February 1, 2017 |

Clayton Krueger: Pizza Expo is for Learning

By Pizza Today

If you want to elevate your game, don’t forget to head upstairs at International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas

Clayton Krueger, director of marketing and communications, Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza

I first attended International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas in 2008, one year after our founders had traveled to the show to deliver a keynote address after having been named the 2006 Independent Pizzeria of the Year. At the 2008 show, I assisted our co-founder, Jacque Farrell, in delivering a seminar on employee retention. The rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve gone to the show ever since. I’ve attended seminars to bolster my own education and delivered seminars on topics ranging from social media to craft beer. This year, in addition to a pair of workshops I’ll be co-instructing for the School of Pizzeria Management on Sunday and Monday, I will be delivering seminars on “D.I.Y. Video Production” and “Proven Tactics in Digital Marketing.”    

Video has become the No. 1 medium for content delivery. In other words, your customers are watching A LOT of video …  is it yours? Historically, video has been expensive to create because it required professional grade equipment and a knowledgeable skillset to produce. That is no longer the case. The proliferation of technology has brought with it the ability to shoot and produce high-quality videos yourself. In this seminar, I will show you how we at Farrelli’s have leveraged the power of video to engage our customers and take sales to another level. More specifically, I will talk about the equipment we’ve invested in to produce our films, the channels we use to launch our videos, and the frequency in which we do so. This seminar will be offered at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28th — which is just prior to the Beer & Bull Idea Exchange where they serve FREE BEER! So, really, you’ve got no excuse not to attend.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the world has gone digital. Storage in the cloud, e-mail, SMS, smartphones, apps, etc. are all digital interfaces that we engage with daily in our everyday lives. So the challenge becomes getting your brand content in front of your customer’s eyes through these interfaces. In my “Proven Tactics in Digital Marketing” seminar, I will discuss the ways we have found success doing exactly that at Farrelli’s Pizza. I will also look toward other industry leaders to see where opportunity may exist that we have yet to explore.

This is the part where you, the audience, comes into play as well — because we can all learn from each other. Perhaps you are doing something that none of us have considered yet. Or you may be having success with something we haven’t been fully convinced to try. Idea sharing is an important part of this seminar, so come prepared to share. Lastly, I will attempt to look into the future to see what digital technology is just ahead. That way we can be prepared to adapt our marketing strategies accordingly through the adoption of the technologies that have the most upside potential. This seminar will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29th, which is just after the keynote address by Michael Lastoria, CEO & Co-Founder of &Pizza. If you are like me, that is a keynote you won’t want to miss because it will certainly be chock-full of branding gold.

This brings me to my final thought: Through my years of attendance at Pizza Expo, I have found myself spending more and more time upstairs in the education halls. This is not just because I have had the opportunity to share what we are doing at Farrelli’s through seminars, but also because, at Farrelli’s, we are a learning organization. Pizza Expo does an exceptional job of curating the top talent in the industry to deliver seminars and educational sessions on just about any topic you could possibly be interested in learning more about. Most of these sessions are FREE to attend with your admission to the show. And yet, each year I observe the masses of attendees who never make their way off of the main exhibition floor and up to the educational seminars. That is a shame.

There has not been a single year that our company has attended the show that we have not come back and implemented no less than three things we learned at the show to make our business better. The result has been a continued elevation of our brand and our people, and our customers are the ones who have benefited the most. In addition, we have made some lifelong relationships with some of the industry’s leaders. These are people that we can reach out to when we need some advice, and we have done so many times over. Now don’t get me wrong — there is plenty to see and learn on the exhibition floor as well. The cooking demos and pizza competition are great for fostering innovation in your menu. The endless sea of exhibitors can give you some great ideas for evolving your business systems or to simply find out ways to reduce your operating costs. All I am saying is this: don’t forget to head upstairs for some seminars at this year’s show.


Set a Game Plan

A trick to help keep you focused at the show is to schedule out the seminars that you want to attend
beforehand. At Farrelli’s we do this every year as a team before departing for Las Vegas. Pizza Expo has made doing so pretty easy with the introduction of the Pizza Expo app, where you can save your favorite seminars and add them right to your calendar so you’ll never miss a session. Looking ahead at the schedule, here are a couple that I am very interested in attending myself:

• Monday, 12:30pm – Innovation Keeps Me Growing, Doug Ferriman

• Tuesday, 9:30am – Motivating and Marketing to Millennials, Gerry O’Brion

• Tuesday, 2:30pm – Brand Marketing with TNT, Bill Jacobs and Jim Furrh

• Wednesday, 8:15am – Keynote, Michael Lastoria

• Wednesday, 2:30pm – Proven Guerilla Marketing Tactics, Bill Jacobs and Michael Shepherd

• Wednesday, 4:00pm – Adding Pizza Styles to Your Menu, Jeff Smokevitch

• Thursday, 10:00am – Ask the Chefs, Mike Rutledge, Tony Gemignani, and Graziano Bertuzzo

See: Clayton Krueger at Pizza Expo

W05 Increasing Sales Through Customer Engagement (Fee: $250)

Sunday, March 26
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Room: N254
Speakers: Clayton Krueger, Eric Shepherd

W10 Creating a Coordinated Pizzeria Marketing Plan (Fee: $250)

Monday, March 27
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Room: N254
Speakers: Clayton Krueger, Eric Shepherd

Do-It-Yourself Video Production

Tuesday, March 28
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Room: N258
Speaker: Clayton Krueger

Proven Tactics in Digital Marketing

Wednesday, March 29
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Room: N260
Speaker: Clayton Krueger

Clayton Krueger is the director of marketing and communications for Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza.

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