What foodservice marketers can learn from a food smoker salesman

Recently I was strolling through a big box store and my eye caught one of those fancy food smokers that slowly feeds in wood pellets to create just the right smoke flavoring for brisket, ribs and such.

The manufacturer’s rep approached me and proceeded to tell the product story through some simple virtual marketing using his smartphone that any foodservice marketer could replicate with ease.

  • The rep started swiping through a set of five photos while adding step-by-step commentary to quickly illustrate how easy it is to cook a delicious, slow-roasted chicken. “Try this tonight and come back tomorrow and tell me how it turned out… you’re going to love it,” he added.
  • Next came photos showing the perfect smoke ring on ribs he recently cooked… along with a quick verbal recipe.
  • Finally, he popped up a photo of the underside of the smoker to show how easy it is to attach the legs to the smoker body — saving me from crawling down to look underneath the display unit to see how it’s done.

None of the photos were fancy… just genuine examples of how the product worked in real-life situations. In fact, the simple photos were more convincing than elegant “food-stylized” photos that really don’t represent what most of us mere mortals could ever produce when smoking our next pork butt.

Granted, this salesperson was more creative and industrious than many. But just imagine if you put similar, simple marketing tools into the hands of brokers and distributor sales reps so they could replicate the experience for your products? This approach just might be the cheapest and, arguably, best marketing initiative you launch this year.

Next week: Why exposing your foodservice secrets might be a good thing