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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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In a 2016 study of marketing professionals and online consumers, 88 percent of marketers stated video was an important part of their marketing strategy, while 69 percent of online consumers said they would rather watch a video than read a product explanation. In a different study, statistics prove that businesses using video grow company revenue 49 percent faster than companies without video content. (Ad Age)
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Below are the rules and regulations for the transportation survey we are conducting. The winner must be a resident of South County and be 15 years or older. One winner will be randomly selected from participants who fill out all 19 questions. The winner will receive a $250 Visa Giftcard!
1. Entrants must send entries as required in the contest announcement in order to be eligible. Entries received after the deadline set forth in the contest announcement are ineligible, null, and void. TMD Creative and Chidlaw Marketing will not be responsible for and will not consider incomplete or incorrect entries. TMD Creative and Chidlaw Marketing are not responsible for entries that are sent, completed, or filled-out, but not received for any reason.
This information will not be used for anything other than to notify the winner. This is an anonymous survey.
4. This contest is open to any resident who lives between Bradley and Spreckles along the 101 corridor, and is age fifteen (15) years or older.
5. If a winner is someone who either does not live between Spreckles and Bradley on the 101 corridor (often referred to as “South County”), and/or lists a city within this area, but does not actually live there, they are not eligible for the prize.
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The fastest way for Produce Companies to respond to food safety breaches or product recall incidents.
The FDA and USDA report that on average, 30 recalls occur every week in the United States. When recalls happen, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty and sometimes panic from consumers, as well as public demand from consumers for companies to not only fix the problem but compensate affected consumers. The level of public awareness has increased significantly with the advent of social media.
Being prepared is your best defense and offense if and when your company is faced with a product recall. TMD Creative has extensive experience in helping leading food producers deal with such situations. There are several things we encourage all our food producing clients to do in order to be ready to respond to such crises.
- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
- Establish a rapid response team within your company including TMD as your website communication partner.
- This includes developing an early warning monitoring system that looks for early signs of product complaints and failures.
- Develop a toolkit to help guide a rapid response.
- Train managers and identify people within the company who will approve statements and posts to your website and social media.
- Establish an online communication protocol
- Ask TMD to create a produce recall page on your website to remain hidden from view so you will be ready to respond if required.
- Establish clear lines of communication from production to sales and marketing.
- Develop an on-call protocol that includes sales, marketing and external communications partners like TMD.
- Channel all final communications through one person within the company to outside vendors.
- Don’t forget about your social media channels
- Your social media posts should be coordinated in the same way your communications with the media and or government officials are coordinated.
- Develop an internal clearinghouse for potential posts.
- Establish a team of social media monitors to track and respond to consumer comments and concerns.
- Fight the urge to go on lockdown
- After you get information distributed and posted through the right channels, establish a regular response cadence.
- There is no need to respond to everything, but identify the types of responses that keep lines of communications open with consumers.
- Allow fans to continue to post and provide them a forum to engage.
- If you go on lockdown it’s likely to create a story in itself and could lead to a missed opportunity to engage stakeholders.
Recalls create brand uncertainty and can cast a negative light on a company. However, if handled professionally, a company’s response can reinforce brand affinity and give you a competitive advantage.
TMD Creative has solutions that will make your response to such uncertainties go smoothly and help you to retain your terrific reputation that you have worked so hard to build. Call Nick Pasculli to get started today and avoid the confusion that product recalls can create.
- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail