and whether it’s online or off, relationships don’t happen overnight.

SOURCE: Rieva Lesonsky, Blog

We’d love to hear your thoughts on social media. For those of you currently involved on social networking sites, what strategies do you find work the best for your company?