Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Sweets and Snacks Expo: More thoughts on bloggers and trade shows

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I just got back from the Sweets and Snacks Expo and boy is my tummy full! There's nothing like a gal's first Candy Expo experience, but as a veteran of the event (I even spoke as a mom trends expert at the 2010 expo), I no longer feel the need to taste everything that's offered to me, nor do I feel compelled to finish the entire sample that's offered to me, nor even stock up on snacks for home--in the name of taste-testing with the boys, of course.

My thighs thank me for this.

My boys are cranky.

Seriously, though, as is recommended for almost any trade show, I arrived with an objective. This year, I was on the lookout for candies made with real sugar and natural dyes. I spoke out about these things last year and wrote about the food dye rebellion back in 2008. (Yes, at Momformation. I always feel compelled to point out that I was writing there back in the day as if to prove I'm truly a digital dinosaur.) I'll be posting about my and my not-so-little taste tester's faves over in Gina Rau's Feed our Families blog.

That said, I didn't always take my own advice about bloggers and trade shows. I sometimes asked for a sample to take home. But I see a difference between asking for pricey housewares versus packs of candy that retail for $1 or less. Plus, after a few hours walking the show floor, I'd sampled everything from alpaca jerky to intense dark chocolates and seaweed snackers. My taste buds were doing somersaults. And when it comes to family-friendly snacks, I definitely want opinions from my family.

I was typically well-received when I explained myself and the story I planned to write, but there were definitely some vendors who didn't seem to grasp the blogger angle.

In fact, there are a couple of items I sampled at previous expos and wrote about on my food blog that still bring in traffic via search. At one point, my blog was the in the top five results for these product searches, and yet when I mentioned that to people at those booths, "Did you know people come to my blog when they're searching for information on your product?" {jazz hands}

"Oh, that's nice."

It's not that I expected them to bow down to me, but there seemed to be a disconnect.

People search for your product online. And then they click through to to my blog to read my thoughts on your product. My opinions can impact purchase behavior.

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, there were folks who wanted me to promise to mention them.

It's 2011. Are you finding that businesses you interact with understand the power of blogs and social media?


Lisa Noel said...

I really wanted to go, I got invited last year but no invite this year! But I still struggle w/how to handle companies that don't get bloggers and social media. I'm much more comfortable w/brands I know have come out to get exposure w/bloggers who know what we can offer and what they want.

Joanna said...

A Sweets and Snacks Expo. Now that sounds fantastic.