The first thing I noticed upon entering McCormick Place on Sunday was the overpowering, but very pleasant, aroma of food. Enticing smells of pork, beef, fish, teas and spices filled the air. It’s all part of the fun at the National Restaurant Association’s annual convention and exhibition. I spent part of the weekend in Chicago in support of a new client who was exhibiting at the show.
Over the years I’ve attended many trade shows, most of them related to supply chain, bar codes, RFID, electronics, IT, aviation and aerospace and even rental products. But I’ve never before been greeted at the registration desk with such an attention-getting gastronomic assault on the senses. Foods and beverages of all types were being prepared throughout the enormous North and South exhibition halls. Each dish or drink was presented in an attractive and inspiring setting. Free food was everywhere and freely distributed to anyone who happened by. That was a new experience for me.
There is a sense of irony here because our client is in the technology business, one of our specialties. Numerous technology providers were at the show demonstrating their wares. What struck me most was the amount of automation software available to restaurants to support loyalty programs, geolocation couponing, online ordering and a lot of integration with Facebook and Twitter to drive store traffic and grow the database.
Generating and managing data was a major theme for those providers, a key message they were trying to get across to the restaurants.
At the end of the day, the trip made me think about you and your business.
Are you managing your data? Are you making offers and creating calls to action that generate leads for your database – leads that you can use for your email marketing campaigns? Are your lead generation efforts integrated with your CRM and email marketing platforms? Have you been able to bring some automation to these efforts? We’ve been able to integrate and automate our online marketing efforts. And, it has paid off by generating more leads through our website.
How important is lead generation and data tracking to your operations? Please post a comment and let us know what’s working – or not – for you.