Monday, 22 May 2017

Review: Trinity #9

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are attempting to separate the imagined from the actual in the aftermath of their encounter with the White Mercy, but more current crises require their attention when an emergency at the orbiting Watchtower intervenes. What alien assailants have imperiled the Justice League?


Trinity #9 Synopsis:


Clark Kent has brought Diana Prince and Bruce Wayne to a cave near Devil’s Mouth Falls, an hour north of Smallville, to offer them evidence that the White Mercy might not have been merely a figment of Mongul’s imagination. Their investigation is interrupted, however, when Cyborg’s systems open a Boom Tube that transports the three heroes to the Watchtower. The Action Ace, the Amazing Amazon, and the Caped Crusader arrive to find the Justice League has been attacked, leaving the satellite damaged and their teammates injured… or worse.


Cyborg’s systems are shutting down, so his survival requires that he be connected to a power source soon. The effort to get Victor Stone to safety takes the trio past pods containing living organisms, into a confrontation with mutated teammates, and on a dangerous excursion into space. The Flash shows up in time to save Batman and explain what has happened, while Superman and Wonder Woman learn the disturbing truth straight from the source’s mouth.



Trinity #9 Analysis:


This series has suffered from something of a disconnect since the conclusion of Manapul’s opening arc. In the interim, writer Cullen Bunn crafted a couple of one-shots starring supervillains and exploring the consequences of Superman: Reborn, respectively. While all these installments ultimately may tie together, the present effect is one of cascading dissonance in which any given chapter appears utterly unrelated to those immediately before and after it. The return of Manapul’s unifying hand to the helm for Trinity #9, therefore, is most welcome.


Remarkably, the creator carried nearly the entire load in Dead Space — Part One, as Manapul supplied the script, the pencils, the inks, the colors, and the cover of Trinity #9. Only Steve Wands’s lettering prevented this issue from being quite literally a one-man show. This permits a singular vision to permeate every aspect of the story, allowing a consistent mood to be maintained and enabling the subtleties of the script to be reflected in the nuances of the imagery. Manapul appears admirably to have remained equally devoted to each of his duties throughout the issue, continually keeping the layouts inventive, the graphics dynamic, the plot developments dramatic, and the dialogue engaging.


Perhaps it’s just the David Lynch devotee in me, but it is difficult to believe the inclusion of certain elements in Trinity #9 — released mere days before the return of Twin Peaks following an interminable 25-year hiatus — was at all coincidental. This issue, after all, contains inscrutable connections to space aliens, mysterious petroglyphs engraved on cave walls, and detectives endeavoring to distinguish between dreams and reality. If those plot points aren’t enough to convince you of the existence of deliberate linkage, it is rather telling that, alongside the unconscious Justice Leaguers drifting in the zero gravity of the disabled Watchtower, we see a white porcelain cup of rich black coffee. Maybe the putative propinquity of Twin Peaks to superhero comics still strikes some readers as spurious… but perhaps there’s something to the fact that Dale Cooper and Jimmy Olsen share the same middle name. I’m just sayin’.


Because Dead Space — Part One started a new arc by a returning writer, it remains unclear how (or even if) Trinity #9 lines up with either of the preceding pair of issues. Nevertheless, the opening exchange between Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in the cave near Devil’s Mouth Falls clearly circles back to the series’ initial storyline and reemphasizes its ongoing relevance. Further fleshing out will be necessary: Better Together began as an attempt to build bridges between the pre-Flashpoint Superman and the New 52 Batman and Wonder Woman, but that particular segment of the now-reunified timeline since has been changed in what remain unexplained ways. In the meantime, it is more than a little odd to see the three heroes talking about their struggle against Mongul with nary a mention of their subsequent conversation, in which they agreed to deceive the selfsame Justice League they thereafter are summoned to save. Accordingly, this installment has lingering issues as an integrated component of the larger Rebirth continuity that cannot be ignored, yet — viewed in isolation and judged on its individual merits — the opening chapter of this emerging storyline served as a wholly satisfactory superhero adventure.


Did Francis Manapul’s return to the masthead cause Dead Space to come alive for you?


Have Cyborg open up a Boom Tube into the comments, where we can ComiConverse about Trinity #9!



Source: B2C

The Top 10 Secrets for Sales and Marketing Alignment From the Pros

Aligned 2017


When building a house, you can’t start with putting up walls and a roof – you must start with setting and building the foundation. When producing a movie, you can’t start with the conflict – you must start with character and plot development. When building a relationship, you can’t propose on the first date – you must start building trust and rapport.


Business is the same; you must start with the foundation. But, business is different in the sense that there’s no obvious place to start – no “standard” foundation. Before you start with the fun and sexy topics like technology and tactics, you have to start with the fundamental pieces.


One of those foundational pieces is sales and marketing alignment. Without it, you’re wasting money, time and energy.


We’re talking with some of the brightest leaders in sales and marketing to talk about the strategies and tactics they’re using to drive alignment and fuel growth. Here are some immediate and actionable pieces of advice from our speakers that you can use right now.


Deploy Empathy for Sales and Marketing to Understand Each Other



Gary VanerchukGary Vaynerchuk
CEO, Vaynermedia

“Sales and marketing orgs are going to hate each other because they have different objectives.


Sales people – one move from your marketing team can change everything for you. They can do 0 for 92, but one activation at a conference, one video they make for Facebook, one sponsorship, one thing fixes everything. They are literally Mike Tyson – one punch. That you have to respect. There’s nothing that you, a salesperson, can do, that will ever map to one excellent execution in marketing that has the same impact.


Next, marketers – I love that you can be highly successful and everyone knows how you are, but you’re not practical and you don’t get the full picture all the time. Your salespeople are grinding day-in and day-out, and are trying to clean up from the mistakes you’ve made or the misses you’ve had. They don’t have the luxury of your budget that has no quantifiable evidence to success. And you’ve got to be empathetic to your sales team because they are there and there’s no wiggle room.


Both of you desperately need to empathize with the other party. Those are the organizations that win. But that’s up to the head of marketing and the head of sales — to be aligned at the top and create the air-cover for their marketing and sales teams to be able to create a cohesive unit. And that’s what great alignment is.“


Sales Enablement is the Glue that Holds Sales and Marketing Together



Jamie ShanksJamie Shanks
CEO, Sales For Life

“They put together the people, process, and technology that can get the digital seller ready from a skills and a tech stack standpoint. You cannot be a digital seller without those two.”


Most Sales Enablement leaders are trainers, not divisional leaders. Where this fails is when a Sales Enablement leader is hired and they bring in the same playbooks that worked for them in the 20th century. They are analogue coaches and trainers, so they try to throw workshops at the problem, buy tools and pray that people roll them out“


The Two Biggest Pitfalls that Companies Make that Cause Mis-alignment



Trish BertuzziTrish Bertuzzi
President & Chief Strategist, The Bridge Group

“One of the biggest pitfalls of alignment is people thinking it happens fast. If your deal size is over $50K and you’re selling something complex or selling into the enterprise, you know what you’re sales cycle is. But just because you’re implemented a new strategy doesn’t mean you’ve shortened your sales cycle. What it does mean is you’re shortened your time to engagement with the right accounts. People confuse those two issues. They’ll give an Account Based Revenue strategy 3 months then say ‘we don’t have any revenue out of it.’ Well, your cycle was 3-9 months to begin with. What do you expect?!


You need to be willing to make that investment in time. It’s different, but you will get there.


The other pitfall is not having the right metrics in place. If marketing is still comped on number of leads generated or MQLs, that doesn’t make sense for this strategy. You have to think about what are the metrics by which we’re going to measure success, and how to we drive behavior to support those metrics.”


Get Sales and Marketing Working Together Against Revenue



Craig RosenbergCraig Rosenberg
Chief Analyst & Co-founder, TOPO

“The big one is something we’ve all wanted for a long time, which is they have dividing lines for what they’re responsible for, but that’s not where they end the relationship. Frankly, that falls on marketing. Instead of isolating marketing to the job of creating MQLs, those two work together against revenue. It’s something we’ve always talked about but it doesn’t happen.


When they do that, they have common milestone, goals and a plan to get there.


There’s the soft stuff like communication and collaboration, but that doesn’t work unless they are both focused on the goal, the journey to get to the goal, and how they can help each other get there.”


Align Around the Status Quo to Find Leverage



Jill KonrathJill Konrath
Best-Selling Author & Keynote Speaker

“Misalignment usually boils down to a root cause, and it’s the root cause that needs to be addressed. The root cause is the lack of a solid understanding of the buyer. I see it in marketing and in sales. Everybody is still too product and service focused; they’re driving towards their personal results, but they don’t know enough.


Even though, in recent years, people have been getting into buyer personas but they are very shallow, even the ones that I see in big companies. ‘Our buyer is a 32-year-old male into extreme sports etc. etc.’


Let’s get real. What does this buyer think about every day? What is this person’s role in the organization? What would make them want to change from the status quo? What is their status quo?


Virtually all marketers fail to tell their salespeople about the status quo. There’s usually three or four primary status quos. If you understand these, you’ll understand the leverage points”


How Technology Can Help or Hurt Your Organizational Alignment



Jon Miller EngagioJon Miller
CEO and Cofounder, Engagio

“Sales has always talked about accounts – at the end of the quarter, they talk about the accounts they’ve closed. Marketing has historically always talked about leads, and this is the fault of marketing automation platforms, which are lead-centric. So, you’ve got marketing working in a lead-based system and you’ve got sales working in an account-based system, which is inherently a mismatch that makes things hard.


It encourages marketing to be more focused on quantity – how many leads did I get? At the end of the day, sales care more about quality – am I engaging with the right kinds of people at the right accounts?


To make matters worse, both departments are generally working in different systems. Marketing has historically worked in their marketing automation platform, and 8 years ago, that wasn’t so bad because sales wasn’t sending their own emails at high volume. But in the last few years, we’ve had this emergence of sales automation tools. Now marketing is sending drip campaigns using their tools, and you also have sales sending drip campaigns using their tools. The problem is marketing doesn’t know who’s getting emailed by sales, and sales doesn’t know who’s getting emailed by marketing. That is not a cohesive customer experience, which is what really matters in the end.”


Get Marketing to Embrace Revenue Responsibility



Matt HeinzMatt Heinz

President, Heinz Marketing

“Traditionally, marketing has prioritized tactics and activities over outcomes. We have a sales team that is grinding it out at the end of the month and at the end of the quarter, while marketing is at the bar celebrating because they hit their re-tweet goal. That is not alignment!


You have to focus on metrics that you can buy a beer with.


The outcome of marketing should be sales development. If you start thinking about marketing as the sales development department we might be moving in the right direction. For alignment from the company standpoint, you have to step up and own metrics that you may not be immediately comfortable with (and certainly don’t have complete control over), but are the metrics that your CFO recognizes and your organization prioritizes. It would drive alignment of activity and metrics of culture inside of your marketing organization moving forward.


You move from an environment of more – more leads, traffic, clicks, retweets – and focus more on the business of pipeline. Focus on driving quality over quantity.”


Use Playbooks to Fill the Gaps in the Sales Process



Dave BrockDavid Brock
CEO at Partners In EXCELLENCE, Sales Author

“You can think of our sales process as operating from a 50,000 foot level. The playbook takes the sales process down to the 10,000 or 15,000 foot level. If we do them right, they’re focused on a certain industry and the personas that are typically involved in the buying decisions. They take the general things that we focus on in the sales process and make then very specific in both the context and the content that is relevant to engaging customers effectively.


There are various approaches to playbook, but the best ones that I see mirror the sales process but then take it down to this very deep level. They start to move to the customer-specific issue and how we can engage the customers in those industries about those issues. Then, deeper than that, how do we engage each person in the buying process. We can start looking at the persona-specific issues.


The playbooks really provide guidelines to help us become increasingly relevant in our conversation and guide our customers through the buying process”


2017 Will Be The Year of Failure



KeenanKeenan
CEO, A Sales Guy, Author

“If your SDRs sit with marketing, then they should absolutely be compensated on their ability to get the meeting. But marketing as a whole is more ambiguous on what they’re doing, so they have different metrics, but at the end of the day, if those metrics don’t get me the end revenue that I need, then they haven’t been successful. I like them to be more focused on the broader number that sales is also compensated on. If sales has a quota of $10M across 10 reps, then marketing damn straight better have $10M associated in their compensation as far as their bonuses.


Here’s the difference though – it should be part of their total target compensation, or on-target earnings. It shouldn’t be that marketing is compensated on, $10M for example, and if you hit this, you get a bonus on top, but if not, no worries, you get fully comped. Your totally target comp should include that. If you’re going to go hire a marketing executive for a quarter of a million dollars a year, but they only get 75% if they don’t hit their number. Compensation shouldn’t be additive – it should be the same as sales.”


Reverse Engineer Case Studies to Drive Alignment



John BarrowsJohn Barrows
Owner, JBarrows Sales Training

“What can sales and marketing do to get better aligned? Just sit together!


But my favorite way of alignment sales and marketing – I don’t think sales reps get enough education just for business acumen purposes. Sales is finally starting to become professional. The problem is that we still teach on skills, techniques and processes but what we don’t reach on is business acumen. Helping a kid right out of school have a formal business conversation with an executive. Not your BANT questions.


The way I recommend doing this is running a call blitz. My favorite way to run a call blitz is reverse-engineer a case study. By the way, for all marketers, the only things that I’d focus on are case studies, case studies, case studies. These are stories – identify quantifiable results within those case studies. Don’t say, ‘after implementing our solution, they got significantly better results.’ Quantify it.


After that call blitz, sales and marketing sit down together and say ‘this worked and this didn’t.’ Do this just once a week, you’ll produce results, and any company can do it with no excuses”


As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into aligning sales and marketing – that’s just the tip of the iceberg.



Source: B2C

Managing Change Requests in Your Projects

Change request forms are used to help the project team find, evaluate, and confirm how changes to the project are handled. How change requests are handled can directly impact the cost, quality, and schedule of your project. As a result not all change requests should be approved. Evaluation of whether or not to approve a change request will depend on its impact to the project initial requirements. Effectively managing change is particularly challenged in organizational cultures where specific requirements gathering are hindered as a result of:


  • Conflicting priorities

  • Conflicting roles

  • Non-dedicated team members (multi-tasking, etc.)

  • Ineffective product ownership (sponsors, etc.)

A generic requirements document confirms the following:


  • Requirements definition

  • Output (results)

  • Scope (in scope & what falls outside the scope)

  • Acceptance criteria (if X does/has Y the deliverable is accepted)

Confirming project requirements faces increasing challenges in environments who meet the following characteristics:


  • Experience: Inexperienced with project management methodology.

  • Structure: Uncommitted to following the project management methodology (use a hybrid form, lacking focus on the tools, mechanisms, and outputs required throughout the project life-cycle).

The project owner, sponsor, manager, and analyst need to confirm the project requirements during the planning stage and before the project and executed. Project owners (or sponsors) that attempt to delegate this responsibility to the project team are inadvertently adding project risks.


Although some cultures are less likely to use the change request process it is still advised to avoid:


  • Scope Creep: This involves project stakeholders requesting new deliverables and goals be added to the project.

  • Cost Overruns: This involves more costs as new deliverables are included in the project, and the schedule is prolonged.

  • Impact to Quality: This involves decreasing quality as more is attempted with fewer resources (or within the same constraints).

  • Impact to Schedule: This involves adding work that requires the schedule being prolonged, potentially being unavailable to the customer(s) when needed.

A case example: Technology design and migration project


The following case example is described in brief but helps to establish the importance of confirming the requirements up front AND using a formal change request process. The project a colleague was working on was the updating and migration of the corporate website. The project sponsor, and consulting representative, had given a presentation to the leadership team two years prior. The PowerPoint presentation was considered a great success, and the plan was approved to move forward.


Now the project is reinitiated two years in the future. A temporary project manager was brought onboard to facilitate the project. Unfortunately the following were observed (and communicated to the leadership team) during the schedule 6 months to complete the project:


  1. Sponsor: The project sponsor was not aware of the most recent status update

  2. Schedules: The project was also being implemented concurrent with agencies (also updating and migrating their websites)

  3. Charter: There was no charter available for the project manager; for the single agency, or the larger project

  4. GANTT: There was no GANTT chart available for the project; for the single agency, or the larger project

  5. Risk Register: There was no risk register available for the project; for the single agency, or the larger project

  6. Scope: The scope creep has increased to include having executive leads take on the ‘author’ role for each page (relative to their departments).

  7. Roles: None of the ‘authors’ were interested in the responsibility (<25%) or learning the technology platform.

  8. Deliverables: The content on the existing platform was greatly out of date. The previous ‘authors’ were either not assigned (i.e., known) or were no longer with the agency.

  9. Deliverables: The ‘authors’ were also not available to migrate their own content to the new site.

  10. Roles: A temporary contract staff had to be hired to complete the work. Instead of the agency project manager supervising the contractor’s work, it was assigned to the parent company.

  11. Roles: The parent company project manager refused to use the supplied migration plan; or follow the contractor’s feedback (as they were familiar and currently using the migration plan).

  12. Schedule: The schedule was to launch the new platform by the end of March. The scope creep, role conflicts, and added role responsibilities required an extended schedule. The launch date was postponed (doubled the original estimation).

  13. Culture: Stakeholders who participated in the original leadership meeting (and business case presentation) subsequently felt left out of the consulting and planning process two years later. This group directly challenged the appropriateness of the business case later on, and stalled several efforts.

A change request was required at items #5, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12. These would not have been needed if the requirements document was completed, which would have impacted items #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 13. Instead of confirming the requirements, or facilitating additional requirements gathering efforts (and/or kickoff meetings), additional layers of oversight was introduced. Project complexity escalated as a result, and medium/low level questions were managed as Phase Gates (completely stalling the project for week(s) at a time).


In order for quality to be maintained the project schedule was doubled and additional resources were brought onboard to accommodate the increased complexity and additional scope.


 


Change Request Model


The change request process is fairly simple and generally follows these steps:


  • Identification of the change being requested (form completed)

  • Review of the change being requested (form reviewed)

  • Risks and impact of the change identified

  • Alternatives identified and reviewed, if necessary

  • Decision, or alternative proposals, provided to the project owner

 



Attempts to resolve project barriers, without the aid of a change request process, are also less effective and likely to increase complexity in the following areas:


  • Structure: Project structure and governance tools are less likely to be effective

  • Roles: Impacts roles and responsibilities (as well as accountability and follow through)

  • Requirements: Impacts the requirements gathering and confirmation process (scope creep often results)

  • Risks: Risks increase as too many people get involved, risks proliferate (and/or are unresolved), new requirements are introduced, and stakeholder satisfaction deteriorates.

Unfortunately the challenges described above are all too common. The performance of poorly planned projects are often not blamed on the project owner and sponsors but are instead blamed on the project team that are responsible for meeting the project’s goal, albeit without the resources needed to be successful. When this happens the public image and reputation of the project team and company are affected.


Confirming the project roles, responsibilities, requirements, and outputs prior to executing the project is crucial to its success.


How does your team ensure the project requirements are confirmed prior to project launch? Address challenges created when a project sponsor/owner is unavailable to confirm the project requirements? Share your comments below.



Source: B2C

4 UX Trends You Should Be Implementing on Landing Pages


There’s nothing more annoying than browsing online, clicking an ad you’re interested in, and being directed to a poorly designed landing page that doesn’t offer you what was promised in the ad.


People are impatient. If your landing page doesn’t correspond to the ad they clicked or they can’t easily see the benefits offered and CTA, they’ll bounce. Not only are you losing leads, but you’re creating a bad first impression of your brand, and users today aren’t afraid to voice their displeasure.


That’s where landing page optimization comes into play because creating an enjoyable user experience will persuade visitors to fulfill the conversion goal.


User Experience: Why It Matters


The principles of a good user experience can be summed up in Henry Dreyfuss’ quote from the book, ‘Designing for people’:


“When the point of contact between the product and the people becomes a point of friction, then the designer has failed. On the other hand, if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient — or just plain happier — by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded.”


This makes sense when you consider 50 milliseconds is all you get to form a first impression — so your landing page must be designed well and immediately resonate with visitors.


Designing a pleasurable landing page user experience involves exactly what Dreyfuss mentioned. Make visitors:


  • Feel more comfortable e.g. a short lead capture form, or displaying security badges on your page)

  • Eager to purchase (with attractive benefits and a compelling CTA)

  • Time spent on your page more efficient (keep copy concise and to the point without distracting page elements like navigation links)

  • Happy (with a beautifully designed page that makes converting easy)

Here we’ll go over UX trends that accomplish all of the above and help increase conversion rates.


Scrolling Over Navigation


ClickTale’s user scrolling behavior study analyzed a subset of 12,000 vertical scrolling page views over a month period and found that:


  • 91% of page views occurred on pages with a scroll bar

  • From that 91%, 76% included some scrolling action

  • 22% scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the page

Conclusion: Most people scroll. There’s no need to stuff all your landing page elements above the page fold.


It’s up to you to create an engaging story — using your landing page elements — to convince visitors to stick around long enough to see all your benefits (even if they’re below the fold) and persuade them to act on your CTA.


Sticky CTA Buttons


Call-to-action buttons are the most important element because that is how you actually earn the conversion, so you want the button to be as noticeable as possible. A few ways to accomplish that is color contrast and crafting personalized, actionable copy to persuade visitors to take action.


Designing a prominent CTA button with color contrast is a landing page best practice and a key factor to earning conversions. To that end, a sticky CTA button is always prominent because it follows prospects as they scroll. It remains top of mind. So if at any point while a prospect is evaluating your landing page offer and wants to convert, they can take action easily.


The Campaign Monitor landing page has a sticky navigation CTA button that allows visitors to “Sign Up” wherever they are on the page:



Persuader Videos


Whereas explainer videos typically use animation to promote your offering, persuader videos use humans to explain how your product works, or feature customer testimonials highlighting how your product or service has benefited customers.


Persuader videos help establish a human connection with your visitors. Having a real person speak about your product benefits makes your offering more trustworthy, which leads to higher conversion rates.


To demonstrate, BambooHR uses a persuader video featuring a customer to help convince visitors to request a free demo of the software:



Anchor Tag Visual Cues


Visual cues help guide visitors in a certain direction — or location — on your landing page. Most often, different types of visual cues, such as arrows and human line of sight, are used to point toward the CTA button on landing pages.


Visual cues can also prompt visitors to scroll down the page. One way to do this is with anchor tags at the end of page sections.


An anchor tag allows you to place links on your landing page to help visitors jump from one location on the page to another. They make it more efficient for visitors to navigate between page sections, ultimately creating a better user experience.


Dynamic Yield uses anchor tags near the page fold to guide visitors down the page to their customer success video:



A Well-Designed Landing Page UX Increases Conversions


Landing pages should be designed with the visitor in mind because you want to make it as easy as possible for them to convert. Whether you include sticky CTA buttons, anchor tag visual cues, or something else in between, your goal is to provide an enjoyable user experience so visitors take action on your page.


From the headline, to the CTA copy, to the videos and images, everything should be focused on creating the best viewing experience for your prospects. A well-designed landing page UX ensures that your information is presented in a logical and compelling way. That way visitors can easily see the benefits of your offer and feel enticed to act, increasing conversions and creating a better brand experience overall.



Source: B2C

4 Tools to Help You Find the Best Blog Topics

Improve Your Blog Content With These 4 Tools


4 Tools to Help You Find the Best Blog TopicsToday I have some blog resources to help you improve your content curation. Here’s four links with tips and tricks to kick start your Monday.


Finding the right content for your audience can be time consuming, but there are resources available to make this process more effective. By utilizing the right tools you can attract more readers who will want to share your articles. Would you like to make your blog more successful? Take advantage of these content resources, and let me know how these work for you!


1) Find the top long-tail keywords – Keyword Keg


Improve your chances of being seen on search engines like Google and Bing. Keyword Keg helps you locate the most popular keywords for your target market. This powerful tool pulls information from places like Wikipedia, Amazon, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more, then provides thousands of suggestions from one keyword. Learn from your audiences’ pressing questions online with precision autosuggest from Google and data search.



2) Learn what’s successful in your niche – ContentIdeator


If you need a better method of discovering what the best content in your industry is then this tool can be be helpful. ContentIdeator goes through millions of top blogs, emails, and social media channels then provides data on what is well received by your audience. Conduct research on any topic or competitor on 7 different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.



3) Organize and share your content ideas – Tettra


Gather your team around creative content curation with this powerful tool. Tettra allows you to collaborate with others whether it’s a small team or large organization. The wiki format helps you to more efficiently come up with the best ideas without having to wait for someone to respond. Gather information from articles, and brainstorm various topics for your next blog post.



4) Simplify communication with reminders – TermChase


Would you like to cut down your time on keeping track of the latest trends on Google? TermChase is a tool that provides advanced results directly from the search engine with up to date information. Scores are based on relevance, geographical location, and date with an easy to view graph.



Hopefully you will find these content tools useful for your blog strategy. Are there any that you would like to add as well?



Source: B2C

Everything you Need to Know About Trade Show Graphics

trade show graphics


On average, an exhibitor has three seconds to communicate key brand messages to passersby on the trade show floor. This short timeframe makes having attention-grabbing trade show graphics a must.


In this post, we cover several important areas to creating memorable and attention-grabbing trade show booth graphics.


Brand Personality


brand personality and trade show graphics


While attending a trade show, it is important to showcase your brand’s personality. A brand’s personality should signify human characteristics such as honesty, fairness, friendliness and commitment to customers.


When planning for your trade show, outline your target demographic and the value your brand’s personality can offer.


Once you have figured out your audience and your value proposition, you need to devise a way to communicate your brand’s personality visually via trade show graphics.


When designing graphics to match your brand’s personality, ask yourself the following questions:


  • Is your brand outspoken or reserved?

  • Does your brand embrace playfulness or are you more serious?

  • Does your brand appeal to younger or older clientele?

  • Is your brand considered masculine, feminine or gender neutral?

  • Is your brand an innovator in your industry or are you more traditional?

  • How can you use your brand colors and fonts to show off your personality?

  • Do you consider your brand as having a formal or playful relationship with clients?

Your answers to these questions will dictate the colors, fonts, lighting and interactive elements you incorporate into your trade show graphics, so think carefully when examining your brand’s personality.


Placement of Trade Show Graphics


Purpose, size and legibility are all factors to consider when designing and placing of your graphics. To make trade show graphic design and layout easier, divide your graphics into three categories:


Long-Range Graphics


Long-range trade show graphics


Long-range trade show graphics are graphics that can be viewed and understood from 100 feet away or further. These graphics are typically used for brand visibility and identification and feature your brand’s logo, mascot or signature product.


Long-range graphics for island or peninsula exhibits are usually placed on a hanging sign or tower.


For inline exhibits, long-range graphics can be placed on kiosks, backwall signs or canopies and should be displayed at the maximum height allowed by show management.


Mid-Range Graphics:


mid-range trade show graphics


Mid-range trade show graphics are viewable 10-50 feet from the aisle. Mid-range graphics are most commonly signs and images used to further identify your company and its products and services. The intent of mid-range graphics is to lure attendees from neighboring exhibits or walking the aisles into your space.


Mid-range graphics are placed on the outer walls of an island or peninsula exhibit or featured on the backwall of an inline display. These graphics sholud bepositioned at or just above eye level, between 5-8 feet from the ground.


Short-Range Graphics:


short-range trade show graphics


Short-range trade show graphics are meant to communicate your brand’s message once attendees are in your exhibit space. Short-range graphics include images and text legible only from close distances.


Copy typically includes products or company information as well as infographics, charts and graphs.


Short-range graphics are smaller than mid- and long-range graphics and are meant to be read from 1-10 feet away at eye level, between 5-6 feet from the ground.


Color is King


trade show graphics and color


Color plays a critical role in trade show booth graphics because of its ability to establish the mood of a space. In fact, it can be argued that color—above all else—is the most important detail in trade show graphics.


Below, we cover the best practices for selecting the right colors for your trade show graphics.


Creating a Color Scheme


trade show graphics color scheme


Your color scheme should reflect your brand and personality while complementing your messaging. Your color scheme should tell the world,“I am here. Come visit with me.” While your color scheme should be consistent with your overall marketing design, it should also be bright enough to stand out.


While selecting a color scheme for your trade show graphics, it is important to remember that the way attendees perceive colors heavily depends on the context in which they view them. This makes it extremely important for you to create a color scheme that is harmonious.


Color harmony is defined as an attractive arrangement of colors that are pleasing to the eye. If done right, color harmony will attract prospects and create a sense of visual order in your exhibit.


To create color harmony, match the colors you use for your graphic elements—such as fonts, text holders, images, shapes and boarders—with the colors of your exhibit’s prominent structures and components.


Avoid using obnoxious colors for short-range graphics. However, do use them for long-range graphics to help draw attention to your trade show exhibit.


Be careful of too much color unity, which could lead to under-stimulation, as each design element will appear to meld together. Too much color diversity, however, leads to over-stimulation, so make sure you find the right equilibrium.


Color Psychology


trade show graphics and color psychology


Colors have an uncanny ability to effect emotion and mood. Vivid and lively colors can inspire verse and song, while drab and dull colors can dampen even the highest of spirits.


For example, fast food restaurants use red and yellow in order to create a sense of excitement, while hospitals and spas tend to use blues and greens, which are calming.


In the following chart we list the most popular colors and the associated emotions:




















Red is an intense and passionate color that grabs the attention of the viewer.
  • Hostility

  • Energy

  • Scandalous

  • Attention-grabbing

Purple is most often associated with creativity and luxury. In fact, the ancient Romans viewed purple as a regal color. 
  • Royalty

  • Sophistication

  • Fond memories

  • Mystery

 

Blue is one of the most popular colors for brands and works well to put people at ease. 
  • Trust

  • Reliable

  • Responsible

  • Calming

Green is earthy and symbolizes growth. Green also has a soothing effect on people. 
  • Health

  • Prestige

  • Honestly

  • Natural

 

Yellow produces a warming effect and arouses cheerfulness, energy and mental acuity.
  • Positivity

  • Light

  • Motivation

  • Creativity

 

Orange is a cross between red and yellow and invokes a sense of boldness and excitement. 
  • Fun

  • Vitality

  • Endurance

  • Happiness

 

Brown, like green, is an earthy and comforting color and denotes simplicity. 
  • Durability

  • Natural

  • Simple

  • Richness

 

Black denotes power and authority and is a formal, elegant, and prestigious color. 
  • Prestige

  • Value

  • Classic

  • Sophisticated

 

White represents purity, cleanliness and new beginnings. 
  • Nobility

  • Softness

  • Perfection

  • Sterility

Composition is Key


trade show graphic composition


The composition of your trade show graphics should weave all the separate elements together to form a whole. All of your text, images and colors should come together to form one cohesive look and feel.


Below, we outline the best practices when it comes to mastering the composition of your trade show booth graphics.


Contrast:


Strong contrast in hue and value is essential for creating exceptional trade show graphics. Hue relates to the identity of a color and value measures a color’s brightness or darkness. Contrasting colors are for long-range graphics from a distances and can be used on hanging signs to great effect.


Graphics tell a story, it is important that your attendee has a proper beginning and end point, so that the full impact of the trade show graphics can be felt.


In the Western-world, people read left to right, so placing important images of information to the left and having the viewers eyes progress to the right will help ensure your message is getting across.


Make sure to emphasize logos, products, text and other design elements because they strongly communicate your brand and your value proposition.


Find a Focal Point


trade show graphics focal point


The key element to good trade show graphic composition is having a strong point of focus to help your visitors’ eyes naturally settle on important sections of your trade show exhibit.


When determining your focal point, remember that your main goal should be to communicate an idea, tell a specific story or to relay important information.


Hierarchy


Visual hierarchy is the organization of graphic elements to visually signal importance. More important elements, such as a logo, should be bigger, brighter and bolder than less important elements.


Imagery


trade show graphic imagery


Technological advances in printing have allowed trade show exhibitors to use progressively complex imagery on their trade show booth graphics. However, the rules for effective trade show graphics have persisted: imagery should be bold, clear and easy to understand.


The images you choose for your trade show graphics should support your message and be powerful enough to communicate it, regardless of whether an attendee reads your marketing copy or not.


Many people are visual learners. If you have important data applicable to your business, use charts, graphs, infographics and illustrations to make more complex ideas easier to digest.


Tips for trade show booth graphic imagery:


  • Bold images against simple backgrounds make for high-impact visuals

  • When purchasing stock images, buy the biggest, highest resolution file available

  • Use imagery of your product in action

  • Use imagery of people rather than objects or scenery

The Importance of Lighting and Trade Show Booth Graphics


trade show exhibit lighting


A well-lit trade show exhibit is essential, allowing visitors to easily read signs and promotional materials. Proper lighting leads attendees toward the message your brand is trying to convey. Make sure your graphics are well-lit with quality trade show display lighting that enhances the imagery and messaging of your graphics.


The Importance of Messaging and Fonts in Trade Show Graphics


The best trade show booth graphics incorporate smart brand messaging bolstered by careful use of fonts and typefaces.


To get started, reference the rules of billboard readability, and try to keep your copy to ten words or less.


Copy containing more than ten words is less likely to be read, and trade show graphics that cannot be read in three seconds lose the attention of attendees.


Below we outline best practices when it comes to messaging and fonts for trade show graphics.


Messaging


Tone of Voice



Before you draft your brand messages, you will need to set an engaging tone of voice. To perfect your tone of voice, refer back to your brand’s personality.


Are you going for more of a lighthearted and playful approach? Is your audience made up of executives, therefore necessitating a more serious tone?


Embracing a tone reflective of brand personality will align the message and supporting graphics to your goals and objectives.


Prospect-Centric Messaging



On the trade show floor, your primary job is to attract prospective clients to your booth, so your brand messaging needs to be prospect-centric.


Before deciding on your messaging, take time to do research on what your customers want, which pain points to target and what messaging resonates strongest with your target audience.


Competitive Messaging



Trade shows are one of the few times your company will be face-to-face with your competitors and customers in the same venue.


When planning your trade show graphic messaging, consider your marketplace and keep in mind that your message should be unique to avoid potential buyers confusing your brand with a competitor’s.


Taglines and Catchphrases



A good tagline or catchphrase will amuse and intrigue prospects, raising the chances an attendee will visit your booth on the show floor.


Like prospect-centric messaging, your tagline or catchphrase should be aimed toward the customer, but you must also indicate your brand’s vision and concisely convey what you do. It can be tough to find the right balance between addressing your prospect and promoting your brand, so be patient!


Elevator Pitch


If you have a smaller 10 x 10 trade show exhibit, you have less room for messaging, so you will need to condense your message. Brainstorm ways to describe your brand in 3-6 words. As an added bonus, this exercise can help you simplify your brand messaging in your overall marketing program.


Font and Typeface



The font that you utilize for your trade show graphics has a huge impact on the way show attendees and booth visitors will interpret your brand messaging.


When selecting fonts for your trade show graphics, identify simple and easy to read lettering. Your audience’s eyes may find it difficult to read multiple typefaces, so stick to a simple collection of one to three fonts for maximum readability.


Font Tips:


  • Use scale, shapes or compositional features for words that need emphasis

  • Choose colors that correlate well with your typeface to increase readability

  • Chose a typeface that melds well with copy (i.e. fonts with softer edges are friendly, hard-edged fonts are seen as strong)

  • Apply a line, circle or box to call out copy or to anchor a block of text

  • Leave a sufficient distance between letters to improve legibility for far distances

  • Use a standard fonts, as unique fonts can be distracting

Material Matters



It is said that a painting is only as good as the canvass on which it was painted. The same is true for trade show graphics.


Fabric materials can capture the vivid details of your images and graphic elements. Tension fabrics, which are fabrics designed to stretch, are malleable and easily manipulated, offering greater flexibility in the creative direction your trade show graphics can take.


Laminate and vinyl materials produce a glossy, bright and sleek visual. Consider using these materials for use in promoting bold messages on short-range graphic elements in your booth.


No matter which materials you choose, make sure to pack and store your graphics with care. Sturdy packaging — such as shipping cases, crates, cartons, or protective tubes — is critical in protecting trade show graphics and can take abuse during shipping and storing between shows.


G7 Certification



While seeking a commercial printing partner, ask potential vendors if they are G7 certified. Printers with a G7 Certification maintain specific international standards and are able to deliver the utmost in quality as well as quick turnaround times.


What is a G7 Certification?


The G7 certification is the industry leader in commercial print requirements and ensures consistent reproduction of design and color across printing materials, regardless of the inks or substrates used.


G7 represents “Gray,” and the 7 primary and secondary ink values: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Red, Green and Blue. G7 is the international standard for standardizing printing and print proofing systems.


A G7 certified printer should possess the following traits:


  • Skilled, tested, certified and established to be a leader in commercial print production

  • Knowledge of the fields of color management, process and quality control for proofing and printing materials

  • Works to reduce costs, have quick turnaround time and improve production consistency

Updating Old Trade Show Graphics



Attending trade shows and industry conferences can get expensive. If your trade show exhibit has started to show wear and tear, you can save a lot of money by sprucing up the graphics instead of buying a brand new exhibit. If you need help designing large format graphics check out our post.


New Graphics


For older exhibits, consider giving your exhibit a facelift with new graphics. New trade show graphics also present the perfect opportunity to test out new marketing messages or incorporate new design elements.


Reprint Graphics


A graphic reprint is a cost-effective way to instantly reinvigorate your trade show exhibit with lively colors and new, bright material. Many trade show exhibits are designed with graphic interchangeability in mind, making it an inexpensive way to give your trade show exhibit an immediate makeover.


Conclusion:


A trade show exhibit with stunning graphics will undoubtedly make a huge impact on the show floor and leave a memorable impression on attendees. Work closely with your exhibit partner to determine how to best present your products and services with creative graphics. To learn more trade show tips on ways to become a better exhibitor, download our free Beginner to Winner trade show e-book.



Source: B2C