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LIGHTFAIR: The Marketing of Light

By Scott Costa, Publisher

While no one will argue that there are some amazing lighting products on the market right now, we also have to accept that there are other LED lights that just about every manufacturer has available for sale. The question is, how do you market those products to make a difference to your customers?

Melissa Harrison of the Allee Creative Marketing Group spoke at LIGHTFAIR 2018 about the importance of lighting marketing. More than 100 people were at this education session, meaning there is a need for more information.

Most of what Harrison talked about was, in football terms, blocking and tackling. There weren’t any innovative takeaways from the session, but a majority of the attendees were not doing the blocking and tackling well.

Nearly all of the attendees at the education session did not have a marketing plan that stretches out six months to a year. Harrison strongly suggests you have a written plan, even if it is just on an Excel spreadsheet, and that it is reviewed every quarter.

Also, even though there are four generations in the workforce (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z), they all want brand awareness. You may have to tailor your message to each generation in a different way, but they all want engaging content, and they all want to do business with a brand they trust.  As manufacturers told tED magazine yesterday, they are trying to get out the message that doing business with a lighting manufacturer that has only been around for six months is far different than a manufacturer that has been around for more than 50 years. Each generation wants to feel comfortable with those long-time companies that want to be your supply chain partner. They also want marketing content that is directed at them, and they don’t want to get the same message as everyone else.

Harrison added that social media is a great way to engage and grow your customer base, but you will need to use each social media platform the way users intend it to be used. The message you send about products on LinkedIn may not be the same message as the one you post on Facebook. And how often you post on each social media platform also varies. Facebook is probably one to two times a week, LinkedIn may be more than that. Either way, your social media posts must have what Harrison describes as targeted marketing with a focus on the customer. They need to realize “what’s in this for me” right away.

And, if you are looking for a social media platform for lighting marketing, Harrison strongly recommends Instagram, since it is heavily based on photos and video, and it will allow you to describe and show your product at the same time. But, Harrison also reminds you that you can’t put a link to your website in an Instagram post, so it must be in your profile at the top of your page.

Harrison wrapped up her education session by reminding attendees to keep an eye on their competition to see what they are doing, and to be competitive when it comes to how much you spend on marketing. She pointed out two different research projects that show a majority of companies spend between 6% and 10% of total revenue on marketing, even though the recommendation is to spend around 12%.

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