Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, September 26, 2007
It goes without saying that trade shows and conferences offer all kinds of value to participants, and PMA’s Fresh Summit event is like nothing else on earth. There is no other event that incorporates so many learning opportunities, networking opportunities and commercial possibilities.
This is widely known and it is why next month in Houston, PMA will have well over 10,000 industry members gathered for the annual convention and exhibition.
Yet, perhaps the most common mistake made in the industry is to value trade shows — while neglecting the plethora of activities — from seminars to general sessions to receptions — that surround those trade shows.
The great appeal of trade shows is that it is easy to verify what is accomplished. If a big buyer shakes an exhibitor’s hand, well, the exhibitor knows it and can place value on that interaction.
Equally if a buyer identifies a new product or solidifies a relationship with a vendor, the buyer knows where it happened and can attribute value to the show.
Yet just because something is the most easily quantifiable doesn’t mean it is the most valuable. In many cases those trade show interactions only happen because of the degree to which the parties made themselves valuable long before they stood on the trade show floor that day.
That value consists of education and contacts — both of which are cultivated at workshops and events as much as on the trade show floor.
And get this: It is typical for the very best programming to occur before a trade show even starts. Why? Simple, the internal dynamics of these events mean that one of the major reasons for offering early programming is to attract people into town so that they will be ready and waiting the moment the trade show actually opens. General Colin L. Powell is surely the most highly compensated speaker at this year’s Fresh Summit — it is not an accident that he is speaking on Friday.
We want this industry to grow and prosper. To help make that happen, our dream here at the Pundit is that every person who has a Trade-Show-Only pass to events such as PMA’s Fresh Summit will sign up for a full registration. And it is not too late. PMA is accepting advance registrations through September 28. If you haven’t registered or if you wish to upgrade your registration to a full Value Package, you can do so right here.
Just to get a flavor for what you are missing if you don’t do the Full Monty, let’s talk our way through just some of the things going on in Houston the day before the trade show — a day we’ve dubbed Fantastic Friday:
THE RETAIL TOUR:
This tour of local supermarkets provides participants with a unique, hands-on opportunity to visit some of Houston’s top regional supermarkets and distribution centers. At Central Market (HEB), Fiesta Mart and Lewis Food Town, you’ll learn how each store markets successfully to customers from a variety of demographic and ethnic origins. At DiMare Distribution Center, which focuses on retail and foodservice markets, the tour will include fresh-cut fruit processing, banana ripening and much more.
The retail tour is an extra fee and conflicts with other events, but this is a perfect way to enhance your value. Even if you never sell a box in Houston, seeing the way business is done there is a deposit into your intellectual capital account and makes you more valuable to employers, customers and anyone you interact with.
I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR
This is a new networking event at PMA, so it’s an opportunity for you to attend and then say you were there at the beginning:
What if all the women leaders from the produce and floral industries gather together for two hours of networking and inspiration? Join PMA for the first annual Fresh Perspective: A Women’s Leadership Event, where women leaders from around the globe will meet, mingle and hear an uplifting and entertaining presentation from a woman who has excelled in her field and will motivate you to do the same. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with your industry peers at this special Fresh Summit event (by invitation only.)
Look for this event to burst upon the industry. Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, lent our support by having invitations sent to our 40-under-Forty honorees. And financially the event is sponsored by Bonipak Produce Co., DMA Solutions, Inc., Four Seasons Produce, Inc., Frontera Produce Ltd., and Mann Packing Co., Inc.
But the secret weapon behind this event? A dynamo planning committee:
They brought in as a speaker a woman who has climbed Mount Everest but these ladies have climbed to the heights of the produce industry. If you have younger women in your organization who are perhaps new to the industry, make sure they are at the breakfast so that they can start getting hooked in with other women who can help mentor them and be valuable business contacts. This will be a Class A event. And you can expect many guys there to recognize the achievement of the industry’s female members.
This is an invitation-only event, but Pundit readers are invited. If Pundit readers would like to attend, they just need to email firstname.lastname@example.org, ask for an invitation, then register by September 28 (this is the last day to register in advance for Fresh Summit).
LUNCHEON GENERAL SESSION
The headliner this year:
General Colin L. Powell:
What does it take to be a great leader? From the board room to the war room, the essence of leadership remains constant — the need to build trust.
Don’t miss this inspiring and memorable presentation delivered by General Colin Powell, one of the 21st century’s most powerful leaders. You’ll hear his tried-and-true approach to being a great leader: conveying a sense of purpose, a vision, and a mission … and striving to make every single person believe that they are a vital part of the organization.
General Powell also outlines how great leaders empower others by giving them the skills, the training and the tools they need to succeed, and by rewarding and recognizing them for a job well done. In short, General Powell underscores that the essence of leadership — on the world stage, in a business organization, or in any human endeavor — is the trust that is required among individuals who are working toward a common goal.
In an engaging and compelling presentation punctuated with humor and anecdotes from years of service at the highest levels of international affairs, General Powell talks about the essence of leadership, obstacles and opportunities of a flattening world, and the importance of promoting universal human ideals to establish and nurture economies around the world.
If you have never seen General Powell give a speech — get thee to Houston. An American success story, his talk is always inspirational and useful — a rare combination. Pundit sister publication PRODUCE BUSINESS, National Mango Board, Sunkist, Sun Sweet and Tanimura and Antle are the sponsors of this session.
After the lunch there is fantastic assortment of five produce and one floral workshops:
2:45 P.M. — 4:00 P.M. WORKSHOP SERIES I
What Do Consumers Really Think about Corporate Social Responsibility?
The results are in! Don’t miss this grand unveiling of unique trans-Atlantic research designed to assess consumer attitudes in both the U.K. and U.S. on issues of corporate social responsibility and the relevance to the produce industry. The Pundit will explore terms such as organics, locally grown, food miles, carbon footprints, sustainability and fair trade, and present what these and similar concepts actually mean to consumers, and how consumers value such concepts. All attendees will receive a special executive summary of the research report.
Track: Global Trade
Chief Executive Officer
Wacol, Queensland Australia
Watch — this will be THE ISSUE of 2008 and you can get ahead of it right now. Come and hear the Pundit explain how the comeuppance of this issue may well determine the future of your company and the industry.
By the way, it is probably worth coming just to see who is introducing me, as we have profiled Rob Robson in the Pundit here, besides he may one day become the first Chairman of PMA from outside North America. If we get really lucky, he will bring his guitar and provide a musical introduction.
Drive Success by Creating Customer Dependency
Maturing product, stronger competition, price sensitivity… the challenges continue to grow for fresh produce companies striving to maintain market share. When a company’s product mix mirrors that of a dozen other competitors, how does it differentiate itself? This session highlights how to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace through strategies other than price-lowering. You will gain new perspectives on competitive trends and the need for differentiation. Learn the philosophy of value-based selling and how it can create customer dependency. Plus, hear success stories from an industry panel on how they applied value-based selling within their organizations to drive revenue and sustain market share.
Track: Professional Development
B & C Fresh Sales
Orange, California USA
Beat the commodity trap — and the superstars from DMA Solutions are just the people to help you do it.
Healthy Eating is Kids’ Stuff
Build your future customer base now! Encouraging healthy eating habits in children is a red-hot topic in the U.S. right now. National and international programs to raise awareness have reached a tipping point. In this session, you will see samples of these programs, learn how they work and the benefits they provide to kids at school and at home. You will also learn what they mean for the produce industry, why you need to be involved and how your involvement can create the ultimate opportunity — building consumers for life!
Track: Consumer Insights
Introducer and Moderator:
Kathy Means of PMA has shepherded this program through thick and thin to make it happen, and we’ve profiled the Scholastic/PMA tie-in here, but you don’t want to miss a chance to see Professor C. Fregus Lowe and Michael Maloney.
As you know from our coverage of the Food Dudes program here, here and here — this innovative program is big news in Ireland and may yet cross the Atlantic.
Ripe for the Picking, Part I: Retail Facts and Consumer Findings
Which fruits are making it into consumers’ shopping baskets and which ones are wilting on the shelf? Tune in to this session for an “Inside Look at the Fresh-Cut Consumer.” Be among the first to hear the latest research developed by the Perishables Group examining consumer shopping patterns and preferences. You will learn how to identify fresh-cut planned purchase rates, purchase triggers and substitution factors. Gain a better understanding of how this research relates to national and regional syndicated data from previous years. Study the category growth by region and take a look at the growth drivers by item. Learn how to take all this information and transform it into an actionable item that you can implement. This session will set the stage for a supplier/retailer roundtable discussion on fresh-cut that follows on Saturday. Audience Q&A will follow.
Track: Consumer Insights
Fresh Summit Marketing Committee Chairman
Produce Merchandise Manager
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
Senior Account Manager
Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.
Can’t do much better than listening to the research The Perishables Group does. Their recent work on organics was fascinating, and they are back with something just as interesting on fresh-cuts. And Steve Tursi of Wal-Mart is there to give a retailer’s perspective on the category.
Traceability: A Choice or A Necessity?
The time is now! Traceability has become an issue that every member of the produce industry must address. Attend this illuminating session and gain a greater understanding of full supply chain traceability; how it works within the Best Practices Framework established by PMA and Canadian Produce Marketing Association: what is the step-by-step process of information-gathering in the event of a recall and where are the gaps within current traceability systems?
If you have a traceability system, learn how effective it really is compared to the Best Practices Framework. If you don’t, it is time to learn how to implement one. Either way, this workshop is critical for everyone in the produce supply chain.
Supporting: Food Safety
Introducer and Moderator:
Postharvest & Quality Manager
Kleppe S. A
Cipolletti, Rio Negro Argentina
General Roca, Rio Negro Argentina
Traceability has no better expert than Gary Fleming, as we have mentioned here and here. We also ran a Guest Pundit from Gary based on his trip to Argentina, which you can read here. Now Gary brings some of Argentina to America. Here you can ask questions of the same people we wrote about back in April 2007.
2:45 P.M. — 4:45 P.M. FLORAL SOLUTIONS WORKSHOP
Floral Solutions Workshop: Selling to Men, Women and Teens
In this first-ever, two-hour workshop dedicated to the needs of the floral industry, Pamela J. Smith, AAF, PFCI, Director of Marketing for Nature’s Flowers, will conduct an energetic, interactive and highly informative presentation that focuses on successful marketing approaches to men, women and teenagers.
Smith will demonstrate merchandising display ideas and techniques that have proven to increase sales. You will gather critical insight from a panel of key retailers as they react to the material presented. Audience participation as well as Q&A will add even more value to this must-see session. As an added bonus, the ideas and techniques presented will be on display in the Fresh Ideas Marketplace located in Booth #100 on the show floor.
Supporting: Consumer Insights
Introducer and Moderator:
Vice President Sales and Marketing
Chesterfield, Missouri USA
Pamela J. Smith, AAF, PFCI
Director of Marketing
St. Louis, Missouri USA
PMA Board Secretary/Treasurer
Vice President of Produce and Floral Operations
Wegmans Food and Pharmacy
Rochester, New York USA
PMA Retail Board Chairman
Vice President of Produce & Floral
Schnuck Markets, Inc
Saint Louis, Missouri USA
Director of Produce and Floral
Save Mart Supermarkets
Modesto, California USA
Yes, floral is back big time at PMA — Greg was out of town so we couldn’t get a photo but between Dave Corsi, Mike O’Brien and Greg Calistro — you have transcontinental retail powerhouses all pointing to PMA’s deep commitment to floral. They will be responding to Pam Smith’s marketing presentation, and Tracy Terrace — who, as we mentioned here, is on PMA’s Floral Council — will do the introducing to this two-hour floral workshop.
And, finally, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM is the welcoming reception. Sponsored this year for the first time by the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, this should be something special. Always a fantastic networking event, the Chileans have long run, as a private function, one of the most elegant events at each year’s PMA. It will be exciting to see that sense of style applied to this larger format.
It is always easy to say you need another day in the office. It is easy to say you would like to economize on the registration fee — but what could possibly be smarter to invest in than yourself and your associates. In the world we live in today, knowledge and insight make the difference between success and failure. We try to add this value every day here at the Pundit, but there are many ways to learn. Step up to the plate and register for Fresh Summit or expand your registration to include Fantastic Friday.
You can register or expand your registration here.
You can request an invite to the Fresh Perspectives Women’s Leadership Event here.