What We Learned at the NRA Show 2016

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TMC Digital Media at the NRA Show 2016

This year's National Restaurant Association Show was one of the most interesting and productive shows we've experienced. For starters, we learned talking points in our industry are not the same as they were just a few years ago.

Sure, the goals are still the same in many ways, but the foodservice industry is now collectively looking for better and more efficient ways to do business and, ultimately, increase sales.

As we walked the show floor, here are the three biggest takeaways we discovered:

There’s potential for different areas of the foodservice industry to work together.

From foodservice equipment to food supply distribution, our industry seems overwhelming at times, but it's really not as large as it seems. The TMC Digital Media team has deep roots in many aspects of foodservice, and for the first time, we discovered opportunities for those different areas to work together.

For example, consider a regional food supply distribution company and a foodservice equipment manufacturers' rep in that corresponding MAFSI territory. They are both looking for net new business, and those new opportunities are more often than not the exact same decision makers in any given property. By teaming up and conducting joint marketing efforts, a distribution company might gain access to equipment on which it can demo certain ingredients. At the same time, the manufacturers’ rep firm gains culinary credibility and access to new buyers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many opportunities for innovative, opportunistic foodservice businesses to succeed by working together.

We are still wasting too much paper.

Catalogs, brochures, flyers, and other printed pieces are never going to completely disappear, but there’s still way too much of it. Yes, we’re a digital marketing agency, and yes, we’d prefer not to use up our natural resources, but the real reason we think there’s way too much print collateral is determining an ROI on it is virtually impossible.

How many racks of catalogs and brochures did you see on the show floor? How many were actually read? Do the booth operators know anything about the people reading them, much less their names and email addresses?

Through the digitization of marketing collateral and by implementing a few best practices, sales and marketing can determine important information about potential buyers, and then market to them in the ways the buyer prefers. This builds thought leadership and trust while at the same time generating and nurturing leads.

More and more companies are using the word "HubSpot."

As a tiered HubSpot agency partner, TMC Digital Media is focused on helping our clients generate new leads in a measurable and trackable way. Determining an ROI on marketing dollars is essential to what we do, and HubSpot is an essential part of that equation.

Over the course of several days in Chicago, we were amazed at how many times HubSpot came up in conversation. It's refreshing to know our industry is slowly migrating toward a digital strategy that includes closing the loop on where leads come from and how those leads turn into customers, and software is an integral part of that knowledge.

We work in a large, traditional industry, though, and it takes a long time to slow cook change. At the same time, it’s clear a new sales and marketing cookbook has emerged for the foodservice industry.

Learn more about the new recipes for sales and marketing success.

Read our free Inbound Marketing Cookbook for the foodservice industry, and discover new ways to grow sales.

TMC Digital Media Inbound Marketing Cookbook

Topics: results, food service industry, MAFSI, foodservice rep, online marketing, reps, foodservice marketing strategy, lead generation, Foodservice Industry, lead nurturing, foodservice reps, foodservice marketing company, foodservice equipment selling, traditional marketing, hubspot, ROI, thought leadership, marketing agency, certified partner, NRA Show, Food Supply, lessons learned, Food Products, Food Distribution

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