GDPR: Challenges and Opportunities

On May 25, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. Over the last 20 years, this is the most important change in data privacy laws in Europe. It is designed to both protect and strengthen EU citizens’ data privacy rights and also reshape the way organizations approach their data privacy policies.

Of course, these new regulations don’t just affect companies and individuals in the EU. Any organization, irrespective of its location, that offers goods or services, or holds data on EU citizens, must comply with GDPR.

I recently had the privilege of chairing a GDPR panel session, and during the event was shown some very interesting survey results suggesting that there is a degree of confusion amongst both companies and individuals surrounding issues of data privacy, its management, and who is ultimately responsible for any regulation breaches or abuses. We don’t have to look much further than the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica affair to see an illustration of the current problems within the data landscape and why reform and regulation is needed.

While achieving compliance, and remaining compliant, is undoubtedly a major headache for many businesses and organizations, especially in these early stages, we must not lose sight of the opportunities these new regulations will bring. GDPR is forcing companies to completely revise their data management processes. As a result, the industry is hopeful companies will become more efficient and effective data managers, beyond enhancing their reputations for business competence.

GDPR is expected to transform the entire digital commerce landscape for the better, and it is no surprise other countries and regions are considering introducing their own GDPR-style regulations.

If you have any questions about GDPR, implementation or compliancy, please feel free to contact me at neil@202comms.com.

Since we’re on the subject of GDPR: You should have received an email from 202 Communications asking whether you’d like to continue receiving Multiscreen Buzz and other relevant mailings from us.

If you haven’t yet opted in, please do so here:

http://ow.ly/hNxn30kawrK.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Neil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

neil howman

Three Ways to Keep Your NAB Content Fresh

It was great to see so many of you at NAB recently. I hope the show was productive for you and your sales team.

Throughout my conversations at NAB, I was really pleased to hear that the speaking appearance checklist videos made by 202 Communications (please find the links below) and our recent webinar on video interviews were helpful for pre-show preparations. Thank you so much for watching! We’ll soon be starting work on more video content. Stay tuned!

Though the actual NAB Show is over for another year (Save the date: 2019 NAB Show is April 8-11), you can still reap the benefits from the amazing work you did both before and during the show, especially if you produced a white paper, case study, e-book, or video.

As you follow up on the leads you generated at the show, here are three ideas on how you can maximize your NAB content.

1. Promote the content via email, social media, and your website
The first step is to circulate your NAB content to your own database and prospects from the show*. Next, you can partner with a relevant industry publication and send an e-blast to its distribution list inviting people to download your piece of content. Use an automated system to capture their contact details into your CRM. Don’t forget to also post your content via our social media outlets, it’s a great (free!) way to ensure your message is being seen in the weeks ahead.

*Please be aware of the new GDPR regulations, governing data privacy and data protection being introduced by the European Union on 25 May 2018. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in a substantial financial penalty, so it is very important to be aware of what is required. We’ll be talking more about this in next month’s Multiscreen Buzz. but in the meantime, here’s a link to learn more: www.eugdpr.org.

2. Follow up email campaign
If your prospects have recently downloaded your white paper, case study, and/or e-book, you may now be asking, “What’s next?” Now is the perfect time to follow up with an email featuring a call to action. Offer your prospects something more, perhaps an additional piece of content that will be of interest to them, or a personal invite for a product demo. You’ll soon begin to identify which NAB Show prospects are seriously interested in finding out more about your company and its solutions.

3. Arrange a personal call or meeting
Once your prospects have agreed to see a demo or downloaded additional content you’ve offered them, it’s time to focus on arranging a date for a personal demo, a meeting, or a phone call. Good luck!

If you’d like to further discuss how to ensure the content you created for a major trade show can keep working for you long after the show is over, please get in touch: neil@202comms.com.

Watch our NAB checklist videos here:

Speaking appearance checklist 1

Speaking appearance checklist 2

Speaking appearance checklist 3

Speaking appearance checklist 4

Speaking appearance checklist 5

Speaking appearance checklist 6

Neil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

neil howman

Getting the Most Out of Your Video Interview

I recently had the pleasure of joining Cindy Zuelsdorf from Kokoro Marketing on a webinar to discuss how to get the most out of video interviews.

We covered a lot of ground during our conversation, which I’d like to summarize for you. Let’s take the forthcoming 2018 NAB Show as an example of an opportunity where you’ve managed to arrange a couple of video interviews on your booth. There are a few important questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What should I talk about? It’s best to concentrate on what’s new (i.e., a new product or solution). Because the final video will typically last no more than 2-3 minutes in length, you need to have a plan for what to say.
  • What is the main objective? What do I want the viewer to do after watching the interview? Should they contact me for more information, or request a demo?
  • What are the three key points about my product that I most want to communicate? For example, how will your product help solve challenges for customers? It’s tempting to list all of your product’s benefits and features, but you risk overloading your audience, and the message is weakened as a result.
  • Finally, avoid making your presentation an overt sales pitch. People will switch off very quickly. Be concise, clear, and engaging.

Once you’ve decided what to say, it’s time to move on to the very important preparation and practice phase. Here are a few tips:

  • See if you can find out in advance whether there will be an interviewer asking the questions or if you will be directly addressing the camera. It’s a good idea to practice both scenarios.
  • Get used to introducing yourself, including name, job title, and company name. Also, rehearse delivering a 10-second company overview. Most interviews will also end with a sign off where you’ll be invited to give your web address or other contact details.
  • Practice (that word again!) your three key messages so you can deliver them, confidently and clearly.

There’s a few ways you can practice. Use your phone camera or a small camera to record yourself. This is particularly useful for the straight to camera situation where you don’t have an interviewer to engage with. Bonus: If you produce a good practice video, you can post it on your website and social media feeds. Another idea is to ask colleagues to help you. Have them to play the part of the interviewer and/or audience and provide you with constructive feedback on how you’re coming across. The more comfortable you can get talking on camera, the more clearly your message will be conveyed.

Advanced preparation can help you take more control of the interview. Talk with the film crew and interviewer in advance. They will appreciate your interest in getting everything set up and done as quickly as possible, as they often have several interviews to do in a short span of time. Have an idea of how you want the shot to look? If you can stand in front of the product you’re talking about with the relevant signage or a company logo in the background, then great! On that note: Always check what’s behind you before the interview starts. Avoid inadvertently allowing a competitor’s logo or a partially displayed product name into the shot.

It’s also a great idea to have some suggested cut away shots in mind. These can be edited in to the final piece to provide points of interest for viewers. And speaking of editing — if you can remember to allow a few seconds at the end of the interview (a slow count of three in your head should be fine) this will make it much easier for the editor to add your web address and company logo.

With a little preparation and some practice, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you hear the word “Action!”

For additional tips on how to prep for video interviews and all things related to trade shows, please drop me a line at neil@202comms.com.

Neil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

neil howman

A Different Approach to Lead Generation

Are you sitting over there dreaming up new ways to generate sales leads? I’d like to share with you a recent success story we had. One of our clients wanted a new approach to attracting prospects and achieving greater visibility in their target markets. In the past, the company had relied solely on trade shows for lead generation, but it was now ready to explore other ways of engaging with potential customers.

We began by asking the client about some of its recent sales. We wanted to know: What product did you sell? Why did the prospect buy it? Gathering this info helped us build a more detailed picture of the client’s products, customers, and sales prospect profile.

Finally, we asked the most important question: What did your prospect need to understand before buying from you? The answer: The prospect needed to understand the new technology and its various applications. Our client expertly addressed these issues, and the sale went ahead.

Since our client’s prospects needed to understand our client’s new technology, we suggested that the client create a white paper. A white paper would be an excellent way of promoting our client’s knowledge and expertise to more prospects in the future. Our team got to work producing the white paper and, within a couple of weeks, we had an engaging, informative piece of content to use in educating prospects.

202 Communications white paper generation

We began marketing the white paper by sending out an e-blast to the client’s existing database. It got a great response. The client was especially pleased that the white paper had been downloaded by a number of contacts who hadn’t been in touch for a while.

We then produced a series of follow-up of emails, with a call to action to receive a further piece of informative content (i.e., a new product data sheet). Everyone who responded to this offer was then presented with the choice of a demo, consultation, or quote.

With the first phase of the campaign successfully up and running, we moved onto phase two. Using a third-party service, we promoted the white paper to potential prospects outside of the client’s own database. In this case, we used an industry magazine with approximately 25,000 audited subscribers.

This was highly successful, as hundreds of brand-new opt-ins were soon added to the client’s database! These new contacts immediately went into the follow-up email sequence mentioned previously. The result: A significant increase in requests for demos and quotes.

This is just one example of how we can help create and then market a piece of content for our clients.

If you have a great white paper, case study, or user story, but you’re not sure how best to promote it — or you simply don’t have the time — then please get in touch with me at neil@202comms.com or info@202comms.com.

 

 

Neil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

neil howman

Promoting Your Expertise

I was recently looking over the content marketing projects we did for clients in 2017 and was struck by how many white papers, case studies, and product guides/checklists that list included.

In a fast-moving, highly competitive industry, it is vital to demonstrate to customers and sales prospects that you have the expertise, solutions, and flexibility to solve their problems. Remember: Your customers are hungry for knowledge and solutions. They will find the answers somewhere, whether it’s with you or a competitor. Make sure it’s you!

The first step is finding an existing customer that is happy with your solution. We can help you write up a case study that showcases how your solution is solving a particular challenge for the customer. Potential customers will always respond more positively when they read a detailed account of an installation or deployment from the customer perspective, rather than a vendor simply promoting its products. Furthermore, case studies and white papers are invaluable tools for sales teams when meeting prospects.

If you have already produced white papers, case studies, product guides, or other useful content and want to know how to get them in front of key decision-makers, we can help! We can also assist with producing engaging content for those clients that simply don’t have the time.

Just drop me a line at neil@202comms.com. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you make 2018 a great year for you and your customers.

 

 

Neil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

neil howman

Detailed Content Is King

Is it just me or has 2017 flown by? It seems like only five minutes ago that I was writing a 2017 checklist and contemplating the year ahead.

Like many of you, 202 Communications is reviewing the past year and planning for 2018. One trend I’ve noticed is the significant increase in the amount of white papers, case studies, and user stories we have produced for our clients. I don’t believe this is a coincidence. We are in a highly competitive industry with a large number of companies vying for a limited number of customers. In the past, companies could generate enough interest and customer visibility in their products simply through traditional channels like advertising and product announcements. While visibility, of course, remains an important component in any company’s marketing mix, customers today want a deeper understanding of the available solutions before making any purchasing decisions.

This is where detailed content — such as white papers and case studies — can become an essential part of your overall sales and marketing offering. Your potential customers are looking for ways to solve their problems and achieve their objectives. If you are able to demonstrate that you have the solutions, the expertise, and a success story involving an existing customer, this will set you apart from your competitors.

Once you’ve produced a white paper, case study, or user story, you can use them in a variety of ways. Here are a few that come to mind:

    • Get social: Publicize the content on your social media platforms and website. Make sure you collect the contact details of everyone who downloads a copy. With white papers, especially, encourage online discussions about the topic(s) being covered. For example, you can easily start a LinkedIn discussion group or create a short video to create more buzz surrounding your content.

 

    • Print is not dead. Here’s why: Print hard copies and prepare PDFs of the content for your sales teams to leverage when speaking with prospects. This is the main request we receive when chatting with our clients’ sales teams. An informative case study or white paper is a major sales asset when presenting to a prospect.

 

    • Hit up your e-mail followers: Include a brief summary of the content in any e-newsletters you produce. It is equally important to keep your current customers as up to date as your sales prospects.

 

  • Check out industry pubs: Many industry publications are happy to host case studies and white papers if the content is particularly engaging. Establishing a close relationship with an editor may even lead to the publication producing an additional article in the future on your behalf.

If you would like to discuss how 202 Communications can help boost your marketing communications reach for 2018, please drop me a line at neil@202comms.com.

Happy holidays!

Neil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

neil howman

Making Noise in a Quiet Period

Multiscreen Buzz October 2017
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It was great to catch up with clients, colleagues, and other industry friends at IBC recently. I hope you all had a successful show.

Now that IBC, along with SCTE-Cable Tec and NAB New York, are over this year, it’s time for many companies to start looking at key objectives for 2018. While this is undoubtedly the most pressing task facing most people over the next few months, don’t let your news pipeline go stagnant. Keep the news flowing so that all the hard work you put into your messaging and media communications throughout the year continues to pay dividends.

October, November, and December are relatively quiet months for our industry, but trade publications are still looking for engaging content. This is the perfect time to produce a case study, user story, or white paper, which many of the leading industry publications are happy to host. If the content is particularly engaging, the editor might even decide to produce an additional article.

Remember: Your customers — and potential customers — are looking for ways to solve their problems and achieve their objectives. Case studies, user stories, and white papers are excellent ways to demonstrate that you have the solutions and expertise to help them.

This is also an opportune time to update current customers about what your company has been up to through an e-newsletter. The newsletter can include a review of your latest product news or recent activities at trade shows like IBC and SCTE. You never know when a small piece of news or information might convert a sales prospect into a new customer.

Here are a few additional ways you can keep the news flowing:

neil howmanNeil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

Speaking appearances checklist (with videos and download)

Speaking at an industry conference or a trade show is a fantastic way for you to communicate with a large group of people in one go. It provides vital visibility to both you and your business, and helps to establish you as an authority, and a thought leader, within your industry. When your message is combined with an audience that has the potential to influence others, the opportunity becomes that much more valuable. It’s this combination of a strong message and exposure to the right audience that makes a speaking opportunity such an effective way to raise your industry profile.

The advantages of speaking at an industry event can be significant; however, be careful when selecting which event and consider how you’ll benefit. This checklist, which is available here as a free download, will help you make the right choices as you consider your next speaking engagement.

Is the event right for you?


Securing speaking appearances can be a rather difficult and lengthy process, especially if you haven’t done one before. However, that doesn’t mean you should just accept the first opportunity that comes your way. Ensuring the right fit will go a long way towards making sure you’re not wasting your time.

Before you apply, take a close look at the event in question. Will it put you in front of the right people? If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask the event organisers about the type of audience they expect. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them for the anticipated attendance numbers.

It’s also important to consider the costs involved. If you’re looking at a potential “pay-to-play” scenario, you need to determine whether it’s worth the expense. Find out if the event has other opportunities for you to communicate with your desired audience; these could include panel discussions or editorial coverage in trade publications. If possible, speak with people that have presented at this show in the past and ask them about their experiences and the return on their investment. This will give you a good idea as to whether or not the show is worth your time and money.

Start looking for next year’s opportunities now


Figuring out which events you’re interested in is just the first step in landing a speaking opportunity. The next step is to ensure you’re in the running to be considered.

The typical trade show has an initial deadline for submissions six to eight months before the event. This means that you’ll have to plan well ahead in order to get your submission entered in time. Therefore, your best bet is to start looking for information about a given trade show a few weeks after the current year’s event has taken place. This will give you enough time to figure out what you need to do in order to submit an application, as well as provide a timeframe for collating the necessary information.

Study submission criteria carefully


Every event has a different set of submission criteria. Assuming they are all the same may be the very mistake that results in you being on the outside looking in. The submission criteria will tell you exactly what is required and when it is needed. Some events want a simple abstract of your presentation, while others will ask for your completed presentation, along with any supporting media. Knowing exactly what the show is asking for will help you avoid any administrative errors that could cost you your place at the event.

A careful examination of the submission criteria may also open your eyes to additional presentation types that you were unaware of, such as joining a panel or demonstration. Additionally, thinking outside the box may help you to find a place at the show of your choice. For example, conducting a presentation with a customer is not only a novel approach, but it will add extra gravity to your message. It is an opportunity to show your audience that you understand the issues they face, while at the same time your customer’s testimonial helps them better relate to your message.

If you have any questions about where you fit into a given event, contact the organisers — be sure to mention to them any ideas you have for panel topics or workshop discussions.

Keep your submission to the point


Calls for submissions may include limits on content, such as “three pages max” or “up to 2,000 words.” It’s important to note that you’re not required to reach this limit in your submission. In fact, doing so may jeopardise your standing as a potential speaker.

Instead of cramming your submission with extraneous content, focus on being as concise as possible. A few paragraphs of highly focused content are far better than several pages of fluff. This is something to keep in mind not only for your initial submission, but for your actual presentation as well.

A good rule of thumb is to come up with five main points that you want to cover. When crafting your presentation, build it around those five points. This will keep you focused on the ideas that matter, while curtailing any desire to go off-topic.

Promotion and preparation


Promotion and preparation might seem like two separate concepts, but the two are very closely related. Without both, your speaking appearance has virtually no chance of being successful.

As soon as your presentation is accepted, it’s time crank up your promotion machine. Start talking about it with interested parties, including customers and colleagues. Send out an e-mail blast outlining your presentation to everyone you think may be interested, such as sales targets, colleagues, industry contacts, etc. Promote your appearance on social media wherever possible. And don’t forget to take advantage of all marketing channels provided by the organiser; after all, it’s in their interest to get the word out too.

As you promote your speaking appearance, start to prepare your presentation. Focus on your five key points, and work on cultivating a 15- to 20-minute presentation that highlights these, without resorting to filler. Think about how your slides will look on the screen. Don’t clutter slides to the point that they can’t be read, but don’t under-populate them either. Consider the day-of-show details, such as how big the room is and how many people you’re likely to be talking to. Rehearse as often as you can, and solicit honest feedback from friends and colleagues whose opinions you value.

Practice makes perfect — this principle holds true for both promotion and preparation. The better you prepare, the more likely it is that your presentation will be a success. And the more you work at promoting it, the more visibility you’ll have on you and your ideas.

When you’re speaking about the industry for which you have such enthusiasm, it’s only natural that you’ll be inclined to promote your own products and services. It makes sense — the end goal of any trade show appearance is to generate interest in your company. Unfortunately, speaking and sales don’t always go hand in hand. The members of a trade show audience have typically paid to attend. They didn’t fly in and lay out a significant sum of money to listen to your sales pitch. If you end up going into sales mode, the odds are very good that you’ll alienate your audience and undermine the purpose of your appearance.

So, then, why make a speaking appearance if you can’t pitch your products? For a few important reasons. First, the very fact that you’re speaking at a major show indicates that you have something important to say. It gives you credibility, and gives people a reason to take notice of you and your business. Furthermore, a well-oiled speech conveys the fact that you understand the problems of your customers, as well as your willingness to help them solve those issues. Lastly, peer-reviewed presentations are part of a successful sales and marketing mix, and can contribute greatly to an increase in sales activities.

After the presentation


The work you do after your presentation is just as important as the presentation itself, if not more so. It’s the effort you put into following up after the show that will make you stand out among attendees.

After you’ve finished your presentation, take some time to talk directly to the people in attendance. Take note of the questions they ask and the roles they have within your industry. Exchange contact information with these individuals, and follow up with them shortly after the show.

Of course, you don’t have to limit your follow-up to just the people with whom you connected with personally. Ask the event organisers for a full list of attendees, then reach out to them at your earliest convenience. Thank these people for their attendance and, if possible, include a copy of your presentation, along with any supporting materials, such as additional slides, diagrams, or articles/white papers etc.

Once you’ve followed up with the show attendees, use your presentation to enhance your online brand. If you recorded your speech, turn it into a podcast or a video. If you choose to make it into a video, converting your presentation into small clips may work best in terms of providing digestible and relevant content to your audience. If you didn’t record your presentation, you can always redo it, and upload the recorded version alongside a set of slides to accompany your verbal words. If you prepared a paper for your event, feel free to use that as a submission to a trade publication or as a piece of valuable web content.

However you use your presentation, be very careful not to upload anything until after the show is over. Many conference organisers insist on speakers presenting original content at their events. Although the material must be original at the time of the presentation, it never hurts to think ahead to how you might put your content to good use after the event’s conclusion.

Conclusion
If you are up for the challenge, find some great events that fit your goals and book some speaking gigs! It’s a great way to reach a lot of people, further establish you and your company as industry leaders, and maximise your visibility.

Good luck!

Click here to download your copy of the free Speaking Appearances Checklist.

Neil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

It’s Off to IBC We Go

Welcome to Multiscreen Buzz – 202 Communications’ monthly roundup of news and views from the world of connected digital media. To start off, we’ve got an exciting announcement to make about our website. It’s been updated to help you find content faster and better understand what we do, with real-world examples of our work that show how we’re helping clients improve their global visibility. Head over to www.202comms.com and check out the new look. We’ll be gradually updating the content over the next few months. Hope you like it!

Multiscreen Buzz September 2017
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Like many of you, the 202 crew is getting ready to head off to Amsterdam for IBC. We’re looking forward to six days of catching up with friends and colleagues, both old and new, and most importantly, assisting our clients in achieving their objectives for the show. Those of you who are regular Multiscreen Buzz readers may have already read a few tips on how to maximise your visibility and ROI at this year’s show. We hope you’ve found our advice useful and have put at least a few of the ideas into practice.

To summarise the tips in a couple of sentences: Everything you do at IBC, communications-wise, should be geared toward building visibility and recognition of your company and products. While much of this work is done in advance, how you engage with the media and your sales targets at the show and afterwards is equally as important.

If you want more ideas on how to get the most out of IBC2017, or any trade show for that matter, please check out our tutorial videos on our YouTube channel.

I’ll sign off by wishing you good luck at IBC2017. If you’d like to arrange a brief meeting at the show to discuss how we can help boost your company’s visibility and maximise ROI, please drop me a line at neil@202comms.com. I look forward to meeting you!

See you in Amsterdam!

neil howmanNeil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications

The Final Stretch to IBC 2017

With IBC2017 just a month away, here are some additional tips to help your company achieve maximum visibility and ROI at the show. Remember, this checklist is not solely for IBC. You can apply it to any trade show or industry event.

First, a brief recap of the tips we went over last month:

multiscreen buzz august 2017
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Every pre-show activity is geared to building visibility and interest in advance so editors and prospects alike can learn about your company and its products. The idea is to build up a buzz so that the press and potential customers will want to come meet you face to face.

Highlight key product demos you’ll be featuring at the show by producing a show preview and distributing it to all relevant trade media.

Email blast all your customers and sales prospects.

Follow up with a more detailed press release highlighting one important product or announcement in more detail.

Consider entering industry awards or applying for a speaking opportunity.

Click here if you are interested in finding out more about preparing for a trade show and watch the video (below) if you are looking to prepare for a speaking opportunity at a trade show or industry event.

Here are a couple more things to consider in the weeks before the show:

Contact the publications that received your preview and press releases to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the editor at the show. This is the perfect way to build a relationship with the publication. During the meeting, offer the editor a demo and find out whether they have any editorial opportunities coming up in future editions.

What about a press conference? Should you arrange one? When should you arrange it for? What are the options? If you are thinking about organising a press conference, watch the video (below) to learn about all the dos and don’ts.

With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a host of other platforms just a click away, it’s easy to build up a buzz prior to the show. Take advantage of any and all social media channels to get people talking, enquiring, and commenting!

If you have any questions about planning for a major trade show or event, please drop me a line at neil@202comms.com.

Good luck!

neil howmanNeil Howman, Managing Director
202 Communications