Food marketing in the modern era is both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, it’s revolutionary to have access to many distribution channels and communication channels you can use to reach your customers. But, on the other hand, there’s a better opportunity to connect with millions of people worldwide, and you can practice some marketing and advertising strategies without ever leaving your desktop.
But by that same token, this unmitigated access presents new challenges. How do you know which channels to use? How do you tap into the full potential of these channels reliably?
For food marketers, the omnichannel approach remains the most viable, allowing you to take full advantage of the range of channels available.
But how can you make this work?
Why Omnichannel Food Marketing Is So Valuable
Your food brand will likely use many distribution channels to distribute its food and beverage products. That’s because each distribution channel is an opportunity to reach new people, expand your brand visibility, boost your reputation, and potentially sell your product in new ways.
The benefits will be multiplicative if you can effectively coordinate distribution to these channels. Not only will each new channel represent a new potential audience you can reach, but it will also increase your brand visibility and brand power over time.
These are some of the most common choices for food and beverage brands:
- Retail. One of the most important distribution channels for your food brand will be retail. Getting your product on conventional store shelves and in front of the average consumer is critical for increasing your reach.
- C-Store. Making contact with convenience stores and featuring your product on store shelves could be an advantage for you, though not all food and beverage products are a good fit for this. Individually wrapped and convenient items are an excellent fit, and they have the potential to be significantly profitable.
- Foodservice. You may also benefit from distributing your food products to the foodservice industry, making your foods and beverages available to restaurants and cafes.
- Private Label. Alternatively, you can make your food and beverage products available via private label, removing yourself from mainstream and common distribution channels.
- Institutional and Bulk. In some applications, it pays to distribute your food and beverage products through industrial and institutional channels, selling your products in bulk.
- Online Amazon/Direct. You can also sell your products online using platforms like Amazon or your website.
An omnichannel food marketing strategy is essential to reach the niche audiences associated with these distribution channels. Omnichannel marketing is all about taking advantage of as many marketing and advertising platforms as necessary to improve the reach and impact of your sales and marketing efforts.
Omnichannel marketing helps you:
- Build a more consistent brand. The more familiar people are with your brand, and the more they trust it, the more they will purchase from it. Building a strong and consistent brand is, therefore, one of the most critical initial strategies for creating a solid sales and marketing foundation. Marketing and advertising across many different channels will help you build a more consistent brand, allowing you to showcase your brand identity to more people and in more creative ways. With more repetition, your consumers will gain more familiarity, and all your marketing materials will become more powerful.
- Gain overall visibility. Omnichannel marketing is also about gaining raw visibility. If you’re selling your product in multiple stores and marketing in many different ways, people will have more opportunities to see your brand and engage with it. Of course, not every consumer will buy your product just because they see it on a convenience store shelf, but merely seeing your product could prompt them to think more about your brand and encourage them to purchase in the future.
- Support sales across all channels. Making your brand active on many different marketing and advertising platforms means supporting sales across all your distribution channels. If you’ve historically seen significant returns from retail applications, but your convenience store sales are disappointing, you can tweak your marketing and advertising strategies to support higher sales. Similarly, if your most profitable operations are tied to one distribution channel, you can multiply your budget for the marketing strategies that are most effective for it.
- Connect with specific audiences. Practicing omnichannel marketing also means getting the opportunity to connect with specific audiences. Instead of marketing broadly, trying to reach a universal audience with generic messaging, you can fine-tune your communications to achieve more relevance and engagement with the people who matter the most.
- Gather better data. On top of that, practicing omnichannel marketing allows you to gather more data, which you can use to understand your audience better and eventually create better messaging for them. For example, you can determine which distribution channels are most profitable, which communication channels are most valued by your audience, and which of your marketing messages are worth repeating.
Food Marketing Tips Across All Channels
So what are the best ways to take advantage of all the marketing channels at your disposal and increase the distribution and impact of your food and beverage products across all your distribution channels?
These food marketing tips can help you:
- Start with thorough brand guidelines. Before any individual marketing strategy, it’s essential to start with thorough brand guidelines. For your overall brand and each food and beverage product brand, consolidate your ideas on this brand identity and explain how this identity should manifest in all your marketing and advertising efforts. For example, how is this brand best represented? What does this brand mean to your target audience? What types of messages best support this brand?
- Identify your target consumers. Your marketing strategy will only be as effective as your audience targeting strategy. If you don’t know who your audience is or aren’t sure how to reach your audience best, your messages will fall flat. That’s why it’s crucial to identify exactly who your target customers are, considering both your distribution channels and your communication channels; reaching a convenience store shopper with a targeted social media ad is much different than reaching a foodservice establishment at a tradeshow.
- Come up with a conceptual foundation for each new campaign. Whenever you’re about to start a new campaign, come up with a conceptual foundation. Instead of starting with a headline or a colorful photo, start with the idea you want to capture. What do you want to make your consumers feel? Would you want concepts or ideas at the forefront of this new message?
- Prioritize the platforms your customers are using. This should be a no-brainer but prioritize the platforms your customers are using. A bit of market research should help you figure out the channels and platforms your customers use the most; once you have that information, you can get in front of them.
- Tell a story. Narrative messaging tends to be more memorable and persuasive, so when you start new marketing or advertising effort, frame it with a story. You can tell the story of how your brand came to be, maybe tell the story of a customer who enjoyed your product or tell a truly novel story that breaks new creative ground.
- 6. Get local. For most distribution channels, it pays to get local. For example, guiding individual consumers to a local restaurant or helping them find your product on retail store shelves is the perfect way to drive new purchases. Plus, targeting people locally means minimizing the number of competitors you face, thus reducing costs.
- Master the art of timing—the timing of your messages matters. It would be best if you planned campaigns around high-level changes in your industry and your target demographics; taking advantage of seasonal trends and planning your tradeshows and retail meetings proactively can lead you to better results. However, it would be best if you also thought about timing at the lowest level, timing your social media posts and advertisements to maximize reach and engagement.
- Use contests and giveaways for more engagement. An easy way to appeal to consumers is to utilize contests and giveaways across all channels. Social media is perhaps the best platform for spreading the word about your latest contests, but consumers in nearly all demographics will appreciate the opportunity to win free stuff.
- Get your consumers involved. Marketing and advertising are much more effective when consumers are directly involved, regardless of your channels. So try to keep customers engaged by allowing them to participate, encouraging user-generated content, and speaking directly to them with as much personalization as possible.
- Always monitor reviews and feedback. Keep a close eye on your reviews and consumer feedback, especially as you push these new omnichannel campaigns. It functions as an excellent barometer for overall brand sentiment and can give you new ideas for optimizing your products, brand, and marketing.
- Measure, analyze, and adapt. Keep your finger on the pulse; measure and analyze your marketing and advertising campaigns to determine which channels are most effective, which tactics are landing with your audience, and which new directions will benefit your brand the most.
Food marketing across all channels is always challenging – but it’s much easier when you have an experienced partner at your side. Contact NewPoint Marketing today. We’ll put together a plan to accelerate your brand’s sales and marketing efforts!