John J. Wall is a marketing specialist, speaker, and writer. He also co-hosts the Marketing Over Coffee podcast with Christopher S. Penn. John has worked in customer relationship management and sales support systems at MarketingSherpa and the Digital Consulting Institute, among others. Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce have been his clients.

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I invited John to Marketing Smarts to talk about his book, B2B Marketing Confessions.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

To make the most of tradeshows, do some reconnaissance (05:50): Picking the right tradeshow is "art, science, and a whole lot of luck. Really the good thing is that a lot of shows that are established... you can go one year to check it out and then decide if you want to exhibit the next year and get in there. For new shows, it's completely a roll of the dice. You never know who's going to show up, and if they're any good, how good the event company does at promoting the event. You can burn your budget and run into trouble. One easy way to get around that is to come up with a network of partners and canvas your efforts. Have a group of four companies and all of you each hit at least one unique show so that you can share data and information about which shows are good and which are worth doing."

Tradeshow ROI is fairly straightforward (06:45): "The latest thing that I've seen a number of companies do really successfully...because you have so much data before you go to these events, you should be able to know before you even go how many appointments you're going to have queued up, and you should know (by how many you normally close) what the success rate is going to be. You should already know if your money's worthwhile before you even step into the building or before anybody steps on the plane. After that, it just becomes a numbers game. How many good leads do you get, then three months later, you look at how many closed. It's pretty black and white."

To launch a successful business, aim high—and low (11:48): "High-Low is a great strategy, the idea where somebody's got a market and you come out with two alternatives. You always see this in hotels or in cars, where somebody's got something out there, and you come out with a version that's a lot cheaper that just crushes the folks that are looking to save a couple of bucks, and then you come out with a luxury version that has a lot more service and is a lot more expensive, and you just kind of take all the oxygen out of the middle. That's kind of the evil Sith mastermind favorite strategy of watching your competitors get crushed."

For more information, visit or follow John on Twitter: @JohnJWall.

John and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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