This month our team ventured to sunny Anaheim, California to attend the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products trade show. With over 80,000 attendees and 3,000 exhibits, Natural Products Expo West creates the perfect platform to share innovative breakthroughs, product advancements, and relevant industry education in the most colorful, creative, and tasty fashion possible.
Prior to joining Stoltz Marketing Group, I worked in the natural food industry and have attended this coveted trade show for a number of years to source new ingredients, discover trends, and tirelessly run a trade show exhibit. Walking into this year’s event, I was looking through my new set of marketing lenses and loving the view.
You’ll commonly hear from many attendees that this particular expo is overwhelming—how can you possibly visit 3,000 booths in 3 days? Having past experience, our team took a focused approach. We identified three specific goals that empowered us to explore freely, absorb knowledge, and build relationships.
Identifying goals when attending any tradeshow is key to making the most of your experience.
Goal #1: Get inspired. – According to our Creative Director, Kate Holgate, walking into this trade show is an “art director’s dream.” Natural Products Expo West has it all: incredible branding examples, amazing booths, beautiful packaging design, guerilla marketing ideas, and more! Whether immersing ourselves in visual inspiration or experiencing unique interactive marketing strategies, attending the show sparked numerous ideas for our current clients. My personal favorite was Nature’s Path trade show booth featuring a 2-story tree and meditation zone which encouraged attendees to sit on a yoga bolster with noise cancelling headphones and take a few mindful minutes to reflect and relax (pointing back to Nature’s Path core values).
Goal #2: Get educated. – In order to be industry leaders in our marketing efforts, it’s important to stay on the cutting edge of trends, technology and growth opportunities. Natural Products Expo West enlightened us to unique marketing trends that several natural products companies are implementing, such as the evolving need for compostable packaging, properly marketing clean labels, and crafting product messaging that appeals to tribal practices, such as “Whole30” certified products.
Goal #3: Connect and reconnect. – After spouting off about the magnitude of this event, you might find it hard to believe that the natural products industry, like most, is an extremely tight-knit network of professionals. My favorite aspect of this trade show is the opportunity to network and connect with like-minded, passionate individuals. Walking up to any booth is an opportunity to share, listen and learn. I also really enjoy reconnecting with previous teammates, vendors, clients, and mentors.
I highly recommend attending Natural Products Expo West at least once in your lifetime. Immerse yourself in creative and innovative products, generate marketing inspiration, connect with people, and sample some extremely tasty new products! And if natural products aren’t your forte, focusing on a few specific goals is key to navigating any trade show.