DMA Solutions' Dan'l Mackey Almy Talks Ensuring Successful PMA Fresh Summit
THE VIRTUAL WORLD - As we approach PMA Fresh Summit, the virtual frontier may seem vast and unknowable. But never fear, industry members, for DMA Solutions has the strategies to turn this virtual landscape into your business opportunity of the year. I was fortunate enough to log onto the team’s "Marketing Matters: Planning for a Successful Virtual Fresh Summit" webinar yesterday afternoon, during which I learned how companies can ensure they’re putting their best foot forward in attracting buyers and new business during this penultimate show.
What greets me when I log on is the smiling face of Dan’l Mackey Almy, President and CEO, who is more than determined to communicate how members of the produce community can get the best bang for their buck going into PMA Fresh Summit.
“You have to lean into the potential reward rather than the risk,” Dan’l tells us, quoting Lori Hard’s philosophy of stepping into the unknown despite the inherent risk it presents. “We’re here to help you elevate the role that marketing should take when it comes to growing your business regardless of the venue.”
A quick breakdown of Fresh Summit’s key differentiators lets those of us on the call know exactly why attending this show is a must.
First, for exhibitors, the show is not built around virtual booths, but rather marketplace pages. This is more like an informational web page, in which companies can best utilize the second differentiator, the AI Matchmaking Technology—and what I found to be the most compelling aspect. This tech relies on personal keywords added to your profile and are designed to match you with like-minded companies.
In order to make the most of this feature, Dan’l suggested that companies put in keywords that extend beyond products and services. For example, rather than simply adding the list of products or services you provide, consider adding key challenges and topics that buyers are interested in, such as sustainability and new packaging.
A key theme that runs through the conversation is making the buyer the hero, and the above suggestion attests to that. Thinking like a buyer—and how your company can make the retailer or wholesaler look good in the eyes of the consumer—is going to be the key to getting them to schedule meetings with you.
Dan’l went on to explain the third differentiator of Fresh Summit: the Buyer Preview weeks. This allows for buyers to access the platform before the show begins, meaning they can look at market pages and schedule meetings with companies in advance. To make the most of this, Dan’l urges that you have your page set up by September 25, as buyers will begin previewing pages starting the 28 through October 1 for produce and floral buyers, and the business solutions buyer preview will be October 2–6.
The fourth and fifth differentiators, in-app live video chats and a flexible show schedule, allow companies the chance to tailor the experience to their needs.
In order to tackle this show with aplomb, DMA suggests the following approach:
- Prep your strategy
- Refine your messaging
- Audit your assets
- Prepare and load files
“Consider your goals for the show when choosing your participation level in the event. At a minimum, we recommend the Silver level,” Dan’l explains. “You can add on to your package with additional exposure/marketing opportunities—such as the Fresh Ideas Showcase, Featured Product Demo, and Pitch Sessions. If you are launching a new product or new packaging concept, these are great places where buyers are being driven to explore ‘what's new’. PMA worked with buyers to create these add-ons based on how they wanted to interact with suppliers at this virtual event and to feel good about the opportunities for participating companies.”
In addition to schooling us on strategy, Dan’l also comments on why it is so important to make the buyer the hero of this story.
“With a virtual event, we have such a short time to get the right messages across,” she says, flashing a photo of peeled onions. “Rather than describe the features of the product—ready-to-use, whole peeled onions—describe how they benefit the buyer. They reduce waste and improve food safety. That’s the message you want to get across.”
Ultimately, to attract buyers during a virtual show, it’s crucial to have your page ready by September 25. Be sure to have your meeting schedulers in place and email marketing at the ready, and don’t forget to include promotional opportunities like raffles to up engagement.
For those who were unable to join the webinar, please click the link here to access it. And for those who need additional resources to prep for the show, please visit DMA’s virtual event services page.
As we near the show, be sure to stick with AndNowUKnow for the latest ways to ensure ultimate Fresh Summit success.
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DMA Solutions, Inc. is a specialized marketing agency serving the fresh produce industry driven by a mission to...