What if sales leads could find you? In the extremely competitive fresh produce business success and failure can literally swing on pennies. Produce marketers constantly seek the competitive edge to sell & ship even one more case, a comprehensive retail program, or cover a buyer’s annual requirement. Brochures, phoning, tradeshows, advertisements, or retail support programs dominate efforts to earn business. Efforts rely on expensive travel, onsite visits, unending phoning, and old relationships (subject to change).
Recently, I sensed a challenge with traditional fresh produce industry marketing techniques. In almost every industry, a seismic change in marketing and selling has evolved with increased internet accessibility. New marketing methods now challenge the status quo. In this article, I will explain the distinct difference between traditional and new inbound marketing methods. This trend has hit the fresh industry and may already impact your business without your knowledge. Perhaps you’ve scratched your head to slipping sales unaware of what has changed. These 3 reasons explain why inbound marketing strategy is essential to remain ahead of your competition.
REASON # 1: “SPRAY AND PRAY” TRADITIONAL MARKETING IS NOT AS EFFECTIVE
Over the past 30 years seminars, colleges, professional associations, and trade shows have trained marketing and sales teams with trendy “ROI optimizing” selling & phoning techniques. Clever print, fax, and email methods were used to find & close new business. The goal of the traditional approach is to disrupt prospective buyers’ with attention grabbing trade publication ads, catchy in-store displays, and signage. Unexpected phone calls pitch transactional commodity offers, robust retail programs, or in-person meeting requests. Major advertisements, travel, sales teams, and “praying buyers will respond” to disrupted daily routines is commonplace. These approaches have become less effective in the past 5 years as technology now empowers buyers to avoid disruptions. Consider these facts: spam filters block unsolicited email and voicemails limit contact.
Pop Out Quote for Article
“Audiences everywhere are tough. They don’t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.”
Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer, J. Walter Thompson (World’s 4th Largest Ad Agency)
Reason # 2 Your prospective buyers can learn about you before you ever make contact.
Internet accessibility, tablets, and smart phones have changed marketing forever. Buyers are not waiting for your call. Buyers search for niche produce, local growers, or distribution solutions online. Personal contact is unnecessary to initiate opportunities, but only if you are positioned for in-bound marketing. Educated buyers & consumers search Google, Bing, and even Facebook to learn about produce offerings. Suppose a traveling buyer observes your shipper, QR code, packaging or collateral in a competitor. You better believe they may visit your site. Consider the produce director calling his buyers to consolidate vendors and asks for potential new ideas & solutions. Past successes aside, groups now solve problems with the internet. Without adapting your sales will loose ground to the most dynamic produce inbound marketers.
Reason # 3 INBOUND MARKETING WORKS AND IS A GAME CHANGER
Inbound marketing is the buzz. Inbound marketing creates timely, valuable, and meaningful content to answer prospective consumer’s questions and meets their needs when they are ready. Inbound marketing attracts prospective consumers without disruption. Attracted useful information meets buyers at their current point in the buying process as they search online. Inbound marketing utilizes advice, tips, video, audio, pictures, and writing that meets your buyers & end consumers current needs. What would this look like in the fresh produce business?
Perhaps a regional chain has a new organic initiative, and buyers want to brush up on the in-store implications. When a produce director searches for terms such as for “Produce, Operations, Guide” we would expect this free downloadable guide from Albert’s Organics to appear in the organic search results (a non paid search). The best examples call viewers to enter contact information in forms in exchange for a content download link. This process takes seconds but engages suspects with your brand in exchange for highly helpful content. The grower shipper, distributor, or farm may gain a trusted admirer and later a prospective customer when nurtured with periodic emails and high-value content. Hypothetically, as visitors move down the buying funnel the content becomes more dynamic, relevant, and specific such as signup request for a complimentary webinar for their organization on “How to Grow your Berry Category Sales!”. This buyer centric process guides one down a path resulting in brand loyalty.
As you consider your website, social media and content development efforts as a fresh produce shipper, distributor, service provider, or even retailer I encourage you to explore inbound marketing in more depth.
You are invited to an upcoming event for food entrepreneurs. Jonathan Raduns will speak on the topic of food merchandising on many basic principles and strategies to implement in your food business.
November 19th 2013
Rutgers Food Innovation Center
"Food Merchandising 101" Workshop
11:15 – 12 pm
Register at http://foodinnovation.rutgers.edu/
Food Merchandising Blog: Ideas & Tips to Help you Grow Your Food Market