Brave new online foodservice marketing world

There are no fewer than four new mobile or online foodservice marketing applications and platforms soon to launch.  All with similar goals of directly reaching operators.

And those are just the ones I’ve heard about!  The last time there was such a frenzy of activity was in 2007 right before the economy collapsed.

Not that I’m paranoid.  OK, I’m paranoid.

But things do feel different this time around.  Or perhaps that’s my optimism taking over my paranoia.

Mobile computing is no longer a “trend,” it’s mandatory.  Online ordering through distributors has become more common.  And alternates to broadline distributors — including direct ordering from manufacturers, Restaurant Depot (and similar outlets) and online portals like FoodserviceDirect.com —are succeeding.

Traditional distribution and broker networks aren’t going anywhere.  It just means customers now have a larger mix of options from which to choose when making purchases.

Simplifying online foodservice marketing

So, product manufacturers who excel at educating decision makers and influencers will flourish.  But affording the ever-expanding number of marketing outlets will take some creative leverage…

  • Go mobile or go home. Access to information and online services through mobile devices surpassed desktop computers nearly two years ago.  And the gulf continues to widen.  Create content first with mobile in mind — which means it needs to be brief yet dynamic.  Reading 200 words about your premium frozen green beans on a smartphone screen is excruciating.  Watching a short video is much easier.
  • Plant content everywhere. Distributors’ grip on which products operators hear about is slipping simply because there are so many online resources available.  Plant your content everywhere — social media, new online product directories and email campaigns.  You now have a realistic shot at distributor “pull through” for many more products because customers are demanding them.
  • It’s still a people business.  Easy access to online information means customers are better educated.  Which means they’ll ask tougher and better questions.  Which means your reps, brokers and friendly distributors need to always be a step ahead so they’re prepared to answer those questions.  Leverage the content to drive constant, brief product training so your sales team isn’t blindsided by the ever-smarter operators out there.

 

online foodservice marketing