My experience at the 2014 Food Marketing Conference in Kalamazoo
Wow, this past month has flown by! My wife, Kris, and I went on a long awaited vacation to Hilton Head the first week of April and I have been playing catch-up ever since. Attending the annual Food Marketing Conference in Kalamazoo just before we left, was well worth my time. Touching base with some of our key grocery customers is always a blast.I was part of the largest turn out I have ever seen at this event. I can provide you with links to the speakers if you want to view the videos. Send me your email address at and I will get them right out to you. I learned allot as always, and the grocery industry continues to find innovative ways to meet the consumers’ needs.Juliet Funt gave a very interesting presentation about White Space at work. What is that you may ask? Do we have or take enough time to be creative? Does our e-mail access take up all of our free time to think? If we respond to non-urgent e-mails within 10 minutes, we start to set a precedence that becomes a creative drain. Her points were very thought provoking. I encourage all of you to take a look at her presentation.

John Phillips, VP of Pepsico had a phenomenal presentation on social, digital and mobile marketing. On Tuesday , I sat in on a Kellogg presentation about how they are branding their products directly to consumers. Getting my name on the Wheaties Box is still on my bucket list. I’ll never lose hope. During the Executive Forum, it was very interesting to see and hear from Wal Mart, Kroger and IGA on the same panel. The discussion began directed to loyalty information, and then the IGA speaker stated his position. It was a very personal representation of a smaller footprint grocer and who their customers are. The weekly ad is still the big driver of weekly grocery sales along with many promotions directly to customers via their loyalty cards.

The program ended with JK Symancyk, from Meijer discussing connecting with the  customer. Clearly, It all comes down to this one on one experience!

It was great to see and hear the buzz about changes in grocery industry. I am looking ahead to the FMI conference in Chicago June 10-13. Any one else attending?

Let me know…



BTW, I just read a recent consumer study that many ad effective dates are moving to mid week versus weekend. More of my opinion on that to come next month…Excited?