An Important Marketing Opportunity For All Businesses in Wales Involved In ANY Way With Food!
Know, Like and Trust! This is the golden threesome which any business needs to create in order for people to want to become, and remain, their customer.
And at the moment, with “Horsemeat-Gate” dominating our UK news, trust has become a rather tarnished quality in the food retail sector, with virtually every major food retailer reporting back that they are finding horse-meat in a number of their processed beef products. Even though horse meat is perfectly safe to eat, and is enjoyed as an everyday food in many countries, if it isn’t labelled and sold as being in a product, then it is WRONG. No ifs or buts, or “low levels of Bute are fine to humans” justifications. It’s just wrong, period.
Given that my husband runs a beef and dairy farm, and that I used to be an auditor for meat and produce suppliers to Sainsbury’s supermarkets, this has been an astounding time for me – watching this debacle unfold, from both sides of the fence. It also raises massive questions yet again about the true cost of ‘cheap food’.
But as they say ~ every cloud has a silver lining, and as a Digital Marketing Agency I like to look for how businesses can turn this to their advantage. So what are the opportunities this presents for YOU?
Well, if you have a local business which is in ANY way involved with food this is a HUGE opportunity.
Who does this apply to :
- Pubs, Cafes, Restaurants
- Hotels, B&Bs, Holiday Homes
- Activity Centres, Fun Parks
ANYONE who grows, makes, sells, or even just recommends…for public consumption :
Meats and meat products, Cheeses, Ice Creams and other dairy products, Fish and Shellfish, Fruit Vegetables and Salads, Cakes Breads and Baked Goods, Jams Chutneys and Honey, Sauces and Condiments, Confectionery, Soft drinks, Beers and Ciders….and the list goes on.
To look just at the Welsh economy – this would embrace virtually every business which is involved with the tourism sector – which is estimated to be worth in excess of £4 billion per year.
THIS is your golden opportunity to show off the benefits of LOCAL food.
Not food components which have been sourced from multiple countries across the world, then ‘packed in the UK’
I’m talking about food which has its key ingredients grown and sourced LOCALLY.
I’m talking about food supply chains which have transparency at their heart – where you can SHOW the customer who your suppliers are, and where your food ingredients come from.
So if you are one of these businesses, how can you quickly use this to your advantage in your marketing?
Firstly decide which topics you want to focus on. Here are 4 ideas to get you started, and ideally you should include all of these, if applicable to your business :
- Your suppliers e.g which farmer and/or butcher you source your meat from
- Individual raw ingredients e.g which honey creates which flavour, or why you use a certain type of seed in your bread
- Your recipes e.g how ingredients might vary during the year depending on seasonality and local availability
- Production methods e.g how the local sea fish you cook are caught
Then you want to use different marketing channels – both ONLINE and OFFLINE to get the word out. For example you could use :
1. Facebook Marketing
Many of your customers will be connected with your business through facebook, so use the viral nature of facebook to get positive PR. For example you could run a ‘Supplier of the month’ feature on your facebook page, with interesting facts about their business, and why you use them. Remember you can keep this fresh and current because many ingredients and foods go through different cycles throughout the calendar year, so each supplier can be featured in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter for added interest. Also be sure to encourage your fans to like and share these posts.
2. Video Marketing
Use the popularity of video to take people behind the scenes of your business. For example you can show that your suppliers, or you (if you are a primary producer) are real people in the local community. You could do a short interview feature, or create a video montage about suppliers, products, and ingredients on your YouTube channel. Remember that you can post your video out onto your facebook page, as well as embed it as a blogposts in your website, which will help in terms of search engine optimisation, as well as building trust with your customers.
3. Website Marketing
Create a well optimised information on your website which is all about your food suppliers – who they are, where they’re based, their back-story, plus how you get assurance of their production methods etc
4. Referral and Reputation Marketing
Now is the time to ask your loyal existing customers to give your business glowing reviews about your foods, AND recommend you to their friends. There will be many people who might not have been that bothered about local foods and traceability before this scandal was reported…but now they might be much more interested in switching their spending to businesses which CAN demonstrate they are using local trustworthy ingredients. These people are all potential new customers for your business, so ask your existing customers to help you get the word out!
In reality you can use the same information in many different online settings – your website, video, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, Twitter etc. Also be sure to include it in your OFFLINE marketing as well - your brochures, your menus, your table tent cards etc etc. The key is to get the word OUT there in different formats so that more of your customers can quickly feel confident about eating your food.
This is particularly important if you are a business which has tourists as a large percentage of your customers. If they are only staying in your area for a week or two, you’ve got to be able to quickly grab their attention and show them that wherever possible you source locally, from reliable trustworthy sources.
Use these marketing tactics to showcase your suppliers, show off your recipes, and pull back the curtain on what happens behind the scenes to produce the final foodstuffs which you’re selling or recommending to your customers. People love to see behind the scenes – we’re all curious by nature – and this is a great way to position your business as being transparent and more importantly trustworthy!
There are many fantastic businesses in Wales which are already doing this well. Far too many to list in fact (a good starting point is Wales The True Taste ). However, I know that many other businesses might be DOING this, but they’re not promoting that fact, or using it well in their marketing.
So use this horse-meat fiasco as an opportunity to review what you’re doing to build trust with your customers, where food is concerned. And shout out about all the wonderful LOCAL food growers, artisan producers, farmers, markets, stockists, eating venues, and foodie events we have here in Wales!!
Have you got a locally-based business in Wales which is involved with producing or selling food? Let me know in the comments below what you’re doing, and if this has sparked any ah-ha moments for how you can better get the word out to customers!