Exposing your foodservice product secrets is a good thing

In today’s era of transparency thanks to the Internet, it’s surprising how many food companies continue to hold onto their product “secrets” in fear the competition will steal ideas and run away with the market.

First, there are no secrets.  Your competitors have already thoroughly poked and prodded your product in their test kitchens — just as you have dissected their products.  And I’ve yet to see a unique marketing or sales strategy that I haven’t heard used elsewhere a dozen times.  Let’s face it, there are only so many ways to move product through the food channel.

The losers in the effort to lock up product secrets (again, there are no secrets!) are the 99 percent of potential customers, brokers and distributor reps who could benefit from this information.  All to protect against the one percent who likely already know your secrets anyway.

  • Sharing your information broadly is the best defense. In fact, making it easy to learn your important product details becomes a brand differentiator because your competition will continue to hide their own silly unhidden secrets.
  • You’re always in a better position if you competitors react to you versus the other way around. Operators, brokers and distributors go where getting answers and support is easy — which naturally puts competitors on the defensive if you’re the go-to source.
  • Make training easily available without requiring silly logins that people lose. And don’t be shy… show how to cut against the (unnamed) competition.  Explain your manufacturing advantage (if you truly have any).  Provide hints to easier product prep.  Give your field teams all the tools to self-educate so they become the brand ambassadors you desire — without the hassle.

Next week:  Why foodservice marketing is like fish bait