How to be Awesome exhibiting at the Fancy Food Show.
The Fancy Food Show, put on by Specialty Food Association, is one of the “it” places for budding and established food businesses alike. With many key people from the industry under one roof, the potential for opportunities to launch a product forward is unbound.
After 10 years exhibiting with brands at the Fancy Foods Show, Natural Products Expo, Distributor table tops and more, we have compiled this list of things to do in order to absolutely kick ass during the show.
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1. Have Clear Goals
Why exactly are you there? To network, build brand awareness, find distribution, meet more buyers? Everything you do should revolve around this. Know your goals and have a plan to reach them.
2. Have a Social Media Plan
Designate a point person to be on top of social media activities. Make it clear what type of content you want to have put out there and determine what platforms you will use and how. (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Livestream, photos, video)
3. Have a daily schedule
While no one will hold it against you if you’re overwhelmed or disorganized at the show, it is preventable. Make a clear schedule for each day. Schedule breaks, lunch, meeting, classes, and events. Just knowing about them isn’t enough. See what your full day looks like and know what to expect.
4. Set reminders for important meetings or events to attend
It’s easy for the time to get away from you. It’s 11am one minute and literally (ok not literally) 3pm the next. You will get caught up in the excitement, expect it, anticipate it and beat it by having a plan in place.
5. Do Business Builders!
This is a great program that Specialty Food Association offers for FREE and could just mean the difference between a successful show or a flop. It’s free, you just have to sign up and attend. (Yes, it’s that easy, but you almost missed it by focusing on table confetti)
6. Get creative with your booth
Standing out doesn’t have to have the price tag to match. In fact in most cases, less is more. Get creative, Be unique. Wear clothing that stands out, silly hats, props, a quick clap chant, something outside of the status quo.
7. Know your “hey you” one liner pitch to get people to stop by
“Wanna try a healthy ice pop” versus “Try some juice on a stick”
“Use this and never clean a juicer again” versus “Want a sample?”
You want something that piques interest and is unexpected. Don’t let your pitch be a question they can easily answer.
“want a sample?” NO, I’m full.
8. Take note (like actual notes) of common comments and responses about your product.
If you find yourself answering the same question then pay attention. Maybe it’s something you need to address in future marketing or packaging. Take note of common questions and comments about your product. Use these to make adjustments to your pitch during the show and bring them back to your team to review after the show.
9. Photo Booth/Props
People love themselves and pictures of themselves. Give them a reason to take great pictures of themselves and watch your brand get put in front of thousands of people when they share their picture to Facebook, Instagram, etc.
10. Unique Giveaways
Not all giveaways are created equal. Think about the practical real work situations the item would be used. Does it add benefit to your consumer’s life? Does it stand out when used in real life? When you find the right item you will also see the impact.
11. Don’t multitask
Eating while trying to talk to leads, making phone calls, sending emails while manning the booth will cost you leads. If you have multiple staff then have someone that is alert and available up front while you leave the booth or at least walk towards the back to do your task.
12. Be prepared for on the spot appointments and decisions
Why wait to until after the excitement and interest from the show is over? If a lead is ready to become a sale, then be ready to take it!
13. Keep your booth clutter free
First plan it that way, then tidy up throughout the show. A bunch of stuff is just a bunch of stuff. It will detract from your product and potentially confuse leads about what you actually offer.
14. Keep track of samples and brochures
Learn your average so you can adjust for future events. Samples become a regular part of business in this industry. Understanding the best sample size (bigger isn’t always better), amount to bring, and rate of use will not only help you at this event but every future shows and field marketing events.
15. Have product signage
Most people remember the big signs, but don’t forget the product signage for small but important details like flavors, regions, best sellers, award winners, etc.
16. Promote Media
Just listed as best product in a magazine, received an award, or have a life changing testimonial? Let them know. Put the award out there, place the article in a brochure holder, or quote grandma on why your jam is the best.
17. Regroup with staff at the end of each show day
It’s important to review observations, leads, improvement areas, and wins at the end of each show day- while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. Delegate any follow ups or tasks that must be completed that evening to the appropriate person and make sure everyone is on the same page for tomorrow.
18. Properly set your lead retrieval system
Set up your lead retrieval system BEFORE the show and know how to use it. Take advantage of the document features so you can get important information to interested leads right then and there. Make the most of your investment.
19. Make Notes in your Lead Retrieval system
In the chaos of the day, it’s easy to scan and forget. So if you don’t enter notes in the heat of the moment, go back and add notes to your scans while the lead is still fresh in your mind or your follow ups will suffer.
20. Have enough samples
The biggest taboo you can do is to run out of samples on the first day. Yet it happens to someone EVERY YEAR! Next to that is to have too much product that ends up going to waste and costing you. Do math, take averages, and learn what your best sample inventory is. Not sure? Check the exhibitor list and contact similar non competitive companies and ask them. Don’t assume, don’t guess, make some effort for a decent and realistic hypothesis.
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Wanna save this list for later? Download it HERE.
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Who are we?
Tanya MFK and the Buildabiz Team are digital marketing specialists for the CPG Natural Products Industry.
From National Field Marketing & Social Media campaigns to Mastermind Coaching, we have your marketing needs covered.