Posted by & in category Blog, Food Marketing.

The MSU Product Center is pleased to announce the seventh annual Making It In Michigan Conference and Premier Specialty Food Show to be held Wednesday, November 12th from 7:30AM – 4:00PM at the Lansing Center.

“This is poised to be our biggest event yet in terms of the number of Michigan vendors participating in the Marketplace Trade Show and the caliber of industry experts that will be leading the educational sessions,” states Matthew Birbeck, MSU Product Center’s High Impact Venture Action Team Project Manager. “We will be showcasing some innovative processes and strategies specifically targeted for food and agricultural entrepreneurs supporting this year’s theme of ‘Fresh Thinking For Success’,” says Birbeck.

Garden Fresh Gourmet Founder Jack Aronson and Co-CEO John J. Latella will share the company story of developing an iconic brand and building brand engagement with customers and will field questions from the audience. Attendees will be able to provide questions to be addressed by the panel through the MSU Product Center social media channels prior to the conference.

The one-day event features morning educational sessions that will bring together leading Michigan experts to help guide attendees in refining and growing their businesses in the following areas:

• Making Your Product Shelf-stable

– The Essential Process Authority Review for Shelf-stable Food Products

– Product Formulation Challenges for Commercial Refrigerated and Shelf-stable Foods

• Growing Your Specialty Food Business

– Working with Retailers – Getting Product On The Shelf and How Retailer Size Affects Your Opportunity

– Growing Sales and Meeting Customer Expectations

– Making The Most Out of Limited Marketing Resources with Effective Social      Media and Public Relations Strategies

• Finding the Right Poly Packaging Product For Your Own Product

• Protecting Your Business

– The Latest Status in Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance

– Determining the Right Business Structure – is an LLC Right For You?

The $79 per person conference registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and educational sessions, digital copies of all presentations and reference materials and admission to the Marketplace trade show.

The Marketplace trade show in the afternoon will feature over 160 new and existing businesses that will be showcasing their Michigan-made food and agricultural products to the general public and Michigan-based food buyers. The trade show is free to the general public.
Conference participants will also have time to network with the winners of this year’s MSU Product Center awards and learn from their success stories. Awards will be presented for the Best Barrier Buster, Start-up to Watch and Entrepreneur of the Year. MSU Product Center innovation counselors and staff members, Product Center clients, business consultants, regulatory officials and food and farming groups will also be available to provide in-depth information and counseling.

Posted by & in category Blog.

Sharp Marketing was proud to be a part of the Amtrak Pere Marquette 30th Anniversary. We have worked with Amtrak for over 18 years and thoroughly have enjoyed helping to promote passenger rail travel and exponentially grow ridership over this period. We would like to thank all the Michigan-made products that represented each of the communities that the Pere Marquette serves for donating product to go in the goodie bags handed out on the train: True Blue Farms Country Store, American Gourmet Pretzels, Nelis’ Dutch Village, Cheez Kurls, Schuil Coffee, South Bend Chocolate Company and Freestone Pickles.


You can watch the celebrations in each community at Amtrak Pere Marquette 30th Anniversary.

Posted by & in category Blog.

Social media marketing may be “free,” but there are of course associated costs, not to mention the opportunity costs of time invested in marketers’ social efforts. A recent survey from Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) indicates that staff compensation indeed is the largest expense for growing social media marketing budgets, representing almost half of expenditures. So what are social media marketing staff doing with their time?

Respondents to the survey – 70% of whom came from companies with 100 employees or less – were asked to identify the biggest investment of their time, with the largest share by far (60.1%) identifying content development, an unsurprising result. Another 1 in 10 respondents reported that actual posting of content is their biggest time investment. Beyond content, social media marketers were as likely to cite strategy development (11.6%) as their top time investment as they were to identify listening/monitoring (7.5%) and measurement (4.6%) combined. Only about 4% are spending most of their time responding to fans and followers, a fairly unexpected result, but nevertheless an area which could do with a little more time investment given these results. Although things have improved a little since then.)

As one might expect, marketers are spending more time overall with social media: almost three-quarters said the amount of time they’ve invested in social media has increased over the past year. That’s likely at least partly a result of their branching out into new platforms. Some 26% report managing 8 or more profiles, 3 times as many as are managing a single one (8.6%). According to a recent report from Social Media Examiner, 64% of social media marketers around the world spend at least 6 hours a week using social media, while almost 1 in 5 spend more than 20 hours per week.

Not surprisingly given the added time being spent on social, a majority of respondents to the SMMU survey report that their spending has increased. Here’s one reason why: slightly more than three-quarters feel that based on the results they’ve seen, social has been worth their time and money. That’s a more positive assessment than recently seen, although large companies have also given social’s ROI a thumbs up of late. Of course, measuring social’s ROI continues to be an obstacle…

About the Data: SMMU’s survey was conducted April 1-15 via Survey Gizmo. 1060 small business owners, social strategists, and C-Level executives were surveyed. Companies represented by number of employees: 1-5 (30.1%); 6-10 (10.4%); 11-50 (20.2%); 51-100 (9.2%); 101 or more (30.1%).

Source: MarketingCharts