I just returned from the Confectionery Show at McCormick Place in Chicago. Thanks to a gracious invitation from Sam Macdonald of North American Sales Solutions (NASS). Sam is also the leader of and can be found at The Candy & Snack Supergroup which is purported to be the largest confectionery and snacks social media group on the Internet. Look for it at LinkedIn. Though hailing from Vancouver, Sam and I connected through LinkedIn Chicago where he appeared to promote his Confectionery get together. He noticed a blurb about my challenge to meet 100 people in 50 days and suggested I come by his hospitality room at McCormick Place. Now that’s a good example of online networking leading to a face-to-face networking opportunity. It just goes to show what I have been saying, which is that online social media does not preclude F2F networking, it compliments it. In this case it took a guy in town from Vancouver to bring 10 of us Chicago area business people together at the same table. Thanks Sam!
When you are out aggressively networking as I am doing during this challenge you might encounter a situation similar to one I encountered today, networking at an event that is part of a trade show promoting an industry in which I am an outsider. Now since I produce web videos I can service a wide variety of industries including confectionery but at a trade show people do not necessarily have online marketing foremost on their minds. They also may not be the primary decision makers for my service. But hey! Nine more people know who I am and have my business card in case something comes up and they see me as their solution provider. Do your best to network at events that appear to be a good fit for you but also do not be afraid to spread your wings, you never know what you might fly in to. I know this was a stretch but I appreciated Sam’s out-of-the-box thinking in inviting me and I feel he and I made a good connection, worthy of keeping him in my LinkedIn list of contacts. I encounter people in all industries and in fact about 10 years ago worked with a small candy company struggling to find shelf space. I wish I had a Sam Macdonlad in my Rolodex back then.
Some of the folks I met today include Seth Bender of Evanston based Savor the Food Agency. Providing design services to businesses in the food industry. Tracy Nappier, President of adcomm group providing B2B advertsing placement exclusively for food companies. Bruce Brandel of The Packaging Team offering contract packaging solutions for a variety of industries and John Wendling of Mid-America Display, producers of corregated displays, packaging and boxes.
Since Sam was the only one I feel I made a meaningful business connection with I am only counting ONE New Person Met for this event. But I did learn that it may be to my advantage to promote Low Fat, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Organic Video to my list of services offered to be more attractive to the confectionery industry and their the consumers.