A little perplexed as to how your company is going to effectively exhibit at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit being held October 13-15, 2020?
“The PMA has been building a program based on connections, content and community,” says Dan’l Mackey Almy, president and CEO of Dallas, TX-based DMA Solutions. Mackey Almy is the recent host of a Webinar, Planning for a Successful Virtual Fresh Summit. Keeping these three key factors in mind, here are some ideas from DMA Solutions as to how you can make a virtual bang at this year’s online show.
Understand the marketplace page
Rather than virtual booths, participating exhibitors will each have a marketplace page. “It’s an informational web page with the capability to customize various videos, files and assets that you already have on your Web site,” says Mackey Almy.
In preparation for the show, determine what photos, videos and other collateral will engage your audience. With the deadline looming, avoid lengthy overproduced videos. “People won’t watch it if it’s long and drawn out, no matter how beautiful it is,” says Mackey Almy. “Aim for balanced lighting, clear audio and focus on clear, succinct benefits-based messaging.”
But think beyond straightforward photos and videos: consider hosting a live product demonstration through a link on your page or host meetings within the platform. However, consider adding Zoom invitations if you’re having more than a few people participating at once or if you’d like audience interaction for a product demonstration or a Q&A chat.
Know your category
It’s a common question amongst visitors and exhibitors so keep this in mind: produce/floral buyers are retail, wholesale and foodservice purchasers of floral and produce items. Solutions buyers are those looking for packaging, equipment, technology and marketing solutions.
The Fresh Summit platform employs a matchmaking artificial intelligence technology based on keywords and behaviours within the show. These are designed to recommend like-minded participants or matches to and for you, says Mackey Almy.
“When you register, there will be a lot more questions than normal to feed the AI up front. That will help categorize if you’re a buyer or a supplier and again feeds the algorithm and allows for more search functionality for all attending,” says Mackey Almy. In turn, attendees will be able to search exhibitors by filters through a keyword search.
“What does this mean for you? Strategically consider the keywords. You need to think about what you want to be known for—not just at a company level but an individual level,” says Mackey Almy. “Think about what you want to be found for and go beyond the products you sell. We recommend rather than just saying ‘tomatoes’ for example that you put in words around sustainability or organic or year-round.”
Plan ahead and know your dates
As part of the show, produce and floral buyers have a preview week to “shop” and access marketplace pages in an organized way. With this beginning September 28 (and running until October 1st) this means marketplace pages need to be set up by September 25. Meanwhile solutions buyers can log in October 2-6 to preview marketplace pages.
“This was important to the buyers so they’d have an opportunity to go through and search things they’re interested in and companies they’d like to connect with,” says Mackey Almy.
However this isn’t the time for meetings, which will be scheduled in 15-minute increments. Meetings will be scheduled for within the show dates.
Determine your strategy
“Your strategy starts with your level of participation. You need to start with how much visibility does your company have? It’s not that different than when you choose our booth size or sponsorship,” says Mackey Almy. “It’s different in this platform though. If you’re looking to maintain strong visibility throughout all the touchpoints in this event, if you want maximum company visibility, think about that relative to the levels you’re considering.”
This means thinking through your level of participation, available from Bronze level up to Presenting Level, which includes a variety of options within each level—everything from inclusion in the marketplace presenting page, priority access to speed meet-ups and much, much more.
In the end, Mackey Almy offers some critical marketing advice to use during the show. “Define the top one or two messages that you want your audience to take away from their interaction,” she says. “Focus on benefits rather than features to help the audience understand why your product is the right choice.”