Ep. 100 | Absolute Exhibits Earns 84.5% Revenue Increase with Act-On

In this week’s podcast, Act-On’s Helen Veyna tells us about Absolute Exhibits, a recent Act-On success story we published and how they’ve seen an 84.5% increase in revenue since adopting Act-On’s adaptive marketing platform.

You can read the full case study with Absolute Exhibits here.

Absolute Exhibits is a full turnkey exhibit house that produces unique and exciting trade show booths and exhibits for an array of B2B and B2C customers all over the world. The company’s superior customer service and pricing model sets it apart from the competition. Unlike most exhibit houses, Absolute Exhibits doesn’t surprise customers with a bill for extra items after an event or show. Therefore, customers know exactly what they are paying for when signing a contract.

Catherine Hess is the senior marketing manager at Absolute Exhibits, and part of a two-person marketing team charged with driving leads for sales in a competitive environment. Despite its competitive advantages, Absolute Exhibits was finding it difficult to personalize the customer journey, generate leads, and pass on these opportunities to its sales team for further action.

100th Episode for the Rethink Marketing Podcast

Yep, 100 episodes. The big century mark.

We’re not ones to toot our own horns, but…

But I do want to thank all the amazing guests we’ve had on the show, whether that was Tyler Lessard, Matt Heinz, or Ann Handley and so many others. I also want to thank all these folks and others at Act-On that support the show in so many ways. And, finally, I want to thank all of you who subscribe to the podcast, listen to it on our website or engage with it on another platform or podcast catcher.

If you like what you’re hearing, please leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, which helps others find the show.

Again, thanks!  

Check out our additional related content:

The Ultimate Lead Management Playbook

Episode Transcript

NATHAN ISAACS: Welcome back to the Rethink Marketing Podcast. I am here today with Helen Veyna, a content marketing superstar here at Act-On. Helen, can you explain what you do day to day here at Act-On?

HELEN VEYNA: I am a content marketing specialist at Act-On and I create content intended to help marketers amplify their marketing efforts. That includes sharing tips over on the Act-On blog, and interviewing current customers to learn how marketing automation is enabling them to do their best work and get results.

NATHAN ISAACS: One of your responsibilities is connecting with our customers to share their success stories with Act-On. You recently published the success story for Absolute Exhibits. Can you tell me more about them and who they are?

HELEN VEYNA: Absolute Exhibits is a trade show exhibit house. They build trade show exhibits for customers for B2B and B2C events.

NATHAN ISAACS: Can you tell me more about their industry, their pain points, and what separates them from their competitors?

HELEN VEYNA: Trade show exhibit houses traditionally don’t have marketing teams. A lot of what they do marketing-wise is they buy leads or they get email lists from outside providers. And then traditionally what they do is they approach it with a sales strategy where they just cold call, cold call, cold call.

NATHAN ISAACS: That sounds like an opportunity for Absolute Exhibits. Was it?

HELEN VEYNA: Yes, adopting a marketing automation gave them a platform to showcase two key differentiators for them. One is that they have no post-show billings. If you’ve ever exhibited at a trade show, you know that sometimes, surprise, you get an extra bill at the end for all sorts of little items that you never anticipated.

So Absolute prides itself on having a guaranteed price that once they quote your project, that is all you’re going to pay.

The other differentiator is their creativity. Their booths and exhibits look exciting and great.

NATHAN ISAACS: You talked with Catherine Hess. Can you tell me more about her and her team?

HELEN VEYNA: Yes, she is the senior marketing manager at Absolute Exhibits. Her job is to generate leads for sales, support sales, and build their brand awareness. As for their team, I will let her describe it.

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: We’re a small team. Currently we have two. [LAUGHTER] So much of the heavy lifting really falls upon me. And this is every channel. We try and hit everything from email marketing, to social media, content marketing, you name it.

NATHAN ISAACS: So what prompted them to look for marketing automation?

HELEN VEYNA: They were using another platform. Catherine described it as rudimentary and antiquated.

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: I think it was maybe my second week here that they emailed me and said, hey, we now have AB testing. So as you can tell it was a little basic. What I wanted to do was really talk to our customers and talk to our prospects and personalize the experience with marketing automation. I also wanted to be able to reach the people that we intended to reach.

NATHAN ISAACS: What were some of their consideration factors in choosing Act-On and what other platforms were they considering?

HELEN VEYNA: They considered Pardot and Marketo. I’ll let Catherine explain why Act-On.

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: I like how easy it is to use. I like the ability to drag and drop and create landing pages for our campaigns. I really love the metrics that we get out of Act-On as well. So those are really important to me. And I just know it works out of experience. So it was pricier than the last platform, but you really have to invest in your marketing if you wanna achieve results. And so as a business decision we came to the decision that we were certainly  going to pursue Act-On.

HELEN VEYNA: I asked Catherine how they were using Act-On.

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: Oh we have a variety of ways we’re using it. We’re doing email campaigns, we’re doing lead nurturing programs, we’re doing social publishing, there’s gated content, segmenting our audiences, tracking web visitors.

HELEN VEYNA: One thing I found interesting was that they are creating unique landing pages for their sales team so that they can share it with their prospects and their social media connections.  

NATHAN ISAACS: Oh, that sounds cool. You could use that as the CTA in an automated program where your asking the prospect to schedule a phone call or demo.

HELEN VEYNA: Yes, exactly.

NATHAN ISAACS: Can you tell me more about their email marketing efforts?

HELEN VEYNA: Yes, sure thing. They generally send emails targeted to the upcoming show or the groups within those shows. They segment those emails based on the size of the show, the size of the customer, even the size of the booth. Catherine said some companies develop their trade show plans a year in advance, and others are more last minute. Absolute Exhibits targets certain key dates when they know someone might be making a decision.

As for the copy in the emails, Catherine said she tries to make them as personal as possible.

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: We like to send out sort of fun emails, rather than, hi, get a trade show booth. So I like to get funny with them sometimes in my subject lines. I like to really put a lot of pictures in there so they could see what our work is about. And our audience is generally made up of marketing managers, marketing directors, senior staff, that might be making a decision on which exhibit house they would work with.

HELEN VEYNA: I asked Catherine what kind of results have they gotten using Act-On and she was ecstatic.  

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: Oh, our lead generation and conversion has gone through the roof. Sales is extremely happy, although very, very busy. Our campaigns have gotten a lot more personal. We’ve gained a lot more insight into who’s really coming to our website, what they’re viewing, and where traffic is coming from. And so we’re seeing higher close rates as well. And it’s just been really great.

NATHAN ISAACS: You mentioned that they’ve actually had to hire more people?

HELEN VEYNA: Yes, Catherine said that traditionally in the trade show industry, summer is a slow period because there’s not a lot of trade shows with large booths that need to be built. Traditionally, this would be a period where people offer discounts in rates and try and really reach out to people. However, in the past this hasn’t always been successful.

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: This summer we actually had to hire more people because we were so successful. And when speaking with some of our sales team, they’ve said over last year they’d experienced an 84.5 percent increase in revenue.

NATHAN ISAACS: Wow, that is awesome! How does someone learn more about Absolute Exhibits? And any last thoughts?

HELEN VEYNA: Sure, they can go to www.absoluteexhibits.com. And as for last thoughts, Catherine said she thinks they are going to continue to scale up their use of Act-On.

SOUNDBITE OF CATHERINE HESS: I think honestly we’re gonna be able to upgrade [LAUGHTER] again to emailing more people because we’ve been so successful. And I think we’re just continue to use the automation, the social publishing, the landing pages. It’s just gonna save so much time. It’s gonna allow us to give the sales people the tools they need to be successful.

So when a customer comes into say one of our lead capture forms on our site, we can take them on a journey. And it feels personal to them. They don’t feel like they’re being spammed, they don’t feel like they’re having overt sales advertisements or anything like that.