Creating a sustainable foodservice product communications campaign faces the same pressure of any new product launch.
Most new product launches fail miserably — as do most “strategic” communications initiatives that get debated around this time of the year. The reality is, however, creating a long-lasting, vital B2B outbound communication program is a messy process. Odds are good you need a few “oops” along the way to find the one gem that rockets your program forward.
But here are a few considerations to lessen the pain (and stress with your boss) when planning your Next Big Foodservice Marketing Experiment:
- Lead, don’t follow. Coupons, rebates and recipes might be necessary to move certain lines of business, but they’re generally white noise in the marketplace. Everybody does them. Shot-in-the-dark gimmicks won’t necessarily become a big idea, either (see last week’s blog!). Find a niche to separate your brand from the humdrum without breaking the bank. Like Blendtec’s long-running “Will it Blend” video series, JES Restaurant Equipment’s Twitter feed of fascinating foodservice tidbits or Gordon Food Service’s campaign that uses LinkedIn for more than an HR tool.
- Create new content from the inside out. In the B2B world of foodservice, the most effective, targeted and trackable way to distribute content is through the sales team. Operators will likely open an email from broker Jane if she’s a reliable source of good information. Give Jane an arsenal of how-to videos, application ideas and other conversation starters and she’ll target the content with pinpoint accuracy. In other words, she won’t send it to everybody (which is a good thing). The odds your campaign will succeed increase dramatically when working with reps to identify and develop content they’ll love to pass along. And, by default, this same content will be powerful to attract new visitors when you post the content via your website and social media.
- How small can you go? Manufacturing managers and R&D folks have taught me over the years to “think small.” R&D projects, by design, reduce the guesswork before turning on the manufacturing plant for that 100,000 case run of your new sardine-flavored yogurt sensation. We marketers can never be reminded enough about the importance of testing. It’s in the DNA of R&D folks. Create a tiny pilot then test. Expand a little, tweak here and there, and then test again. Expand a bit, more tweaks and test over and over again until the formula is just right. Apply that discipline to your next Big Foodservice Marketing Experiment and you’ll have less waste and anxiety — and fewer cases of promotional oven mitts that nobody wants now.