This week I attended a show, IFT16 – Institute of Food Technologists. It was a tremendous show. I saw a number of clients and prospective clients and as the show progressed, I took time to look around and notice the landscape of where our company currently is with respect to food testing and where it needs to go.
The good news is that this industry is a growing industry with a lot of change and exciting projects happening. Companies are looking to align with other companies for the purposes of sales, support, advocacy and to learn new information. Up to this point, you could make the case that this is the way all trade shows operate or should operate.
For me, the experience was a bit different. I really saw a need for a new sense of urgency. The clients and vendors I talked to could be grouped into two groups: 1) Exciting/Growing or 2) Same old/We are here and people will come. You could spot these different type of vendors rather easily. Some vendors are content to sit on a chair all day until someone comes within 3 feet of their booth. These type of companies have a hard time reiterating the type of work that they do and they are just hopeful that someone has a need and will seek them out. On the other side, those companies that have an exciting brand typically listen first and continue to find out exactly what the show visitor is seeking. Once they understand the visitor’s needs, they look for ways to answer their questions and introduce different options for the visitor to consider.
Today, it is much easier to gain the interest of clients like never before. It really comes down to the following:
Getting People’s Attention and Offering Value that is quite different from other companies
Getting People’s Attention
I am working on a number of initiatives right now in this area. Over the years, I have tried different ways to gain attention and the one constant I have learned through this process is that I will continue to look for ways to gain attention. The technology is available to really do some amazing work in this area. The first goal is to determine what type of content gets people’s attention and second, what media should I use to gain people’s attention.
Some areas to consider:
- client service – moving it more online to move closer to a 24 x 7 model,
- more emphasis on content marketing and distribution – you need both to work effectively
- moving more to mobile – this is huge! -you need to be on this platform yesterday.
This is the huge differential. Today, people are looking for answers and they want information quickly. In addition, it never hurts to offer value options, especially to current clients. Often our current clients are unaware of some special benefits that may be available to them. This is a huge area that I am working on that I may have not focused on in the past. In my opinion, too much emphasis is made on acquiring new clients.
Some areas to consider:
- provide simple solutions – the best client benefits are those that are simple, easy to access and easy to remember
- get simple – improve processes-evaluate, map out and incorporate technology to support
- learn more daily – change is happening before our eyes, understand more how people are accessing information
- be able to react quickly – make sure company is positioned for big business opportunities
I am writing down all kinds of ideas at the present time. With advances in communication and technology, there is a whole new world of opportunities available. It is all about seizing the opportunities we are faced with today and being able to deliver on those opportunities. It is an exciting time to be in business. I am excited for the days ahead and the deliverables that will be implemented for our employees and clients. Today we, as a company are taking steps to insure tomorrow we can meet and exceed our clients’ expectations.