Are You Ready to Get the Most out of RSA 2017?December 31, 2015
There’s less than 2 months before RSA is upon us (yet again) and if you are in the cybersecurity ecosystem, this is one event you will not be missing out on. Whether you are visiting to scout partnerships or have invested in a booth, getting the most out of RSA can make or break your activities in 2017.
Note: This action-packed map of the Israeli cybersecurity eco system is a good place to start to understand who is doing what in the space.
So if you’ve invested in a booth-- independently or as part of the Israel delegation-- read on. Here are some “must do” tips.
Acknowledge the importance of RSA for 2017 and beyond
Love them or hate them, “as internet and inbound-based marketing efforts continue to rise in popularity and efficacy, marketers across the US continue to cite live events and experiences as one of their most effective tactics.” 77% of B2B companies consider events important for marketing. When it comes to the ‘event issue’, it seems that many companies know they should be at events, but they aren’t really sure where to start.
RSA 2017 promises access to two halls of 500+ exhibitors, 400+ expert-led sessions, unprecedented networking and not-to-be-missed keynote speakers. Did we mention 1000s of prospects from visitors and exhibitors?
From here on out, stop relating to RSA as an event. It is a campaign.
Your goals for RSA and the amount of time and resources invested in it should be clearly defined. As with any campaign, you will need to decide and document the answers to these: ‘Goals, Budget, KPIs, Before, During, After’.
Goals: Make sure you know why you are attending RSA. Business development? Product launch? Lead generation? Sales? Whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure that the overall goal is decided and clearly communicated to your team, including the outsourced agencies you are working with.
Don’t overburden yourself-- trying to hit too many goals will only lead to disappointment. Focus is key.
KPIs: What would you consider moderate success, huge success or a failure from the campaign.
- Number of quality leads or sales?
- Number of meetings with prospective partners?
- Buzz generated around your product on social media channels? (for example number of new followers, tweets or engagement on your hashtag)
- Journalist and or analyst interviews and coverage?
- Winning the RSA Sandbox competition?
Now that you have your goals, set your 3-stage plan.
Stage 1 - Before
Decide on your route to market. How are you going to get people to stop by your booth? You really shouldn’t rely on passers by and random foot traffic. Again, planning ahead is key to optimizing your time and resources. Here are some tips:
- Decide on your target audience.
- Come up with your message. What are you trying to get across?
- Check out which analysts and journalists are going to be there and try to engage them. A good place to start is to read up on who covered RSA 2016.
- Build a budget with KPIs -- rule of thumb, allocate at least 2-3 times the amount you are spending on the the booth and setup cost for the campaign in total.
- Decide on who is attending the event from your team and prepare - who will be doing what. Organizing flights and accommodation, setting up the booth, speaking to prospects, demo-ing the product, scanning the name tags, updating the social media live, walking around and exploring other booths etc.
- Determine which agencies or internal resources you need in order to create and run the campaign.
- Theme-- messaging and creative.
- Awareness and call to action to get people to your booth-- online campaign, social media, PR. Do you know how to get to your prospects or do you need to research and/or get paid assistance?
- Will you host or attend any networking events? If so, this is an event within an event which also demands much attention.
- Are you speaking? Make sure you have a killer presentation, designed well and written by a native English speaker. Also, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
- Booth design & giveaways-- yes, they are very necessary.
- Tools for the show-- brochures, demo, presentation, promotion film, uniform or dress code for the team… whatever you need to present your product appropriately.
- Check out which activities RSA is running and plan around those you want to attend
- Build a timeline of activities (and give yourself a margin for error)
Stage 2 - During
So you’ve run your awareness campaign and have followed up to gauge how many will be stopping by your booth. Now it is the money time:
- Smile and be happy-- even if you are jetlagged and haven’t slept in 36 hours, this is a show in every sense of the word. And, absolutely no arguing. It is San Francisco after all!
- Ensure that all team members are telling the same story about your product and company. Importantly, that everyone is aware of the campaign messaging. There's nothing worse than prospects or journalists hearing conflicting claims from team members.
- The booth should always be ready with the appropriate team members-- for demo or sales and stocked with the marketing material.
- Collect those leads! Consider every lead to be attached to a Dollar bill.
- Update your social networks live and often.
- Regroup at the end of each day to discuss what went well, needs improving and how you are doing against your KPI.
- Personal touch: Send a roundup of the day or a ‘thank you for stopping by’ email to everyone who you met. Mailchimp (free version) or any other group email app will do the job really easily.
Stage 3- After
You’re back in the office, tired and hopefully happy. The campaign, however, is not over yet. Here’s what you should be doing next:
- Get team feedback from those who were there and make notes of things that worked well and what did not.
- Ideally you have a marketing automation platform such as HubSpot to pour all your relevant (only) contacts into and prioritise what you are doing next with them-- scheduling follow up calls, nurturing them until they are ready etc. Although less effective, a CRM or at least an Excel file well segmented can also do the job.
- Repurpose content from the event-- pictures, tweets, releases; create a quick video of the event to share. Create a blog of the event also.
- Close your campaign, you decide when -- how did you do compared to your goals and KPIs. Was your mission accomplished? At what cost? Would you do it again?
RSA is an excellent event for cybersecurity companies to demonstrate their capabilities. The above provides a minimum framework to make the most out of it.
Need a template to plan your trade show? Here’s a great one.
More useful tips and light reading can be found here: