Curing foodservice marketing’s attention-deficit-disorder

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Each year as I meet with clients and prospects at the NRA show, a theme usually emerges from the minds of foodservice marketers.

Getting people to pay attention — to anything! — was, by far, the biggest trend in the conversations this year.

Information overload is nothing new.  But an improving economy has afforded companies to create an even bigger flood of “messaging” out into the marketplace.  I heard complaints about reaching consumers on health issues, inability to engage operators on sustainability, capturing the attention of broker reps and how to cross-train sales teams after a company acquisition.

There’s more noise than ever.  Which means there’s less listening.  And everybody is exhausted.

As a content creator, I feel your pain.  I’m a glutton for information, but I even stop following certain folks on Twitter because they vomit up retweets on quasi-food topics all day long in some warped attempt to market themselves.

So, how do you move away from this storm?

  • Return to permission marketing. End users decide what content is valuable — not you.  Content has to have a genuine goal of educating the audience, not simply pushing  your $3 per case rebate.  Original thought-provoking content will separate you from 98 percent of the crowd — so that rebate has a chance of being considered among all the other coupons!
  • Be consistent, not annoying. More is not necessarily better.  A relevant weekly blog about food innovation will be greeted with open arms versus a daily barrage of inspiring food quotes on LinkedIn.  The power of sharing quickly diminishes when the goal is on the quantity of posts rather than providing meaningful dialogue to the marketplace conversation.
  • Audience convenience. Broker reps typically scramble a few minutes before a meeting to become a product “expert.”  Operators call a trusted consultant (often a distributor rep) to research glassware that holds up better in the dishwasher.  Corporate sales reps horde old presentations with good product explanations (even if some details our outdated).  Few people proactively learn… they study “just in time” before a conversation or making a decision. Understand those timing  triggers and then build content delivery strategies that exploit the convenience factor of your audience.

May Planning Considerations

  • OK, everybody has an Administrative Professionals’ Day promotion. How about an Oct. 16’s Boss’s Day Promo? You know the check average will be larger!
  • How about Halloween? Search Pinterest for healthy Halloween treats to brighten up school lunch trays.