Is this a relationships business – or a social media business?

08/22/2013 08:48:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstStill in Chicago as I look forward to the U.S. Apple Association’s annual outlook and marketing conference this afternoon.

Most people I’ve visited with don’t think that the new leader of the group (Nancy Foster is leaving U.S. Apple at the end of the month) will be unveiled at the Aug. 22-23 event. But we could be surprised.

The Packer’s Midwest Produce Expo was a well-received event by the exhibitors I spoke with. Many were happy with the one-day expo. Perhaps some of the popularity of regional shows like the Midwest Produce Expo is that there is no second or third day on the expo floor when traffic slows down and time stands still.

With lunch provided on the floor and happy hour at the end of the day, folks had no reason to wander off.

One interesting part of the presentation on social media by Bradley Fitzhenry in his keynote address spoke to the need to have a viable social media following in order to partner with larger retailers such as Wal-Mart on joint social media promotions.

Among other points, Fitzhenry said that without a viable presence on social media platforms, a produce marketing company’s value as a vendor will be compromised.

Old timers may cling to the belief that the industry is still all about relationships, customer service and quality of product. But is this concept of a “viable social media presence” and other newfangled ways of buying and selling produce really beginning to steal away the importance of “relationships” in the industry? Or is the deed already done?

Weigh in on the questions at The Packer Market.

Do you think having a "viable" social media presence is necessary to work hand in hand with supermarkets like Wal-Mart in joint social media/Facebook promotions?

Do you think having such a capability is in your favor when it comes to purchasing decisions of supermarket chains?



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Alvaro Ramirez    
San Francisco Bay Area  |  August, 24, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Tom, I think as consumers become more aware of food safety, technology can provide the consumer with more transparency, social media can create more brand awareness and supplies will need to face this reality sooner rather than later. Because we focus on the mid-to-small grower/supplier I can't help think that they are the one who would be more at risk of falling further behind in the age of social media specially Old Timers - who would need to hire a young social media savvy person. However, I look at the future of the produce industry and technology becoming more harmonious as companies like our look to fuse the intuitiveness of consumer technology and enterprise software to level the playing field for the small grower/supplier.

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