2018 ATA Show Forecast | Marketing Mix, Mobile Built For 2018

Mobile Focus and Organic Brands | 2018 ATA Show Forecast

By: Nick Pustay, Marketing Analyst, and Weston Schrank, Content Manager

To start, set aside the innovative technology, state-of-the-art bows, and an overwhelming amount of new products. If you were able to block all of those distractions out and focus on your brand or company during the entire show you probably know this is a changing industry that is evolving to meet the most modern of consumers. A rapidly changing consumer base now sets the tone for how manufacturers, brands, TV shows, and marketers will need to meet the customer at the moment of their need. Last year was essentially the “first stage of digital marketing”, the entire industry was moving in a new direction and setting longer term goals for their yearly marketing mix. This year’s predictions and forecast can appropriately be titled “Marketing Mix for 2018”! This is the year that the Industry will look for solutions to the digital marketing challenges that face a multitude of influential actors on the tradeshow floor.

Before major consumer bases shifted to technology heavy marketing channels, your brand would meet them in their home, in their magazines, on their television, and maybe in a few other nearby advertisements in retail, or through word of mouth. The last decade showed just how important a

comprehensive marketing mix makes or breaks a brand. This year, we are going to see the masthead of successful businesses in this industry flying flags from many, varied touchpoints to target their most loyal customers. The customer will be dictating where to meet them and when. You will need to show up to earn their business and keep their undivided attention.

Digital marketing presents the opportunity to directly engage with your consumer…anytime anywhere, and more trackable than traditional media buys… but that doesn’t mean anything without a brand tailored message…

2018 ATA Show Predictions

Before going through the bulk of this article here is a brief list of predictions for the 2018 ATA show.

  1. Mobile Focus – All the major marketing channels are trying to better tap into mobile engagements. You should be asking about how you can do that for your brand.
  2. Balance in the Marketing Mix – There is no “one size fits all” way to approach marketing. It takes specific, targeted investment in many formats and channels. This will be a key indicator of performance of your ad spend versus revenue. “Where” means more than ever to your customers.
  3. Unique Brand Identities – The content and presentation of your brand means everything to customer perception. How will you set yourself apart from your competitors? This means more to your ad channels than a dollar figure can.

Digital Marketing or Identity? Both.

Major brands stand out, viral videos stand out, and the successful startup stands out. No one will tell you how to do it. It takes many forms. This tradeshow is a decisive opportunity to make a statement on the tone of your brand for the year. This lies in the words you use in meetings, who you meet with, and how it is approached. This is also in your new product roll-outs (looking at you manufacturers) and how your perception will factor into sales taking shape for the lifetime of the product. Brand identities start in the attitude behind the brand.

Consistency is key in creating and maintaining your brand’s identity. It takes a united front and consistent presentation across all the important channels you use to reach the consumer. Brand identity defines your business and sets the tone for customer interaction which can have a direct effect on your bottom line. This ideology crafted into our 2018 ATA show predictions and how the latest marketing trends will effect companies across the industry this year. This will be the uniting factor in our forecasts.

Mobile Focus

This last year has had huge impacts on how to reach the customer on a mobile device. There is a lot of noise about how smart phones are changing the industry and your marketing. How much do you know about it and what are you doing to stay ahead of the curve? In the last year, Stone Road Media has undertaken specific efforts to improve the quality of our online offerings to fit mobile audiences. It has led to recapturing traffic and reducing load time for the ideal mobile experience. This increased organic traffic and enforced e-commerce conversions that were assisted by other channels. Sure sponsoring a top TV Show can bring a new product in to the light, but what about the continued relationship year after year? Focus on reaching the ever expanding market of customers with multiple screens.

There is a space in this industry that is open for multi-screen interactions. By looking at mobile you can capture the attention of a TV viewer of a sponsored show or enforce brand awareness with messages that unite different moments together. TV and traditional channels are not going anywhere any time soon. This is a way to capture more from a TV endorsement or sponsorship. Look to a mobile-first strategy to gain more from those “micro-moments” of customer attention. Tie the social media posting to a show airing and follow up with a blog post (optimized for mobile) and social post to restate key message points. This is the new continuum of message the customer will come to expect. That is by no means a recipe for success or a tried and true strategy, but rather one possibility of thousands of message options.

An opportunity could present itself to create this type of interaction during your sponsor or other meetings. Look for ways to work between screens and use the mediums to your advantage when creating proposals. It can only benefit both brands.

A mobile interaction and content uniting user experiences will change how your brand is perceived in the next 2 years more than your memes or reposts ever could.

Balance in the Marketing Mix?

The all important consideration is the way your channels and efforts will act together. People can sense reactionary efforts and throwing ads at customers can stink of desperation. The “run and gun” of past marketing moves will be on its way out with thoughtful planning and intentional moves attracting more attention and loyalty. Stone Road Media has seen this marketing mix being more influential with many market changes over the last year. It also signals the importance it will hold for this tradeshow and how businesses will present themselves in the upcoming year.

No two business can be successful with the same model anymore. The custom approach will be influenced by brand identity and customer segmentation. These create a space where you can set yourself apart with messages and offers. We have seen the effectiveness in our own clients and what this means for the year to come. This tradeshow will also show how these brands are leaning. Basically, if your competitor leans to heavy ad spend on traditional channels, it might be best to take another road or maybe hit them head on. The idea of competition is that it occurs in a flat space but, this tradeshow and its impact on future business is too multi-leveled and varied to examine the “flat earth” perspective of how your message will travel. There is a lot of information in each booth about how the competitive nature of the marketing mix is a major force in the next year for each brand and business. The industry wide model of competition is a multi-level playing field made manifest inside the walls of a convention hall. Have a goal for your marketing mix and be agile to an opportunity that matches your specific needs, not the leanings of your competition.

The value of a tradeshow this specific is understated and too few take advantage of the meetings and time it allows. Gather the needed information and look for opportunities that support your business goals.

Unique Brand Identities

Year over year, a single business can change 180 degrees from where it was with lots of work and planning. This tradeshow will give the first glimpse into some strategies for the next year. This is also the time to present your unique identity in a way that drives home what you are hoping to accomplish this year. Yes, that will matter to customer perception. But, this is understated in the way other brands or influencers could view your place in the industry.

If you are a content creator, you need to set yourself apart from the others, looking for sponsorship as much as manufacturers versus competitors. This goal is not a simple one. If it were, top brands/manufacturers and top TV shows/influencers wouldn’t be set apart in the industry. As the leading Outdoor Industry digital marketing experts and agency, we are navigating on both sides of the relationship. Some of our clients are the biggest TV show, personalities, and manufacturers in the Industry. On the other hand, we also work with newer content creators and manufacturers bringing things to the market for the first time and their first trade show. The way the presentation is suited to the uniqueness of the client has shown to be a major factor in a very highly competitive industry event like this. There has been a stagnation of some ideals in many parts of the industry seeming to take on a “just like” or “similar to” role. There are too many similarities where there should be differences to provide unique relationships between brands, manufacturers, influencers, and personalities.

Servicing both manufacturers and TV shows has its advantages and disadvantages, but one thing is for certain…matching unique aspects has created long term success for both… especially against copycat competitors.

Client Case Study: “Outdoor Industry TV Brand A”

“Outdoor Industry TV Brand A” is in the trap most TV shows face…content that is not readily available to social media, website, and online video channels. Most of this valuable content is locked away until the following year by contract. However, with Stone Road Media’s (SRM) help, the show has taken a strong stance to produce content that is strictly for digital and inbound marketing. By doing this, with the addition of content marketing, SEO, social media, and analytical services, the brand has provided analytics proving not only digital influence for manufacturers, but generating actual leads directly to the manufacturer’s eCommerce platform. This is in addition to their TV influence! Combining all the channels in a meaningful manner to the client’s needs and not some “expected” blending.

“Outdoor Industry TV Brand A” has produced numerous pieces of digital content, pictures, videos, and blogs. These blogs with SRM’s help have created a website that is a niche dominating authority. In fact, this year this Outdoor Industry TV brand has increased their organic traffic (search queries landing on popular and informative blogs) by 161% reaching nearly 3 million page views.

The blogs currently snatching up valuable search engine real estate are located strategically in areas for their sponsor relationships. In fact, most of the top performing blogs are in the top 3 search engine results page (SERP) rankings for the #1 keyword for their sponsor. Think about that for a moment… The #1 keyword for a manufacturer…the most valuable real estate to any brand selling specific products in this industry. Usually gaining traffic for these highly competitive keywords means bidding display ads, or an internal digital, content, and SEO driven strategy to get there organically. But instead, a TV show utilizing heightened followings and engagement levels, already ranks top 3 for a manufacture’s top queries…and of course the only product in the blogs, videos, and media from the influencer are the manufacturers…including links directly to the manufacturer’s online store. This makes use of the moments where a customer is searching and looking to make a purchase. All designed to work with mobile-friendly offerings and targeting.

These are top influencers taking their TV show and applying it digitally. Using their advantage in influence, reach, following, engagement, and authority to promote manufacturer’s products or services where they count…where people buy these products online! This is multi-screen message integration and syndication of brand messaging.

81% of consumers begin the purchase cycle online (Retailing Today, 2014)…isn’t that the best place for a relationship?

This is where the message meets receiver to give that forward movement, a solid strategy combining channels across touchpoints, screens, and experiences but tailored to influence the purchase where it matters to the customer.

Client Case Study: “Outdoor Industry Manufacturer Brand A”

Now having a TV show or personality doing the legwork is one thing, but it’s up to the manufacturer to make valuable use of the one thing they are getting out of the relationship… content!

“Outdoor Industry Manufacturer Brand A” was at first a typical brand you will see at this year’s ATA show. Very little digital marketing efforts, at least beyond the normal e-commerce, social media channels, and website. With SRM’s help, the brand decided to drive efforts towards utilizing every bit of influencer content and directly connect the consumer, the influencer, and the products. New website designs, mobile friendly and quick loading pages, and an easy to navigate shopping experience and ecommerce platform went a long way to start with. Beyond this, SEO and content marketing services fueled optimal use of influencer content. In fact, digital media in the form of podcasts, online TV and video series, and of course picture content from top industry influencers were formed into blogs for and by the manufacturer.

This internal content not only linked the product to influencer content, but generated a 90% increase in organic traffic, and more importantly established previously nonexistent product page rankings on the first search engine results page! With a shift towards content marketing, an established and continual organic traffic stream, and rising rankings for #1 product related keyword queries, it didn’t take long for the brand to see results on the ecommerce. These efforts in addition to search advertising generated a 10% increase in revenue in 4 months. It also generated a lot more views and consumption for the TV show/content producers website and digital channels.

The optimal use of TV show/influencer content was only possible because this content was available online. It was used to advance and achieve some of the most important goals of any digital marketing efforts…increased traffic, ranking, and of course a higher amount of profitable consumer action. This is the coming together of previously stated predictions to show how information will drive ATA 2018.

2018 ATA Show Forecast Conclusion

The 2018 ATA Show might be the year of “Marketing Mix for 2018”. This is the time where so many brands will hint at their abilities to meet major marketing challenges in the upcoming year. It will be a tone-setting moment for the next year as well as the embodiment of those strategies. This is an important time to capture those attentions with unique concepts and futuristic industry perspectives. It is also a time to set yourself apart on a positive note where it could be easier to meet just the status quo.

There is too many who take the specific nature of a show like ATA for granted and do not take the unique opportunities as a strategic push for their business needs. Other shows like SHOT and the Great American Outdoor Show are important in broader terms and lack the concise nature of what a more focused show can offer in opportunities.

As you and your team sit down to look at the budgets for this year’s marketing efforts carefully consider this relationship. What amount of the budget should you allocate for sponsorship this year? How much should you allocate for digital marketing?

If you see some of these predictions coming true this year contact us, or stop by Booth 3519 to sit and discuss your brand’s digital marketing efforts with us. We can help you adjust your marketing mix and help you craft a brand identity.

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