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Capturing all the (trade show) marbles

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Laurel Didier is group publisher of Vance Publishing Corp.'s Industrial Division, which includes Closets, Wood & Wood Products and Custom Woodworking Business, as well as a portal site, ISWOnline.

MB: What's one new ad program that's working well for you?

Didier: We have a new, high-impact advertising program around industry trade shows.

Our customers spend a lot of money advertising before, during and after trade shows to boost their traffic, showcase their products and increase their visibility, and they want to be able to measure the ROI. The elements of the program aren't new. What's new is that we're making an effort to offer as much as we can around trade shows so that we can capture the advertiser-exhibitor's entire show- related budget.

One element is a pre- or postshow e-mail blast with photos and 50 words of copy on about 25 different products. Advertisers get positions near the top of the e-mail. We have a very current and robust database, so we get a high open rate, 35% to 40%.

MB: What else is working well?

Didier: Within the past year, we've invested in online reader panels. These are groups of readers who have opted in to field questions from our editors and customers. These people have made a commitment, so we get a response rate of 45% to 50% and we can turn around a study in a matter of days. Our cust-omers are willing to pay for this custom research because it's fast, cost-effective and provides valuable feedback.

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