Breakthrough foodservice marketing from unlikely source

      221 marketing from sales
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I was recently invited to a client companywide sales meeting — an opportunity I always thoroughly enjoy and find eye-opening from a marketer’s standpoint.

Sales meetings — and tagging along on actual sales calls — are always major sources of foodservice marketing brilliance in my experience.

Why? These are events where you can unearth truly differentiated ways to market food products.  Sure, the ultimate goal for a rep is to ask for the order.  But the best reps turn customer meetings into micro marketing events.  Educating the captured audience standing before them is the real opportunity for building a long-term relationship.

Here are a few powerful examples I’ve seen light up operator’s eyes:

  • Presentation is everything. A dessert company created small, lightweight platforms of different heights that were covered by an elegant tablecloth.  The setup, including small placards in front of each dessert, displayed the product line clearly so the customer could easily keep track as the rep talked about the profit possibilities of each dessert variety.  The operator’s eyes said it all… he was going to steal the idea to merchandise the desserts in his college cafeteria.
  • Major messages, yes we got ‘em. Over the years, I’ve seen many reps distill a product brochure down to a 3-5 word product message.  They turn thosee words into mini-billboards — usually printed out in large ugly letters that are then either laminated or slapped into a plastic standup display.  Regardless of the aesthetics, the billboards work well to keep operators focused on the key message!  Applying a little creative branding to these mini billboards would be greatly appreciated by reps who would rather be selling than trying to print out mini billboards on their home printer.
  • Proof is in the pudding, eh… rather the topping. One of the most powerful examples I’ve seen was a time-elapsed video used to present the case for pre-whipped topping.  A side-by-side comparison showed how the whipped topping stayed firm and beautiful for more than thirty minutes while a competitor’s aerosol-based topping quickly deflated into a puddle.  Many products have similar comparisons that will turn a customer’s mind around literally in seconds.

Simple little tools like these will help distance you from your competitors during the day-to-day battle out on the street.

Imagine if you turned these small tactics into a strategy that focuses on street-level marketing?  It’s a differentiated strategy that’s right under your nose in those sales meetings and sales calls going on every day.