Product Marketing Lessons from Philly Tech Week


On Thursday, some of the AYC team attended Introduced by, which was part of Philly Tech Week 2018. The day was filled with engaging discussions and inspiring stories behind some of Philly’s biggest brands. It’s a tough call to make but I think my favorite session was “Product Marketing: Lessons on Smarter Selling” with panelists from Hungry Harvest, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, Hershey, and Think Traffic. It was interesting to hear different approaches to marketing for each company.

Evan Lutz founded Hungry Harvest, a subscription service that provides fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste due to superficial reasons. Basically, if a red apple wasn’t big and juicy looking, farmers would throw them away. In comes Hungry Harvest which saves fresh produce from going to waste by turning produce with superficial imperfections into a meal service, and donates food to those in need after every purchase. Lutz says the best way to test effectiveness of ads, was to run the same exact ad in the same month one year later but changing one element. In one example, he mentioned adding Septa ads, which he said made a huge impact in his sales. So the idea here is test one item at a time since it is often difficult to identify the impact of ads/billboards. I must admit I was already a fan of Lutz’s Company, having seen him land a deal with Robert Herjavec on Shark Tank in 2016. (I may or may not have gone home and re-watched the episode).  

Ryan Reiss, Marketing Director for the Hershey Company had a difference approach. So... when do people want a Reese’s? If I wasn’t allergic I would probably have one or two as my afternoon snack and I think if you ask most people, the common consensus for when to eat a Reese’s would be a mid-day office snack. Reiss explains the key is finding out what the trigger is, understanding when someone is going to be receptive to your message, and using it to your advantage.

Kathryn O’Connor, VP of Marketing at La Colombe gave insight on how to differentiate and market a product that the majority of people already consume. Motivating shoppers to consume their brand over another is a tough challenge to be tasked with. O’Connor went on to explain that a large part is understanding when people want to drink coffee and where geographically there is a high propensity to drink speciality coffee. Fun fact: Denver and Boulder have a large population of specialty coffee drinkers. O’Connor went on to explain another huge effort is to tap into the emotional part of buying coffee.

Lastly, Bjorn Talbot from Think Traffic says that his focus is on making sure the message drives the appetite. Talbot explains how he does this with his client, Saladworks with a campaign they ran called the “Pre-Tox” which targeted the consumer looking to make healthy choices so they can still enjoy their Holiday treats.

Although the company’s are vastly different, each panelist really understood when and where to reach their target market. The brands identified when and how to reach their customer by research, trial and error, etc.  The key is to identify when and where brands can make their connection with the consumer.


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