The one-word question every foodservice marketer should ask

It’s pounded into us foodservice marketers that we should focus product or brand messaging on a “differentiator.”  Find that unique value proposition that competitors can’t touch!

Yet, we’re often guilty of rehashing our own PR that we’re the “best at” this. Or the “highest quality” that.  “Respected, trusted and family owned yada yada yada.”

So, the one-word question when considering any of these messages is “Why?”

Why should an operator care?  Why should a sales rep care?  Why is “family owned” important?  Why do you think your competitor offers less quality (and can you back it up)?

The message is pretty meaningless if you can’t answer the why question with compelling specific examples that prove your point.

There are a lot of foodservice products (or brands) that honestly have no differentiator.  So, consider making your approach the competitive advantage rather than the product itself.  Your competitors will undoubtedly remain in their ho-hum, me-too, non-differentiated rut and you’ll stand out among the crowd:

  • Offer an insider’s look. Operators want to know how your product is made (even if there’s nothing special about it).  A short video that tells the facts without a bunch of “we’re the best” chest-beating will resonate among operators during these days of transparency.
  • Train the trainers. Give brokers and distributors specific examples of how other operators use your product — not just concepts from the R&D kitchen. Like most humans, operators learn from and are influenced by their real-world peers. Differentiated or not… you have a leg up on the competition if operators hear about others who are succeeding with your product.
  • Make it mobile and visual. Your “why” stories need to be easily found and be available for use on mobile devices.  Even in the seemingly old school world of foodservice, most brokers and reps use their phones and tablets every day to tell product stories these days.

Considerations for December Planning

  • Need inspiration for your next foodservice product or promotion? Search “foodservice ideas” on Pinterest and be flooded with creative and visual stimulation!
  • February is a great time for product launches before the overwhelming market noise starts around the National Restaurant show in May.