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WPC 2013: Think Beyond the Booth

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) presents a unique opportunity for any ISV that wants to expand its channel partner network.

A spot on the expo floor is a big investment for most ISVs, and only a part of the overall cost of attending. Focus on the booth presence is important, but there are other low- or no-cost tactics to employ that will increase the value of attending.

Pre-Show Social Media
The Twitter hashtag #wpc13 gives you the opportunity to engage with Microsoft partners before they arrive in Houston. With that opportunity comes the responsibility to make your Tweets interesting. Posting a Tweet that just says, "Come and visit us at Booth 123" is annoying, not engaging. Use the platform to inform, entertain or educate.

Just a few ideas to make your Tweets contribute to the conversation:

  • Dig up and share interesting facts or tips about Houston or WPC.

  • Write a series of blog posts with advice for first-timers.

  • Give clues to the answers of a tech challenge you hold at your booth.

  • Link to a landing page with videos of your employees sharing fun tips for navigating WPC.

Lead with Co-Marketing
Every partner that visits your booth is challenged with keeping fresh marketing content on their Web site. That need for content presents an enormous (yet seldom exploited) opportunity for smart ISVs. Most ISVs answer the question, "How will you help us market your product?" with "We'll be happy to do a webinar for you." Which puts most of the responsibility back on the partner -- the partner has to organize, schedule and market the webinar to its customers.

It's far better to answer the co-marketing question with, "We will give you an article each month that you can use in your newsletter or post on your blog. We also have videos and whitepapers to use as calls to action for an ongoing e-mail campaign."

Listen More, Talk Less
If you are at WPC to convince partners to sell your solution, you should be listening far more than you should be talking. As enthusiastic as you may be about your solution, think through the first questions you should ask visitors to your booth. With a better understanding of your visitors' markets and customer bases, you can give more relevant answers to their questions.

Lose the Herd
Does your booth staff move around the conference as a herd? While you don't have to go it alone, split up the team while eating lunch and hitting the parties. While it's great fun to catch up with your teammates at the conference, that is not why you are there. Seek out one-to-one conversations with attendees at every opportunity. 

Include Non-Attendees
While WPC is a great opportunity to find new partners, it's also an opportunity to build goodwill with your existing channel. For those partners that can't attend WPC, post daily blogs on the highlights of the show. Since you understand your partners' subject interests, you can share and interpret the announcements that are most important to them.

WPC is only five weeks away and promises to be the biggest Microsoft partner gathering ever. As you plan your presence on the expo floor, make the most of your investment with a larger strategy. Supporting activities before, during and after the show will help you stand out in a crowded field of ISVs. 

How are you preparing for WPC? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 06, 2013