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Starting an International Virtual Event from Scratch

  1. Starting an International Virtual Event from Scratch

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    TMD is always up for a challenge. When we were invited to help Farm Journal plan and market a new event called the Sustainable Produce Summit, we were thrilled. We had helped develop numerous live events from the ground up before and thought we would use our tried and true formula that had launched many a successful show in the past. Little did we know, 2020 had other plans!

    What we had intended to be a live event, quickly became a question mark while I was meeting with the great people at Farm Journal mid March in Kansas City. Once we were unsure, we had to immediately initiate a back-up plan, AKA a virtual event. As this was all happening fairly early on during the COVID crisis, a lot of live events were converting to the online world. We watched and participated in as many as we could. We picked up what we liked about the ones we attended, leaving behind what didn’t work, while trying to envision any technical issues that could occur. Once it became clear we couldn’t hold a live event, we put all of our attention to a virtual one.

    In some ways, as I am sure you have found if you have worked on a virtual event, it can seem to be more difficult to get people to commit and attend a virtual event than it can for a live event. Because of the natural networking value that live events have, you need to really focus on providing value on an individual level. This means finding topics, speakers, and formats that PET—Provoke, Educate, and are Timely.

    To that end, TMD assisted in the educational strategy, secured some well known speakers, developed a digital and print creative strategy that captured the essence of these characteristics. From email campaigns, to digital graphics, social media content to print ads, and everything in between, TMD created an aesthetic that had people not only signing up, but consistently engaging the streamed content from start to finish of the event.

    Key Metrics include:

    • Most sessions included several hundred people
    • The top session had 350 live viewers
    • People from 6 different continents participated
    • Well over 3,000 participants
    • Nearly 75% of people participated at least 2 hours in the event
    • The virtual booths had nearly 2,000 visitors

    “We couldn’t have been this successful without you and your team. We really appreciate our relationship with you and your team at TMD Creative,” said Matt Morgan, Executive Vice President, Produce (Farm Journal)

    Clearly, the first year of the Sustainable Product Summit was a hit by all of our metrics. We look forward to helping with a live event next year, and growing this event to be best in class. We had a wonderful experience working with the team at Farm Journal and can’t wait to make the 2nd Annual Sustainable Produce Summit even better!


  2. Celebrating 20 Years of Marketing Excellence

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    TMD Creative turns 20 this year! In the midst of all the industry events, conventions, and many, many projects, our team was able to celebrate this huge company milestone. For the past few months, our team has been revamping our own brand, taking a deep dive into the whys and hows of what truly sets us apart from other creative firms. We are a tight-knit, passionate crew of marketers, designers, programmers, artists and thinkers. Since 1999, we have found joy in partnering with businesses from all walks of life, from agriculture and finance to health care and technology. 2020 is surely a year to look forward to as we celebrate all that we have accomplished for our partners and clients. Look forward to a new website and collateral, special anniversary events, and behind-the-scenes footage of what makes our work shine.

    As we paused to celebrate 20 years in business, we reflected on the huge accomplishments we have made for our amazing clients. Since TMD’s start, our team has worked with some of the largest and most well-known companies in the fresh food and agriculture industries and many more around the world and various industries. For that, we want to thank each and every one of you, our clients, partners, and friends for all the great partnerships over the years. Our team has grown exponentially in just the past two years, by adding five new team members and expanding geographically into Sacramento. TMD has big plans for 2020. To begin, we want to celebrate our 20 years in business by hosting a party in our Salinas office. Look out for details in the near future, as we begin our 20th year!

  3. PMA Foodservice 2019

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    Every year thousands of fresh produce professionals from across the country gather in Monterey for the PMA Foodservice trade show. Living up to its theme, Growing Appetites for Bold Ideas, this year’s show did not disappoint.

    Center for Growing Talent’s 5k Race

    From marketing executives and buyers, to chefs, influencers and thought leaders, this is definitely one of our favorite events as it draws a diverse crowd to our own backyard. One thing we all have in common? Our love for fresh fruits and vegetables, and respect for those dedicated to this industry.

    The week of the show was nothing short of eventful for the TMD team. This is the second year we participated in the Center for Growing Talent’s 5k Race. Not only did two of our team members walk away with medals, but it feels good to support an organization that is dedicated to the professional growth and future of emerging leaders in the fresh produce industry.

    Julie Criswell and Julia Perez of Ocean Mist Farms and Lindsey Little of TMD at the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Reception

    A few of our team members were also able to attend the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Reception, a fun event at the Monterey Marriott sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. While enjoying stunning views of the Monterey Bay on the 10th floor, we celebrated successes, sipped wine, connected with new faces, and chatted with old friends.

    On the day of the exhibition, we arrived at the newly remodeled Monterey Conference Center. We couldn’t help but overhear attendees praise Monterey for being the perfect location for such an event (we know we are extremely lucky to live here!). From jicama fish tacos and Japanese street corn, to fennel flowers and avocado popsicles, we ate our way through the show floor, tasting innovative dishes prepared by companies from across the country.

    TMD’s Founder & CEO, Nick Pasculli with host of Food Network’s Chopped, Ted Allen

    A weekend full of delicious food and great company in our beautiful Monterey Bay is time well spent. Our founder and CEO, Nick Pasculli, even had the opportunity to chat with Chopped host Ted Allen! It’s always an honor to gather with health-focused individuals at a show so close to home. This October you can find us in Anaheim for PMA Fresh Summit.

     

  4. Nick Pasculli Shares Web Design and SEO Tips at Cultivate’19

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    TMD Creative’s President and CEO Nick Pasculli headed northeast this past weekend to share insightful knowledge on web design and SEO at Cultivate’19, an annual conference and tradeshow hosted by AmericanHort in Columbus, Ohio. From nursery and greenhouse growers to interior plantscapers and florists, more than ten thousand attendees from across the world travelled to this premier event to connect with fellow professionals in the horticulture industry. 

    Now on it’s 90th year, Cultivate brings together industry experts and organizes more than 100 educational sessions and opportunities for growers, retailers, and more.

    “When I was approached by the team at AmericanHort to be a guest speaker, I was thrilled,” said Nick. “Sharing knowledge with an ecocentric community is time well spent.”

    Nick led two educational sessions — the first focused on performance-based web design, and how to utilize best practices in design and content creation to enhance the user’s experience and SEO.

    And how can you use Google to your advantage? The topics discussed in his second session focused on search engine marketing tactics that can increase your brand’s visibility in this powerhouse’s rankings.

    Attendees walked away from each of the sessions with actionable, yet simple, tactics to increase their digital presence and optimize their website design. Nick also shared his experiences in working in the horticulture industry and insight on new trends.

    “A key takeaway here was innovation.” Nick says. “Industry leaders, speakers and exhibitors presented innovative solutions to existing problems in horticulture and it was amazing to witness it all.”

    Stay tuned for more of TMD in horticulture. To see what our team is up to next follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

  5. TMD Creative Continues to Grow Its Team

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    The Salinas-based marketing and creative firm has welcomed two new members to its growing web and design teams. The TMD Creative team is excited to welcome Thalia Villalobos and Cristina Cachux, both graduates from CSUMB.

    Thalia joined TMD Creative’s web team as a web developer. She will work closely with the senior and lead web developers to help clients build beautiful websites that provide a pleasant experience for the user. Before joining TMD Creative, Thalia was an intern at New Relic, a San Francisco-based software analytics company where she created custom data feeds for clients and stylized the user interface to match the company’s brand.

    “I enjoy creating custom solutions from scratch – it’s like adding color to a blank canvas and creating beautiful art.” said Thalia. “I look forward to growing professionally and learning everything I can from everyone on the team.”

    Cristina joins TMD Creative’s design team from Marich Confectionery, a family-owned business in Hollister, Ca. She comes to TMD Creative with experience in print, web, and packaging design, as well as web development. She will work closely with both the web and design teams to design digital media.

    “I am excited to work on my two areas of expertise: web and design.” said Cristina. “Work in web and design is ever-evolving and never done, and I love the challenge of learning new ways to solve problems, while staying relevant in this industry.”

    Thalia and Cristina are two out of the four new employees TMD Creative has added to its team within the past year, as the firm approaches its 20th anniversary in October 2019.

    “As TMD Creative expands, I am delighted to welcome two talented, young ladies to our team. They bring a breadth of new, fresh ideas to TMD from their diverse backgrounds, and I am convinced that their unique skills will bring tremendous value to our clients.” said TMD’s President and CEO Nick Pasculli.

  6. Produce Industry Braces for Mexico Border Shutdown

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    In an effort to stop illegal immigration, President Trump threatened to shut down trade from Mexico last Friday, March 29th. Produce growers, shippers, wholesalers and retailers across North America are bracing for the impact this decision would have on our economy, a drastic measure that would disrupt the flow of food imports in the U.S. from Mexico.

    “You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the U.S. right now,” said Mission Produce CEO Steve Barnard, in an article from USA Today.

    Avocados, tomatoes, berries, peppers – some of our most favorite fruits and vegetables are imported from Mexico.

    Top Imports from Mexico (2017):

    Avocados: $2.3 billion

    Berries: $2 billion

    Tomatoes: $1.8 billion

    Peppers: $1 billion

    President Trump has not announced a deadline as to when this decision would be enforced; however it highlights the importance of agricultural literacy in our own communities. Where our food is grown, and how it gets to our stores is a process many Americans know little about. They experience food as an industrial product that doesn’t look much like the original animal or plant.

    Education is key in understanding the impact agriculture has on our own local economy. Did you know one in every four jobs in Monterey County is dependent on agriculture? Visit the Monterey County Farm Bureau for facts, resources, and opportunities to participate in local farming organizations.

     

     

  7. Accolades for Consistent Excellence in Ag

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    We are excited to share that TMD has been honored by several award competitions for their work with companies in the fresh food and agriculture industries, including Ocean Mist Farms, Taylor Farms, the California Agriculture Leadership Foundation, Del Rey Avocado, Berry People, and Olinday Farms.

    Marc Metzer, a third-generation farmer of Metzer Farms, approached TMD with the idea of starting a new company that would focus on providing duck eggs to the foodservice and retail markets.

    From day one, TMD has been integral in establishing a strategy for the launch of Olinday Farms, allowing me to focus my time on developing relationships with my own customers. From our company name and logo design, to retail packaging and video production, the TMD team has brought nothing but positive attention to Olinday Farms and the values we stand for.

    – Marc Metzer, President of Olinday Farms

    Please see below for the full list of accolades.

    Marcom Awards
    Berry People: Packaging Design
    Del Rey Avocado: Website Design

    Davey Awards
    Berry People: Packaging Design
    Del Rey Avocado: Website Design

    Summit International Awards
    Olinday Farms: Logo Design
    Olinday Farms: Website Design

    VMA Showcase Awards
    Cal Ag Leadership Foundation: Annual Report Design

    Vega Digital Awards
    Del Rey Avocado: “Fair Trade” Video
    Ocean Mist Farms: “Cut to Cool” Video
    Taylor Farms: E-Blast Campaign
    Organic Produce Summit: Collateral Design

  8. TMD Sponsors Fifth Annual Ag Tech Summit

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    TMD is proud to be a sponsor of the Fifth Annual Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit. Hosted by Hartnell College’s Agriculture Business and Technology Institute in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA), the event will take place on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm at Hartnell College’s Main Campus located at 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA.

    The event has been so successful that it has doubled in size every year. Our very own president, Nick Pasculli, is a member of the Ag Tech Summit Advisory Committee. He explains, “We have intentionally moved to the main campus to accommodate this growth and emphasize the connection of STEM and Agriculture as Hartnell prepares students to be leaders contributing to the creation and implementation of Ag tech solutions throughout the entire supply chain within a global agriculture marketplace.”

    Two educational tracks are specific to continuing education credit hours in the areas of laws and regulations, new technologies for pest management, aerial Ag tech, understanding bee behavior/vulnerability, increasing student interest in related Ag careers, and much more. A third educational track addresses overarching Ag technologies with respect to rural broadband, food safety, robotics and ergonomics, mechanization, and harvest assist technologies.

    In addition to the three educational tracks, the event will feature an all-day trade show and Ag tech product/service demonstrations. Included in the trade show will be the Monterey CAPCA’s booth featuring an internship and job portal for employers seeking new employees/interns and students seeking jobs or internships. A pitch competition room is also available for those with new Ag tech ideas and/or start-up companies looking for investors and implementers.

    Dr. Bob Whitaker of the Produce Marketing Association will lead off with the morning keynote presentation and Robert L. Gunther of United Fresh Produce Association will provide the afternoon keynote presentation.

    Admission to the event is free and includes a sponsored lunch. Growers, PCAs, CCAs, QALs, pilots, students, growers, and members of the Ag tech and software industries are encouraged to attend. Agriculture professionals with PCA, QAL or QAC certifications will receive ongoing education credits by the Department of Pesticide Regulation for attendance.

    Our team encourages you to join us, and register for the event here.

     

     

  9. Introducing TMD Tech Solutions

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    The marketing industry is constantly evolving, causing more and more organizations to need customized technical solutions. As our team continued to create custom applications for our clients, it became clear that there was a market for industry-specific applications on a large scale.

    The industries initially being serviced by TMD Technology Solutions are agriculture, food and beverage processing, and nonprofit foundations, including community foundations, educational institution foundations, and other foundations with multiple ongoing fundraising campaigns. The three products currently available from TMD Technology Solutions include SpecFresh, Kiptraq, and the Gives App.

    Learn more about these new applications at tmdtechsolutions.com.

  10. Case Study: Organic Produce Summit 2017

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    TMD Creative was approached in the spring of 2015 with an interesting idea: starting the first tradeshow solely dedicated to fresh organic produce, now a $14 billion dollar industry that continues to grow.

    There have been numerous tradeshows focusing on organic food, but none that have focused exclusively on organic fruits and vegetables. As an experienced marketing firm in the agriculture industry, TMD Creative quickly became a member of the Organic Produce Summit team, presenting the inaugural show in July of 2016. It was an instant success, selling out weeks in advance, and hosting a large number of exhibitors, retail buyers, and heavyweight keynote speakers.

    Organic produce companies from across the country exhibit their products at the annual Organic Produce Summit. The team from Bako Sweet is featured above.

    The second annual Organic Produce Summit needed to build off the momentum of the first, while attempting to increase the size of the event. The original plan was to move the show to the new Monterey Convention Center in order to accommodate the larger number of attendees and exhibitors. The Convention Center was under construction when we agreed to terms with them, and was supposed to open in the spring of 2017.

    However, as construction delays mounted, we pushed the team at the Convention Center on their ability to host the event. We quickly moved to a backup plan, and ended up at our original location at the Hyatt Conference Center, the largest event space available in Monterey with the new Convention Center still under construction.

    In order to attract a larger group of organic produce growers this year, we needed to entice a large group of high volume, well-respected buyers. And in order to attract these buyers, we needed an outstanding group of industry thought leaders that would speak and engage in TED-style talks, in addition to educational sessions presented by keynote speakers. We also offered incentives to the buyers, like complimentary airfare and lodging.

    The Hyatt Conference Center could hold over eighty 10’ x 10’ exhibit booths, and we had planned on having 950 attendees. While the location was being secured, TMD Creative began to work on branding the Organic Produce Summit, updating their website, and marketing the show to the fresh produce industry through press releases, e-blasts, print and digital ads, and social media.

    TMD Creative designs responsive website for the annual Organic Produce Summit.

    The show sold out again this year with a 45% increase in attendees and 30% increase in the number of exhibitors. Revenue rose over 50% compared to the first year, and budgets were adhered to, keeping costs close to first-year levels.

    Buzz for the event grew quickly. The Organic Produce Summit team wanted to differentiate themselves from other tradeshows by promoting their sponsors in unique ways. TMD Creative developed a series of algorithms to show sponsors their AVE (Average Value Equivalency), or the value of the advertising and public relations exposure they received for their sponsorship. Since the first show debuted in 2016, TMD Creative has been responsible for developing and implementing these algorithms, creating a viable formula for calculating the value of the various mediums that were being employed to promote the event.

    TMD Creative designs exterior and interior signage for the Organic Produce Summit.

    As soon as the updated website was launched, it immediately cultivated registrations from growers, buyers, and organic produce companies interested in exhibiting their products. Our marketing campaign targeted buyers first through a mix of e-mail newsletters and customized ads. We then focused on attracting exhibitors and growers.

    Hundreds of people were turned away in the final month, as the Hyatt Conference Center had reached its capacity. To prepare for the show, TMD Creative designed and produced signage, media presentations, and printed programs. Post-event advertisements were also created to thank sponsors for their support, and surveys were sent to attendees to gather feedback.

    The sold-out Organic Produce Summit garners press from industry news outlets across the country.

    The annual Organic Produce Summit sold out again in its second year, successfully engaging members of the fresh produce industry from across the country. Post-event surveys have shown there is a high level of satisfaction among attendees.

    “This is an incredible second year for the Organic Produce Summit,” said Ocean Mist’s Director of Marketing, Diana McClean in an interview with And Now U Know. “The caliber of retailers that we have been able to meet with is off the charts. This is a concentrated, quality group of the best of the industry. The sessions were extremely provocative and insightful which is something we really want in our industry because it is new and different.”

    The event has garnered positive press on a national scale, inspiring industry news outlets such as And Now U Know, The Produce News and The Packer to publish articles. Due to its success, plans are underway to move the show to the new Monterey Conference Center in 2018, a larger venue located in downtown Monterey.