Tuesday, September 25, 2012


For B2B, Numbers Point to Signs of Optimism
Don’t wait till after the elections to start making decisions. There ain’t gonna’ be an ‘all clear’ signal.

Several key numbers jumped out at us this week and we think they’re worth heeding for B2B marketers. Remember, your customers are not just executives and trade show attendees; they’re homeowners, consumers and individual investors as well.

Through the end of 2011, the tradeshow industry performed better than the U.S. economy in general, beating even an industry-affiliated organization’s forecast for the year and recorded its eighth consecutive quarter of growth according to Center for Exhibition Industry Research (
CEIR) President Doug Ducate.

The CEIR index, which takes into account net square footage, attendance, number of exhibitors and revenue, found that the industry grew by 2.7 percent in 2011.Attendance was the indicator that saw the largest jump, from 2.4 percent in 2010 to 3.4 percent last year.

OUR TAKE: Considering the long lead time involved in the live events business, we’re probably just now seeing signs of optimism that first surfaced in 2010. Like CEIR, we predict event stronger numbers for the live events business as digital fatigue has worn on business professionals who now crave face-to-face interaction even more, albeit selectively, to close deals and consummate relationships.

Shows in some industry sector saw particularly strong growth in 2011. Among them were business-related exhibitions, including those involving machinery (11.2 percent overall); communication and information technology (8.1 percent); and transportation (5.7 percent).

Continuing to lag furthest behind other sectors was that with shows involving building, construction and real estate (which experienced a 5.3-percent decline in 2011).

Macro view
Let’s start with housing. Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes rose more than expected in August to a two-year high, an additional sign the U.S. housing market is firming up in the second half of the year. Purchases of previously owned houses increased 7.8 percent to an annual rate of almost 5 million, the most since May 2010, NAR said. Another report showed that construction began on more single-family homes last month than at any time in the past two years. The median price of an existing home climbed 9.5 percent to $187,400 from $171,200 in August 2011.

OUR TAKE: This confidence should lead to a rise in psychological feelings of wealth, which will lift consumer confidence and spending. We were also encouraged by a couple of things: the housing market should similar gains across ALL regions of the country. What’s more, first-time buyers made up 31 percent of the total compared with the average of 40 percent to 45 percent seen in normal years, which means, longstanding homeowners ARE feeling able to unload their homes and either trade up or scale down as their needs would dictate in a normal economy.

Construction companies too are noting better business conditions. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence climbed in September to the highest level since June 2006. Work began on 5.5 percent more single-family houses in August, taking starts to a 535,000 annual rate, the fastest since April 2010, figures from the Commerce Department also showed today.

Investor confidence in U.S. capital markets rises, doubts remain about overseas markets

The number of investors with at least some confidence in U.S. capital markets has increased slightly since the end of last year, according to the Center for Audit Quality, a public policy organization. Almost two thirds (65 percent) of investors with at least $10,000 in investments have at least some confidence in the market, an increase of 4 percent since 2011, says the Sixth Annual Main Street Investor Survey taken of 1,003 investors. By contrast, their confidence in capital markets outside the United States fell by 8 percent to 35 percent.

For U.S. investors, the CAQ survey found 64 percent feel their personal financial situation will stay the same, while 25 percent feel it will improve over the next year. The four top economic concerns investors have are not having enough money for retirement, not being able to afford health care, not being able to maintain their standard of living and losing their jobs.


As American humorist, Evan Esnar once quipped, “Statistics is the only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.” We like to think of stats as another way of quantifying what’s in your gut. Too much business activity is hung up in wait-and-see mode until the November elections conclude. We strongly urge you to make important decisions NOW for 2013 and beyond. By the time the dust clears, your competitors and best prospects will be far down the road ahead of you. And you’ll be nursing your sorrows at some dingy dive in the town of ShouldaWouldaCoulda.


TAGS: Center for Exhibition Industry Research, CEIR, Doug Ducate, National Association of Realtors, CAQ, Center for Audit Quality, housing prices, B2B marketing, National Association of Homebuilders Wells Fargo Index, Evan Esnar

Monday, September 17, 2012


New Year’s Resolutions in September?
iPad 5. No surprises, but still takes consumers and marketers by storm

As many of you know, last night marked the start of Rosh Hashana, the important Jewish Holiday signifying the start of a new year on the Hebrew calendar and a time of self-reflection and fresh starts. But some things never change (see early mobile/social media device at left introduced about 5,000 years ago).

Regardless of your faith, September tends to be a time of renewal for many of us in the B2B world. Kids are back to school; a new football season is under way; the leaves start turning in many parts of the country and everyone in the business world has shaken off the post Labor Day rust to start making real decisions about Q4/2012 and 2013 (aka Hebrew year 5773).

According to the findings of the "2012 Meetings Industry Pulse Indicator" from Successful Meetings, nearly two-thirds (63.9%) of C-suite executives, presidents, and vice presidents predict that business conditions will be the same at the end of the year as they are now. Of the remainder, one in four (23%) predict better conditions and 13 percent predicting worse conditions. OK, so that’s not exactly a warm and fuzzy forecast, but it also means seven out of eight top level business leaders DO NOT think things will be worse next year, regardless of the election outcome.

PREDICTION: We have no idea which party is going to win the Presidential election. But, we can tell you that if you’re not planning to hit the ground running at 100 percent full speed in 2013, then you ABSOLUTELY will be left in the dust by your competitors and strategic partners. “Cautious optimism” is the new optimism in this hyper competitive global economy. You need to take advantage of any opening you can, just like a bruising running back who turns a tiny opening in the line into a 7 yard gain.
imPact of iPad 5

Consumers aren’t the only ones licking their chops over the arrival of the iPhone 5. As expected, Apple rolled out The 5 on Wednesday with a larger display, improved camera and 4G LTE networking all in a thinner body of aluminum and glass. A JP Morgan estimate projects Apple will sell some 45 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, with more than half being iPhone 5s. What’s more, the dang thing is sold out--Apple reported today that iPhone 5 pre-orders topped 2 million in the first 24 hours--more than double the record set by the iPhone 4S, last year. Retail analysts are reporting back orders of two to four weeks.

While there was nothing in iPad 5’s introduction that hadn’t already been predicted by industry analysts and bloggers, digital ad executives and analysts expect the iPhone to attract new customers and provide a richer platform for mobile campaigns and m-commerce. Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin said in his blog post last week that competitors such as HTC and Nokia already offer some of the features Apple introduced Wednesday, like those for imaging. “But Apple still outpaces the competition when it comes to the entire package--the new iPhone unites significant improvements in industrial design, imaging, audio and connectivity, along with the wealth of new capabilities that iOS6 enables.”

Why ad execs are juiced about the 5

Ad executives see promise with the iPhone 5's larger, 4-inch screen with Retina display, boasting 18 percent more pixels for delivering interactive campaigns. Experts say Mis-clicks will be less likely and actions a little easier to execute. Extra screen size will also be a bonus for landing pages and sites that campaigns link to, encouraging interaction.
The faster delivery of mobile data via 4G could spur greater use of video in advertising with the knowledge that users are likely to have a better experience than with 3G networks. Combined with the better visual aspects of the iPhone 5, it could lead to increased use of apps, the mobile Web and other types of mobile media.

Our Take: If you’re trying to connect with your customers, clients and hot prospects in any
meaningful way, you better assume they’re mobile more often than desk-bound and when they’re mobile, they’re most likely on the Apple platform.


Be smart, be aggressive and be mobile in 2013 (or Hebrew Year 5773). L’Shana Tova. Basically that means have a healthy and sweet New Year. From where we sit, 2013 starts now.


TAGS: Rosh Hashana, Charles Golvin, Forrester Research, Successful Meetings, Apple, iPhone 5


Monday, September 10, 2012


Burnout Redux and the Brain Drain
9 key signs you (or a key employee) could be in the danger zone
Happy Monday. Our recent post about professional burnout obviously touched a nerve. Thanks again for your great comments, even those of you disagreed with us.

As New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman opined yesterday: “The truth is, if you want a decent job that will lead to a decent life today you have to work harder, regularly reinvent yourself, obtain at least some form post-secondary education and make sure you’re engaged in lifelong learning.” In other words, you’re going to have to max out your career goals every day just to keep up with the pack.

Our friend Gavin Pommernelle, President of Darien, Conn.-based HR Talent Driven Value, said “The sad thing is that [burnout] is more and more common now and the loner in the office is getting more company--except that they are all just as stressed. This is partly due to much leaner organizations and people doing everything to protect their jobs.”

Blogger and futurist Seth Godin posted Saturday that it is “sad to think” that the only reason you work is because you get paid to do it. “Now that you've got a skillset and trust and leverage and a following and the tools to make something happen, are you going to invest your heart and soul into something that's important or waste it selling something you're not proud of?”
You also have to factor in the importance of interaction with others. As Pommernelle noted, “Not having time to interrelate with others outside of the day to day role, both socially and professionally, actually hurts your current and future career.”

9 Key Signs of Burnout

Suzanne Burger, Psy.D. points to 9 red flags that signal you or a key employee might be in the burnout danger zone:
  1. A continual increase in job responsibilities, either without a raise, or beyond your ability to comfortably manage.
  2. Having to put on too many faces for too many different people.
  3. Working under a micromanaging boss
  4. Chronic, repetitive, boring work- a job that requires little thought and creativity, one that rarely changes, and offers little challenge.
  5. Required to work long hours to complete your tasks, frequently working more than 40 hour weeks.
  6. Feeling "stuck" in a job or career that is not your ideal job or career.
  7. Having a long history of loyalty to a company, but without receiving expected promotions or raises.
  8. Being consumed by your job, so that your job goes home with you. You may even fall asleep thinking about work and have little or no outside life.
  9. Being forced to work under an oppressive environment, either with difficult or harassing co-workers, or under strict company rules, or strict managers.

While Berger’s “red flags” are designed for the overwhelmed worker, take a moment to consider how many of your key staffers are treading dangerously close to the burnout zone. In this economy, it just takes one well-timed call from a recruiter when they’re having a bad day to convince them to jump ship….and all the smarts and know-how they’ve built up over the years often goes out the door with them.


Gavin Pommernelle, Talent Driven Value, Thomas Friedman, Seth Godin, Suzanne Berger

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Yes, Smartphone Users Are Responding to Ads
Response rates higher for smartphone users who’ve paid for content

A new survey by Frank N. Magid Associates for the Online Publishers Association confirmed what many B2B marketers have long believed--people ARE seeing and responding to mobile advertising delivered to their devices. And, if they’re paying for that content, then their more likely to be paying attention to you.

The OPA-Magid online survey found that nearly half (44%) of the U.S. Internet population owns a smartphone and within that group:
·         93 percent said they regularly access content and information
·         59 percent access the Internet
·         58 percent check email
·         47 percent check weather information
·         31 percent watch video
·         29 percent access news

Among those who consume content on their smartphones, nearly 40 percent say they have responded to mobile advertising. What’s more, 15 percent of smartphone users who consume content on the phone have clicked on an ad, 12 percent have used a special offer or coupon, and the same number have made a purchase either on a PC or at a store after seeing a mobile ad.

Focus on those who pay for content

Interestingly, researchers say ad response rates seem to be higher among smartphone users who have paid for content. One out of four U.S. smartphone owners (24%) have paid for digital content, according to the OPA survey, with 22 percent paying for video, 21 percent for entertainment, 21 percent for books, and 19 percent for weather content. Of those respondents, nearly four in five (79%) have taken action after seeing an ad, with 31 percent clicking on an ad, 30 percent using a special offer or coupon, 27 percent making a purchase on a PC, and 24 percent making a store purchase thank to a mobile ad.


Again and again we see that free only takes you so far. As B2B marketers are learning, not all clicks are created equal. Throw the “braggable metrics” out the window and focus on engagement stats from those who are truly engaged with the content environment in which you’re reaching them. That’s where your real leads are. Everything else is just fishing for “tire kickers.”


Advertising, mobile, research, tablet, Frank N. Magid Associates, Online Publishers Association