Demos That Made a Difference
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
A great food demonstration can be a powerful thing. Whether done in a store, on Facebook live, or for a community presentation, when done correctly, a demo allows your audience to experience the positive benefits of your product(s) and see how the items may make their life easier, more affordable and healthier. Here are some tips to make certain your product demonstrations increase sales and meet consumer needs.
- Know your audience and what they are looking for. Every market is different, so demos should be uniquely matched to your audience or customers. Before you plan a demo, do your research. Is convenience a priority? Is budget a concern? Is there a high number of seniors cooking for two, or more families?
- Showcase the right products. Ideas include: new products; seasonal items; products with important nutritional benefits; products with a sustainability message; fun and healthy, kid-friendly options.
- Create an eye-catching display. A visually pleasing display considers these elements: attractive and appropriate utensils, bowls, and trays; a still life of ingredients; proper signage; table cover and sampling supplies.
- Show how the product(s) solves a need. What consumer behaviors are you trying to solve for at this particular time of year? Easy recipes that get dinner on the table quickly? Healthier options for packing school lunches? Solutions for energizing summer road trip snacks? Simple holiday appetizer ideas? Show how the products(s) fit into the customer’s life story.
- Deliver meaningful messages. Offer key talking points that help your audience overcome barriers to eating healthier meals at home. Provide cooking or culinary tips, substitution ideas for special diets, or fussy eaters, shopping or meal planning ideas, and key nutritional attributes.
- Make it convenient to find/purchase the products. Because "tasting is believing," there is no better time than after a successful demo to sell products. Offer recipe cards and educational materials, place extra products near your demo or conduct the demo near key products (if in store). For media spots, direct viewers to a website to find the recipe(s), discuss where to find products in store, suggest an on-line shopping/coupon app., etc.
- Spread the word. If you are planning an in store demo make sure you promote the demo in ad and with social posts a few days beforehand. While in store, combine with a live Facebook video from the demo site if possible and promote over the store’s broadcast system and with directional signage.
- Measure effectiveness. Show your ROI by tracking sales of key recipe ingredients compared to prior month, the same time period of the prior year and for 2 weeks following the demo. Also record any feedback you receive from shoppers, and share your success.