Making the Most of a Home Run
“Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”
-Patrick Swayze, in Dirty Dancing
Giving it Away
What is the one thing that comes to mind when you hear of “Hickory Farms?” For me, it is people standing in a mall in front of the store handing out samples of cheese, sausage and crackers. Hickory Farms is best known for this practice that began years ago.
How did they start this? The company began when Richard Ransom began selling cheese from his farm in 1951. It was the beginning of an idea that would engrain Hickory Farms in people’s minds for decades. The Hickory Farms website records Ransom’s historic story.
“Mr. Ransom… added his now famous Beef Summer Sausage to the offering. Quick to give a hearty sample or handshake, he soon was selling at county fairs all over Michigan and Ohio. By 1959, Hickory Farms was expanding and opened its first retail store outside Toledo. This taste of the American Heartland was so special that word spread. And so did Hickory Farms stores throughout the country.
Since then, the company's focus on personalized service, customer satisfaction and quality have become legendary. Last year, our sixtieth year, we dedicated ourselves to finding new ways to deliver the wholesome goodness and authenticity of Hickory Farms. As we look toward our next fifty years, we promise to always search for better ways to surprise you and delight the ones you love.”
Hickory Farms hits a “home run” by connecting to people and gathering a crowd of interested customers.
I asked Gerry, a corporate sales director, “What would be a 'home run' for you at the next trade show or event?” He replied, “to sign 50% of the people who come in our booth. But the problem is getting in front of everyone at the convention.” We talked about getting out of his corner…
The Man In The Corner
A trade show is a great way to get some free “swag” with someone else’s contact information on them. I went to the far reaches and sides of the show where I met Gerry. Usually these folks haven’t paid enough to get “main aisle” exposure.
Gerry and I spoke and he confessed that the trade show was a new venture for his company and may or may not be beneficial in their future marketing.
I told him about the time I (almost) got kicked out of a trade show for drawing too much attention...