We don’t always want it and we don’t always take it. Often, we don’t ask for it or welcome it when it arrives. 

This latter feeling can occur even when the person offering the advice well may be a proven expert in their field.

3 excellent pieces of marketing advice that I’ve relied on

With all of the above in mind and without wishing to force unwanted advice on anyone, I thought I’d risk share three nuggets that have been very useful to me.  Over 30 plus years each item has proved itself to be sound in every way.  One or more might just be helpful for you too.

1. Focus on getting your client what they want and you’ll get what you want

This sounds so simple and perhaps it also sounds trite but it really isn’t.

When we start in a new sales and marketing job we learn about the ins and outs of our products. It’s drummed into us how good they are especially when compared to the offerings of our competitors.  (By the way, it’s massively important to have this product knowledge. Without it, you can’t take the next step which I’ll explain shortly)  However, what many sales training programmes omit, is teaching us to find out what the other person really wants.

What the other person really wants is usually not the thing we are actually selling.

They don’t really want an exhibition stand, what they really want are the sales that it might help generate. They don’t really want a marketing consultant, what they do want is somehow to turn their revenue numbers around. Taking part in an exhibition is not really wanted or desired. Participation is merely a necessary and not always welcome step that has to be taken in order to make sales.

And so it goes.  What you offer is a step.

One that helps buyers get what they really want. That's the second part I alluded to earlier. Excellent product knowledge aligned to showing buyers how your business can help them get what they want. When you work like this, sales takes-on a whole different outlook.

2. Don’t try to please (or sell to) everyone

This piece of advice can save you lots of time, money and effort.

It can also be interpreted and applied in different ways. I first learned about this from direct marketing and more specifically from direct mail. 

Back in the day when postage rates were downright reasonable and email didn’t yet exist.

  • Direct mail letters and brochures were sent in their thousands to prospective buyers. If you achieved sales conversions of 1.5% to 3% a campaign was deemed successful.

Most people would think that achieving such low percentages was anything but successful but we knew different.  We were writing for the people that were interested at that particular time in what we had to offer.

We were also writing to prime people who were interested but just not ready to buy at that moment.  There was an excellent chance that they would buy later and many did.

Maybe from our next mailing or perhaps the one after that.  I called it the erosion process. With each mailing, we eroded the questions, concerns or the misconceptions about our events.

Analysis of marketing results encourages client profiling.  Stated simply, this means understanding in detail the characteristics of the people that are ideal clients for what you offer.

That definitely won’t be everyone in the B2B world. It might only be a small segment of it.

The more you know about what makes your particular segment of the world tick, the more likely you are to resonate with the people within it.

And they are the people that you really need to please.

They are the people that your business has to serve better than any other.

When you turn all of your marketing activity and product improvement work towards them and stop trying to please everyone, your marketing becomes much productive.

3. Understand the lifetime value of your clients

This is something that I learned from reading lessons from Jay Abraham, a maverick marketing genius.

Like all mavericks, Jay Abraham tends to see things differently to others.

One of the biggest differences with his kind of marketing is his focus on the lifetime value of a client.

When you know what your ideal profitable client looks like and when you know the value that they bring to your business over a period of years, you realise why it’s so important to acquire more clients like them.

If your smart, it forces you to think about creative ways to get new clients on board with your business.

This may involve making no profit (but not a loss) from a client in the first year.

You see the cost of acquisition as an investment that is repaid many times over during the years that each new client stays with your business.

That investment will be repaid if your profiling is accurate.

The formula only works if you are acquiring profitable clients (Jay Abraham advises that you “fire” unprofitable clients).

Ways that you can use your first-year profits to increase acquisition rates include paying much higher commission incentives to salespeople for acquiring new clients.

Agreeing to joint-venture deals that pay significant commission or fees to partners who help deliver new clients.

Offering first-year sales incentives to new clients that mean saying yes to your offer makes more sense than saying no.

If you would like some free advice and a risk-free discussion about your marketing, let’s have a conversation.

David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051


The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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