The food and beverage industry is expected to reach a market volume of $105.7 billion globally in the next couple of years. It’s a big business with an extremely competitive market. Smaller players need to be strategic in order to have a fighting chance. We have that roadmap. If you are looking to leverage the power of digital marketing to compete with the bigger brands, then this article is for you.
Before we go on talking about your digital strategy for 2021, let’s make sure you’re in the right place.
We assume that you own a brand that sells a quality product and that you’ve developed branding that represents you well. Your visuals must create personal, even emotional ties with your customers while differentiating you from your competitors. You should also know your audience and what your customers’ wants and needs. Who is buying your product? What are their demographics? What are their pain points?
Those requirements are an absolute priority if we are to guide your digital marketing must-haves and teach you tools of the trade.
Sounds like you’ve got this covered. Very well, let’s dive in.
1. Build a Fantastic Customer Experience Online
Creating an exciting marketing platform online means paying special attention to your website, social channels, and any other own properties. Your digital assets should be consistent and appealing. The food and beverage industry thrives on the human senses. Make users hungry for more (pun intended).
It’s also important to tailor your customer journey and offer a true online experience. One application we find quite interesting is using machine learning to surprise and entertain web users.
Here is an example of putting AI into action:
Our team had the pleasure to work on Hardie’s website redesign. Among other functions, the project asked us to organize and filter a large catalog of seasonal produce. To add a unique element, we created a “draw it yourself” product search. Users were given the ability to draw the fruit or a vegetable they intended to order. “Gamifying” aspects of a web page can create a captivating and unique user experience.
How are you enhancing your customer experience on your social channels? Social media allows you to engage directly with customers, start a meaningful dialogue, and humanize your brand.
2. Leverage Your Data
Are you capturing the right user data? Do you understand what your numbers are suggesting? Marketing in 2021 requires any brand to know what’s working and what’s not. Without data, you are flying blind.
Using qualitative and quantitative information is important to create the right user experiences and customizations by device, geo-location, product content, and purchasing options. Being able to develop highly personalized campaigns makes users feel valued and creates a relationship with the brand. When we work on a project, our team collects research data to study buyer’s motivation to take action and share information on social media. What are their priorities, challenges, and pain points? We consider insights like retail numbers, consumer market information, SEO, and eCommerce analytics. We use retail information such as purchase history at particular geo-locations and supplement with Google Analytics to understand keyword search interest. The result? Keyword planning and content creation that’s right on target. All this data is helpful when thinking about designing a website experience that speaks to a specific audience.
Here is an example from our portfolio. In order to design a stellar website for Weaver Popcorn, we started by building a solid understanding of the brand’s business and market positioning. Over several weeks we visited multiple plants and offices. We studied Pop Weaver’s competition, customers, partners, manufacturing process, business goals, corporate culture, and website pain points. This research helped us develop the site logic, taxonomy, user interactions, and homepage purpose. A well-grounded business strategy, timely calls-to-action, and an intelligent homepage structure are a must to turn your website into a strong business development tool.
We strongly believe that advertising and creative design must be built using data insights as key drivers for content, context, and channels.
There is real value in knowing what’s working and what’s not working, and you need strong analytics to understand the outcomes.
The most important component of a food and beverage marketing campaign is the ability to compile data, analyze the online feedback, and craft the right message in the context of the channels that work best.
3. Be Willing to Experiment
Analyzing your numbers will help you understand which channels work for your business and how to best invest your advertising dollars. The most popular channels for food and beverage companies are typically the ones that revolve around visuals. Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. The emphasis on images and videos, on these particular channels, is the best fit for most food branding strategies.
Conversely, social media networks are changing constantly. There are endless adjustments in data policy and new emerging channels. Be willing to dedicate a minimum of 20% of your marketing budget to testing new channels and marketing concepts (Ex: Tik-Tok, VR).
We put this method to the test in our own portfolio to create a successful campaign for a spirit brand. Alaska Vodka asked us to create a corporate website as unique as the company’s trademark taste and quality. We also implemented a social media campaign following the footsteps of a real Alaskan expedition to the top of Mount McKinley. The expedition was sponsored to reach “the purest ice on earth”. This campaign was developed outside of the brand’s usual scope of advertising. Experimenting beyond their marketing script brought a new audience and big engagement results.
The upshot? Developing an engaging online experience, using your data to leverage your campaigns, and branching out beyond your typical channels are three elements your food and beverage brand should focus on this year. For advice on your digital strategy say firstname.lastname@example.org. Our New Jersey web design team would be excited to connect with you.