Keith Reznick is President of Creative Training Solutions, a leader in the design and delivery of training products and programs for sales, sales support, and marketing professionals.

While wrapping up the panel discussion she led at the 7th annual MOD Awards in Las Vegas, Liz Miller, vice president of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council explained, “The role of marketing is to convert brands into business.” Brilliant in its simplicity. Powerful in its implications. Most marketing and sales leaders – be it the Chief Sales Officer (CSO) or a manager – are  in one way or another measured on their contribution to the bottom line.

In most companies, marketing or sales (or both) provide funding for shows and events. Both groups have options – they can fund other marketing mix elements and other ways to generate sales. How do executives make decisions about how to invest their budgets and other resources?

Questions they’re probably asking and discussing include, “How do shows and events enhance our brand? Provide positive customer experiences? Convert our brand(s) into business?” In other words, “What value do shows and events provide?”

To provide the most value it’s important that you develop insight into your company’s specific sales and marketing priorities. Questions you might ask are, “What are our company’s key business improvement initiatives? What are our major challenges? What opportunities exist in our constantly evolving marketplace?” The more insight you develop, the more value you can provide.

Marketing and sales professionals’ challenges include:

  1. Aligning or realigning value propositions to each specific target audience served.
  2. Reducing and optimizing marketing and selling costs.
  3. Protecting key customer relationships from increasingly aggressive competitors.
  4. Cross-selling to open new accounts and develop key accounts to their full potential.
  5. Ensuring customers have positive experiences at every touchpoint in the relationship continuum.

Shows and events are both marketing and sales activities that can address these challenges. To provide the most value you have to know what specific challenges and opportunities your marketing and sales executives are focused on.

A few years ago I asked just over 100 trade show managers the following question, “How many of you know the specific goals of your largest funding source?” Only two people raised their hands. My follow up question was, “Would you be able to provide increased value if you did?” was answered with a resounding, “Yes.” If you don’t know the answers to some of the questions posed above, set up appointments with your company’s sales and marketing executives to discuss their specific challenges and opportunities. Explain that you need to know to better align your show and event program with their efforts. Let them know that one of your goals is to convert your company’s brand into business.

How many of you know the goals of your largest funding source? Share your responses below!