The Kula Ring podcast is essential listening for manufacturing marketers who want to grow their digital presence and compete online.
Sponsored by Kula Partners—an agency committed to helping leading B2B manufacturers craft digital experiences that transform how they engage buyers, serve customers, and outpace their competition—The Kula Ring podcast features conversations about marketing, sales, and technology with top manufacturing executives from across North America.
The Kula Ring podcast is co-hosted by Kula Partners principals, Carman Pirie and Jeff W. White, both of whom are frequently sought after for their digitally-focused B2B expertise. They regularly share their insights with audiences including conferences like B2B Online and HubSpot’s INBOUND, the Gardner Manufacturing Marketer blog, and other podcasts focused on B2B marketing and technology.
Marketing plans developed last year for 2020 look drastically different now because of the pandemic—not just in the tradeshow arena, but also how new markets are identified. In this episode of The Kula Ring, Jaclyn Wallace, Director of Marketing for Nederman Division North America, covers a variety of topics including how the pandemic is forcing marketing and sales to effectively adapt into the digital space, how customers are driving new business, and the importance of knowledge extraction.
Effectively Translating Marketing Goals Into the Digital Space Transcript:
Announcer: You’re listening to The Kula Ring, a podcast made for manufacturing marketers. Here are Carman Pirie and Jeff White.
Jeff White: Welcome to The Kula Ring, a podcast for manufacturing marketers brought to you by Kula Partners. My name is Jeff White. Joining me today is Carman Pirie. Carman, how are you doing, mate?
Carman Pirie: I am doing well, and good to be chatting with you as always.
Jeff White: Yeah. Yeah. Looking forward to our discussion today.
Carman Pirie: Yeah. Exactly. I mean, I think we’ve… You can’t live through the pandemic without obviously reflecting on its impact on our businesses, and our clients, and those we work with, and I think we’ve had a few discussions about how businesses have had to adjust, manufacturers have had to adjust in this time, particularly around trade shows, but I think today’s guest is going to expand upon that quite a bit for us, and I think it’s coming at a great time, because of course we gotta be in this thing for the long haul. I mean, the pandemic isn’t going away in three weeks.
Jeff White: It certainly isn’t.
Carman Pirie: And today’s guest I think has been a little bit more advanced than some in how she’s thinking about it and evolving her organization, so I’m excited for today’s conversation.
Jeff White: Yeah. I think it should be really good. So, joining us today is Jaclyn Wallace, and Jaclyn is the Director of Marketing at Nederman. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Jaclyn.
Jaclyn Wallace: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Carman Pirie: Absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Jaclyn, where are you joining us from? You’re from North Carolina, I think, is where you-
Jaclyn Wallace: Yes. I am based in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s Nederman’s Americas Division headquarters. So, we’re right in the heart of wood furniture manufacturing, close to our customers in the wood segment. Nederman is an industrial air filtration company, so we are in the business of creating clean air for manufacturers across many different industries. So, definitely with COVID, that is a very timely and relevant subject about creating clean air, so it’s a very interesting time. Exciting, but of course, no one wants to really be in a pandemic. It’s definitely been a challenge for a lot of our industry segments, and I’ll get into that later in terms of how there’s some new opportunities due to this pandemic, but definitely a lot of challenges as a marketer.
Carman Pirie: When you’re a company, basically a clean air company, you want people to want what you sell, but you don’t want them to want it this way.
Jeff White: Yeah. Exactly. Not like that! Tell us a bit about what you saw in the early days of the pandemic.
Jaclyn Wallace: So, in the early days of the pandemic, I’d say right around mid-March was the height of the hysteria, paranoia, very knee-jerk reactions in terms of either cutting spend, or trying to really understand what the year’s gonna look like to weather this storm, that we have no idea how it’s gonna last. We’re looking at all these different market reports, and metrics, and it was really interesting.
So, a lot of the trade shows, we were almost prematurely backing out of, because we didn’t think that attendees would feel safe attending them, and then I saw some trade show companies, they were trying to wait very last minute, 11th hour, to pull the plug on the show, refunding to exhibitors, or reallocating those funds for the next year, or a lot of them have pivoted to a pure digital platform or event, which is interesting, because it’s the first time that these organizations have ever put on an all-virtual event, so as an exhibitor, it’s very I would say nerve wracking to keep those funds invested with those organizations, because they have not proven out this concept at all. They were primarily offline events for years, like dozens of years.
But then we also saw an influx in digital focus from our side, as well, in terms of doing webinars. We had really great engagement in the beginning. We had hundreds of attendees, when normally we would have gotten dozens, so it was really interesting to see our customers sitting at home and wanting to attend webinars, and a lot of our OEMs and partners in the wood industry were putting on really great digital live events, but not in person. So, seeing the huge machinery come to life over a webcam was really interesting, and I was like, “Wow, we really need to invest in some of this technology as I’m planning for 2021.” Like I think this type of concept is here to stay, and as a marketer, you really have to kind of learn the new tools of the trade.
I’m not an AV person at all, so I have to understand what type of skillset I need if I want to grow my team, as well, going forward to support these types of digital initiatives.
Carman Pirie: I really appreciate you kind of… Not casting doubt, that might be a bit strong, but you know, I guess questioning the value of these virtual trade show events, and noting that a lot of these organizations haven’t put them on before, and frankly, when it’s a cornerstone of your marketing year, your marketing calendar when it’s an in-person event, you demand a lot of ROI out of that or you ought to. And I’ve talked to a lot of marketers who’ve expressed hesitancy, but they haven’t kind of been as pointed as you were in saying, “You know what? This is the first rodeo for a lot of these people and we’re not sure we want to be on the back of that bull.”
Jeff White: Yeah. We’ve heard from… We had Michelle Edmonson from IMTS on the show a couple of weeks ago, and they’re having a hard time also trying to understand exactly what people are going to want from those shows. This isn’t a show about trade shows, but it certainly is the case that everyone is struggling to figure out exactly how a virtual event can replace an in-person one.
Jaclyn Wallace: Yeah. IMTS is a great example, where it’s mind blowing to me listening or reading the reports of how much money McCormick Place has lost this year. It’s like in the tens of billions. I can’t even wrap my head around just the economic impact of Chicago, just hot dog vendors, the taxis, the Ubers, everything around McCormick and IMTS, that’s such a huge event for this industry, and I really feel for everyone who spent all that time and energy trying to pivot and go into the digital landscape, and one thing I definitely saw a change from March and April until now is that a lot of the trade shows that are doing digital events, they’re doing a lot of content on demand rather than live, scheduled sessions, which I think is really great, because it gives flexibility to our attendees, who they’re still going to work a 9:00 to 5:00 job, they want to learn and be a part of these exhibitions and events and to learn something. That’s why the trade show visitors and customers are attending these shows, either they’re gonna learn, network, look at new technology, and procure to solve a need, right? That’s marketing 101 is what problem are we helping our customer solve.
So, having that on demand template I think is real interesting, and I’m more interested in participating in those types of activities that allow that flexibility so we can get that ROI.
Carman Pirie: So, I really want to pick up on the increased attendance that you saw in those early webinars back in March and April. Two things. I’m kind of wondering, have you seen that continue? Have those audiences held up? Because I’ve heard similar comments a couple of months ago, but I feel it’s been a little bit mixed since then. And then I want to begin to unpack the evolution of this digital pivot as we look towards 2021 and get a little bit more under the hood around what you’re doing to make the organization more digitally savvy as you come into the next year.
But first things first, attendance to those webinars in those digital events. Have you seen that wane a bit, or is it still holding up?
Jaclyn Wallace: No, that’s a great question. I definitely think it’s a really crowded space now, so everyone kind of jumped on the bandwagon to initiate these on demand or live events through webinars, and we had a series of webinars in August, so I don’t know if it was because of vacation time, or it’s just it’s a crowded space and people are kind of numb to it, almost like ads that you see all the time. You don’t really want to see them anymore. So, now what do we have to do? Direct mail? Do we have to do something different? I have no idea. So, that’s something that we’re revisiting, especially for 2021, what does that look like.
And then just speaking of changes in business in general to a digital space, we’re finding a lot more engagement in terms of advertising perspective like on paid social. That’s something we didn’t really participate much in. We were very… We’re a mature industry. We’re going to trade shows. We have the industry magazines and paid media that way, but we actually found a new business segment due to COVID, which we did not even anticipate in the beginning of the year. It was not a budgeted activity, and that is the aerosol removal or aerosol control, because we are in the business of creating clean air, and we found an influx of interest from dentists who were forced to shut down and they were frantically searching on Google and scratching their heads about how can they quickly create clean air to satisfy local ordinances. Every state has handled COVID differently for many different industries and organizations, so somehow people were finding us for aerosol control, gas, vapor, fumes, which is great from an SEO perspective. Clearly some of my keywords were working.
So, there’s this whole industry. I don’t know anything about marketing to a dentist. And so, we had to basically relaunch an existing product and tailor it to the dentist segment, which is almost a B2C play rather than B2B. We do sell through dealers, distributors, but I was finding a lot of success using Facebook advertising, social media, not so much on LinkedIn. I think understanding the mind of a dentist, they’re playing more in the consumer space, so I used to be, “Okay, be in the mind of an engineer.” Now I have to be in the mind of a dentist, which is very foreign to me. A lot of my early email campaigns I was basically insulting my audience with my follow-up email, saying, “Thank you, Bob, for filling out a form.” It was definitely worded a little bit better, but you’re supposed to address these doctors as doctors. They’re dentists. They have a lot of degrees.
And so, that was one learning point quickly. I was like, “Oh, I really need to do more homework or research and find who those influencers are in that industry, understand the landscape of the different media for dentists.” It’s like starting from the beginning of understanding that audience, and so I learned a lot the last… I guess it’s been three, four months.
Jeff White: I think that’s incredible. Just this idea of going from manufacturing clean air filtration systems for furniture production and then noticing that you’re getting a lot of traffic from an entirely different source, and pivoting the entire operation to go after that persona, that group of potential customers, and seeing actual results, and learning from it, and making mistakes and all of that. We just finished an episode talking about getting customer feedback and using it to inform your marketing. That’s about the best example of actually listening and finding out that, “Hey, there’s a real opportunity here. How can we service it and what can we do?”
Jaclyn Wallace: Yeah, absolutely. We’re still learning today, so we are constantly reiterating. We have this… I guess it’s a matrix of how we go after different industry segments, like the who, what, where, why, when, so that one PowerPoint slide, we have weekly meetings to go through with our product management team, marketing, some of the sales people as well, because they’re finding what content is just way over their heads. So, we’re a very industrial engineering-based company, and a lot of the content that we created in the beginning, looking back I thought we did a good job really bringing that up to the top level awareness stage, and I’m laughing. Like this is way over their head. No one understands what we’re trying to describe. Either I’m a terrible marketer or we just totally missed the mark.
But we thought it was really great, like our distributors and channel partners thought it was really great content, too. But I think it was very humbling to say, “Wow, maybe this ad’s not hitting well.” And I was constantly looking at the metrics each week.
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Carman Pirie: I would be curious, like I guess what was the response, or I guess was it feedback directly from the dentists that you were marketing to that led you to realize that this copy, the tone, and the angle that you were taking was perhaps too technical and missing the mark? Or was it just not getting the results that you wanted, so you decided to pivot? How did that-
Jaclyn Wallace: I think the types of questions that we were getting from some major partners that we were trying to go through that channel, like these are some major players in the dental industry, they had questions on very different topics that had nothing… Like it wasn’t even covered in our brochure, or they didn’t have any interest in what we were saying on certain key topics that we thought, “Oh yeah, they’re definitely going to understand source capture versus portable air cleaning.” So, it’s not about the clean air. No one wants to buy air filtration. I hate to say that, right? I do work for a clean air company, but it’s something, like you said that in the beginning, no one wants to have to address this issue. We hope that one day we won’t have to have our product, or it’ll be about being more productive or optimizing your clean air, and being able to analyze and pull data, so we’re trying to be the clean air company from a technology standpoint and having more smart filters and that type of technology, and IoT, and remote monitoring.
But at the end of the day, this is something, we want clean air just to happen. We want to be productive in the manufacturing environment without sacrificing the clean air of the world. That’s kind of what we’re talking about. But I found that a lot of the messaging that is kind of piquing people’s interest is some of the themes that we developed for the welding segment, which is really interesting. So, it’s all about we can’t find welders today. This is something that is well known. Kids out of technical school, they’re making $100 an hour versus someone with a college degree, so we desperately need welders, we need tradespeople, so for the welding segment you want to recruit the best talent by ensuring that they have a great work environment, right?
You pride yourself that you’re creating clean air. You’re combatting the weld fumes. You want healthy people to come to work every day and we also want to reduce absenteeism. We don’t want people to take sick days. You want to feel healthy and productive at work. So, we want to translate that to the dental segment, where these dental hygienists, they’re the ones who are cleaning your teeth. They’re the ones that are most exposed, like I don’t know, we’re trying to find industry statistics right now about how many open jobs are there for the dental hygienists, or the dental professionals, so we want to tie some of our air filtration value props into benefits around the dental practice, right? Like you’re saving money, you’re being more productive, so that was interesting.
A lot of the playbooks that we’ve already developed in different segments, we can easily translate them over to dental. We just didn’t understand that side of the business and so once we started touching on those themes, we got more interest from some of our partners and even end users and customers. So yeah, it was a lot of feedback from the leads. I’m very hyper looking at the data, so sales and marketing needs to be totally aligned on the types of questions I’m asking on the forms. How do we develop these leads to make sure that we can path them off to a dealer or channel partner? So, really understanding your market and talking to your salespeople, as well, to get that feedback is essential, too.
So, I never thought that we would be sitting here in September talking about dental aerosols at all or knowing how my marketing plan looked back in November-December, when I’m laying that out for the next year, and this was not even a key segment. We have existing product that handles lab fumes, and vapors, and solder fumes, but that wasn’t a key segment for us and now it’s like this is our focus right now is the aerosols for dental.
Jeff White: I think that’s incredibly interesting. And one of the other things that you had mentioned, and you’ve talked a bit about it here is just how the KPIs have changed for what you’re looking at. You’re getting less traffic but more engagement. How have you, and you just noted a few moments ago that you’re really looking at the data and seeing how things are going. What KPIs are new that you’ve introduced or that your expectations have been adjusted or what have you?
Jaclyn Wallace: Yeah. So, when I was brought into Nederman two years ago, I knew it was an engineering-oriented organization. I’m used to that. I’ve been doing that. My entire career is convincing engineers why you need marketing and trying to find a happy place between the two. So, my MO in any organization is to really set some KPIs and show them the data, right? These keywords, you think this is the search term that your customers are using, but I have the evidence to suggest no, no one’s using that term. Only you three in the room are. So, I’m always tying that back too, so a big thing is from an SEO search term perspective, we try to have metrics on ranking for certain words within top three, top 10, so that was interesting.
And then I do my monthly KPI reports for the entire management team and the organization, and it was almost like a doomsday in March. I saw just like a cliff, like web traffic just completely went to a halt. All the way, like 70% year over year crash, and I’ve never seen that ever in my entire career. I thought our website was broken, like I had to go to IT and be like, “Our website’s working, correct?”
Well, it was interesting, because back in March people were staying home more. I guess you had more time to Google search and stuff, but I think there was an increase in engagement for sure, so yes, overall traffic has decreased, but I think the traffic that is searching, it’s still very relevant. They’re looking to solve a problem and they’re… We’re all spread thin, we’re all lean, especially in this type of environment, so that was really promising. At least the people that were finding us were definitely quality traffic and engaged. But definitely looking at where the ROI or the opportunities were being converted, as well. Most of that has come through the web now, so looking at 2021, even if we go back to a new normal, I have evidence to say, “Wow, trade shows are not…” You have to have a goal. Maybe that might not be the ROI factor, or the place to say we’re gonna get a bunch of new customers. Maybe it’s a thought leadership play. Maybe it’s brand awareness. Maybe it’s just educating your channel partners.
You have to really reassess each activity to understand what the goal and objective is to say if it was a success or not, so maybe we shouldn’t assign trade shows with such… I guess putting them on a pedestal as much, because I think that’s definitely gonna keep evolving with this post-pandemic era, or if the pandemic ever goes away.
So yeah, I think from a metric standpoint, seeing that drop in traffic makes me worry, but I see that the light is… It’s getting better. So, I’m hoping that we’re gonna be out of this soon.
Carman Pirie: A couple of points to that, I guess. You know, it’s interesting when you watch the news these days, it’s easy to see reports of 40, upwards, maybe even approaching 50% of people are suggesting they’re not going to take a vaccine if one becomes available. So, when you start thinking about people coming together for a trade show next May, even if there is a vaccine say in December, or January, it seems like these in-person events… There’s at least going to be a fuzzy grey middle zone before it gets back to that normal. If it ever does, I think.
Jaclyn Wallace: I think as an exhibitor, I mean we work with… We have a trade show exhibit house that helps make our idea come to life through an exhibit, or in-person display, right? So, the value that you’re getting from either the exhibition management company, putting on the expos, or your own vendor for the display, how are they providing value to ensure that there’s a safe place? And where does that liability lie?
I was really confused about that back in March, like wow, if this show still goes on, what do I have to take care of as an exhibitor? Do I have to make sure there’s masks and sanitizer? Do I have to create staging areas to interact with our display and our product? Like okay, here’s a waiting zone here, this is the line six feet apart. Do I just keep my staff at a very bare minimum to ensure that we’re not too crowded? All of these things I was overwhelmed, like I just… I’m praying that our show is canceled. It was terrible for me to think about that, because I used to be… I love trade shows. I love interacting with customers. I like seeing how the product resonates with these new audiences if you’re introducing it. You learn a lot from just witnessing that interaction. And some of my sales guys, I don’t get to see unless I’m at dinner with them after a show, or during the show, so I really look forward to those events, and that’s been really sad this whole year. A Zoom happy hour is not gonna cut it. I really do miss hanging out with the guys in that regard.
Yeah, I was really overwhelmed as an exhibitor. I don’t think the companies knew what to do to help alleviate some of those concerns. They tried their best and I will give them all a lot of credit across many different industries. They overcommunicated updates, like, “Okay, we’re still assessing the local laws.” Say in Atlanta, right? We’ll make a decision by the end of the month, and that was good, because I knew, “Okay. Yes, no. We’re gonna go, we’re not gonna go, and what is our plan then?” So, that was a lot of stress as we were trying to balance budgets that might be pulled in or pushed out. And then now as I’m planning for 2021, yes, I have placeholders for events in April, May, July, but what’s my contingency plan?
So, I have like an A and B plan, so I just sent it over to my boss yesterday. Hopefully he’s not too confused with all of my plan A, plan B, but you have to think that way, because I don’t want to feel that stress like this past spring.
Carman Pirie: You took the question right out of my mouth. I was gonna say how has it changed how you’re planning for next year and have you looked at more contingencies or frankly-
Jeff White: Is the trade show the contingency now?
Carman Pirie: Yeah, or maybe you choose to only plan for six months in some way, shape, or form, knowing that you can only see so far ahead.
Jaclyn Wallace: Yeah. I mean, I’m hoping… Of course, I want people, I want a safe vaccine, I want people to take it. Again, if it’s safe. I have that as a caveat. But I don’t want to rush back into a new normal or the way it used to be. I want to just make sure that this is an organic transition to whatever is safe and appropriate, but you’re right, like maybe in my planning, trade shows are not the forefront. So, essentially I flipped my budget. Say if it was 60/40 trade shows to digital, I’m the opposite now. So, whatever that ratio is, it’s just it’s completely changed, and definitely the use of agencies to help fill that gap too has been interesting.
So, yeah, we’re spending more on third parties to help with content generation, because you need that for lead magnets and for CTAs and updating your website, and managing so many different segments, and having its own marketing plan from an ad words perspective or paid social. I can definitely see the merit in kind of outsourcing a little bit of that, because before, we were not experts in this digital space. I was the trade show girl. But I’ve learned a lot in the last six months, for sure, and I definitely don’t think things are gonna change overnight, but you never know.
Carman Pirie: You’re certainly looking to I guess evolve the digital presence to where you see the buyers going and how their behavior will be in some ways more permanently altered because of the pandemic. I’d be curious to kind of dive into that a little bit more, I guess. What aspects do you think of it, that of the buying behavior is… What aspects are kind of permanently changed maybe, if you had to take out your crystal ball from the desk for a minute and decide you’re gonna look into the future a bit?
Jaclyn Wallace: I don’t know if I’m gonna answer your exact question, but I think-
Carman Pirie: Nobody ever does.
Jaclyn Wallace: There’s been a slow migration, especially in the B2B or industrial manufacturing space, to that I guess omnichannel approach. You know, I think that we’ve really sped up in the last six months the adoption of certain tactics to ensure that you are approaching a customer in the way that they want to be interacting with you, so there was definitely a lot of pain points. People aren’t just going to… Well, my generation, I just want to chat. I want to find my answer. I want to watch a YouTube video. Do not ask me to pick up a phone. We just don’t do that.
So, I’m not discrediting people who want to pick up the phone and talk to a salesperson. It’s just you have to be present in all the different channels, right? So, adopting chat, building out your content for people to be more self-service, I think that’s huge. Video is huge. And also, being mobile first, like everyone’s on their phone. That is a key requirement, so if your website is not up to date and it’s not loading fast enough on your phone, that’s what you have to think about. Especially in times like today, in the pandemic. You have no idea how people are working nowadays. It’s very interrupt driven, like people have kids at home, you’re doing virtual school. A lot of people are working from their phone. They’re working from a tablet. They’re trying to find answers to questions very quickly and they don’t have time to sift through a catalog or wait for your salesperson to call them back, and especially if you have workflows or no automation at all, there’s a lot of bottlenecks there. Especially if your own workforce has cut hours or you furloughed people.
There’s a lot of things that happened in certain companies where there’s challenges to being the best customer service-oriented company, so that’s something that I think has permanently changed, hopefully, or at least the timeline has definitely sped up.
Carman Pirie: Well, you mentioned this generational shift, and one thing that I’ve heard from some manufacturing marketers is they’re placing a bit of a bet, or I guess what they’re seeing in their customer base is the pandemic has driven a fairly significant early retirement bump. People that were maybe going to be leaving the workforce three years from now, or two years, some of those plans have dramatically accelerated to the point where key sales talent’s heading out the door and things like that. I’ve heard that concern, but also of course this would mean buyers. If we’re seeing that on the sales side, we may be seeing it on the buying side, too.
And that opens up the door for even that new generation of B2B buyers to even be more I guess prevalent, more the norm, right?
Jeff White: Yeah. And it certainly points to a requirement for that digital presence in those touch points to be updated in order to ensure that we’re connecting with and contacting and allowing people to find us in the ways that they want to find us. You know, as everybody gets younger.
Carman Pirie: Except us.
Jeff White: Except us. We’re getting older.
Jaclyn Wallace: I’m forever 29, so that’s fine. Yeah. There’s definitely extremes, like some people when we talk about this subject, some brands shouldn’t be on TikTok, right? That’s just not appropriate. But people are definitely flocking to certain platforms, thinking like, “Oh. Well, that’s where the young people are.” But going back to your point of salespeople within your own organization, that brain drain we talk about, where if you have some engineers, or people who have… are subject matter experts, and you’re not doing a great job cataloging or doing that knowledge transfer, or you have to have a really great and strong HR strategy to ensure you are pinpointing those key people in an organization, like what is that backfill strategy, or how do we do that knowledge transfer in a scalable manner, too? Where that one-to-one relationship, you’re not gonna do that very quickly. You need to have an organizational strategy to get that done.
And from a customer or from a buyer’s perspective, there’s probably a lot more education that we have to do as marketers to get them up to speed, to understand the pain points and the products, because maybe they weren’t always the one in charge of this type of procurement, right? Someone else in their company was in charge of it and they might have not done that knowledge transfer about air filtration as an example, right? Or source capture. So, for the marketing standpoint, we have to make sure that awareness stage, or the evergreen content, is appropriate for this new audience in the channel that they want to participate in.
So, definitely having shorter tutorial videos, two-second videos, 30-second videos. Instagram is really big. I think that is a missed opportunity if brands aren’t taking advantage of it just to show off your product, and I think that is definitely something that has been interesting. I worked for a robot company before this and Instagram was huge, like we were getting quotes left and right via DMs, and as a marketer, how do you log that as a lead in CRM? Sent a DM, right? So, yeah, you have to update of course your CRM systems to ensure that you’re tracking the data the right way, and it’s an interesting time I’d say in terms of transitioning to I guess that younger demographic and the new technologies that are available.
Carman Pirie: I think interesting certainly is one word for it.
Jeff White: My goodness, we’ve covered everything from how marketing is reacting to the pandemic, to how sales is reacting to the pandemic, to customers, and as it turns out, HR, and engineers, and knowledge extraction.
Carman Pirie: Yeah. It’s really a COVID, post-COVID MBA is what we’re trying to pull together with this episode, Jeff. I wonder, just to kind of close off the show, you referred to yourself, I wouldn’t have said this, but you did, so I’m gonna use it. You said, “I was a trade show girl and we’ve had to adopt a lot more digital focus in the last while.” I guess what would you say to other trade show guys or girls that are heading down that path? Maybe they didn’t jump on it quite as quickly as you did. I’m curious, what advice might you have for them as we part ways?
Jaclyn Wallace: That’s a very thought-provoking question. Let me think about that for a minute. I think being able to look back at the goals of what were you trying to accomplish or achieve via a trade show? Is it that camaraderie from an internal perspective? Is it launching a new product? Or is it brand awareness? I think really pinpoint what that primary goal is and then how do you translate that effectively in a digital space? That’s something that everyone is struggling with right now, and I think when we… I’m just kind of talking now. I don’t really have answers to this, but if we go back to a new normal, I think there’s gonna be way more scrutiny around investing in offline programs or in-person events, because I think there is just so much more risk, or we’ve exposed those offline programs that may not have been delivering the intended results.
So, I don’t think you can get away with, “Well, everyone’s…Our big competitor is there, we have to be there, right?” That is an argument I hear a lot.
Carman Pirie: The strength of that argument is going to be diminished, you’re suggesting, post-COVID. Because basically, the ROI challenge potentially of some of these in-person events has been exposed.
Jaclyn Wallace: Absolutely. Because I think a lot of our KPIs without these trade shows, we’re doing pretty well in terms of lead gen and the other things that I signed up for in the beginning of the year, and I was very nervous about not hitting my goals. I’m very driven. So, it’s interesting now, like wow, we got the same amount of results or even better, we’re more efficient, we’re not wasting our people’s time and energy. Physically, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m not traveling all the time. I eat better. I’m sleeping better, right?
So, without all these events in the way, I’m way more productive. I’m working from home. I just… I’m able as a marketer to focus on so many other activities that aren’t as labor intensive, that were almost like pet projects last year, and now I’m actually able to invest my time and energy and I’m getting way more results.
Carman Pirie: That’s I think… You said you were just… “I’m just talking here. I don’t have an answer.” But I think you produced a fantastic one, so thank you for sharing your experience and expertise with our audience today. It’s been a real pleasure.
Jaclyn Wallace: Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me. It’s my first podcast, so, very excited.
Jeff White: Well, you did great. Thanks a lot.
Jaclyn Wallace: Thank you.
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