To Win Business, RFID Companies Need to Narrowcast

The key to success for RFID marketing is to focus on those actively seeking to invest in RFID solutions.
Published: July 2, 2018

Last week, RFID Journal hosted a webinar titled Successful Marketing Strategies for RFID Solution Providers, during which Kelly Stark, principal at Forward Vision Marketing, and Dyanne Williamson, the company’s director of marketing, presented the results of a survey they conducted about the marketing challenges RFID companies face. Among the biggest challenges cited were generating leads, finding money for marketing, developing a marketing strategy and gaining name recognition.

All of these issues are related. You can’t improve your brand recognition or generate leads without a strategy and a budget. But far and away, respondents indicated, the biggest challenge was meeting the right prospects. This is not a surprise to me. I have been working for the past decade to try to help companies with no budget, strategy or brand recognition meet people who might be interested in buying their RFID products.

In my view, companies can meet the right prospects, and they don’t need a lot of money to do so. They just need to be willing to do a little leg work. At this year’s RFID Journal LIVE! conference, we asked exhibitors to update their profile online so attendees could find them. Many of the smaller firms didn’t do this.

We also sent exhibitors a link to a list of companies that preregistered to attend. The companies were organized by industry (view the list). We asked the exhibitors to use their exhibitor portal to reach out to search for the companies and send emails or meeting invitations to attendees in the industries for which they have solutions. The report I received shows that only 146 meeting requests (fewer than one per exhibiting company) and 615 emails (roughly three per exhibitor) were sent—and this includes emails sent by attendees to exhibitors, so the number is far lower.

Not surprisingly, technology buyers visit the booths of the companies they’ve heard of or who reached out to them. The only people who visit companies they don’t know are systems integrators, whose job it is to know all the solutions available in the market. It’s also no surprise, then, that some exhibitors feel the event was not a success for them.

What they do next is a critical error. Instead of determining that they should take more time to reach out to people at LIVE! next year, they opt instead to go to an event where there are a lot of end users in an industry they are targeting—a produce industry show, an aerospace event or an energy sector conference, for instance. They collect a lot of business cards from people who stroll by, interested to get an update on the RFID industry. But in follow-up calls, these leads turn out to be dead ends because those companies did not come to the event seeking an RFID solution.

As much as we’ve done to try to help companies with no budget, strategy or brand recognition, I am committed to doing more. For LIVE! 2019, I plan to have a call with each exhibitor to understand thoroughly the products they are offering and the potential customers they are targeting. We will survey each attendee who signs up for the event to find out what solutions they are seeking. And we’ll email them a list of exhibitors they should visit.

This doesn’t mean exhibitors should sit back and just wait for the people I email to stroll into their booth. They should reach out as well and invite the attendee to their booth. And perhaps, if they have some success, they will conclude that marketing is important and develop a strategy that includes targeted advertising to build brand awareness and generate more quality leads. If that happens, Forward Vision Marketing’s survey next year will have much more encouraging results.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog or the Editor’s Note archive.