What smart content marketers do at conferences

Despite early reports of its demise, the old fashioned, face-to-face conference or trade show is not dead. Next week the security industry congregates at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. The following week, the healthcare IT industry gathers in Orlando for HIMSS.

If you’re going to either of these conferences or others, you can be working on your content marketing without writing a word. A trade show gives you a great opportunity to talk with a cross-section of your prospects and find out what types of information they need to move along the sales cycle – exactly the insight you need to refine your content marketing strategy.

  • What kinds of questions were people asking? You might want to create or update a FAQ.
  • What kinds of validation did they need? What made them pay attention – a customer story? An article reprint? An analyst report?
  • What were their sticking points and concerns – price? Complexity? Integration with legacy systems? You might want to create additional white papers or solution notes to specifically address those ‘push-back’ areas.
  • Which of your competitors did they mention? Maybe you need a competitive comparison or buyer’s guide to help frame decisions.
  • Did they watch a streaming video in your booth? Do you need more videos to catch interest?
  • Did you learn of any new industries or case studies for your product or service? Maybe you need new content focused on that vertical.
  • More subtly – what kind of people are your prospects? What other worries or ambitions do they have? Can you use any of your impressions to flesh out distinct buyer personas?

Take copious notes. If you have salespeople working the floor, ask them to do them same. Then when you’re back home, rubbing your aching feet and re-introducing yourself to your spouse, take out the notes and create an action plan for your content marketing. Figure out what holes you need to plug to help your prospects move more smoothly through the lead and sales cycle.

When everything’s done, you’ll not only have new leads from the conference, you’ll have a better strategy for turning those leads (and others like them that weren’t at the conference) into customers.

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