Marketing. Everyone has certainly heard the term before, and most probably have a good idea of what it is. But when it comes to fully understanding how marketing can help a food manufacturer in a business-to-business (B2B) environment, the term can become a bit more ambiguous.
Marketing is about promoting your brand and communicating your story to your target audiences. In a more descriptive sense, marketing is like waving your hands in the air and yelling at the top of your lungs in an effort to get people to look your way. Done incorrectly, it can be quite fatiguing, without appreciable results. A successful marketing campaign will attract attention to your message or brand, and make significant contributions to meeting your business goals and objectives.
So why is marketing important? Let me ask you this — as a manufacturer, vendor or supplier in the food industry, how much marketing do you need to succeed? Is marketing an area that requires an investment in a full time staff, or can someone do it as an extra duty? Here are a few things to consider before you answer:
- How aggressive are your competitors in their marketing efforts?
- How does your audience see or feel about your brand?
- How well do you really know your audience?
- What are your brand’s strengths and weaknesses?
- How often are you engaging the trade press?
- How are you communicating with your audiences?
- Are you giving your sales force the right tools to do advance the sales cycle to do their job?
Answering these questions will help. For example, the company that’s a captive supplier to one or two customers is at risk when they see a downturn, seek other suppliers or are sold. A marketing program will allow a company to identify new audiences and markets for its existing products and seek new opportunities to innovate. Effective marketing is a conversation; good marketers learn more about their business by talking to both existing customers and potential new customers.
The sky is the limit when it comes to marketing. Whether a company does a little or a lot — the key is to have a plan and to execute it well. Generally speaking, the company that follows a sound marketing plan based on achievable goals, objectives, strategies, research and proper tactics will fare better in the long run… and your arms won’t even get tired.
Steve Staedler is a senior account executive at LePoidevin Marketing (www.lepoidevinmarketing.com), a public relations and marketing firm based in Brookfield, Wis. He can be reached at 262-754-9550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.