216: Is “foodservice sales channel marketing” an oxymoron?
For the past few years, we’ve talked about the merger of marketing and sales in the foodservice world (oh, the horror!). It’s actually starting to happen… and at a faster pace than many realize.
The most obvious place for marketing and sales to intersect is when manufacturers and distributors collaborate. But this collaboration idea has been given more lip service than a Mick Jagger makeover before a Rolling Stones concert. In other words… actual collaboration has been, for the most part, all gloss.
But joining forces to execute on realistic, measurable marketing initiatives to drive sales and brand loyalty on the street is starting to become a reality. We have the privilege of peeking behind some true distributor innovators who aren’t just talking about an integrated approach… they’ve embraced it 100 percent. Sorry, we’re under non-disclosure and can’t reveal details quite yet (although many of you will start hearing about some of these initiatives soon).
Of course, manufacturers have equal responsibility in seizing this moment. The first step is to recognize that the distribution channel is a marketing platform that has no equal.
What other marketing vehicle has daily, personal access to literally every foodservice operator customer? Yet, ironically, most manufacturers have nearly ZERO human resources (and few dollar resources) focused on developing the most impactful marketing channel in foodservice.
Most brands leave the distribution channel up to the company sales team to figure out… even though much of what is required ties directly to marketing. Foodservice could learn a lot from other B2B industries. High tech, pharmaceuticals, durable equipment, medical supplies and others learned long ago to balance the marketing investment evenly between brand marketing and sales channel marketing.
Why? Because the fastest way to brand loyalty is through the evangelists out in the field — everybody from brokers and DSRs to inside sales and category specialists. If channel partners don’t get it, the end user operators won’t get it.
To this end, we’re launching a Foodservice Channel Marketing Workshop that is delivered onsite at your headquarters. This way you can invite your entire marketing and sales crew, agencies, friends and neighbors to one spot and keep costs down (think twice before inviting the relatives).
The workshop’s goal is to provide a foundation for a sales channel marketing program in the 21st Century – and the resources required. The vast majority of workshop time is spent identifying practical, hands-on execution… little time is spent on theoretical glossy stuff (we’ll leave that to Mick Jagger’s stylist).
Email us if you’d like more details.