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How to Start and Put On a Trade Show: A Strategic Marketing Perspective of the Organic Produce Summit

How to Start and Put On a Trade Show: A Strategic Marketing Perspective of the Organic Produce Summit

A Great Success – The 2016 Organic Produce Summit

How do you tell the story of fresh produce? The “farm-to-table” movement is far from over; millions of Americans care now more than ever about where their food comes from and whether their produce is organic. Here at TMD Creative, we are dedicated to telling the story of produce, and have been doing so since 1999. So it was natural for us to be extremely excited to work with the Organic Produce Summit in marketing the inaugural convention and exhibition that debuted on July 13th and 14th at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey. As the event’s first strategic marketing partner, we led the development and execution of a dynamic marketing campaign that resulted in the show selling out in its introductory year, with attendance from retailers, buyers, and growers/shippers from across North America.

TMD Creative and Organic Produce Summit Partnership

“Having worked with TMD Creative for many years, I was able to instantly see their touch on the Organic Produce Summit. The strategy they executed, along with simple, beautiful design, successfully turned OPS into the industry show of the year.” – Gabriela D’Arrigo, Director of Marketing, D’Arrigo New York

TMD Creative prides itself in innovative, custom, in-house marketing services. From start to finish, TMD Creative believes in collaborating closely with our clients to insure customer satisfaction and the best marketing results. From website programming and design to social media and public relations, our TMD team collaborated closely with the OPS event staff in executing a well-designed, comprehensive marketing plan. For the first time ever, retailers and buyers were able to network and convene on important issues and opportunities in the organic fresh produce industry.

The Process

TMD Creative was approached in the spring of 2015 about assisting in developing the strategy and messaging for the first of its kind summit devoted strictly to organic produce. As a team we were surprised to hear that organic produce, a stand-alone 14 billion dollar industry, did not have a trade show focusing on it. We were instantly excited about the possibility of being a part of this and signed on shortly thereafter.

A group composed of executive produce industry veterans, including TMD’s own Nicholas Pasculli, worked with team at TMD Creative to bring this idea to reality. TMD Creative was there every step of the way, in developing not only the strategy, but bringing on key team members to oversee production and management of the show, accommodations, logistics, and planning.

Preparation

Our first strategic priority was to drum up support with retailers, and to sign-on exciting keynote speakers and panelists to take part in Ted-Style Talks. We reached out to the retailers with a coordinated series of e-blasts, individual emails, and phone calls to high volume retailers that had high organic sales.

We assisted in developing the Ted-Style talk format for the show. Once we had a firm foundation there we began working on the branding, including the logo, which was to be the center-piece of the marketing efforts. Initially 12 logos were designed. It was narrowed down to four, then two, and finally one, with varying revisions throughout.

Once the logo was designed, we began to create e-blasts, print ads, web ads, collateral, and the website.

Initial Advertising

The e-blasts were customized for retailers, registrants, and exhibitors using the OPS Logo along with colors that complemented the logo and were a part of the color palette. The ads were run in produce industry newspapers and magazines, and were designed in a variety of sizes, with accompanying web ads. The goals of the e-blasts and of the ads were to both drum up support and interest in the event, while also conveying the limited amount of availability and time left to the event.

The website was custom built with the ability to register as a retailer, or to register as a grower or someone in supporting industry. This distinction was important, as there were different pricing mechanisms in place. There was also tiered pricing in each level that allowed for discount for multiple purchases. Anyone who registered on the site also received a confirmation email. Exhibitors were also able to register to have a 10 x 10 booth at the event. The registrations and the exhibits quickly sold out.

The Event

We then started to focus on materials for the show, which included, but were definitely not limited to, badges, custom gifts, event program, all show signage, registration areas, audio/visual, site walkthroughs, recognizing sponsors, PowerPoint presentations, post-event survey, and thank you ads for the sponsors and attendees to run after the event in industry publications.

Everyone at TMD Creative was putting in long-hours the weeks leading up to the show. All of the hard work paid off. There was an opening reception on Wednesday, July 13th, with the main event on Thursday, July 14th 2016. Held at the Hyatt Conference Center in Monterey, there were over 75 exhibits, 800+ attendees, including growers and representatives of the world’s largest retailers, and a full days-worth of speakers, presentations, and trade show exhibits. The show was a rousing success, and the feedback thus far has been nothing short of amazing.

Details are already being finalized for the 2017 Organic Produce Summit.

Are you considering putting on a trade show or large event? Remember to keep TMD Creative in mind!