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September 27, 2011 / jasonpinto

Looking Back at Graph Expo 2011 Marketing Activities

Looking Back at Graph Expo 2011... The Rearview Mirror

Back here at the 21 Concord Street office, the majority of employees involved with Graph Expo 2011 have certainly deemed the show as a success (of course, they haven’t yet seen the final bill for the food and drinks I ordered for our Networking Event).

While I have no idea if the number of attendees or exhibitors was higher or lower than last year, I do know this — both interlinkONE and Grow Socially acquired more qualified leads at this year’s Graph Expo than in the past few years. If we can stay focused and handle our follow-up activities properly, then we will absolutely be earning some of our marketing dollars back.

Of course, it’s been interesting to look at where those marketing dollars were spent. And while I cannot share too many exact numbers and percentages here for you, I did want to share a few observations that I’ve developed after looking at the effectiveness of the various channels we used.


This is certainly a big one. Imagine if we did not use print in our marketing efforts to promote our appearance at one of the biggest shows in the print industry?!

  • Effort: Before the show, we distributed direct mail pieces to prospects, customers, media members, and other print industry people that we hoped to see at the show. The direct mail piece talked about our show plans and promoted a contest that we were running for attendees. People could respond via a QR Code or a personalized URL. Also, we told them to bring the mailer to the booth to double their chances of winning.
  • Observation: The direct mail effort was a success in regards to helping us create awareness and to build our database. In regards to entering our contest, 80% of the respondents entered by scanning the QR Code as opposed to entering the personalized URL! (The reasons for that could be multi-fold; for one, QR Codes are very hot in the print industry. People are familiar with them and curious. Also, the personalized URL was only listed on the back of the card and the QR Code appeared on both sides.)
  • Effort: We were able to get some space in the Show Daily magazine that is published each day. This included product news and event news.
  • Observation:  This turned out to be awesome for us in regards to driving booth traffic. There were a number of attendees that came up to the booth with the Show Daily in hand pointing to the article or blurb that they read about one of our products.

Social Networks

There is no doubt that there are more folks in the print industry using social networks this year than last year. There seemed to be quite a solid amount of activity on the #GraphExpo hashtag on Twitter and I was quite impressed with the attendance and participation at the official Graph Expo tweet-up.

One of my favorite parts about this year’s Graph Expo was having the chance to meet so many of my online friends in real life. If the online relationship with those people had primarily only happened via another channel (email, for example), I do not think that my relationship with these folks would be nearly as strong as it is.


Yes, social networks have changed how companies are communicating with their prospects and customers. Rather than bombarding customers and prospects with countless emails each month, we can share quick-bites of relevant information with them via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other channels.

But this does not mean that we should neglect our email strategy efforts.

Yes, there are more printers on Twitter and Facebook this year than there were last year. But that does not they are using those channels to follow a lot of brands. In a recent article from Jay Baer, he listed statistics that show the average Facebook fan currently “likes” just 9.8 company pages.

While it’s certainly possible for your exciting, cutting-edge, revolutionary, and extremely awesome brand to become one of those 9.8, do you really want to bank your whole marketing budget on that?

Rather, we should be focusing on finding ways to increase the effectiveness of our email efforts by integrating them with social media tools and channels… and vice-versa! Social networks can be a great way to build up our email list; and email can be a great way to drive more traffic to our social networking pages.

Banner Advertisements

This is a tough one. How do you actually measure the effectiveness of your banner advertisements? It’s one thing to measure how many people click-through on them. But certainly, there is something to be said by the impression that a banner Ad could make on someone.

We ran a few banner advertisements on print-related websites before the show. The click-through numbers were not amazing. But that does not mean that we will not analyze our creative, come up with a better call-to-action, and pay for them again. Rather, we need to continue to think of better ways to measure their effectiveness.


Mobile was certainly a very hot topic at Graph Expo. And I am quite pleased by the fact that many printers seem to be taking steps to figure out how it can help their business. I saw lots of folks walking around the show floor with smart phones. We had a lot of people scan the QR Codes on the banners that we had at our booth. And we had a few share their mobile # so that they could be alerted about upcoming events.

What’s Next?

There certainly were other activities and channels that we used before Graph Expo. Once again, webinars proved to be very effective for us.

But no matter what, this is true and will always be true — in order to make an impression and increase demand, a multi-channel marketing effort is absolutely necessary.


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