Sunday, June 20, 2010

Advertising On A Shoestring in the Digital Age

For the past couple of weeks, I've been reading this incredibly interesting book by Jeff Jarvis called What Would Google Do?. Jeff Jarvis is a guru of the digital age, having been a journalist covering various aspects of interactive and digital media, serving as a consultant in the field and also creating his own content through websites such as his blog, BuzzMachine.

An excerpt from the book description on the Harper-Collins website provides a pretty good idea of what Jarvis discusses in the text:

In a book that's one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual, internet impresario and blogging pioneer Jeff Jarvis reverse-engineers Google—the fastest-growing company in history—to discover forty clear and straightforward rules to manage and live by. At the same time, he illuminates the new worldview of the internet generation: how it challenges and destroys, but also opens up vast new opportunities. His findings are counterintuitive, imaginative, practical, and above all visionary, giving readers a glimpse of how everyone and everything—from corporations to governments, nations to individuals—must evolve in the Google era.

Mind boggling, right? I'm almost halfway through the book and many of the observations and conclusions the author makes are very insightful. It has actually made me rethink the way we've approached our marketing and advertising strategy. Having worked in advertising in the past and in some cases specifically with digital media (online banners, viral videos, etc.), I knew that online advertising could be very cost efficient. But in the back of my mind, I always felt that given how small our business was, online advertising would still be a stretch for our tight marketing budget. Up until now, most of the online marketing activities we've have involved blogging, Facebook and our website, But today, we took a big step! We've started using Google AdWords, to reach a larger, more targeted group of consumers and hopefully increase traffic to our website. One of the main reasons we decided to do this was because we received a $100 credit for Google AdWords from our web hosting service. I've been curious about the efficacy of Google AdWords for some time, so I figured, why not give it a go. I'm a big fan of Gmail and Google Docs. We'll see if Google AdWords can help us enhance Cupoladua Oven's online presence.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No, No Nanette- Trade Show No-nos

Last week we attended an event called a buyer show, for a larger grocery retailer chain that has locations in the PA, MD, NJ, NY, OH, VA, WV. A buyer show is very similar to an industry trade show in that vendors ( in our case, smaller food companies) will set up tables or booths where they will exhibit their products and hand out samples. The executives and category buyers from the retail chain were the attendees for this particular event, in search of new products that customers might like.

My mom and I have only been in the business for about 2 1/2 years, which is considered relatively new when it comes to the packaged foods industry. But in this period of time, we've attended more than a few of these types of events and every time that we do, I find there are always vendors that act a certain way that, from a common sense perspective would deter buyers from going anywhere near their table. When I see these in action, they are funny, but they also make me cringe, because they can come off as rude or impolite. Let's call these trade show no-nos.

1) Eating your own samples- Buyer and trade shows can be 5-8 hours long, so it's reasonable that one would get hungry during the event. But eating samples from the plate you have just set out for attendees is not particularly attractive and somewhat unhygenic if you are still wearing the food service glove you are using to set out the samples (yes, this does happen)

2) Sitting down at your table- The hours can be long, but sitting down while attendees are checking out your display creates the image that you are not enthusiastic about being there or that maybe you just don't care. I think one of the worst things I've seen is when a potential buyer approaches a table and a vendor remains seated the entire time that buyer is speaking to him/her. To me, that says to the buyer, "Hey- thanks for stopping by, but my feet really hurt, and you're not important enough for me to speak to you at eye level."

3) Assuming a football block position- Sometimes one can unintentionally resort to standing like he/she is a member of a high school football team (arms crossed, legs shoulder width apart, with a stern look of intimidation on your face). This happens most when the show gets a little slow. I always try to remember to check the way I'm standing and the facial expression I have on because, let's face it- no buyers are going to approach you if you look like you're about to tackle them.