This episode is sponsored by L&R. We have partnered together because we both believe in helping healthcare marketing teams become more productive.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Marketing and sales teams in healthcare IT companies need to work together, yet frequently struggle to achieve that harmony. Traveling sales reps need help accessing marketing collateral and tailoring it appropriately for each venue. Marketing teams need relief from being pulled off projects to put out fires. Sales and marketing alignment, while very necessary, can be difficult to implement.
Larry Williams joins me to show what tools exist that can help your sales and marketing teams run smoothly. Larry is the Brand Ambassador for L&R, which focuses on employing the right technologies to allow marketing departments to invest their time strategically, instead of constantly managing one-off projects. In this 3-part podcast interview, Larry shows how technology can help teams protect brand integrity and work more strategically.
In our chat, we cover:
- Part 1: Helping Sales and Marketing Teams Work Together (11:44)
- Part 2: Protecting Brand Integrity (10:21)
- Part 3: Investing Creative Energy Strategically (16:05)
Discover ways to help your sales and marketing team work together more productively. Learn how web-based libraries can store – and protect – your marketing collateral.
Brand compliance gets tricky when your sales team goes rogue. Find out how to give your sales team the tools they need to stay on-brand.
Marketing needs to be creative yet frequently gets pulled off projects to put out fires. Find out how technology can help keep your marketing team on task.
This is an episode of Healthcare Lead Generation with Jennifer Michelle, a podcast that mixes lead generation tips with interviews of healthcare IT disruptors, innovative healthcare providers and health sector company leaders. Follow the podcast to learn about growth strategies and navigating change in the healthcare sector.
Part 1: Helping Sales and Marketing Teams Work Together (Podcast Transcript)
Jennifer: 00:04 Hi, everybody! I’m Jennifer with Michelle Marketing Strategies and today in Healthcare Lead Generation, we are talking with Larry Williams, the brand ambassador of L & R, which can be found at LandRco.com. L & R is today’s sponsor and we’ve actually partnered together on this piece, which I am really excited about, because we both believe in helping marketing teams become more productive. Obviously, that’s something all marketers can relate to. L & R, for those of you who don’t know, focuses on employing the right technologies to allow marketing departments to invest their time strategically, instead of constantly managing one-off projects, and now, Larry, welcome to the show and I have to say I understand the pain of one-off projects. That is something I have encountered so often in my career, especially when working as Marketing Director. Welcome to the show. Glad to have you!
Larry: 00:04 Thanks for having me!
Jennifer: 00:55 Absolutely! And for everyone who’s listening, if you’re new to the podcast, we break our interviews up into three parts so that you can hone in on the topic right from the start very easily. The first part for us is helping sales and marketing teams work together, which is something that I’ve written about. I’ve certainly read plenty about it. It’s not always as easy as it seems. So, I would love to hear your thoughts on that, Larry.
Larry: 01:24 Absolutely. At L & R, we work with a lot of marketing teams in the healthcare space just because marketing is tasked with doing the bigger projects. It might be patient engagement, developing your social strategy or building and maintaining trust with the customer base, becoming mobile-friendly, more mobile friendly, but they constantly have these one-off requests taking more of their time. One of the main issues when we speak with some of our customers is maintaining that relationship with the sales and marketing teams. What we found out is there are two main issues here. The first is that the sales team doesn’t give enough information or time to the marketing/creative team. They send these last-minute requests or have these requests without giving information. So they’re trying to get this work developed at a breakneck speed to meet those requests.
Jennifer: 02:22 So you mean like the sales rep comes back from a trade show and says what we need is a new brochure, or we need a new campaign on this new part of our product because they’re not understanding it. You’re saying they were coming back and just not having enough time for the marketing team to prepare that.
Larry: 02:37 Exactly. Or they might not have the right information, But it might be within a day or two and then they want to have a piece of collateral sent out or an ad developed …
Jennifer: 02:37 And it’s always a rush, isn’t it?
Larry: 02:51 It’s always a rush and nothing good happens when things are rushed. So it puts the marketing team in a tough spot, which leads us to our second issue, which is sometimes sales go and create their own marketing materials. And everybody knows that salespeople will try to be marketers and that it typically doesn’t go well because they end up violating all brain standards in the process.
Jennifer: 03:15 You know what, I’ve seen that and I have been that Marketing Director and you just have to take a deep breath. I’ve seen sales reps send out huge emails, no paragraphs really to speak of and it’s just every single possible thing and you’re just left going, oh my God. And you know, it still works for that sales rep usually because they have a bond with that person and they’re so congenial that it works. But it doesn’t really work on a broad level for the organization. It doesn’t give that branding that you want, does it?
Larry: 03:46 No doubt at all. And the funny thing about it is, typically, the salesperson is very proud of what they created. They take it back to the marketing team with this piece they developed, but the marketers come to find out they got the image from Google images, stretched it out, the colors aren’t right, the copy is not correct, but they are very proud of it and they send it to their entire contact list.
Jennifer: 04:12 At the same time, you’re sending out this campaign that you worked on for two months that just launched. So now everybody is inundated with emails and is freaking out.
Larry: 04:18 Yes. One hundred percent yes. Or the other issue can be that they keep using old materials where they feel more comfortable using the old collateral, which can get the marketing team in some trouble, with errors by using this stuff from a few years ago. But the salesperson will always say, well, you know, actually I feel a lot more comfortable with this piece. I don’t like the new piece. And so that can put the sales and marketing team in a unique position, as well.
Jennifer: 04:43 Let me ask you something about that. I know that for some sales teams I’ve actually created templates. Sometimes your marketing automation system makes it easy to make a template that you can put – in this case, we were using Salesforce – and it can just live there for your sales team to use. So, after healthcare trade shows or something, I would make a template so that they all had the information, they had the links to the follow-up stuff that we wanted to send to people right away instead of … you know, they’d always attach pdfs and I’m like, let’s not send attachments to somebody that we’re just getting to know. Let’s do a link that they can find. Tell me about that. Do you find that templates are a way to bridge that gap between sales and marketing?
Larry: 05:23 Absolutely. It will. What we strive to do is help the marketing team to give the keys to the salespeople, instead of trying to force them into a new way of thinking. Just like, “Hey, here are the keys. You go create your own pieces.” But everything is so tightly controlled that they really can’t mess it up. And the extra assurance that they can have different approval processes just to make sure that nothing’s getting too crazy as they create these materials. And, again, this is all done through a web-based technology services.
Jennifer: 05:58 Oh, that’s amazing. And I’ve got to say, it’s not just saving time for marketers because your sales rep should be focused on the needs of that prospect. They shouldn’t have to be re-creating a whole piece of marketing collateral. So it helps them stay on track, to have templates and a whole bunch of stuff they can access.
Larry: 06:17 Absolutely. Absolutely. Because they know their customer a lot better than the marketing team does and they typically customize it to their specific needs. And that’s a huge advantage that you can provide.
Jennifer: 06:29 Now let me ask you this because I know you had spoken once about a library of some kind. Like a tool, a library of all the marketing collateral and people can check it in and out. And I can see how you’ve got different sales reps going to different trade shows and they’re going to need different materials, targeted to different audiences maybe or different specialties. I can see why that would be great, to be able to say you can find all this here and you can find this there, and just keep tabs on that one space. How do you find sales teams respond to that?
Larry: 07:04 Absolutely. So you want to focus these web-based services to go beyond just the variable data templates but also inventory your materials, as well. We’re a big proponent of print-on-demand so you can print on a per-need basis instead of print and storing your printed material. So you can always keep it customized. But beyond the print material, you can manage your promotional pieces which gets it out of that marketing closet today. Everybody has, you know, all these coffee mugs, and notepads, pens stashed away and they slowly dwindle down because people keep raiding the products. So what we tried to do is provide an online resource where you can constantly keep track of the inventory and pull out materials when needed, regardless if it’s promotional items, branded apparel or conference materials, such as table cloths, signs and so forth.
Jennifer: 08:01 I just wanted to ask something about that because what I remember is, whenever you have a closet filled with all the collateral that you have stored, as it winds down, invariably there is some emergency. You know, a call from the sales team. I didn’t get this or we don’t have enough of that and they need this. It seems to me, if all that were stored online somewhere, instead of having to go … you know, we’re in Vermont, we like using our local print shop, which is great but what it means is that I can’t easily get the information I need elsewhere, to whatever town, whatever city that trade show is in. But if it were all online, I could have it sent right there. I could have them have all the information and get a hard copy to them immediately. And am I understanding that right?
Larry: 08:45 You are. And you can get all the information to them regardless if it’s the materials, the collateral. But you can also provide the analytics to what’s going out and where it’s going. And all the tracking information just to make sure everybody’s on the same page and you mentioned the fact that sometimes, if you don’t have an updated inventory count, these can be going back to the last-minute rushes. Nothing good ever happens when you try to push things last minute and you might not have enough of one material. And then it’s a rush order, which is costing your department more, and then trying to track that information as it goes to the system. It takes precedence over everything else.
Jennifer: 09:30 Absolutely. And let’s talk about one of the biggest things to tackle in any marketing team – all the one-off campaigns that happen. Because any good marketer, and I’m always working on this, with my clients and myself, you want to have a strategy. You want to have a long-term strategy. And then shorter-term campaigns within that. So these one-offs often are derailing you from your broader messaging and the goals that you’ve set. So anything that can reduce that and keep it more with your broader strategy and your brand focus, I think helps keep the entire company stay on track.
Larry: 10:05 Oh absolutely. Because the creative team starts off the day with these great intentions, but their time gets hijacked throughout the day through these one-off requests. Because all of a sudden it is the most important thing at that moment. So they cannot focus on, like I mentioned earlier, that mobile strategy, that building that engagement with the patients and, before you know it, the day is gone and then they’re trying to catch up on some of these bigger strategy initiatives instead of doing that earlier in the day when it was most important.
Jennifer: 10:36 Absolutely. Absolutely. Larry, I just think that’s an amazing topic for everyone listening. We are talking with Larry Williams of L & R, which can be found at LandRco.com. Larry is Brand Ambassador for them and they are also today’s sponsor. We are focusing on employing the right technologies to help marketing departments invest their time strategically and work better with their sales teams. So as to avoid constantly having to manage one-off projects. Larry, I think that’s an amazing topic because I have said over and over again to my clients that one-off is not the way to strategize. So thank you for being here and sharing all your insights with us. Will you come back and talk with us again in just a moment?
Larry: 11:24 Absolutely. I look forward to it.
Jennifer: 11:25 Awesome. And for everyone listening, please come back. We’ll return in just a moment with Part Two when we will talk about protecting brand integrity and then in Part Three, because we always do three parts, on investing creative energy strategically, which is so important. Thank you so much Larry.
Larry: 11:40 Alright, thank you Jennifer.
Part 2: Protecting Brand Integrity (Podcast Transcript)
Jennifer: 00:05 Hi, everybody! Welcome back to Healthcare Lead Generation. I’m Jennifer Michelle and we are speaking today with Larry Williams of L & R, which can be found at LandRco.com. Larry is the Brand Ambassador for L & R , which focuses on employing the right technologies to help marketing departments invest their time strategically, instead of doing a lot of one-off campaigns. Now L & R is today’s sponsor and we are partnering together on this piece because we both believe in helping teams and marketing departments become more productive. So, Larry, welcome back!
Larry: 00:05 It’s good to be back!
Jennifer: 00:37 Awesome. And for everybody just joining us on Healthcare Lead Generation, we always divide our interviews into three parts. So go back please and find Part One, which is on helping sales and marketing teams work together. Now in Part Two, we’re going to be talking about protecting brand integrity. So let’s talk about that because branding is something that is so valuable to how you present your company and your message. Let’s talk about the essentials of that. Share your thoughts with me.
Larry: 01:12 Absolutely. So, your brand, especially in the marketing realm, it goes beyond just your logo, your spot colors. It could be the promotional pieces you hand out, the pearl you have, the paper that you print on. It goes so much further in that you always want to keep that controlled because, what we found out, if you don’t control that, it can quickly run away from you and you don’t even realize it.
Jennifer: 01:35 Well, let’s talk about that because I think that is a big issue and I always tell people I’m not a brander. In fact, I think you and I met at a healthcare conference where I gave you this horrible business card because I do lead generation; I do not do branding. Just so everybody knows. I’ve actually repaired that; I’m getting a logo and pulling it all together. A brand new logo, everything good. But I find branding to be a concept that is out of my scope, but I know it when I see it. And I know it when it needs to be polished up and I think people, especially if you’re a startup and in the healthcare world … and obviously there are a lot of startups and tech startups in particular … if they don’t seem polished, it’s very hard to build the trust that you need.
Larry: 02:25 Oh absolutely. Organizations spend a lot of money, they invest a lot of time and energy in building these brands. And so you have to make sure you protect it. Like I said earlier, it will get away from you. It’s like you mentioned about the business cards. With our last conversation, we spoke about how, specifically, salespeople can go develop their own materials. And this one with the Google images might be going down to the local Kinko’s office or a using online tools such as Powerpoint or Publisher to create their own ads or collateral. But it can go as far as them taking a polo and getting a logo embroidered on a shirt for their upcoming conference. I’ve seen some examples of bad branding just because people become renegades and, instead of going through the right channel, they want to go off to the side and try to control it themselves.
Jennifer: 03:31 How do people usually find out that that’s going on? Is the sales rep just so proud of what they created that they share it? Do the marketing or VPs find out about it later? I mean, how do you even know if that’s going on?
Larry: 03:42 Well, it’s hard to find out because either they bring it to the marketing team and very proudly present it to everybody or they just show up at a conference with their own apparel or their own materials and that shocks everybody. I’ve seen a bad case where somebody put all their different logos onto one shirt and they looked like a vehicle from a Nascar race. But again, a lot of organizations are not finding out that this is happening until it too late and the business cards have already left or the ads have been placed. So again, you want to give them the keys to stay brand compliant at every step of the way.
Jennifer: 04:29 And what would that be like? What would be the things that a marketing team will want to look for to help maintain that brand integrity?
Larry: 04:35 Sure. It goes back to again, the earlier conversation about utilizing the correct web-based technology services, which will help control this. It might be utilizing variable data templates. A strong digital asset management solution is another good way of making the process easier for the creative team,, as well as control of the brand as you take it to the sales team.
Jennifer: 05:05 When you say “digital asset management services,” that basically means where the marketing team could control what all of the collateral looks like and then you can have the sales team access it, but they can’t necessarily change it or you can control how they change it. Is that what that means?
Larry: 05:25 You can use a marketing-on-demand system, which will provide certain variable data templates, which they can customize and either download or print from. So you have that side of it, but a high-level digital asset management system goes a lot further where it makes the process easier for the creative team so they don’t have to constantly reinvent the wheel or have to search for assets. Or ensure this video is the correct video to use in this format. So it’s different than your typical Dropbox or box application just due to the fact that you can format, tag and share videos or images.
Jennifer: 06:07 Let me ask you this because I’ve been on the front lines before with helping sales teams use new technology, new technology that came from the marketing team but was supposed to integrate, align the teams. Sometimes you get some pushback on that. So how are you finding not just the marketing teams adapting to this, but how are sales teams adapting to it?
Larry: 06:29 You know, change is always hard for everyone. And so what we’ve found, the best way of bringing everybody together is just helping through the education process where we tried to go to our customers’ trade shows and actually getting on the front line and speaking with the creative team or the sales business development team. And we explained the process and also really explained how this is going to make their life better instead of just pushing them into taking on these certain action steps.
Jennifer: 07:03 I know we talk more lead generation and marketing on this show, but obviously lead generation directly connects to sales. So how are the sales teams perceiving it? When you find salespeople are able to use a service like this and maybe they were skeptical at first, what are the things they find beneficial? What did they say is working for them?
Larry: 07:27 What we find is that, initially, they’re excited. They want to go through these steps but the hardest thing is to get them to actually change. Through their actions, to get them to adopt these technologies. So, what we have to do is work directly with the sales team and be more of customer service to them. At L & R, we try to be an extension of the marketing department and be that extra support and really guide them through this process. So they don’t feel like it’s a new approach. They feel comfortable actually taking the keys to this and going with it.
Jennifer: 07:27 So they’re excited. It’s not like, “Oh no, I don’t want to use something new.” It’s just hard to work it into their routine.
Larry: 07:27 That’s correct. They’re excited, but they’re kind of hesitant because you know, just the same way the marketers are, they’re very busy. The sales team, they’re constantly on the road, they’re constantly traveling and so it’s hard to get them to stop and actually focus on taking these new steps. And that’s again why we want to help facilitate the comfort of going in this new better direction.
Jennifer: 07:27 I think that’s a brilliant approach and, from my perspective, anything that can make a marketing
team and a sales team work together and be stronger, I think that’s going to be a win for the company. The last thing you want are those two teams not working as a whole unit. That’s the last thing you want.
Larry: 08:46 Exactly. Right. And that’s why we tried to be the glue there and constantly push for a better way. And our big initiative is to explain to marketing and sales that there’s a better way that’s going to help you, and it’s about employing the right technology services through the process.
Jennifer: 09:06 That’s so well said. Larry, thank you so much for coming back on the podcast. I always love having you on because you’re so informative, because I never really get to think that much about how this is seeming from the sales rep side, as well.
Larry: 09:20 Thank you for your time, as always, Jennifer.
Jennifer: 09:23 Anytime. And for everybody listening, I’m talking with Larry Williams. He’s the Brand Ambassador of L & R, which can be found at LandRco.com. L & R is sponsoring today’s episode and they are here to talk about really helping sales and marketing teams work together and protect brand integrity. Those are the two topics we covered in Part One and there’s now protecting brand integrity in Part Two. And we’re really doing this because we want to help marketing teams become more productive. Certainly that is the best way I think to get better leads and that’s what this podcast is all about. If you want more leads, you need teams that are productive and working together. So, as I said in Part One, we talked about helping these teams work together. In Part Two, we talked about brand integrity. And Larry’s going to come back in Part Three when we will talk about really investing your creative energy strategically, which is something I’m really excited to learn about. Thank you, Larry so much. I’m looking forward to the next part.
Larry: 10:17 All right. Hey, thanks Jennifer.
Part 3: Investing Creative Energy Strategically (Podcast Transcript)
Jennifer: 00:06 Hi, everybody! Welcome back to Healthcare Lead Generation. This is Jennifer Michelle and we are speaking today with Larry Williams of L & R, which can be found at LandRco.com. Larry is the Brand Ambassador for L & R and they focus on employing the right technologies to help marketing departments invest their time strategically, instead of getting lost in a bunch of one-off projects. Larry’s here today, specifically, because L & R is today’s sponsor and we are partnering together because we both believe in helping make marketing teams more productive. Larry, welcome back to the show. It’s so good to have you.
Larry: 00:39 Thank you for having me.
Jennifer: 00:40 And for everybody who’s new to the podcast, I like to break these interviews into three different parts, just so it’s a little easier for people to access the information. So I invite you to go back to Part One and listen to our discussion with Larry on helping sales and marketing teams work together and Part Two where we talk about protecting brand integrity.
Jennifer: 01:03 Now in Part Three, Larry and I are talking about investing creative energy strategically, and, Larry, I think this is so important because people don’t really realize until they’re in the field of marketing, just how much of a mix marketing is. There’s all this creative – design this business card, design this brochure or come up with something beautiful. But also, “Oh, by the way, fix this code. Can you put this piece of code in the backend to monitor this or update the ads or create our analytics report?” And, by the end of the day, I have been in that position myself and also helping clients with it, you can just be fried. Because you’re switching back and forth so dramatically. So I am just very curious to hear what stories you have heard about these fried marketers trying to get their creative energy going.
Larry: 01:50 Absolutely. What we found is the marketing team has evolved to becoming the customer service department for the organization. As you said, when in doubt, it falls to marketing. “Hey, where’s that banner stand? We need to find that. Hey, can you update this business card? What’s the update with our social strategy?” It’s a constant: Let’s ask the creative team. At the same time, they’re tasked with marketing constantly evolving in terms of different techniques. What’s hot today may not be hot three months from now. So you have to stay on the front line of that. And what we found is, we want to handle all these one-off requests where you could find the right technology solutions to manage this, so the marketing team can be strategic with their time. So they can go to conferences, so they can learn, so they can create great campaigns.
Jennifer: 02:54 I love that idea because I always remember feeling drained because you have these great plans and then you keep getting pulled off of them. And they are, like you say for one-off projects. I remember at one company, they’d just gotten business cards redesigned and, within, I think, six weeks, they had brought on new people and already realized that their lovely design wouldn’t work with longer names. If it went beyond 10, there was literally no way to use it. They had to start from the beginning and who does that fall on but the marketer, of course? So talk to me about ways that technology can help the marketer save that time, so that they can have more time to focus creatively.
Larry: 03:39 In the previous podcast, we spoke about. Utilizing variable data templates so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, regardless if it’s print collateral, ads or an html file to be emailed. So that’s just a handful of ways that you can control the brand integrity, always ensuring that you’re being efficient in as few steps as possible through the process. But another way is employing a strong digital asset management service.
Jennifer: 04:13 Talk to us about what that is because, now I’ve talked with you and I have an understanding of what that is, but I don’t know that all marketers do. So what is a digital asset management system?
Larry: 04:20 A lot of people think, “Yeah, I’ve got a place to store our digital files, a Dropbox or some type of Creative Cloud, but a high-level digital asset management system will actually help you format the images, whether it be digital files or videos. It will help you tag the different files so they’re easily searchable and you can format those, as well, in the system.
Jennifer: 04:51 So it’s not just that you have everything stored. It’s really something that goes beyond that and helps people access it and gives you more control of your branding, and even makes it available to – and I know we spoke earlier about this – making it available to your sales team, so that they always have branded materials wherever they are.
Larry: 05:11 And that you can put permissions out there so they have to have certain access rights before they can get into the system. Where we found that this is a good solution is, as a creative team, if you have four or five people and then you bring on one or two interns, the interns would be there for a few months. And they might develop a few different pieces or might have purchased some stock images and then, once they’re gone, you can’t find those images anywhere. They’re lost in some file on a computer somewhere.
Jennifer: 05:46 I’ve seen that happen. I have literally seen that happen because it is so common that marketing teams have interns and they’re usually put on the one rickety cubicle desk because it’s the only space left in the whole building. And they are told, “Okay, we’ll just let you use that person’s license just for the day because you’re only here briefly and just see if you can tweak this.” And then, you know, nobody knows where they’re storing things.
Larry: 06:11 Nope, it’s gone. The other thing is, as the other creative members are looking for certain files, you can tag them. So if you’re looking for a specific stock image, you don’t have to go and open up each image to look at it and close it, open it up, close, open it up, “oh, there it is.” You can actually type it in – if you’re looking for a specific doctor or a specific location and it will bring up all your options where you can actually look at them in a clip and then choose and format within that system.
Jennifer: 06:38 So now talk to me a little bit more about the supply chain inventory management. because I know some teams, especially when they’re larger, they wind up havinga lot of promotional apparel. They have pens, they have all kinds of other sales aids and they have to keep track of that. And, as any marketer knows, when you start doing that on a much larger level, when you’re doing a lot of trade shows and you’re doing a lot of events and you’re having to get all of those things sent to the right place and you need to keep enough in stock and you need to change what they say for slightly different audiences, that’s a lot to take care of. Suddenly, you’ve gone from the person who’s been brought on to develop these wonderful campaigns to just constantly trying to count how many you have left and where they are. And are they in the right city for the person who’s at that show?
Larry: 07:23 Yes, absolutely. And that’s why we separate from a digital asset management service, which is really to focus on the creative side to a marketing-on-demand resource. The marketing-on-demand resource allows the marketing team to have a centralized location where they can manage the marketing materials. It might be to order more sales enablement materials or it might be to check the inventory of some of their promotional pieces. Where we see this as being beneficial to the marketing team’s time is in the fact that they don’t have to constantly go to that marketing closet that has all these materials in there. They can see the status of the conference materials and what they can ship out. What’s available.
Jennifer: 08:24 So we always had the closet. I mean, literally, a closet and there were mops in there and backup paper towels for the kitchen. I mean it was the storage area.
Larry: 08:30 And, ironically, it’s only the marketing stuff that gets “lost” or they disappear. They try to keep it hidden, you know, they don’t want to tell anybody where this marketing closet is so they can have enough tumblers for the next show.
Jennifer: 08:45 Exactly. So what this would allow them is to access online, and they could find out what they need and know precisely. So, tell me some of the things you’ve heard about the change to that. Because I’m guessing marketers like that because I bet it does reduce the amount of time that they’re dealing with the logistics,
Larry: 09:05 Absolutely. They’re able to see low inventories, they get reports when something gets to a certain level. So there’s no rush orders in that. And with those rush orders, the costs go up because you’re trying to rush it now and also you’re trying to manage that because you might not be able to get in time. You’re looking for a different vendor who can produce this for you.
Jennifer: 09:27 What I think is also important is just how exhausting that gets when your whole job is just these one-off crises. “Oh my God, that didn’t get printed” and “Oh, this didn’t get sent there and we ran out.” And, in the meantime, they’re like, “Aren’t you supposed to be doing this amazing social media campaign for our new product?” And you’re, “I literally spent 12 hours today tracking this thing down and getting it to where it needed to be.” So it’s a constant struggle.
Larry: 09:55 Yeah. We support some of our customers with some of their conference management. What we found out is the marketing team used to spend a lot of time trying to manage all this and then their team comes to them and asks, “Hey, what’s our mobile strategy?” And it was like, “Well, I didn’t have time because I spent this whole day trying to find this banner stand for the salesperson.”
Jennifer: 10:17 And that’s never something you want to have to say. That’s not what makes you feel good at all.
Larry: 10:23 No! No. That’s where we’ve developed a resource for managing materials for any type of sponsorship opportunity, whether it’s career fairs, conferences, anything like that. You can work with other vendors on this but they don’t keep that inventory of the conference materials, whether it be tablecloths, banner stands, collateral, promotional pieces. The salesperson goes online, plugs in the information. The inventory sends it out to the location. When they get through, they pack it back up with the address label and send it back to the inventory so they can put it back for its next use.
Jennifer: 11:04 That’s fantastic because I, literally, remember being on the phone at some trade show in Vegas and the shipper had inadvertently sent our one booth – the one booth we had – I think it was in Phoenix or something. And we’re, “NO! What are you thinking? And where do we get it?” And they’re like, “Well, it’s stored here.” And no, it’s not supposed to be stored there. It’s supposed to be here, where we can set it up and it’s just so chaotic. And for somebody like me who’s really more of a digital marketer, having to deal with physical. I always say brick-and-mortar, but, obviously, we’re not talking buildings, we’re talking booths and signage, but that is a very different thing. So to be able to handle the hardcore, real-life inventory, as well as the digital stuff, that’s got to make a big difference, I would think.
Larry: 12:01 A lot of the marketing budget goes to these shows, so you want to put your best foot forward at each event. A lot of times what we’ve seen is, before we started working together on this stuff, the conference materials might get shipped to the hotel of the conference site, but the salesperson or whoever’s going to be the representative for the company, they don’t have the tracking information and they don’t know where it is at the site. It’s like we spoke about in our first conversation, give the business development team the keys to manage the process, give them the tracking information, give them the information so they can find it. And also, through our marketing-on-demand resource, provide a way they can print materials at the show if they need, to give them every access you can to make that conference a success.
Jennifer: 12:55 When I think about creative energy at a conference, what I really think about is getting your team away from those details of setup and logistics enough that they can do what really needs to be done at those conferences. Which is not only meeting people and networking but, as a marketer, doing research right there with your target audience, with that demographic that you’re trying to reach. That’s where you want to go and be able to take videos with your clients and interview new audiences and do all that background information that you’re trying to do. Like focus groups. Nobody can do that if they’re scrambling trying to figure out what happened to the banner stand or what happened to their main sign or why the booth is here but half of it’s there.
Larry: 13:40 One thing that we try to be an advocate of is, when the materials come back, to check and make sure everything is good. Because what you don’t want to happen is you open up the banner stand and it’s messed up or the table cloth hasn’t been cleaned. Or you don’t want the computers to be malfunctioning and then all of a sudden that becomes an issue. So, what we try to do is launder the tablecloths, check the computers, check the banner stands, fix the issues we see. So it’s ready for its next use.
Jennifer: 14:12 That’s amazing. You see, this is why I love talking to you because I didn’t even know those were options out there.
Larry: 14:18 A lot of times the customers don’t realize that our big message to any customer is let technology do the heavy lifting when it comes to any marketing activity. If you can focus on the bigger strategic initiatives and let the technology manage the process.
Jennifer: 14:35 Absolutely. Larry, this is why I love talking with you. This is why I love having you on the podcast and thank you so much for sharing your insights about this. I think everyone in marketing and sales is going to agree, the more we can invest our creative energy for what we’re really trying to do, whether it’s focus on that client or focus on that campaign, that’s best for the company.
Larry: 14:58 Absolutely. And my joy is working with the creative teams and helping them to focus that time into the area that they want to be. Instead of just constantly tracking materials or updating information.
Jennifer: 15:10 Absolutely. And for everyone listening, you can learn more about Larry’s work at LandRco.com. For all of you who came in late, Larry is the Brand Ambassador for L & R, which is today’s sponsor. We’re partnering together to really help get a message out there about marketing teams and that they really can be more productive, and it doesn’t always have to be about one-off projects. We invite you to go back to Part One, when Larry and I were talking about helping sales and marketing teams work together, and in Part Two, when we talked about protecting brand integrity. This is Part Three, where we talked about really strategically investing in the creative energy of your teams. Larry, it was such a pleasure having you. I hope you come back some time and, for everyone else, if you have questions about lead generation, please come visit me, Jennifer, Michelle, at michellemarketingstrategies.com. Catch you next time!