How to Get the Most out of Expo West

February 15, 2024
by SPINS Marketing

Maximizing Your Impact at Expo West

Natural Products Expo West is the year’s biggest event for brands. With three exhibit halls, thousands of exhibitors, and tens of thousands of attendees, the show is the place to be for anyone in the natural products industry. It’s also filled with opportunities for making connections and raising your brand’s visibility. In other words, you want to make the most of your time at Expo West and we want to help.  

At Expo West, you’re one of thousands of brands trying to leave an impression on buyers in a short amount of time. That might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! It all comes down to crafting a strong sell story. To do that, ask yourself 3 questions:  

  • What do I know about my consumers, competitors, and key target retailers? 
  • What’s my 30-second sales pitch? 
  • What is the one sentence I want them to remember? 

Here’s how to make that happen:

1. Dig into the data

Buyers are going to hear a lot of brands claiming they’re “the best”, “poised for growth” or “innovating like no one else.” One way to stand out is to support your claims with data. When you can point to quantifiable figures, you prove that you’re talking about the real world and not just making baseless claims. As you dig into the data, focus on 4 areas: 

  • Brand performance: Highlight your sales, share, velocity performance, and growth. Showing momentum in the past 52 or even 12 weeks can underscore your brand’s earning potential. 
  • Retailers: If you know which retailers you’re targeting or meeting with, understand their assortment (i.e., their natural vs conventional product mix) and how they position themselves to differentiate against competitors. 
  • Competitors: Know which competitive brands are growing and explore the attributes that might be responsible for their success. Then consider how your own brand’s attributes compare. 
  • Consumers: Be able to identify your core consumers and explain why they are a good fit for your retailers. 

Heading to Expo West? Find SPINS at booths #411 and #N1803, attend our education sessions, or schedule a 1:1 meeting.

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2. Prepare Your 30-second Pitch

Because Expo West is so big, you might not have much time for long conversations with buyers. Sometimes a quick handshake and a few sentences are the best you can do, so you want to make sure whatever you say will resonate with them. To walk onto the show floor with an effective 30-second pitch: 

  • Know Your Success Stories: Talk about what your brand has accomplished, whether that’s being a regional bestseller, having impressive velocity growth in your category, or fulfilling more specific criteria. What matters is that you have proof that your product has some proven success, no matter how big or small. 
  • Differentiate Yourself: Put the spotlight on the qualities that set you apart from other brands. Do you have a certification, such as Non-GMO or B Corp? Do you meet the standards of keto or vegan shoppers? Find the attributes that make you different. 
  • Meet Their Need:  Show the retailer why your product belongs among their current assortment. They need to know why they should alter their current products and why yours is the one they should add.  If, for example, you manufacture plant-based snacks but the retailer hardly carries any, explain why. Is this a growing segment? Are their competitors better stocked? Leave no room for doubt that you are meeting a need they might not even realize they have.  

3. Be memorable

If you’re going to put all this work into creating a sell story, you want to make sure they remember you once they’ve left your booth or meeting. 

  • Have a Closing Line: After you’ve delivered your story and explained why you’re unique, leave retailers with a strong one-liner that they can’t forget. You might say “We’re the all-natural, grain-free version of [classic cereal] that tastes even better and meets today’s top breakfast trends.” 
  • Create a Memorable Booth: There are a lot of booths with a lot of similar products at Expo West. Find a way to make your booth a destination, whether that’s memorable giveaways, games, or demos. After walking through Expo for several days, someone might not remember everything you said but they will remember the booth that stood out.