With thousands of manufacturers and retailers at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore next week, the key question is: How do I maximize my time? Most attend Expo East with a few key objectives, such as identifying new products, ordering new items, spotting new trends, reconnecting with old friends, etc. I suggest you add education to your list.
Imagine if you could learn from industry thought leaders. Would you take full advantage of that opportunity? Of course you would.
Most of us are so focused on what we are trying to accomplish at expo that we neglect the opportunities to learn and become product and category experts—the focus of my many articles.Natural Products Expo is a unique opportunity to learn more about the products you sell, your competition and categories you compete in.
What knowledge do you hope to gain at Natural Products Expo East?
Education is the cornerstone of true category management. It can provide you a sustainable competitive advantage in any economy and in the most hypercompetitive markets. Every brand should become an expert in its categories and should leverage its knowledge to support retailer partners. This is how we make the natural industry stronger.
Retailers should maximize every opportunity to learn more about the brands they sell, their unique value propositions, their market strategies, the categories they compete in, etc. A few additional moments spent at each booth can help retailers leverage the strength of each brand to help grow their categories. Retailers can also gain valuable insights to help educate their sales teams on the benefits of the brands they sell.
Manufacturers should maximize every opportunity to learn more about the brands they compete against, brands that complement theirs, product adjacencies, trends in our industry, etc. For example, a salty snack brand could identify a salsa brand it can co-promote to maximize merchandising exposure while reducing promotional costs.
Natural Products Expo attracts many of the industry’s top thought leaders and experts. Make an effort to get to know some of these experts. Spend a few moments with them. Their expertise is invaluable. Develop a lasting relationship with them so that you can call on them when you have questions or need help. A suggestion from them might be all you need to jumpstart your sales.
Attend Expo East education sessions. New Hope does an amazing job of providing educational classes and seminars on a variety of levels. I recommend attending as many seminars as possible. These sessions include expert insights guaranteed to help you increase your effectiveness. I have been invited to speak again this year at the Technology Winners in Grocery seminar. Delicious Living is also sponsoring time with me at its booth. I look forward to meeting you.