Tradeshows have a life of their own. When every exhibitor is vying for attention with over 60,000 registrants it’s hard to make real connections and, often to have real conversations. After 13 years attending the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, I have a few recommendations for helping your brand make an impact.
1. Keep booth personnel fresh
It’s critical to have employees, sales reps and other booth staffers to actively seek out attendees to promote new products and services. What’s even more critical is to have booth personnel stay at the booth only one to two days max. In addition, rotate them in and out throughout the day to stay fresh. Avoiding burnout keeps booth personnel passionate to engage with prospects.
2. Hire brand ambassadors
The next best thing to padded carpet is hiring brand ambassadors whose only job is to maintain the energy and stay consistent to the sales pitch. While they may not be as knowledgeable as the product manager, they’re trained to present your brand and draw in attendees to learn more, take a taste test or watch a demo.
3. Incorporate chef-led demonstrations
The most successful booths draw in attendees who want to learn and be inspired. Booths with a steady stream of chef-led product demonstrations will be viewed as the go-to place for new innovations. Attending chefs thrive on gathering new ideas, new flavors and fresher choices, and having a chef in the booth will help amplify your credibility.
4. Hold stunts, competitions and contests
Judging by the number of plush potato characters being carried around, attendees can’t resist “The Great Idaho Potato Race” at the NRA Show. Admittedly, stuffed potatoes are a little hokey, but they accomplish the goal of brand awareness. Event planners should carefully consider these competitions, but a potato toy prize or grand prize giveaway will significantly increase badge scans.
5. Leverage the attendee list
Prior to the show, take full advantage of the pre-registered list of attendees by sending an email or direct mailer. One additional touchpoint can increase a decision to stop at the booth or a purchase decision later on.
6. Make (so many) notes
What seems painfully obvious during the tradeshow can become a distant memory months after. Because of that shift, it’s critical for event planners and marketing managers to hold post-show meetings to discuss lessons learned and make notes of what can be done at the next show to optimize the booth experience.
Looking for more tradeshow insight? Here’s how you can elevate your presence.
If you’ve been around the foodservice industry long enough, you begin to notice trends everywhere you look — in products, in messaging and even within the structure of the professional community.
When you look around the room, one trend you notice is a serious lack of youth from entry-level to middle management and up, mainly due to the dwindling pool of candidates from which these positions are groomed. As if a recruiter’s job of getting people into the industry isn’t hard enough, recruiters are also tasked with finding experienced prospects to fill these elevated corporate roles who can also begin the succession plan.
So where does change begin?
From the perspective of someone with over two decades of experience in foodservice, change should start with our collective attitude toward the industry as a whole.
The first thought of foodservice for many is working behind the counter at a fast food restaurant. While many do get their start in this role, it can be so much more! This is an amazing industry filled with wonderful people. It’s an industry that allows you to travel to amazing places, eat and drink at some of the best restaurants in the world. There aren’t many industries that a young professional can step into and their entire world can suddenly revolve around food and drink — in a positive, fun way, of course. There’s a lot here that should get industry outsiders excited about joining it, but it appears we need to talk about it more.
Any way we can expose a younger audience to the industry is a step in the right direction. This exposing requires placing a focus on college and career fair engagement where we can plant the seed for interest in a foodservice career. We need to focus on getting students to tradeshows where they can witness firsthand the passion of the industry and see that there is a lot more a career in foodservice can offer beyond selling ovens and fryers.
For instance, automation is going to continue (especially if the lack of staffing is sustained). Food equipment manufacturers will need additional designers, engineers, sales people, marketers, etc. in order to make those products possible. It’s not that high school and college students aren’t interested in these positions; it’s that they aren’t aware. Making a concerted effort to migrate foodservice programs into more colleges and universities should become a priority of the industry if we are truly invested in bringing in young talent. Programs and courses focused on the industry would create great exposure and begin the education process. However, it is still our job to continue to educate them once they’ve entered the career, and more importantly, it’s up to us to retain them. If the industry wants to become a trendy place to grow a career, it must start from within.
For more foodservice industry trends, be sure to check out and subscribe to the VantagePoint blog.
Contact: Autumn Nicholson
Greenville, SC – May 30, 2018 – For the tenth time since 2006, VantagePoint Marketing was named Agency of the Year by the Business Marketing Association (BMA) of the Carolinas. This distinguished honor recognizes VantagePoint’s continued dedication to producing outstanding results for its business-to-business clients.
In addition, VantagePoint received 15 project-level awards at the BMA Carolinas’ annual ProAds awards ceremony, held in Charlotte on May 23. Included in the honors were three gold awards, four silver awards and eight bronze awards for projects and initiatives completed for clients Antunes, Ayrking, BMW, Everidge, Milliken Infrastructure Solutions, S&D Coffee & Tea, Saia, T&S Brass, Wayne Farms and for VantagePoint’s internal marketing.
Honored work included animations, tradeshow support projects, direct mail campaigns, websites, advertising campaigns and search engine marketing campaigns.
VantagePoint also received Best of South Carolina, awarded to the highest-ranking submission from the state, for a digital touchscreen tradeshow tool created for client Antunes.
“The ProAds Awards evaluates projects from beginning-to-end, with an emphasis on results,” said Henry Pellerin, VantagePoint president and CEO. “Because of these criteria, we’re honored to be recognized by the BMA Carolinas for the impact we’ve had on our clients in such a wide variety of projects.”
For more information about VantagePoint, visit www.vantagep.com. More information on BMA Carolinas and the 2018 ProAds award winners can be found at bmacarolinas.org.
About VantagePoint Marketing
VantagePoint Marketing is a nationally recognized business-to-business marketing agency with a primary focus on foodservice clients. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, it is ranked nationally as one of Chief Marketer’s 2017 B2B Top Shops, is a ten-time winner of the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas’ Agency of the Year award and has been named one of the small/midsized Best Places to Work in South Carolina for five consecutive years. Founded in 1993, VantagePoint takes an integrated approach in offering its clients expertise in marketing, advertising, branding, digital and public relations. For more information, visit www.vantagep.com.
According to Hannah Smith, there are four types of content every site needs: educational, persuasive, converting and entertaining. Most B2B companies don’t need to be convinced of the need for those first three. In fact, B2B companies sometimes do a better job at producing educational content than their B2C counterparts. But what’s missing from most B2B marketing repertoires is entertaining content.
Is entertainment even necessary for B2B audiences?
Some might say that entertaining content has no place in the B2B world. While it’s true that B2B products are inherently more functional and less entertaining, the thing to keep in mind is that purchasers are still human. There are two major reasons B2B companies should produce entertaining content: emotional appeal and shareability.
Reason 1: Emotional appeal
If purchasers were bots, designed to consume information and make a rational decision about which product best fits their criteria, our marketing jobs would be pretty easy. Since we’re dealing with humans, not bots, we have to reach beyond the rational threshold to the emotions. A number of studies have shown that emotions influence what we buy. Entertaining content can be a simple way to include an emotional appeal in your otherwise-rational B2B marketing.
Reason 2: Shareability
Your content may be well-planned, well-written and creatively designed, but if no one sees it, that hard work is futile. Like it or not, entertaining content has a shareability factor that is undeniable. People are far more likely to share something they find entertaining than to share something dry and bland. Creating shareable content is something every B2B company should aspire to. The more people are sharing your content, the further your brand will reach.
Rules for creating entertaining content
As with any solid content strategy, creating entertaining content requires a plan and has a few ground rules.
Rule 1: Understand your customer
Although it might have a wider net, entertaining content still should ultimately reach your customers. Know what they like and dislike. Know their demographics, their interests and their hobbies. The more you know, the better you can be at creating a plan.
Rule 2: Be true to your brand
Take a look at your mission statement and your brand values. Every single piece of content should be a reflection of those values. Don’t toss those aside just for a laugh.
Rule 3: Clearly display your brand
If you create an entertaining infographic, there should be no question who designed it. If you produce an entertaining video, your logo should be included. Make sure the content is tied back to your brand in a memorable (yet creative) way.
What entertaining content has caught your eye recently? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re looking for more resources on B2B content marketing resources, check out these.
It’s scary how fast terms and tactics can simply become “buzzwords” in our industry — losing the true meaning or value they once had.
And, while some of my colleagues may cringe as I say this, it feels as though “thought leadership” may be on the dangerous precipice of becoming one of these inconsequential terms, disconnected from the strategy and reasoning that helped this phrase rise to power in the last few years.
But here at VantagePoint, we fully believe in the true (and original) meaning of thought leadership and what it can do for B2B companies. We invest our own resources — time, people and money — in working to generate content that inspires, educates and intrigues our customers and audiences. Because that’s what good thought leadership should do: Separate you from the crowd, provide an authoritative opinion on a topic that matters to your audiences and explore new ideas and genuinely sparking people’s interest in your ideas — and therefore your company and products — to learn more about you.
In this B2B world of content clutter, true thought leadership can be much more easily said than done. But there are some rock-star brands who continue to help exemplify outstanding thought-leadership programs — and keep this term from becoming a buzzword.
Sometimes it’s hard to cut through the clutter of your full corporate site in order to drive traffic directly to the content you’ve been working hard to share. GE manages to showcase bite-sized content that forces audiences to think, explore and re-evaluate through their Tumblr-based microsite. As you can imagine, GE covers a whole range of topics — from space to healthcare to energy — with snackable content that keeps them top of mind as innovators and suppliers in these spaces with small pieces of engaging content.
First Round Review
Another tactic is taking yourself out of the driver’s seat and opening the floor for other experts in your field to weigh in. First Round Review has worked to build a content platform that engages and collaborates with other thought leaders with insightful and innovative ideas that also shed light on the current state and evolution of different industries. Unlike GE, this long-form content provides heavy articles that have turned this content hub into its own standalone publication.
Yet another example of diversified but impactful thought leadership strategies can be seen through L2’s YouTube channel. This cheeky display of content ranges in topics from the “Algebra of Happiness” to “A Primer on Cryptocurrency,” and takes a more lighthearted approach to some of today’s emerging topics (or age-old digital questions). While this strategy might not work for everyone, it’s a good example of thinking through other ways of presenting content that feels disruptive and interesting but still informative.
At the end of the day, maintaining the integrity of the term “thought leadership” and the benefits it brings to the B2B industry relies on companies ensuring that content is strategically aligned with and linking back to their business goals. Whether short- or long-form, original or sponsored, good thought leadership sparks genuine interest and brings people to the table to learn more about topics that inspire and then entice them to learn more about you as a company.
To see more examples of B2B companies elevating the thought leadership game, read McGuire Editorial’s post. Or head over to our blog, “How Content Marketing is Changing the B2B Marketing Landscape” to learn more about what content marketing is, how the current B2B landscape reflects this discipline and how marketers can use content marketing effectively to impact business.