Why Create an Integrated Marketing Plan?

A couple posts ago I talked about creating an integrated marketing plan. I’m sure some of you thought it seemed like too much bother. It is a lot of work, but can save you time and money in the long run. Especially with current concerns over the economy, smart marketing is the only way to go. In a B-to-B Marketing Trends Report by the ISBM (Institute for the Study of Business Markets), the number one reported need of marketers was to develop approaches and methods to better understand what customers really need, beyond what they can say or articulate. They wanted opportunities to create real value. This is where an integrated marketing plan can help.

For example, according to a recent report released by IDC, tech marketing spending is expected to increase this year, although at a slower rate than last year. What this means is that tech marketers need to be especially vigilant deciding where to spend their budget. In terms of where marketing program dollars will be spent this year, the report states that events are expected to get the largest share of the pie (19.1%), followed by advertising (17.9%), marketing support and sales tools (14.6%), direct marketing (13.3%), online and interactive marketing (9.9%), public relations (6.3%), collateral (6.3%), research (5.1%), web (3.6%), analyst relations (2.2%) and other (1.7%). (more…)

Demystifying Hotel Revenue Management

Have you recently sent out an RFP, and received limited or no response? Are you finding it more and more difficult to find the right hotel at the right price? Are hotels passing on your business without an explanation? If you answered yes to any of these questions, welcome to the club! Many meeting planners are facing these same challenges. In order to succeed in this hotel seller’s market, planners must first understand the role of revenue management.

Revenue management is not new. Hotels have used it for years. Simply stated, the goal of revenue management is to maximize profits based on projected demand. What is new is how involved hotel revenue managers have become in the sales process, and how influential they are in overall decision-making. More likely than not, it is not the Director of Sales or General Manager that has the final say on whether a hotel signs your business, but the revenue management team that makes the final decision. (more…)

Creating An Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

People make purchases based on connections they have with a particular product or service. That’s why we focus on creating strong connections between our client’s offerings and their target markets to establish long-term relationships between buyers and offerings. Through extensive review and understanding of our client’s needs and vision, we identify the elements that appeal to the target audience and develop an integrated marketing portfolio of advertising, events, public relations and promotions to capitalize on them. In today’s hectic times, we all struggle with limited resources; be it time, money, or manpower. (more…)

Maximize This Year’s Marketing Budget – Part II

Last week, we discussed the initial steps involved in creating a Strategic Meeting Management Program (SMMP). As each company is unique, it would follow that each SMMP should be unique. However, there are some underlying steps that should be considered when creating and developing any comprehensive and successful SMMP. These steps include:

Meeting Leadership: Organize a leadership team that is responsible for setting standard polices and procedures and the oversight of all meetings. This team should have top-level management including a procurement member.

Meeting Approval Process: First define what a meeting is. Is it a gathering of ten or more people? Must outside resources be used? Is travel involved? Once you have defined the term “meeting”, be sure to communicate it to all departments/divisions. Mandate that all meetings must be registered and approved prior to any planning or allocation of funds. (more…)

Maximize This Year’s Marketing Budget

I was surprised by the results of a recent survey. They showed that 95% of meeting planners said their organization does an adequate job of sharing information across departments revealing the total sum of meetings costs and identifying suppliers. But when asked if they must use, or even consider using, the suppliers with volume agreements, almost 50% of the planners said they had no such restrictions. (Meeting News Nov. 2007) This doesn’t make sense. It isn’t enough to wrap your arms around total meeting spend. Companies must leverage this knowledge and spend to significantly lower and/or avoid internal and external costs.

The best way to achieve this goal (and savings!) is to implement a Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP). (more…)

Blogging About Blogging – Part II

In Part One of Blogging About Blogging, we gave you a summary of good reasons to start a corporate blog. Now we’re going to give you some practical tips on actually starting one based on our own recent experience. If you’ve decided that blogging is right for you, read on… (more…)

Marketing and the 3 C’s: Words to Ignore at Your Peril


One morning I was sitting with a client when his phone rang. He picked up the phone and had a heated conversation with the caller. He then said goodbye and slammed the phone down saying, “Customers!” Haven’t we all had that feeling? But you can’t beat listening to the customer. We recommend not only surveys, which are an excellent tool for gathering intelligence, but also face-to-face meetings where you really get to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. You need to listen hard to your customers to improve your value proposition and avoid the commodity trap, or worse, the irrelevance trap! (more…)


Turning briefly to the wonderful world of internet memes: ROFLCon is coming! Some folks at Harvard (although we would have expected MIT) are putting together this conference focusing on the finest of web weirdness.

Tim Hwang, a ROFLCon founder, says “With any hope, the conference will be an irreverent celebration of the amateur insanity, the 15-millisecond celebrity, and outright geekdom at the (dark?) heart of the internet.” (more…)

Season’s Greetings!

We’ve put together a little holiday message for all our colleagues, partners, and friends. Happy Holidays! (Click the ‘play’ button and you’ll be taken to a special page containing a short animation. Enjoy:)


Limiting Meeting Liability

It’s the evening of the first day of your company’s most important conference of the year. Everything’s gone smoothly so far and you’ve finally got some free time to do a little schmoozing at the evening reception party. As you enter the reception there’s a hushed crowd gathered around a man lying face down on the floor. A co-worker rushes over to you. The man tripped on a power cord and is unconscious. He’d been drinking. An ambulance is on its way. Are you protected if the man decides your company was somehow liable?

In a society where people sue for millions over missing pants and hot coffee, it’s imperative to be proactive and take the necessary risk management steps to limit one’s exposure to financial liability. ITEX has put together some guidelines for you to consider when conducting your next conference. (more…)

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