Small-Scale Food Business/Operation Marketing

Small-Scale Food Business/Operation Marketing


Well, greetings everyone. My name is Dr.
Eric D. Olson and I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State
University. With the growth of farmers markets and food retailers looking to
buy local entrepreneurs are now expanding their
opportunities to turn their gardening, agricultural, cooking, as well as their
food production interests into their own small businesses. To help these
individuals, faculty from Iowa State University, as well as small-scale food
operation experts, have created the series of TED talk inspired video
presentations. These presentations in the areas of experiential marketing, social
media, event planning, building and cultivating relationships, storytelling,
as well as other topics, are designed for entrepreneurs who are planning a
small-scale food business or are in the early and/or intermediate phase of a
small-scale food operation. These video presentations are to be utilized in
conjunction with the supplemental worksheets series. This project titled
Video Enriched Workshops for Small Food Operations in Underserved Communities in
Iowa is sponsored by Jefferson County Extension and Outreach and the College
of Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University.
For more information please contact myself, Dr. Eric D. Olson, at 515-294-0699 or email [email protected] Thank you. So my name is Debbie and I have a
company called Divinely Delectable, actually just shortened it to DD
Gluten-Free because no one can spell Divinely Delectable so all of my logos
now say DD Gluten-Free. I started baking when I was 10 years old. Probably started
baking a long time before then with my mom, but at 10 years old I was in Girl
Scouts and you had to do a competition to earn a badge so I made a vanilla
cake, which is actually what I have here in front of me. However, my mother packed
the bag and told me I didn’t need to leave school early to go get ready.
At the competition I opened the bag, there’s no vanilla and I’m supposed to make a vanilla cake and there was no plate. So I asked around and nobody had any vanilla and I
said “Well, I’ll just have to do the best I can.” So I made a cake and then I had no plate
so I washed one of the pans and turned it upside down and wrapped it with foil and frosted my cake on top of this upside-down pan and I got an honorable
mention. Well, I kind of wanted a ribbon. They said “I kept tasting my cake, tasting your cake, tasting the cake down the
table,” and they said, “Can you come up here, the person who made this cake.” And I
walk forward and I knew what they were gonna say and they said, “What
kind of cake is this supposed to be?” And I said, “Vanilla.” They tasted again, and tasted mine, and tasted again and said, “So why does it taste different than the others?”
taste mine and taste again missing so And I said, “Because it has no vanilla.” So they asked me to go back to
my place and eventually called me forward and said, “We really want to give you
something for your cake, texture’s great, it tastes really good but it’s supposed to be a vanilla cake and it’s not vanilla.” So thanks to mom, I got started with
substituting and learning how to make things work even when they weren’t
really working so that’s how I got started baking. Then in 19.., no in 2009,
I became gluten free. Before then we had been
missionaries so I’d had to substitute a lot and everything gluten free in 2009 tasted like cardboard and all that so I said, “wow, something has to be better than
this.” So I started working on different things and came up with a flour
combination that I heard some tips from somebody else and that’s what got me
started with gluten free baking and flour. Now the baking was just a means to an end. I wanted to let everybody see what they
could make and say, “Hey, I have flour.” What I found is everyone wanted me to bake. No
one really wanted to cook for themselves. So I ended up kind of doing more baking
than I wanted but I did more making that I wanted and realized that this was
not really the goal. Everyone I knew who was doing gluten free baking I asked. I
said, ” Well you know, was your intention to do retail or was your intention to do wholesale.” And they all said, “Well we wanted to do wholesale but
the retail market has us so busy we can’t do the wholesale.” So I really did a
lot of rethinking. I had started off in my own home and only bought things as I can afford to buy them. I didn’t want to do it alone. My husband and I weren’t in
agreement on doing the baking in our house so that created some issues and
decided that I would just take a loan out and I would go and get myself a
location. So I did that but I found that people wanted me to be there during
certain hours and if I was staying there during those hours, I wasn’t making
enough money to pay somebody to be there but then I wasn’t able to market the
flour and so I was kind of in a catch-22. I couldn’t really proceed with
flour if I stayed in a retail business so we moved everything back home and I
kept the locations that I had and tried to find a place outside of town because inside town there’s too many restrictions so back and forth we went. A year and a half later we finally found a location so
I’ve moved in but it’s still not ready because we have to remodel one of the
rooms in the house to be a kitchen. So part of what happens when you have your
own business is that it’s really difficult to make jumps from one level
to another. To be in a home business and to do the home baking was fine but if I
wanted to expand then how do you get your product to the market. So then that
would mean I would have to buy a truck. Well I didn’t want to buy a truck
because I wanted to sell flour and so back and forth I went and decided that
I’m just gonna stop doing the baking. So in June I closed the baking part and
still just selling the flour and I’m writing cookbooks and I’m working on an
idea to start teaching people, doing some classes on gluten-free baking. I’ve
been asking some of my customers that have some interest in it, trying to figure out
how to get them on video. I bought a video camera. Wow, so we’ll see. I’m trying to do a little bit of the selfie stuff. That doesn’t really work when you’re trying
to bake so here we are. I have product to show and flour to sell.
I also have some cookbooks, too. So stick around, more cookbooks to come. So when I first started I was asking around and I heard that there was a lot of
people who were going to the farmers market and the farmers market here in
Fairfield is really good also they have an Art Walk which is a once a month
event and there’s all kinds of food vendors and art vendors and so the
farmers’ market allows people in the local area to be able to figure out what
you’re selling and you can do taste testing. So I would have a whole table
full of food and say, ” hey, want a sample?” And I draw people into the
table and talk to them about the gluten free and of course once they taste
everything that they’re all oohing and ahhing. And anyone who’s gluten free
would come to my table, “Hey, I can taste anything at the table?” It was very
exciting so the product itself when it’s made into something like
these cookies or brownies or cake, people are amazed, “Wow, I can have gluten free
that tastes this good.” So the farmers markets are a really great opportunity
to be able to get a food item out and have the public taste it. They’ve
actually helped me to make things a little bit better. I have an egg free,
dairy free, gluten free. It really has food in it. Chocolate cake with chocolate
chips and chocolate fudge frosting and and it’s dynamic and wonderful and
I don’t even make another chocolate cake. it’s so good but it sounds like there’s
nothing in it except for there’s a ton of flavor in it
so it’s really good. That would be coming out in the cake cookbook. There’s other
people who do the same thing and so I started talking to the other vendors who
were there and when did you get started and is this the only place that you sell
your product and several of them told me that not only are they doing the same
thing that I’m doing, they started out of their home. They’re remodeling certain
parts of their home and then in the Whole Food store, there is also a kind of
an incubator site and the Whole Food store here in town is really, really wonderful
about having local vendors and want to help promote business so they
will give you an opportunity to sell once a week in an open space that they
have my product for about four or five years was in the freezer section.
The flour is still available in the store. I no longer do the baking for the
store. They have a restaurant in the back that they use as an incubator site and
they allow somebody to work in there and have a business there and they pay them
out of whatever they’re earning. Then they slowly back
them off so they trade it so that the people are then self-supporting and
they’re paying rent in essence by the end of their time there. There have been
several businesses in there. There was a crepe place in there. There’s currently
an organic bagel store in there. I can’t remember all of the different restaurant
owners that were in there. One time there was a cafe owner and a restaurant
owner in there so that company has done a great service to the community helping
small food venue business owners get started. Well, a lot of the barriers that you
face as a small business owner are just money. To begin with, how do you get
started and have enough money to start working your business. Most of us start
at home start out of our garages or kitchens, basements, and the choice is
about whether or not you want to take a loan or not take a loan. You know, it’s a
really hard decision and then there’s also issues of how do you
communicate your product. All of the designs on here I’ve had to learn to
kind of be a graphic design artist. Made my own business cards up at first
because I couldn’t afford to buy a whole bunch. There’s all kinds of other
little things that you don’t think of that are behind the scenes. I also do all the
photography for my cookbooks and my Instagram account and Facebook. So you have
to learn how to communicate your product as well as make the product and
sometimes the communication of the product is a whole learning process in
itself and that’s just a lot of questions. I’m not sure if I did a lot
of questions as much as I did a lot of experimentation. And then the
other side of that is the whole loan process, learning about whether or not
you want to have a loan. I currently have a loan I’m paying off from when I was in a
location. Now I would recommend to people that they don’t do that. I’d
recommend that you don’t take loans out unless you can see an immediate return
for what you’re getting if you can get something back from it. For example, if
you buy a machine that’s going to help you process more and faster and you’re
going to make money right then. So to buy the machine before you’re actually
having a need for that size of a machine and you’re not able to sell
enough product to be able to at least pay off the payment and a little
more from whatever you’re going to make off of that. That would be my recommendation to people in future. Loans kind of get you
in a bind where you feel like you have a need for money and makes you focus less
on the product than it is on your worrying about how do I pay this off. Most of the people that I know in town right now that are trying to do
something in a food venue also either are working another job or like the
barbecue place in town, Sweet and Saucy, which is really good by the way, He says, “You know my wife works so I can have this hobby and he is open six or seven
days a week and fantastic food that because it’s so expensive to have a
location then you have to have some way to fund that and usually it’s a spouse. You
have to have buy-in from your spouse. I think that’s another thing that people
come across. I did. My husband and I weren’t really in agreement and so when
you’re battling at home and you’re trying to battle to push a product
forward, I think that that can create too much tension and you need to have some
agreement and buy-in from your spouse. Well, first I started with everything I
had at home. I started with $300 in the bank and I’m not even sure if I had
a mixer at that point because mine had broken so I bought a five dollar mixer
from Walmart which broke within six months and bought a ten dollar mixer from
Walmart that broke within ten months or six months and bought a fifteen dollar
mixer that broke within another six months so then I went and bought a $90
mixer, and these are all hand mixers, I think I bought it at Bed Bath and Beyond
because they guarantee their products and that one promptly broke so I traded
it in for an $80 model that was not so high-tech that looked like it was sturdy
and that one was doing really good and then my husband said, “You just need to
stop doing this. You just need a KitchenAid,” so he went online and found
me a KitchenAid for Christmas. I would not have paid for it because I didn’t have
the money but he went and bought me one and so now that’s all I use. So if you
want something really good, buy a professional model KitchenAid because I
did buy actually a stand-up that was another brand at Walmart and it broke
within three months so I took it back and said, “You know, this is not
functioning properly,” and yeah, don’t buy one unless it’s a professional model. Spend the extra money. There are sales online. And get your family and friends to buy
you stuff for Christmas that you need, tools and whatnot. That’s my
recommendation and then buy a little at a time. Always buy a little at a time.
Keep using your profits to feed back into the business so that you’re not
developing debt and and you’re constantly building what you have. This plate in front of me is something I found for $1 or $2. I said, “Wow, that would be
great for pictures.” So I bought it. I only have one. I
don’t have a whole set that looks like that just in case you’re wondering. I reduce stress by first of all, I don’t
want to do it alone again. Loans increase your risk unless
it’s for something that’s going to give you an immediate profit so if you buy
a machine that is going to be able to help you to pay for both the payments on
it and give you a little extra and cover your cost. So I think learning what your
cost is is probably one of the main things to help reduce risk because if
you don’t know your cost, then you can’t figure out what your ratio should be for
profit. And you need to figure in cost for everything. What’s your cost for rent?
What’s your cost for your, you know, your packaging here, the product itself, and
what’s the cost of your labor. So often your labor becomes the thing that’s
the riskiest if you if you’re doing everything yourself because you might
not be making money. You might have a great product but you’re not making
money because you don’t know how to figure out what your cost ratio is. For
me that meant learning how to do an Excel spreadsheet. I took an entire
summer to figure out how to use Excel and make spreadsheets and have them
interact and work with each other and ask questions. There are lots of really
good business people that are willing to help you answer those kind of questions. The local college, it has an extension here. There’s two extensions
you can get information from people at the extensions at your colleges and
other colleges and universities in your state to help you to learn how to at
least give you general ideas for pricing. Other business owners can do that, too.
The more questions that you ask when you have an opportunity to ask one, the more
information that you have, the better you’re going to be able to know what
your risks are because sometimes you don’t know what they are.
And then also to know how to deal with that. When you’re dealing with food you
also have the risk of making sure that you don’t have product that is out of
date so no one’s going to get sick from it. That you handle it properly. You
know I always have to make sure that if I’m taking something to someone in the
summer, do I have the ability to transport it to them cold or to keep it
so it’s not going to be so warm that it’s at risk of causing someone
to get sick. You don’t want somebody to get sick. Then just everything about
your business has to be something that you can feel like, okay, if
I give this to people, are they going to be able to number one, utilize it. Number
two, am I doing it just to make money or am I doing it for my own reputation. If
you don’t do it for your own reputation then you’re probably at greater risk just
because you’re just doing it to make a dollar. You’re not doing it to
really produce something that’s of quality because if you don’t have something
that’s of quality, you’re at risk of losing your whole business. People need
to know that what they’re getting from you is really good. Hi, I’m Anne Marie Fiore. I’m a faculty
member here in Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management at Iowa State
University and the topic of this talk is going to be experiential marketing. And
what we’re going to be looking at today are three things. The first is what is
experiential marketing; the second is what is the impact of experiential
marketing; and thirdly, what should experiential marketing look like. Then following this presentation you’ll hear from Dr. Eric Olson who will talk
about the basics of pulling together events because you’ll see that events
are really important to experiential marketing. So let’s start with what is
experiential marketing. First let’s say think about traditional marketing. You’re
trying to get a product to a consumer better, cheaper and faster and you really
see this consumer as being a logical information processor who’s really
concerned about price and quality. But when you think about experiential
marketing it’s something different. You’re really looking at something that
goes beyond just looking for the Walmart customer who’s looking for a good value
for a fair price. What you’re even seeing now is that Walmart is embracing what
we’re going to talk about this idea of experiential marketing. So experiential
marketing a definition, it’s any form of customer focused marketing activity that
creates a connection to customers. Okay and so what customers are looking for. You say, what’s going to connect to them. Well, today’s customers really want more
than quality at a fair price. They want to feel personally connected to that
brand and by personal connection what we’re talking about, this idea of being
connected to what the brand stands for. And they also want to feel this kinship
or affiliation to that brand representative or owner of that company. And today’s customers also want to have their preferences and their needs
heard by that brand so you’re really talking about building this idea
of brand community through experiential marketing. And secondly what you’re
looking at is this idea of they want memorable experience.
They want something that brings them pleasure, joy, surprise, and newness. Experiential marketing takes many physical forms, for instance, if you think
about a lavish brand event and you’ll see a slide in Ben & Jerry’s where
customers are actively engaged with that brand. They’re sharing information with
the brand representatives and you get to sample products. So in this example of
Ben and Jerry’s, you can see that customers jump into a giant bowl of
little balls, soft balls, like they’re jumping into a bowl of ice cream and
that’s really to launch their new brand of ice cream. Looking at bringing in
these cereal flavors in terms of Froot Loops or Cocoa Puffs swirled into ice
cream. It can also take the form of a small limited time pop-up shop in an
unexpected location, in a storefront or a mall, or it can be something as simple as
a small interactive child’s experience or an activity like this veggie racecars
in a local food festival in Minnesota where the kids can choose which one of
the racers are theirs and they can see who wins. But in all these different
examples what you find is that customers have an engaging experience. They’re
interacting with the brand representatives and/or the products. There’s a creatively designed space that leaves them with this real feeling of
sense of pleasure or delight from the experience. We’ll look at more
examples in the last segment of this talk but next what I want to
do is look at what’s the impact of experiential marketing. What marketers
say in recent industry reports are first, 77% of these marketers use experiential
marketing as a vital part of the brand’s marketing strategies, 79%
of brands said that they would execute more events and experiential programs in
2017 in comparison to the year before, and 65% of the brands say that their
experiential marketing is directly related to sales. And what do customers
say. Well, 70% of the customers who use these events say that they’re going to become regular customers of that brand. And
74% of these event attendees have a more positive opinion
of the brand after the experience. So what you can see is experiential
marketing is really growing and pervasive. It’s something that every
owner of a company should think about using and there’s a positive impact from
these experiences on a brand. In the last segment of this talk is really
going to look at what should experiential marketing look like so there are
six key factors for successful experiential marketing. First, we need to
look at this idea of making it a very multi-sensory experience so that means
you need to consider all these senses. What you see. What you smell. What you
taste. What you hear. What you touch. All of these things need to be considered. You also need to think about making it emotionally arousing. It should
be pleasurable. It should be exciting and there should be a repetition of those
brand elements, be it your brand colors, be it the message of your brand, but you
need to repeat these things often within this brand environment. And customers and
brands need to learn something new and unexpected about each other. So you’re
there as a brand to learn what your customers want or what they like and the
customer is there to learn what’s new and exciting about your particular brand. And
customers really need to reinforce that physical connection so that they need
some sort of physical interaction with the brand. And lastly, they need to be
personally connected and relevant to the customer. So whatever you design, this
experiential marketing event needs to really fit into their lifestyles and
values. So for instance, if you’re a food company that’s making healthy baby food,
your event should really focus on things that are healthy kid events. So
I want to give you a major brand example so we’re looking at wonderful brands and
they have a number of different products such as Halo brand mandarins. They have
wonderful pistachios, wonderful almonds. They have Pom wonderful drink and so
they have many really healthy products that they sell within their brand. And
Wink Designs in New Orleans has created a really wonderful experiential marketing event for Halo brands that really hits on all these six key
features. So as you look at these images from the event you can see that
it really engages their senses. It arouses their emotions with these
bright colors, the dramatic event spaces, and you’re greeted by an angel like
you’re being walked into a citrus fruit heaven. There’s this repetition of the
Halo brand symbol throughout the event. There’s also this reinforcing of that
brand identity. If you’ve seen their commercials, it’s the little kids talking
to each other and when two kids walk up to one kid who’s eating a Halo and says,”Hey, you do you want to go off and and play around in the construction area,” and
he says, “No,” and the next thing you do is you see two kids
layered within concrete as the one smart kid is walking by eating his
Halo. There’s this real sense of fun to this brand that’s part of their brand
identity and so as you walk into this event, there’s this double entendre, I’m
leaving my hello at the door. So there’s always that sense of fun that they’re
trying to build into this experiential marketing event for them. And they get to
physically interact with the brand at the party by including the Pom wonderful
juice in their drinks which is personally relevant to the people that
like this brand. It reinforces that desirable healthy lifestyle which leads
to a lot of word of mouth or word of mouth from their customers. Or
they are trying to make this share-worthy so something where they can
share this on through social media, electronically, or even person-to-person
in word-of-mouth sharing. So there’s six things. That’s a lot to remember so maybe
we can condense this down to three things, three features that you need
to think about. Let’s take these six features and bring it down to three. So
when you’re developing this experiential marketing event what you need to think
about and this comes from a researcher. I love this phrase – you need to dazzle
their senses, touch their hearts, and stimulate their minds. So think about
that. Whatever decisions you’re making in building this experience, dazzle
their senses, touch their hearts, and stimulate their minds. Now what are your
goals? What are the goals of a successful experiential marketing event? Well, you
want your brand to stand out. It’s got to be different. It’s got to be special. You
want to stand out from your competitors and you want to increase that awareness
of the brand for the customer but also you want to have more knowledge about
what the customer wants as a brand. So it’s a back and forth. It’s a two-way
interaction or communication and you want this to lead to word-of-mouth,
either social media word-of-mouth or face-to-face where the mouth. You want
your customers to do the marketing for you and the end result, you want to
develop repeat customers, loyal customers. That’s going to lead to success. Now
you’re saying, “Well, what about sales? Don’t I want to get some sales out of
this?” Many times when you’re looking at experiential marketing, what you find is the
end goal of that particular experiential marketing event isn’t in terms of sales. You’re not thinking about how much money did I make off this? What you’re thinking
about is what’s the marketability and the value of my brand after this
particular event? So you’re looking at it rather in terms of word-of-mouth and
brand attitude. So when we think about it, how do we bring all these things to
fruition? How do we take these three things and bring it to strategies within
experiential marketing? Well, we can look at the four Es and these are experiential
marketing strategies that have been coined by Pine & Gilmore. They are two
industry folks that have worked with large brands but I think these apply to
many brands, many different sizes. And what you find is that these four Es can
help that customer feel connected to your brand and can create that memorable
experience which we said, this is what today’s consumer wants. So let’s look at
the four Es. We’re talking about entertainment, educational, aesthetic, and
escapist experience and we’re going to look at each one of these separately. So when we look at these we’re talking about our four experiences
divided upon two different continua. Something very active to passive in
terms of what the customer is really bringing to that event and something
that’s either immersive or absorptive. So immersive is when you’re bringing a
customer into this richly designed environment and absorptive is when
they’re bringing that experience into their mind. So the first one we’re going
to look at is this idea of entertainment. So here you’re more passive; you’re
passively watching activities and performances created by others. Chip’s
Chocolate Factory in Kansas City, so when you’re thinking about this, this is an
indie brand and what they do is they let the customer come in and watch the fudge
being made and so it’s really sort of an interesting process. I don’t know how
fudge is made. I don’t even like fudge but I’d sit there and watch it for 15
minutes to see how fudge is made. It’s really part of that entertainment
experience that they offer that builds that connection to that brand. The second
experience is really looking at education. So this educational experience
where you’re enhancing the skills or the knowledge in a very active way for that
particular customer so they’re participating in the experience. One
of the examples here is learning about whiskeys. So here you can go up and you can smell the different kinds of whiskies that are
offered by the whiskey experience in Scotland. So you’re actively involved in
pressing buttons, sniffing it, and trying to understand the differences between
these different whiskeys. There’s even a whiskey distiller there
who has this peat experience. So you give them 50 pounds and you get to go out and
collect the peat in the fields and bring it back so that they can use it in the
creation of making scotch. And so you’re really actively involved in
understanding what goes into that process of making scotch.
The third experience is this idea of aesthetic experience. This is where
the customer enjoys a very enriched, unique physical design. They sit back
and they enjoy this passively. They appreciate just being in
that setting. So when you think about it, here’s a great example from Panera
Bread. Think about standing out there in that cold environment in the winter
waiting for that bus. Well, in this particular bus stop, they’re selling you
their new products at Panera Bread coming out of the oven. But they
also have radiant heat coming down and warming you. So you’ve got that wonderful
physical experience just standing there enjoying that idea of like being an oven
on a cold day. But it could be something as simple as really thinking about how
to go about and redesign your booth. So think about all the vining that’s going
on here, the use of lighting, the use of gold, to really make this a more rich
environment. This is also an example of aesthetic experience. And lastly is
this idea of escapist experience. Here again the customer is actively
shaping that experience. They’re contributing to what goes about to
create that experience. And it offers that customer a way of taking on a new
character, being in a new place, or a new environment. So think about this idea
of this big chair. Here Disney is really trying to sell this idea of going back
to those films of your childhood and you think about that proportion of you as a
child sitting in that big chair so that it’s bringing you back to that time in
your life when you were a little kid. So you’re getting to that escapist
experience. So you’re actively involving sitting in that chair
remembering about being a kid. And lastly this idea of this teddy bear.
So think about Doc McStuffins which is a show on TV on the Disney Channel
and it’s about the six-year-old girl called Doc. And she goes about and she
heals different toys in her backyard. So in this particular experiential
marketing event, kids can come in and imitate being that Doc in that film so they become that character. They can imitate what’s going on, what they see on
TV. So these are just four ways about going about and building that
experiential marketing event, to build that connection to that
customer, make something that’s really memorable. So you can look at some of
these and you say, “Well, they’re too big and they’re too grand for what I can afford.”
Well, some of them – think about the one with the vining. Could you go out and
find local products in your back yard, flowers, vines, things like that that you
can use. Get some posts. Paint them gold. Weave them together. And so what you’re
doing is building that environment, something that’s more interesting. Or
maybe think about working together with businesses. So maybe three products, three local foods, can get together and have a Top Chef cook-off using combination
those local ingredients. Maybe a local jam maker, a local cheese maker, and a
local free raise range chicken producer can get together and hold this event. So
this can really begin to promote all three of your products. Make something
memorable. Have home cooks come in and cook off just like they would on the Top
Chef show. That really can bring in people to watch. It could bring in people
to taste the different products that are created with the local goods. So this is
a way that you can think about, hey, how can I work together with others to build
these experiential marketing events. So hopefully we’ve given you a little bit
of background on experiential marketing. If you want to learn more about it, just
go home and google experiential marketing and you’re going to see
incredible experiences that have been created. When you look at a lot of these
experiences, you can see that a lot of them really focused on creating events.
And so Dr. Olson is really going to talk about this idea of what are the nuts and
bolts of event planning. You also saw the importance of the idea of social
media sharing, the importance of word- of-mouth. Well, when you look at what Dr.
Chong did, you’re really looking at this idea of how do you bring social
media to life. So in closing I just want to hand off this presentation to
Dr. Olson and I want to do it in a creative way. So think about this particular image – so you’re handing out samples of your product. Think about how even that simple
process can be really made more experiential. So thank you for listening
today. I hope you learned something about experiential marketing and go out
and see what the great things are out there in experiential marketing and try
to bring them into your brand. Thank you. Well, greetings everyone. My name is Dr.
Eric D. Olson and I’m an assistant professor as well as a program director
for our growing event management program here at Iowa State University.
My colleague, Dr. Anne-Marie Fiore, discussed a little on the aspects of
experiential marketing and how markers are utilizing the marketing strategies
of the four Es. I want to extend that discussion and that conversation and
talk a little bit about how event planners are actually utilizing events
as part of their marketing strategy or their experiential marketing strategy to
not only educate customers but also to entertain customers with their food
related products. So here’s my outline for the next couple of minutes. I first
want to tell you a little bit about a definition of what an event actually is
and then from there I have three major suggestions I’d like to kind of share
with you to provide you some tactics of your event planning. So a working
definition of an event, an event can be basically defined as a meeting or
gathering of two or more people for some sort of a common goal or some sort of
a common purpose. But I want to add a little bit about that
definition of an event because I think for a lot of our events, there’s spacial
considerations and there’s also time considerations that actually need to
occur. Think of a farmers’ market that happens maybe every week on Saturday
morning. That space is completely transformed for a period of time. The
vendors will come in very early and will set up. The attendees will actually come in
to purchase their products and services and then everyone leaves at a
certain period of time as well. So that spatial and time consideration I
think is very important. And then one other aspect of an event is this idea of
heightened emotions. Event attendees tend to be very excited
when they go to events. We are often in kind of this heightened
emotional experience when we go to our events. So with that working definition
of an event, I want to tell you three specific areas that I’d like you to kind
of think a little bit about in event planning. Those three areas are number one, return on investment, number two,
event design, and number three, risk management. So let’s go into that first
area, that first theme, on how important it is for event planners to
really have a good return on investment strategy. More and more in the industry
I’m actually seeing events taking a step back from the operation or from their
event and thinking a little bit about the overall strategy on why an event actually
exists and setting up specific objectives to conquer or to reach them
specific goals of an actual event. I have a very nice framework that I’d like
to spend a couple of minutes kind of going through. This is called the levels
of objectives framework. It’s six levels of objectives that an event manager can
actually set up. Level zero, statistics, scope and volume. Level number one,
reaction and satisfaction. Level number two, learning. Level number three,
application. Level number four, business results or business impact. And level
number five, which is the most sophisticated and the hardest to do is
actually creating that or finding out that return on investment. Level zero
is all about statistics, scope and volume. So an event manager when thinking about
the actual event, they need to talk or they need to set goals up as it relates
to purely numbers. For example, the number of attendees that are expected to go to
the actual event, the number of sponsors that the event planner was able to
obtain, the number of sales that actually occurred at that actual food-related
event, and lastly perhaps the number of clicks on some sort of a social media
response would fall under level zero. Level one is reaction and satisfaction
and I think all of us have been to some sort of a restaurant or a coffee shop
where we have been asked to rate the level of service on a scale of one
through seven. So reaction and satisfaction tends to be all about
setting those objectives as it relates to the service quality of that actual
event. It could be on the cleanliness of the actual event, the accessibility of
the actual event, the food, the beverage, the entertainment, the venue
of that actual special event. Level 2 is all about learning and I think this is
perfect for our food-related events. Often when attendees go to events they
learn new information. They gather information about new products or new
services and then take that information back with them. So the level two
categories, setting those objectives as it relates to the learning aspect. Level
3 then is all about the application aspect. So I learn information, I got new
data, got new information about a product. I am now going to do something about
that information. I’m going to apply it in my personal or my professional life.
So an event manager sets up objectives in the application category, it’s all
about how we’re going to create some sort of a new sale. So an event attendee,
you learn about a new product at that actual, I’ll say a farmers’ market. They
took that information, they applied it to their daily life, and then
they purchased that actual product. Level five is impact so we set up our
objectives pertaining to the impact of that actual event. And level six is
that return on investment and that return on an investment is a comparison.
It’s a comparison ratio. We are comparing the benefits of that actual
event to the two costs of that actual event. And that concludes my little
discussion about the levels of objectives. So in addition to the first
theme I wanted to recognize about setting those clear objectives utilized
in the levels of objective framework, I want to talk a little bit about some
trends that are occurring in event design. The good news is that Americans
are going to more and more events every single year. The other side of that
though is they are actually more and more events that are competing for our
time. Additionally, we do know that events are actually shorter in nature so on one
hand, we’re going to more Invents but the events that we’re going to are shorter in nature. Additionally, without a doubt events are becoming much
more interactive and food-related events are already set up for success to
recognize that specific trend. Demonstrations, the use of samples, event
attendees when they go to food-related events, they want to know not only about the product or the service, they also want to
know about how that product and service was created, where it was created. They
want that interaction. They want to know the product developer, the
entrepreneur, the insight, the behind-the-scenes information about
that actual product. Event goers are more sophisticated than ever before. I
think several years ago when event goers would actually go to a specific
food-related event, they would go to the event, they would walk around, they would
sample maybe a product. Nowadays event goers already have that
information up front and they already know where they want to go so in a way,
they already have information about your product. They’ve already googled your
your company so when they get to the actual event, the event goers know
specifically in that path of where they want to go and who they want to
visit. Events are becoming much more inclusive and this is a very good thing.
I think the event industry, in a way, actually leads society in terms of
making sure that events are very inclusive, ensuring access to events.
Everyone from someone who has a disability, which one in six Americans
actually currently does, but I think inclusiveness could also be I’m thinking
a little bit about some of the non- disability awareness elements, such as a
family who utilizes a stroller to go through maybe a food festival. Or it
could be a baby boomer who is bringing their adult or their adult parent with
them who’s maybe a little more elderly and needs some different tools to
navigate an actual event. And then my last trend that’s occurring in the event
industry is this idea of an unevent. For some of us that may be a term that we’ve never heard of before. But there’s an initiative for a lot of our events to be
kind of an unevent. So traditionally a lot of events were very programmed, especially with food events. There’s a set agenda. There are speakers. There are modules. There’s education. There’s entertainment
that was actually occurring. In an unevent, people would actually go to a specific event and then the programming actually exists in more of an ad hoc basis. So often various influences will set the schedule, set the meetings or the group or the interaction
components to actually occur at that actual event. So I’ve talked a little bit
about kind of this element of setting up objectives for creating
events that create a strong return on investment. I’ve talked a little bit
about the event design. The third theme I want you to recognize in kind of the
event planning is that of risk management and providing a safe and secure
experience for all event attendees. Without a doubt, industry is
responding to several different events that have occurred in kind of the
negative realm in the last couple of years. So I have kind of a five-step
process I want you to think a little bit about in setting up kind of a risk
management plan for an actual event. Step number one is to take a step back and
think a little bit about the overall risk in the context of that actual event. These are the larger societal forces at hand. It could be an economic factor. It
could be a social, a political, a legal, a cultural factor at hand. That’s that macro
environment in which an event actually operates in. The second step in
creating a risk management process is to think a little bit about the unique risk
specifically for that actual event. We think a little bit about the event scope,
the event design, the event marketing. So for my farmers’ market example, an
element of a risk would be weather since the event could be occurring outdoors. The third step is analysis stage and in this risk management step, the event
manager needs to add some sort of quantifiable elements to all the
different risks that could actually occur. So this is a brainstorming stage. A
risk can be defined as anything that would actually get in the way of an
event manager achieving those objectives that were previously set for that actual
event. I think another way we can think of risk is to categorize them into
weather-related, such as our tornado, human-made, such as a terrorist attack, or
even an increasing genre of a risk technological risk, everything from loss
of power to the loss of a personal laptop. So in the analysis stage, the event
manager needs to kind of add some quantifiable elements such as the likeliness of that risk to actually
occur. And after the event manager analyzes the different risk, the risk
manager needs to think a little bit about some control processes. So
control essentially means what am I actually going to do about that risk. Am
I going to take on that risk? Am I going to cancel that risk? Am I going to modify
my operation? So maybe for an outdoor event instead of using glass bottles, I’m
going to use plastic cups. Another control factor could be that I
could actually transfer that risk to maybe a third party vendor. And then the
last stage in the risk management process is evaluation stage. That’s
typically done after the actual event where I take a look at the event. I get
feedback from a wide variety of different stakeholders. I recall any
incidences that actually occur at that actual event and I make some
modifications for my overall risk management plan for the next event. So
folks, I want to tell you a little bit about the event planning process. To conclude, I gave you a brief definition of what an event
actually is and then I kind of gave you some strategies and some tactics for
some three areas in kind of the event management world that I’m starting to
see event managers really pay attention to in the industry. The
first of which is setting those objectives to create that strong
return on an investment. The event design aspects as well, making our events
more interactive, shorter in nature, as well as more accessible to a wide
variety of audiences. And then that third stage is to create that comprehensive
risk management program for that actual event. Thank you. Hi. I’m Jeffrey Hedquist. I am the owner
of Hedquist Productions and I’m a marketer and I also have, so I have one
foot in the marketing business, but I also have a foot in the agriculture
business. I own a 145 acre farm just north of Fairfield, Iowa, and so, I’ve got
a little bit of knowledge in both those areas and maybe there’s something I can
do to pass on some information to help you. My goal is to help you market your
products to customers but before that you have to market it to the people who
will sell those products, the stores, the retailers. So there are lots of ways that
you can market products. And when I say market, it’s involved in selling,
advertising, direct contact. There are lots of ways to talk to people about
carrying what you manufacture, grow, process. And I’ve found that the best way to do that is through stories. And you might say, “What do you mean, stories?” And what I mean is, I call it story-based marketing. We have grown up with stories. We’re
attracted to stories. We love stories. Now you’ve got a lot of facts about what you
do. Here’s the benefits and here’s the process we go through and they’re kind
of dry and you’re used to telling things in terms of facts but if you take those
facts and make them into stories, they become sticky. I like to say that stories
make the facts sticky and there’s a real advantage to having those stories sticky. For instance, stories have power and you basically know how to tell
stories already. What I do is I work with individuals and companies and
organizations helping them tell better stories, that’s all. So I think the
stories that you already have, I’m going to show you how to tell them in a better way. The stories can be about you. For instance, what got you to do what you’re doing? Was it a desire to create something? It might
have been a recipe that your grandparents or parents had that you
decided to do it and your family liked it and then you sold some or you know gave some to your neighbors and they said, “This is really good. You can sell this.” And maybe you sold some at the farmers’
market and then the reaction was good. And suddenly by accident, you’re in the
processing business. You’re in the food processing or some other processing
business. And you’re in it by accident. So there’s a story that you can
tell how you got started. The story might be about your journey, how you got to
where you’re doing and that journey might have been that you looked at the
market and you said, “You know, there’s a need for such-and-such or there’s a
national trend for this kind of food or this kind of product,” and you decided
that you had a better way of doing that and you created it that way. So then
again, there was a market-based story that you can tell and there’s
another kind of story. It could be about your process. You may have something
unique in the way you grow, process, ferment, freeze, dehydrate, bake, whatever
it is that you do to create products for the market may be unique. That’s unique. It’s a great story because I’ll show you why stories are good. And then finally
your product, what’s good about it. Is it especially healthful? Does it
serve people who have food allergies? Is it kind of a breakthrough product? Is it
tastier? Is it more fun? Is it more interesting? What is it about your
product? Every one of those aspects, there’s a story. And so what do you do
with those stories. Well, who are you going to be talking to. You are going to
be talking to individual owners, for instance retailers, and if you can
tell a good story to that retailer, then they feel, “Okay, I could put a few of
these on the shelf,” and hopefully they’ll sell and make money. So I would say the
overall approach to all the different audiences that you talk to is how can I
make this easy for them. How can I make it simple for them and what are their
fears. Well, it’s not gonna sell. They’re not gonna make money with it. You won’t
service them. You won’t take back products that are expired or that don’t
work. You won’t guarantee your product. You’re brand new to a lot of
these people who are going to be buying your product and selling it. So you need
to make it easy for them. You need to make it a no-brainer. How can you do that?
You can do that with stories because if you give them a story to tell. For
instance, let’s talk about that individual retailer. If you convince him
or her to put your product on the shelf, and you tell a good story that gives
them a story that they can tell their customers. So the customer goes and they
see your product on the shelf and it’s a cookie, let’s say, a certain kind of cookie,
and they ask the owner of the store about that cookie, he can then recall the
interesting story you told. “You know, the macadamia nuts that they brought here
are from a certain area of Hawaii,” or “You know, the walnuts that are in here were
grown on a farm in Grinnell, Iowa” and suddenly the customer has a better
connection to what you’ve put on the shelf, what you’ve convinced that retailer to
put on the shelf. So you’ve benefited the retailer, you
benefited the customer, and obviously you benefited yourself. What’s the next level?
You could be talking to managers who are managers of one store of a chain of
stores and so what they have to do is they have to sell the idea that you, they have to sell your story to their management so again if you tell a good
story that gives them a chance to talk to a board of directors or owners or
whoever to again carry the product. Say, “You know, I talked to this farmer
who’s now processing this particular kind of soft drink, and I think it would
be good for our store,” and again the story gets passed from you to the
manager to the owners. It could be a distributor you’re talking to. If you’ve
got a few retailers that are, you know, that are successful with what you’re
doing, then the distributor may want to carry it. So again, if the distributor
gets that story that you’ve told, or those
stories that you’ve told, then they can sell it to the owner, the manager, and
eventually to the customer. Now what happens with all of this is, the stories
become as powerful as the product because what you want to do is you want
to develop a following. You want to develop, hopefully, a list that you can
market to and that list can be people that you’ve met directly. You may have a CSA. You may be selling directly to people at a
farmers market. Collect the addresses or at least the email addresses of
everybody and then give them a bonus for doing that. Say, “I will send you a 10% on
the product,” or 20% or I’ll send you a free product or whatever it is for
getting their email address. And let them know that I’m not going to, you know, try
to sell you everything all the time. And then as you collect these names which
are the names of customers, managers, all the people we talked about, store owners,
you can send out information about your product, stories again. And the stories
about the product can be how to use it. They can be recipes. They can be new
things that you’ve found out. New successes that you’ve gotten. And every
once in a while, put an offer in there to, again, the managers, the store owners, or the customers, and say, “Hey, you know we’ve sent you three or four of these stories or these recipes and then here’s a bonus
for reading our stuff,” and so every once in a while, you send them
an offer. You know, maybe three bits of information and then an offer, another three bits of information and an offer and you can do those weekly. You can do them monthly. You can do them quarterly, whatever works for you. So
that’s another way to use stories. Now where do you get stories. The stories can be from your
own life, all the things that we talked about. You, the process, what you went through to create what you’ve done. It can be, and this is
especially powerful, testimonials. When you look and these testimonials can be
from the people you’ve sold to directly. They can be your relatives. They can be
your neighbors. They can be the people who bought from your CSA. They can be
people you met at the farmers market. Get them to tell stories. Those stories are
testimonials. Those testimonials can be used to help sell the store owner, etc.,
all the people that we mentioned. And the stories can be video. That would be ideal. If you’re selling at a farmers market, you bring a video camera, you bring your
cell phone, and you say, “Hey, do you like what you’re tasting?” “Yeah, this is really good.” “Can I get a video of you?” and get a video of them. It could be audio of them with a
photograph. It could be a photograph and print out what they say. Now how do you get testimonials. One of the best ways is as soon as somebody has purchased, get a
testimonial from them right away because then they’re in the euphoric – I’ve just
tasted this, this is pretty darn good, I like it, I think I would buy it, I think
I would make a gift of it, I think it would sell it to my family, etc. One
of the best ways that I have found to get testimonials is if you’re talking to,
again, customers or store owners on the phone and you ask them, “How is
it going?” and it may be successful. Hopefully it is, and they talk a little
bit about that, you can ask them some questions. “Is it selling?” “Is it profitable
for you?” “Would you like to reorder it?” “We’re going to add some other aspects to
this product line. Would you be interested?” Getting all that information
at the end of the conversation say, “Hey, that was really good. Can I use some of
those comments in our marketing?” and usually they’d say yes. What you do
then is take those, transcribe them, clean them up a little, make it into a story
again, and that’s one of the things I do when I work with companies to show them
how to take those testimonials and make them into stories. Send it to the person you
just talked to and say, “Hey, if you approve this,
I’ll use it. If you want to make any changes, please do so.” A lot of times when
we’re trying to get testimonials what we do is we call and say, “Hey, can I get a
testimonial from you,” and the person says, “Yes.” They never do it. They never get to
it or they send you something that’s kind of lame. The best way is just to get
them talking, get a conversation going, transcribe that conversation, then send
it to them and say, “Would you approve this?” 99% of the time they will approve
it and now you’ve got testimonials. What you want to do is, I talked about making
it easy for the person to buy from you, if they have the confidence that
somebody, another customer has bought it, another store owner has purchased from
you, another distributor has purchased from you, suddenly they feel they’re not
alone. They feel okay. Somebody else does it and it was successful. They feel good.
So again you’ve given them confidence with a story. The best stories you can tell
are about your audience so the testimonial story is kind of cool in that that’s a story that’s being told by the person who has purchased, tasted, served to their
family, your product. Or the store owner who has put it on their shelves and
found that there was some success or the distributors who said, “You know, I was able to sell four or five retailers with this and they’re all doing well.” Again, those
are stories about the audience that you’re talking to. Those are the most
powerful kinds of stories. And how can you use the stories. You can use the
stories when you make an in-person sales call because then it becomes less of a
sales call and more of a conversation or of an interactive relationship with
whoever you’re selling to. It can be used in blogs. It can be used in podcasts. It
can be used in videos that you can put on YouTube. You can make a
story in 120 characters so it can be passed on as a tweet. You can use it in
radio and TV commercials. You can use it in ads. There’s just so many ways to use
stories that this is one of the best ways to help market your goods to the
rest of the people. So if I can be of any assistance, and I work with
all kinds of advertisers and companies and organizations and individuals
throughout the country helping them market what they’re doing to their
audience, just let me know. I think the contact information is there
available for you. Keep in mind, make it easy and comfortable for whoever you’re
selling to. Take away any risk. You know, you guarantee that if it doesn’t sell
you will take it back. You guarantee if there’s any problem with any of the
product we’ll take it back. Let them feel confident that they can go
with you, kind of an unknown, and have them fall in love with you and your
product by telling them really good stories. Did you know that almost all American
adults are digitally connected according to a survey by the Pew Research Center
as of the end of 2016. 69% adults in the U.S. use at least one
social media platform to connect with friends, family, and like-minded people. Social media is such an inseparable part of consumers’ life that
71 percent of consumers who have had a good social media service experience
with a brand are more likely to recommend the brand to others. Many
brands are using social media as a marketing tool to increase brand
engagement and win new customers. So what exactly is social media marketing?
Social media marketing by definition is the process of using these platforms to
reach your target audience with relevant information and promotion, to interact, to
build trust, and to make sales. A family-owned restaurant sharing a video
of Grandma Jen making her best-selling dish on their social media page is
social media marketing in action. A farmer sharing a picture of the just-bloomed apple trees is social media marketing in action. These businesses are
reaching out to the members of these social media platforms to capture their
attention and expose them to their messages, products, and services. It seems
intuitive for business owners to be on social media platforms, and it seems
every business owner feels that they need to be on social media, otherwise
they are behind the competition. But is social media the answer for everything?
How can you use social media to get the most out of it. Here are some pros and cons of social media marketing for small business
owners. First, social media marketing has low cost. Most social media platforms
cost you nothing to create accounts and have no limits on how
often and how much you use them. Authenticity – social media allows you to
tell your own story and to maintain the authenticity of your own social media
presence. It is not controlled by anyone else. Interactivity – social media allows you to interact with your loyal customers and
your potential customers equally. It allows two-way dialogues between
businesses and customers. Instead of pushing out one-way broadcasts, you can
turn to social media to learn about your customers through meaningful
interactions. Social media can reach a big audience without geographic
limitations while with a little cost, it can also target specific audiences
such as people who live in your city, people in a certain age range, etc. With
these plus sides of social media marketing, businesses may turn customers
into brand ambassadors and build a sense of community among those who
follow them on social media platforms. However, social media marketing comes
with some shortcomings. If you want to have accounts and a social media
presence, it can be time-consuming to manage your accounts, creating contents,
and responding to your audiences. You do not have control over what people say on
your social media platforms so there is a possibility to see negative comments
on your business from your audience. Having a pre-planned damage control
strategy ahead of time can help lessen the harm done by the negative comments. However, it can also add to the time-consuming aspect of social media
marketing as well. If you have limited time, which social media platform is
right for your business? How do you prioritize your usage of social media for marketing? The short answer is it depends. Remember no matter what products you sell, you have to start by examining your
target audience. Ask yourself these questions. Who are they? What social media platforms do they prefer? How much do they spend on social media? What mindset are they in when they are spending time on those social media
platforms. According to a survey from the Pew Research, Facebook still dominates
other social media platforms in terms of the numbers of users in the U.S.
Facebook is also the most daily checked social media platform in the U.S. followed
by Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Judging by just how many people you can reach, Facebook can be the most
fundamental social media platform to start with. Comparing with other popular
social media platforms for small businesses, Facebook is especially good
if your target market is 55 years old or older and if your target market is small
niche market. It allows most types of contents including images, texts, videos,
external links, and it is very useful if you have important updates about your
business. It allows you to set up business pages and track effectiveness
of each message that you post. With a little more cost, you have an option to
pay to promote your messages. Twitter used to have the second largest number
of users until Pinterest and Instagram became dominant social medium platforms in around 2015. But about 70% of small business followers on Twitter retweet
contents by the brands that they followed. It used by more millennials and teenagers and allows shorter contents resulting
expectations from your audience of more frequent updates and more real-time
report type of updates. Users can tweet texts of about 280 characters long. They
could tweet pictures, videos, and short polls. Businesses can set up business
accounts and track the reach of their messages. Also with a little extra
cost, you can promote your tweets. Many businesses also use Twitter as a tool
for customer services. Instagram is relatively newer comparing to other
social media platforms. It is useful when your audience is mostly millenials and
women. About 68 percent of Instagram users engage with friends and businesses
on Instagram regularly. The contents shared are primarily images and videos
about 3 to 60 seconds long. People share most about foods, arts, travels, and
fashion. Finally, Pinterest is a visually oriented social media platform and it
allows users to save and display pictures and short videos by pinning
them on their digital bulletin boards. Consumers often save and pin the
images the brands shared. Consumers usually do not expect frequent updates
on Pinterest from the brands, therefore, it requires lower maintenance. The users
on Pinterest are mostly women aged between 18 to 29 years old who are most
interested in DIY fashion, beauty, and food. I hope you’re more familiar with
the different types of social media platforms and what they are best used
for. Now I’m turning the floor to Ken who will talk about strategies of using
social media platforms. As you just heard from Dr. Chong in the
video earlier, choosing the right social media platform for your business is
critically important to carve your social media strategy. As a start-up or
small business owner, you know there is a lot to accomplish with very limited
resources. Traditional marketing can be a drain on your funds. Social media
marketing on the other hand, is pretty low cost and gives you a direct line to
current and prospective customers. It’s a trade-off though. What you’ve saved in
dollars, you invest in time. So you have to be smart and efficient with the
resources you have to achieve the results you need. So how can you start?
Just thinking that you need to create a social media marketing strategy is not an
easy task, right? Crafting an effective social
media strategy to help you achieve your goals can be a real challenge. If
you haven’t used social media to market your product or services, you’re going to
love how easy it is to get started. So next, I will show you six steps
you can take to make social media marketing work for you. Step 1,
understand and create measurable goals. The first step to any strategy is to
understand what you want out of your effort. You can set clear objectives based
on your goals and focus on the SMART strategy for your goal setting to
ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and
time-based. It’s the best to set goals you know are attainable. Asking for one
million new Instagram followers in 2018 is definitely unrealistic. So with
achievable goals, you are more likely to stick to your original plan and
continue to take on a new hurdle as you compete with others. So here are a few
simple ideas for social media goals you could focus on. First, increase brand
awareness. Yeah, focus on meaningful content and strong brand personality
through your social platforms. Second, what will drive traffic to your website. If
you already have your own blog or website, business usually can rely on the
social media marketing effort to drive people to your website or brands
or even your in-store sales. Is your brand promoting enough on social to
reward those who come to you? Third, you can build a community around your
business as a goal. Does your brand promote user-generated content or do
your followers react possibly without any initiation. So getting to this point takes time and efforts with creating a positive brand
personality on social. Step 2, research your social media target market. Now you know where you’re going but you still don’t know how to get there. A
successful social media marketing strategy is all about targeting the
right people and with the right messages. Social media is all about connecting
with your audience in two-way communication. To do that, you have to
intimately understand your current and potential customers. For example,
you cannot include everyone in your target market. It is simply because on
one specific message won’t translate exactly with different demographic groups.
Every group also has unique preference and travel through the buying process at
varied times and speed. Let’s think in this way – do teenagers and grandparents
go to the same type of restaurants or do they interpret the needs for product in
the same way? Do they decide to buy products for the
same reasons? Nope. Nope. Nope. So separate creative pieces need to be developed to
appeal to your audience members in appropriate ways. So the best way is to
start by defining your audience personality. Distinguished individual ideal audience
character profiles by their age, gender, interests, professions, and so on. Don’t
just say that out loud but write it down in detail and find the image that represents
your target audience. So defining audience personality will help you not
only with crystallizing your message post but also in determining which social
media platforms to use. All social media platforms are not created equally. Each one has their different primary
audience and focus. It is very important to understand the differences so you
expend your efforts on the right platforms. Stick only to this platform as trying to work with too many will take resources away from the
platform and they are likely to bring you the results. Step 3,
learn about your competitors in the industry. It is great to look at your
competitors in your region area first. They can tell you a lot about what works
or what doesn’t work. After all, they’re targeting the same customer you are. If
you ignore your competition, you are giving up a wonderful chance to learn
from their successes and mistakes. So to research your competitors start by
picking about three to four of the top ones and find out which social
media platform they are active on and study their content. For example, is it funny or serious? What kind of cultural references do they use?
Or do they talk about their product primarily or do they focus on other
things? On our example, if you sell farm produce, do your competitors talk
about how they grow their farm produce or do they post amazing food processing
videos that just happen to include their produce. Then see how well each
competitor is doing, like how much engagement, comments – do they do a lot of comments, shares and how many likes do they have? They get on their Facebook updates. This will let you determine which strategy works and which
is not working. There’s nothing wrong with mimic. Mimic some of your
competitors’ successful messaging ideas but also try to be creative on your own
original messages. Let’s set you apart and this will help you to create a unique
brand voice. Don’t be afraid. Get creative as your social media presence should be
exciting not boring. Step 4, let’s get social and start small. A lot of the time, we
have a big dream but you have defined your target audience. You know
where to reach them and you have optimized your other marketing
points. It’s time to get social but there’s one of the most important pieces
of advice to keep in mind. Yeah, we have big dream but, so listen up, start small.
You’re not going to catch everyone in the world. So social media takes time and
energy which are precious resources. Set yourself up for success by starting with
a manageable load. I would suggest you choose one or two platforms to start
with. The best way to guarantee consistency is to incorporate social media into your daily routine, part of your life. Block
out times on your calendar, turn off distraction and dedicate time to
managing your social media accounts. Do this one or two different time slots
every day. In the first month or two, expect to spend a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes of the day on social media activities. You can
increase the time as you see fit. Step 5, remain on track with an editorial
calendar. Although interactions with your audience
should be spontaneous, you need to plan the publishing of your
content down to fine details to get the most out of your social media strategy. Draw
up a plan for the coming month that describes when you will post to each
channel, what type of content you will post, and how this will help you to meet
your main goal. If you’re not sure how to divide your content into different
themes Hootsuite recommends the following: one-third of your content should promote
your business, one-third should share ideas from your industry, and the last one-third you should focus on personal interactions that develop your brand
image. Furthermore, you see the example from Hootsuite on the content marketing
calendar on the slides, the time you post to the platform is very important. For
instance, there are more users on Facebook after working hours on the
weekend and Twitter, in contrast, experienced the highest
number of clicks between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every day from Monday to Thursday.
So that’s all the routine you should look for, you should research for, you should see how your target audience, they are on
the social media platform. And there are some tools you can use. You will need a
social media management tool to organize and manage your daily social media
activities. So Hootsuite is a social media
dashboard that offers monitoring, scheduling, and analytics services and
another one I will suggest is sproutsocial. It’s another cost-effective tool that helps you to find and schedule content
and track social media performance. Last, Step 6, build your content plan. Finally, you will need to develop a strong content plan that will deliver
emerging material. The contents need to align with your overall messages and be
appropriate for the platform you are using. Don’t just stick to one type of
media. A mix of videos, guides, infographics, and other styles will
engage your potential customer more effectively. Also, don’t think of the
content as something you post once. You will need to have an ongoing presence on
social media and that includes delivering fresh content on a regular
basis. So, quick reminder here, like every other aspect of your content marketing
strategy, your social media strategy needs to be constantly changing. Look
through your metrics and analytics every week to ensure you remain on track and keep refining your ideas to meet your goals. So here is the
end of the social media marketing video and I hope you have got some basic
knowledge what social media marketing is about and drive your own social media
marketing strategy from now on. So are you ready to connect with a wider
audience? Let’s get social. I do local food systems development and
implementation within the community primarily in Johnson County, Iowa
right now. We also work a bit in Wapello County, both areas received a large USDA
grant and we are collaborating a bit with that. I direct the Southeast Iowa food hub which has been in operation for three years now, for two
years of which we actually aggregated and distributed food in the area. As a
nonprofit under the sustainable living coalition which our project is under, we plan to do and I have been doing all along a lot of
educational work as well in the area of local food systems. Although the term
“local food shed” is kind of the umbrella if you will for local food systems
is kind of the anchors in the community. The grocery stores, as a
starter, which we’re all familiar with but in a working local food system under a
food shed, we’re including local foods and that’s where that term really came
from. During the growing season at any area, you bring those foods in
and market them to the community and they’re almost a replacement if you will
for some of the foods that might be coming during the other season from
California or Mexico or South America in the warmer climates when we have winter
here. So developing that whole system for the purpose of creating food
security in our region of the state and the food comes actually of which there
are about six or seven of us that were part of this grant, we’re going to collaborate
together to create the system throughout Iowa. So even though we’re primarily focused
on our region as the other hubs are, we also work together. Well, during the growing season obviously
they can acquire foods through the farmers market, direct to the farmers.
They can even go direct to the farm that doesn’t maybe function within a
farmers market and they can come to us because we do aggregate. We can
acquire things from farmers and we have those long-standing relationships with
farmers. So that’s a great support system for small food entrepreneurs. Also, during
the off-season which wouldn’t necessarily go through our organization, they can go
to the two local main grocery stores which would be HyVee, which are great
supporters of local food. And our local, everybody’s Whole Foods national
grocery store, also great supporters of local food. And they can buy foods by the
case at a discount for their operations so they wouldn’t necessarily have to
immediately align with a very large distributor, a national food
distributor, but they could go and buy as they need which is really important for
restaurants in particular, you know. It’s important for probably someone
who’s doing a value-added product, someone is making pickles or sauerkraut
or kimchi. These items are all very popular now and they’re easy products to
make. They should be buying by the case. I’m sure they are. So these are kind
of quick easy ways for them to acquire, maybe grab an extra case if they’re
short on something from HyVee or Everybody’s, maybe even after they placed
an order. Maybe they placed an order through a large distribution network but not all
of it was fulfilled at the time that they needed to to make their product. So these
are some of the ways. Well, I think there’s a number of
entities that small businesses can consult with like obviously the Chamber
of Commerce that every community has. Fairfield Economic Development Association is an organization we have. I think most communities do have an economic
development group in their community. We have worked with them in the past. They
often do small business competitions where you come in and you can present
whatever it is that you’re wanting to do or get launched. I think we did a couple of them here and you had to be, you couldn’t have been in
business for more than two years something like that and then you could
compete. It was a small award, a relatively small award but then I think some local businessman came in and helped build the amount of that and helped build it
up so that was very, very helpful. And it sort of presents a lot of the business
leaders in the community come and observe this and are on the panel to
decide who would be the winner of this award. So it kind of gets their business
out there right away. You know if they’re just starting so it’s a nice
kind of entree into the community, if you will. I think our Fairfield Arts and
Convention Center has hosted also different business types of networking
events along with VITA. I know the local area CoLab, it’s a very popular element
of many communities that are University communities to have the
CoLab in Fairfield is just the name of kind of a place that you can go and
rent a space, an office space, for a very nominal amount of money and then you can share the infrastructure. You would probably bring your own computer but you
could share, you know, any access to printing, you have that kind of thing that you would want to access. You know, the internet is
there so that is a very valuable thing for young businesses to consider as a way to save money initially, particularly if they don’t need a larger production facility. They may just do their business
over a computer and so that’s a great advantage. And there was something like that that’s opened up in Cedar Falls and we have one here and
I’m sure in many other communities around Iowa so I highly
recommend that. I think those are the main things you know those are
called business incubator spaces sometimes. Well, if you’re young and you’re starting
a business most likely and hopefully you’ve taken some business courses in
college or you’ve gone to Community College. They often have really
good courses at Community Colleges for probably less cost. Not everyone is
designed to go to college for X number of years, particularly people that start
businesses young tend to sometimes not like to go to college. They want to
just get started on some idea that they have that’s brilliant
but they need to be prepared and so the educational component is very important
and I just can’t stress that really enough. You know particularly I think as you expand your business and grow. Another thing that I recommend is
small business consulting. There’s many small business management firms
within communities. You don’t find them so often in small rural communities but
they can be a tremendous asset at your different stages of growth and
developing your company. And you know hopefully you’ve written a really clear
and good strong business plan and you need to keep kind of tweaking that
business plan. I could stress QuickBooks your financial planning and
managing your finances through something like QuickBooks because you can quickly
write a report. You can see where you are. If you’re in a downturn or upturn you
can see how good or bad is that and evaluate that and decide based on that,
what do I need to do. I think diversity in your business model is also very
critical. We seem to have in a very small
community here a lot of restaurants, probably more restaurants per capita than you would ever find in a lot of small communities. In fact, I know. But you
know people here love to go out and eat and I think it is a feature of small
rural communities but particularly definitely in our community. The ones
that have made it long term have a bit more of diversity in their model and I
think this also applies not just to restaurants but to any business model,
the more diverse you can be and the number of different types of proponents of your business, then you can monitor where is most of the income being
generated from. Do I drop this one and do I put more attention on this one to
further it. To me those are all critical things. I think diversity in any business, large or small, is extremely key. One of the other things that I would just like to
share kind of in terms of business is that our nonprofit, as part of our
educational component, I’m currently training in small business food finance.
Our long-term goal is to create something of an institute here that
would serve people in the area of small food business. It could be a
farmer that has a value-added product. It could be a young person who’s just
developed, you know, a tofu company, whatever that company might be. There’s a
young man that grew up here that started a very successful tofu company up in Iowa City and has just an incredible customer base very
quickly. It’s because it’s locally produced, it’s kind of a niche market because of him. It’s something that he can market through
grocery stores. He can market to institutions so he’s got and he’s
selling actually all over the state. He lives in Iowa City but he’s selling his
product because it’s the only company like that in the whole state. He may be
even going over state borders but you know, it’s wonderful because tofu is
extremely common but it’s a good example of when people value. And this is the
point of diversity in business, in my opinion, is that you can have different
products in terms of diversity or you might just have one product but it’s the
way you market that product that can make it successful or not successful, particularly if you’re competing with a common product. What is it about your
company that stands out? Is there something wrong with your logo? You know is there something about the way you’re marketing this? Is there something you do that’s very value-added in your business but you’re not letting
the rest of the world know about it. It might be something that you use someone else in
your business. You know, that you’re basically off the grid in
that regard. That you’re something because the young people grow up very much
caring about the environment. This is the way they’ve been educated so this is
becoming a strong future, sustainability in business. And it’s something
that’s maybe not as easy for small businesses but if they have that kind of
integrity and they can get the financing to do that in the long term, they’re
going to save money. So I think this local food institute would really
help look and analyze the models to see and this could be someone who’s starting out or someone who’s fully engaged in their business over a number of years. But
they’re struggling and they’ve been struggling too long so they finally come
to us and we’re able to identify that it might just be one thing that they had
never thought that they could make a slight change with. And then they’ll be
back on track. Maybe they just don’t have the right product for the
market place at this time. But you know, we can help them identify these things
at hopefully not a huge cost because it is for smaller businesses. Hello. I am Shannon Coleman, assistant
professor and state extension specialist in food safety and consumer production
in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.
Searching the Iowa State website for information on small food manufacturers
can lead to several choices appearing. In today’s talk, I will break down the many
tools found at ISU and the ISU toolbox for small food manufacturers. The Webster
dictionary defines a toolbox as a chest of tools. In order to build a solid
foundation, you need a toolbox with essential tools. Examples of some of those
essential tools found in that toolbox could be a hammer, a screwdriver, or a
measuring tape, even pliers. ISU has the initial tools that align with the
ISU mission: to create, share, and apply the knowledge to make Iowa and the world
a better place. These tools can be used to make your product and take it to the
next level. They are characterized into three subgroups – the people, the
centers, and the resources. There are several personnel from faculty members
to field specialists who specialize in resources that are needed for small food
manufacturers in various areas of topics such as food safety, food service,
consumer food safety, produce food safety, local foods, product development, food
quality, Food Safety Modernization Act, and business planning and development.
They are familiar with the various related areas that are affiliated with
small food manufacturers such as the federal and local laws and regulations,
recipe and ingredients regulation, products testing to meet standards,
marketing, food safety practices, packaging, sensory evaluation, and
business planning. Many of the faculty and staff with these specialties are
affiliated with the following organizations and centers that can
provide resources and technical assistance for your business. In the next
few minutes, I will outline some of those centers and organizations. ISU
Extension and Outreach have several education areas that work with small
food manufacturers. The local foods team mission is to help Iowans
make informed decisions by applying relevant need driven resources to create
significant impact in our state. Community and economic development
education areas partner to address client identified needs and opportunities. They
currently have projects addressing community food system issues. They also
have a retail specialist that focuses on immigrant entrepreneurs. Some of the
Midwest Grape and Wine Institute’s goals are to conduct analogy, the
science of wine and wine-making research and establish outreach programs to
industry by training a team of specialists. Value-added Agriculture Education Area’s
mission is to provide unbiased science-based information to help establish or expand agriculture related or rural business in
Iowa. The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Department of
Apparel, Event, and Hospitality Management has extension faculty members that specialize in food safety associated with the areas of food safety,
consumer food safety, produce safety, and the new Food Safety Modernization Act.
There are several other centers, none extension related, that provide
assistance to food manufacturers in this state, such as the Iowa Small Business
Development Center – mission is to support collaborative
economic development of Iowa by providing entrepreneurs and businesses with individual consultation and education resources necessary to assist businesses
to succeed. There are regional directors located throughout the state available
to work with you and your business planning and development. The Center of
Industrial Research and Service or CIRAS is the state of Iowa’s
manufacturing education program which enhances the performance of industry
through applied research, education, and technical assistance. Many faculty in the
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition partner with CIRAS to perform
shelf-life analysis and product testing. There are also federal funds available to assist with the research-based
program projects. The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has one of
the best known secrets of campus which is the Center of Crop Utilization
Research whose mission is to identify, coordinate, and facilitate and foster
mission-oriented, interdisciplinary research, both basic and applied, develop
technology transfer, and commercialize activities that will increase and enhance
the utilization of midwest crops and create new agriculture entrepreneurship
in Iowa. The center has a pilot plant and test kitchen space available for fee for
service for small food manufacturers to use if they want to scale up their
product before purchasing expensive equipment. Finally, we have our resources.
All of these centers mentioned before have websites loaded with information
for small food manufacturers. Through the Iowa State Extension and Outreach
website, you will have access to the Extension Store which houses several
fact sheets and flowcharts related to several food products. There are a series
of trainings available with industry government approved food safety programs in the area of Food Safety Modernization Act as well as ServSafe for restaurants.
As mentioned before, there are fee for service options available for product
testing through the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Typical
testing methods performed are shelf-life analysis, challenge studies, pH analysis,
water activity, color analysis, just to name a few. To recap this information gathered ISU has tools available that can take
your product to the next level. They are categorized into three subgroups: the
people, the center, and the resources. All of these tools align with the university
mission which is to create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the
world a better place. For more information, please visit our website at
iastate.edu Thank you. Sure, I’m Brian Tap. I’m the Regional
Director of the Iowa State University Small Business Development Center here
in Ames, Iowa. So typically most of the folks that have
done farmers market or food preparation or food production for those events have some knowledge base about what they’re producing and getting some
validation whether it be from friends or family or even the farmers market for
the quality of their product. One of the things that we look at when we’re
working with those clients is if we’re looking at how we can grow that product
line, we’re looking at a focus of what other background or what other
elements do we need to do in those markets, right. How do we focus
them on scaling and education of components. So some of that might be we
work with a business model canvas with some early startups that really have not
looked at the numbers yet or looked at the market segments or even social media,
different things like that. So we’ll focus with them on that. If we feel that they’re past that point, then what we’ll do is
really look at the business plan components. It may not be a full-fledged
business plan initially. It may be more of a condensed version where we’re
trying to identify how can they grow their SKUs. And we can talk
a little bit more about that as well. Then from one SKU to 3 SKUs to 10 SKUs.
And what that can be for their market segment on the food product that
they’re producing. If we go through that business plan, one
of the things I like to talk about is that value chain as well with those
clients, about who’s taken what and how are they gonna scale up and what does
that look like for them as far as who’s taking a cut out of whatever jar of
salsa they’re making or any other food preparation. Because I think sometimes
going from that farmers market to the store shelf to multiple stores is kind
of a surprising element and a recognition that other people are taking
a cut out of what you’re trying to produce, right, and looking at that.
Those education components, really trying to enlighten them through the SPDC
statewide network, we really sit down and work on those elements and really
try to bring those forth for the client. So one of the things that we also discuss and I work with clients on on a weekly basis is a continuum of
funding. What we mean by that is when you’re doing a start-up, you may have
some friends or family or somebody else, we kind of joke about that. They may
do an initial investment with you but as we work our way up we may look to more
like a seed capital micro loan program that may be up to $25,000 and then we
look and see what the structure. So the more advanced that we get on that
continuum, the more solid that business model has to be. So for us to say like,
well I sold, again I’ll use salsa, I sold a hundred jars of salsa at the
farmers market but I’m trying to sell ten thousand jars, right? There’s gonna
have to be more validity and more definition with that model to get more
of those funding sources. So there are a lot of funding elements
out there. I always tell clients and my history’s been and being around finance
and Michael Lund lending for 20-some years, is that the money’s the easy part.
It’s really that niche market for that food product and really finding out how
you can scale and grow to where you want to be. Is it, you know, and we have
to have self realization for some of the clients. Is it a hobby or is
it really you want to make a business out of it. And so we’re looking at really
scaling up for a business and there’s so much potential with a lot of clients
that I work with is that how risk tolerant are they to really scale that
up to a half a million dollars. But there’s, like I said, there’s a lot of
resources out there to really help those folks financially get up and going. There’s a lot of good resources to connect with whoever it might be. Yes, so there’s multiples with that. What
I typically work with clients on on the Small Business Development Center side
is I’m working with them on really getting everything structured with the
state and federal government to make sure the sales tax and all of that. If I
do have a client come in, I always try to refer them either over to ISU Extension
through some of their food programs, also through value-added
agriculture, through those folks. There’s a lot of training going on, a lot
of transition, so any technical assistance that they can get for kitchen
size, for production, for flow for production, for that kitchen or
meat producer, whatever it might be. I try to make sure that those folks are
talking the right place. Even the meat lab over at ISU is another great
resource and then also we work pretty closely with CIRAS. If you’re looking to grow from you’re making sausages and you’re looking
to grow to really put that flow better, you know they can assist you as well
with that level of expertise. So really
trying to be more cohesive. My real goal is on that first side as
really the state and federal regulations with just the tax side and structure.
But there a lot of good support and a lot of good people willing
to help them so going alone and saying, “Hey, I don’t know how I should do this
but I’m gonna try it anyway.” Right. Probably the better information
that you get, the better decisions you’re gonna make with that and the better chance for success. So I think that when I work with a lot
of these clients, I don’t think that sometimes in a small start, they’re not
looking at “I want a five million dollar business,” right? They’re thinking, “I like
to do this. I’m comfortable doing it” and that’s fine. You know with what they want
to do, but if they do have anywhere in the back of their mind that they want to
scale, the sooner they can get around more people, whether it’s an
entrepreneurship training program. It doesn’t matter who it’s through but just
try to get around more people that are maybe like-minded. Try to attend a lot of
events that may be out there to help you scale up, give you some different ideas,
give you some market niches. And I think that would be really beneficial. It’s okay to be smaller but if you would like to scale,
there’s a lot of good opportunity to make that work. I also would say that I
mentioned earlier on the SKUs, sending one bottle of barbecue sauce on the
shelf in a massive grocery aisle probably
isn’t gonna be just it. You need to have at least three spots on that shelf to
really promote your brand and that brand identity with, again it could be barbecue
sauce or whatever else you’re making, just to make sure that you’ve got brand
identity and that you’re holding the integrity of that brand long term for
you. So I’d say that the last thing I always work with clients on is we really
need to focus on who’s doing their financial work for
them. Are they doing it or is it one of those things that it’s on the
side and I’m letting somebody else do it like every six months. If you’re gonna
scale up and you’re gonna be successful, you need somebody. If you don’t like to
do it, that’s fine but find somebody that can help you with that. If I did a
percentage of clients that I work with on that, probably ninety percent don’t
want to touch the financial side and that’s okay. Find somebody who does and
that will really help you scale up. You’ll know your cost of goods. You’ll
know your value chain of who’s taking a cut and and it’ll also really
help you succeed and you can see. You know you can get paid, right, and that’s
the ultimate goal is to make money and with the food product.

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