Yes, that was the first thing I heard someone shout out to me when I walked into Intergeo 2016, from Daniel from Intergeo no less. Remember when I told you about the branded underwear we gave away at Geobusiness back in May? Looks like that marketing push is still going strong!
Following on from that brief interlude (see what I did there?), the 2016 event was an absolute cracker.
And meanwhile, of course, Elly, Sarah, Amanda and I have been busying away behind the scenes, scouring conferences like Content Marketing World and Social Media Marketing World for fresh new ideas to take our campaigns to the next level.
That means that we were armed with some pretty hot marketing insights. Insights we’d added, of course, to the years of geospatial knowhow, we sold everything from laser scanning equipment to mine surveyors, through to handheld laser distance meters to foresters.
Oh, and we also ran a fun little competition this year called #turquoiseladies that involved distributing 250 postcards to different exhibitors around the world and getting them to post a creative photo, tagging us in the process, to start a conversation and get people showing off what they do.
It was a pretty excellent opportunity to strike up a CHAT with potential partners and clients, too – the perfect way to break the ice. That said, while we received a positive response and had a great time interacting with fellow geospatialers, we only had a small handful of uptakers! mmmmmmm …… something that has intrigued me and got my brain wondering if people are worried about entering into fun stuff or a fear from a legal standpoint or just didn’t have time. Something I will certainly keep my eyeballs on… (maybe a topic for the next blog post?)
However the winner out of a dozen entries was:
And with our marketing consultant hats on (ooh, check out your fancy schmantzy job title, I hear you cry!) we were on the hunt for opportunities to apply smart marketing strategies to the geospatial world.
(Of course, all these areas are up for debate and I would love to hear some chatter from you lot …!)
It was awesome to see geospatial companies being creative and different. Laser Technology (LTI) in particular excelled in this area, with strong, coherent branding running through everything (including their red T-shirts and fluffy toys!) as well as eye-catching ploys like iPad giveaways. I know some of you are a teensy bit cynical about this stuff, but in a conference where most companies have copycat branding and zero visual personality, anything that adds a touch of excitement will draw a crowd, and that means drawing a crowd away from your direct competition.
Special mention to Z+F who really should win an award for their INCREDIBLE stand. Despite running a very traditional business, the wonderful CEO Christoph Froehlich let his Marketing Director (and sister) loose to come up with something spectacular this year, and she certainly didn’t disappoint. The team built an entire German-style chalet, complete with log burner, chandeliers and reindeer antlers. It was beautiful, but most importantly, it wowed everyone that walked in the door, drew people like a magnet and certainly meant they stayed top of mind… especially the sight of some of the team in clogs and Lederhosen 😉
Lots of food for thought… and presents a major challenge for competitors to find ways to connect with customers and ensure they don’t get left behind. This is especially important given that a number of Asian manufacturers really took the spotlight with the size and professionalism of their stands. This marked a huuuuge difference in their own marketing since last year. On the whole, Asian geospatialers are getting very savvy when it comes to marketing, so our fellow non-Asian companies had better watch out! Don’t forget that it’s not just your direct competitors’ products and pricing that’s a threat, it’s also how they present themselves. Just look at the sleek marketing coming from companies like Samsung: these guys know what works.
On which note, there is still some worrying resistance from some in the industry about using some of the most effective marketing tools at their fingertips. One German drone company told us they refuse to use social media because, and I quote, “our customers would laugh at us”. I’ve talked about this at length in previous posts, but the fact remains that, like everyone else, your customers live a fair chunk of their lives on social media and if you aren’t starting conversations with them there, you are seriously missing a trick. Yes, if you go about it the wrong way it can strike an odd note, but the skill is finding a way to communicate through social media that makes sense and offers value. It’s the message, not the medium, that counts.
In particular, I noticed more collaboration vs direct selling. I wasn’t the only one picking up on it, either – several people made the same comment! Seems to me that this is a big shift away from years of actually doing business on stands and it shows how events like this are changing their place in the buyer’s journey, with conferences becoming more about relationship building and making an impact than making a sale.
I’m a keen exhibitor and regular visitor to focused events like these. However, I’d love to hear more about it from your perspective. Are shows like these worth the huge financial cost? Any little gems that worked differently for you in the past vs now? And if you were at Intergeo 2016, what were your impressions?
So there you have it: Intergeo 2016 in a nutshell. But what did you think of the event and the trends we saw in geospatial marketing this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts!