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Macro Trends in Marketing & Sales

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Kathy Keyes Webster is the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Association for Manufacturing Technology, which owns IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show.

I was lucky enough to attend INBOUND 2017, a communications conference attended by 21,000 professionals, put on by HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company with $271 million in total revenue in 2016. The four-day conference was full of inspirational keynotes, practical advice, and educational programs from creative directors of Fortune 500 companies to communication experts from small public relations boutiques.

Inform, Trust, Connect, Include…were themes throughout this event. These characteristics are fundamental to any good relationship, whether it’s between neighbors or a business and its customers, and are the emerging currencies of marketing and sales in the 21st century. Read on to make sure your IMTS 2018 digital marketing and sales strategy includes them.

The Internet has turned customers into savvy, well-informed buyers, changing the way the world does marketing and sales. “INBOUND” isn’t just the name of the conference. “Inbound” is the innovative marketing and sales strategy taking hold. Inbound flips the traditional marketing and sales style to one that empowers and informs the customer. Inbound focuses on customers finding you.  

Inbound replaces cold calling, with blog writing or short videos on useful topics that help your prospects solve problems. Rather than producing a commercial that interrupts a program, an inbound marketer creates a video that their prospects want to see. Inbound is about joining in the conversation, sharing helpful relevant content with the world through all channels including social media.

HubSpot Co-Founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah urge marketers to provide useful and delightful media. Former SurveyMonkey President and Evite Co-Founder Selina Tobaccowala was driven by creating useful products that impact people’s lives in the real world.

Their advice reminds me of a quote by Thomas Jefferson, “Keep only what is useful and beautiful.” Whether looking for a new car or a machine tool, prospective customers are seeking useful information to solve their problems and when they get it in a pleasant and unexpected way, they are delighted. The new marketplace demands information and an enjoyable online experience, which can range from a pleasant surprise to true entertainment.  

With the emergence of pervasive fake news, trust in what we see and hear is eroding. WWE Superstar John Cena and top Podcaster Brett Trapp stressed how grateful they are to their fans (social media followers and customers) and the mutual respect they feel for them.

Cena and Trapp credit their success to “trust,” as it was earned through respect, credibility, open communication, and consistency in interactions, timing, service and quality, as well as communicating mistakes and bad news. Trapp ended with his “ARMPIT” acronym: “All (that) really matters: perpetually introducing trust.” With trust all comes into place.

Every speaker at INBOUND shared their personal story, including personal struggles, to connect with the audience, but also to show how their experience brings value to their business. Good marketers connect with customers and prospects by listening and responding authentically to show their customers they care. In return, their customers show loyalty by using their brand. Good storytelling reveals vulnerabilities and builds connections among people.

Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John told how she came to America as a child from Ghana and experienced prejudice, which has driven her to grow Uber’s brand recognition, loyalty and equity around the world. Her experience also shaped her motivations when she was Head of Global Consumer Marketing for Apple Music and iTunes.

Pixar President and Co-Founder Dr. Ed Catmull and former First Lady Michelle Obama explained an inclusive culture, is not just diverse. In an inclusive culture, each member feels his or her ideas have equal value.

Obama stressed an inclusive team is more than just being tolerant of differences; members are kind, empathetic and take time to check-in with each other without criticism. And that’s how Catmull described his creative team. With Pixar’s inclusive culture, many ideas were generated to move a project forward, which is what happened when he was working on the movies Up and Inside Out. He admitted struggling with weaknesses in the plots, but his diverse, yet inclusive team came up with hundreds of ideas before settling on one.

Bring it Together for IMTS 2018
With IMTS 2018, Sept. 10-15, just 10 months away, you are likely including the above elements in your marketing plan. As you learn more about your customers, consider visiting www.imts2018.com to see what manufacturing equipment or technology would help you solve your customers’ problems.

Inform, Trust, Connect, Include … are qualities of IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show.

IMTS INFORMS the manufacturing industry of the latest technology, and through its website, e-newsletter, webinars, IMTSTV, and the IMTS Conference, which brings the industry together, from technicians to C-level executives, to discuss technology trends, workforce, and new ideas to enhance your business.

IMTS is a TRUSTED brand, and has been a private event for manufacturers for more than 75 years.

IMTS CONNECTS machine technology buyers and sellers across America and around the world. Visitors can connect with exhibitors through two online tools:

·       Find Exhibitors via product category, company name, pavilion, country, state, or booth.

·       MyShow Planner allows visitors to map an efficient tour of the show floor, set up meetings with exhibitors, and conduct post show actions.

IMTS INCLUDES all ages and welcomes exhibitors and attendees from around the world. At IMTS 2016, international visitors came from 117 countries. During IMTS 2016, IMTS and its exhibitors hosted the Smartforce Student Summit, which was attended by a record number of 17,000 students, parents and educators.

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