No doubt that the quality and frequency of valuable content being offered by food manufacturers and distributors to help operators turn a profit is on the upswing.
The downside is much of the content doesn’t generate much of a following!
Many food companies still suffer under the Field of Dreams phenomenon… you know, create the content and operators shall come. Unfortunately, creating great content is about 25 percent of the battle. The other 75 percent is distribution that drives an ROI for the creating the content in the first place.
Much foodservice content sits idle waiting for a crowd to show up at the Iowa ballfield — also known as the company website to mix further this metaphor!
The hard truth is foodservice operators have many priorities other than reading your blog on how to pair prune juice and crayfish. Or reviewing yet another case rebate promo. Or studying a recipe.
Like most things in life, success with content marketing is all about being in the right place at the right time:
- Use your natural broadcast channel. Often the last group of people to know about your content is the sales team — an odd situation considering sales has direct contact with customers and/or motivates brokers and DSRs who have direct contact. Consistent and brief announcements to suggest ways the sales team can use the content go a long way… “hey, we just posted a video on how to increase hold times for our fish sandwich that college foodservice directors will find helpful.” The reps will take it from there because they know who to target. And how often.
- Consider voice broadcast. Email abuse has become a thorn in the side — especially for company sales folks and brokers. But they still read text messages and listen to voice mail. There are dozens of low-cost services that make broadcasting text or voice a simple task even if your brokers are on different telephone systems. But, like email, the sales team will turn you off if the privilege is abused with a barrage of annoying messages.
- Go direct. Most customer lists I see are almost exclusively used to send out coupons and other promotions. Yet, redemption rates continue to decline because operators suffer from promotion fatigue. However, valuable non-promotional content that educates operators on a topic is a refreshing change. The key is consistency because building an audience (thus your brand’s leadership) can be a long slog. But a loyal audience is sustainable unlike the latest $2 case rebate offer.