217: The new reality for foodservice marketers

DSRInsightsbylineH2011pngFunny how the economy plays with the psychology (and budgets!) of marketers in most B2B industries, including foodservice. A recent survey of 1,745 marketing executives finds that lead generation is the top priority these days—and brand-building is now a distant third.

The survey results certainly reflect what we’ve heard from most foodservice manufacturers we work with.

Simply put, when times are lean... hooking the fish (a live lead!) gets more attention than baiting the hook (brand building).

Welcome to the new reality. It’s not a trend driven strictly by economics. Foodservice operators (like most customers) are exhausted from marketing. This latest survey supports dozens of other studies that find customers want to be informed. Not sold. Not pandered to.

Customers are hungry for knowledge, not necessarily a brand message (although they can certainly co-exist!). This is particularly true of foodservice operators (and DSRs!) who are just trying to make it through another day. Marketing without an educational purpose is often a distraction to B2B customers.

Obviously, there’s no perfect tactic for all companies. But web-based video might be as close to being perfect as you’ll find. Video is:

  • Engaging.
  • Inexpensive (if you do it right).
  • Lead-generating (or connected to lead generation like special offers, free samples, etc.)
  • Flexible… one well-planned video can work for multiple audiences… and simultaneously be a marketing, sales and training tool.
  • Mobile via your SmartPhone or email.
  • The next best thing to in-person “knowledge sharing” without needing a live human involved.
  • Shared easily on social media… or within private intranets.
  • And enables a brand to still have decent control over their message and image.

Blogs, webinars, white papers, podcasts and other typical “information” tactics mentioned in the survey absolutely have their place. But none are as easily repurposed in so many ways as video.

Of course, video has its limits, too. DSRs or operators certainly don’t want to listen for three minutes of yakking just to get the product number for the sugar-frosted sardine you produce.

So, what goes into an effective foodservice product video? We’ve boiled it down to three things…. conveniently packaged, of course, into the short video above.

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