Category Archives: Food

Get more bang from your marketing bucks!

One of the underlying themes of the Food For Thought workshop was targeting efforts to make sure they provide good value for money.

In small businesses it often feels that life would be easier if only we had the budget/ resources/ personnel available to large competitors. However every business, large or small, has more opportunities than they have cash to invest in; there’s always competition for extra funding.

So it’s vital that marketing spend is targeted and planned to ensure that it delivers the best return.

At the workshop Hayley Reynolds of Devon based firm RAW Food & Drink PR & Marketing shared her advice for using PR to successfully promote food and drink businesses.

Hayley works with a huge array of iconic brands in this sector, and she used case studies from some of her recent clients to illustrate what has worked to get her clients the coverage they are looking for.

1. Know your target audience
Who is your ideal customer? Understand what they like about your product and where they shop, what they read, and potentially what other brands they are interested in.

This information allows you to select the right publications to reach those key customers and saves expensive mistakes from putting the right marketing in the wrong place.

2. Know your objective
Next, what response do you want from your marketing campaign? Again this helps to target your efforts in the right direction.

The example that Hayley gave was when a product is only available in a handful of west country outlets. A glorious review in The Sunday Times food supplement will not necessarily deliver the sales uplift that you might expect as the majority of readers will be unable to buy your product.

In this case local coverage, or a focus on trade press to attract additional stockists is a more effective use of your marketing budget.

3. Know the opportunity
Hayley showed us some of the success she’s had by carefully targeting the right publications with the right stories.

Carefully crafting a story that appeals to a magazine editor and will entertain their readership potentially allows them to find ways to promote your product without requiring fully paid advertising space.

The result of this is that your cost is lower and the marketing is likely to be more effective because the writer’s enthusiasm for the product will come across to the reader.

The key factor here is to understand who the readers of each publication are and how this compares to your target customer’s profile.

Taking time to work out where to put your marketing ultimately means you can make your marketing spend work harder for you.

Where there’s magic there’s margin

At the Food For Thought workshop in February one of the high points was the presentation by Charles Baughan, MD of Westaway Sausages. He gave an energising and inspirational talk which left everyone in the room wanting to hear more.

He began by sharing some of his own survival tips for small business:

As Westaway’s has grown the customer base has become more diverse; now they sell to retail, wholesale, and food service customers both in the UK and abroad. Charles talked us through a comparison of the different channels and markets and discussed the reasons for pursuing this strategy.

It was evident from this that the broad range of customers offered a chance to spread risk and also smooth any short term fluctuations in sales volumes.

However the advice was quite clear: “Sometimes it is better to spend time and effort choosing your customers instead of reacting to every opportunity”, something that supported the business planning discussion from earlier in the day.

Questions that would help work out whether an opportunity was the right one for your business included:

Can they pay their bills?
Do you like them?
Are they high maintenance?
Is their business strategically right for you? (Not just about profit!)
Is the market expanding?
Why are you the best choice for them? Are you cheaper? Better? Faster?

From my point of view this final question is fundamental; success is not just about why “they” are the right customer for you but also why you’re the right supplier for them. That’s where the magic comes in – if you can supply something that fits the customers needs better than the competitors you can make the margin.

The message to take away was clear: make a plan, aspire to great things and then get out there and succeed.

You can find more details of what was discussed at the workshop here