Food companies and their online marketing frenzy

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Our guest author lists the different stages of the funnel, where digital marketing is an effective tool for food brands – even those that are offline.

The whole world is virtually present now. Whether you are an individual or a brand, the digital world (‘di’rld’) is vast and full of opportunities.

Let’s focus on how food companies can tap into the ‘di’rld’ and his wide range of perspectives. To cite an example, 10 years ago no one thought about how you could order food from the comfort of your home, with features like live tracking, restaurant customization instructions, visualization promotional offers on a list of restaurants, etc.

This is how far the digital world has come. So whether it’s food service or the processed food industry, you need to be where the audience is.

We frequently hear from marketers debating the effectiveness of online marketing, especially in the case of the food industry. Here are some points that one may want to explore in order to better interact with customers and prospects through online marketing.

Has the traditional way of presenting your restaurant’s take-out menus always worked in your favour? Or, is your new organic ‘pooh local notice boardKirana’ store attracts many eyeballs? How can you measure their performance as your marketing initiatives, even if they did?

Instead, let’s say you posted your menu on foodservice aggregators (FSAs) and updated it frequently on those channels. In this case, it can save you a lot of paper costs and be available for distant foodies to explore and visit you.

Additionally, if you placed the ad for your ‘pooh on Facebook/Instagram, you can select the right audience and measure it through detailed campaign performance records.

Offer more with online marketing

Since digital marketing costs are minimal, you can run a range of offers online to catch the eye. List your freebies/discounts on new launches with limited edition collectible alerts and much more at nominal costs, which is not necessarily the case with traditional offline marketing tools.

How many limited time offer pamphlets on your pizzas are you willing to give away when walk-ins are outnumbering your business through ASPs?

Increases brand awareness of your food product

Say you want to cite your story about how you source your ingredients responsibly; production is foolproof with state-of-the-art production technology, followed by tamper-evident packaging. In the new world, we know it’s the experience that customers spend their money on, not buy it to meet their basic needs.

You can use online marketing to increase awareness of your product by presenting information through engaging infographics and relevant text to engage a wider audience, better, and more frequently, in real time.

Increase sales from existing and new customers

Through online marketing, you can continue to tap into new customers, while serving existing customers, with attractive offers and executing them frequently. For example, the holiday season is when existing customers and new customers continue to search for food brand deals. You can leverage both by creating a neutral post that can entice them to buy the product.

Improve brand awareness among consumers

Finally, individual online marketing campaigns improve your brand’s visibility with your customer base. Staying in touch with your customers, seeking their feedback and taking action for improvement gives your brand a more user-friendly appearance that highlights and takes a customer-centric approach.

However, as mentioned earlier, while there are benefits to online marketing, you may need a healthy mix of traditional and tangible approaches. The “feel” factor never goes out of style. Whether it’s pop-up free sample stands or complementing your loyal customer with a new dessert you’ve just introduced to your menu.

These gestures go beyond what online marketing can match today. But the benefits certainly outweigh the traditional marketing drive. So, you might want to go ahead with online marketing for your food business.

(Divya Batra is head of marketing at Haldiram Snacks.)

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