Sunday, February 11, 2007

What IS Foodservice Marketing Anyway?

If you haven't discovered Franklin Foodservice Solutions, Dave DeWalt is an expert at maximizing the manufacturer/distributor value exchange and his writings are incisive.

In his January newsletter, he asks the question "What IS Foodservice Marketing, Anyway?" and prompts a debate of the two tradtional approaches:

"There are Foodservice Marketing people at large, national branded, retail-driven companies who go about their business very much like their Retail counterparts. They think big thoughts about the big picture, focusing on building their brands. They spend a lot more time with operator research and even consumer research, looking for that magic that will pull their products through distributors. They steadfastly refuse to get sucked into the day-to-day haggling and dealmaking that keeps a lot of our distributor business working at the transactional level.

And there are Foodservice Marketing people, often at smaller, foodservice focused companies, who know how the foodservice game is played. They behave as if their brand has little power, focusing on countless pricing and promotion spending schemes to seize whatever volume becomes available that day. These Foodservice Marketing people function, for better or worse, in the realm of Sales Support, which some would argue is not Marketing at all."

At Foodservice Rewards, we'd argue that both approaches miss the point. The most important function of foodservice marketing, in our view, is to help management to think of their company not as a group of products or services or functions or territories, but rather as a portfolio of customers. This requires a fresh mindset that:

1) Recognizes that customers are the only source of profits

2) Understands that each customer's profitability or unprofitability - and the reasons for it - are critically important to creating winning value propositions

3) Realizes that obtaining and analyzing this information (which used to be overwhelmingly difficult) is now practical

4) Champions a marketing and sales approach that organizes around customers and customer segments

Today powerful computing systems can track customer purchase behavior segment by segment (even operator by operator) fairly straightforwardly. E-mail and print-on-demand are bringing personalized communications to the foodservice industry. The result is tremendous pull through, especially when paired with a local distributor's brand (see Ginsberg's or E.G. Forrest examples).

We believe the coming revolution in foodservice marketing will occur as technology empowers manufacturers to transform into customer centric organizations delivering anticipated, relevant and personal benefits to their most valuable customers/customer segments.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Combo Like Crazy

Banners on the new site are producing thousands of visitors to landing pages - think of them as a virtual sales call when combined with a trial or points offer.

Compare this technique to an in-person sales call (which can easily cost $300) and one begins to glimpse the power of direct marketing in Foodservice.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cross-selling made easier

With the new Product Cross Sell promotion it's even easier to generate incremental sales across your portfolio:

1) Select your target - typically existing buyers of your most popular products

2) Select complementary products eligible for bonus points - such as new products, under-redeemed products, or products that menu well with the selections above

3) Call your Coalition Manager with start and end dates - easy!

Consider turning this type of promotion "always on" as the new sales it will generate are purely incremental.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Now: Scanners for your best customers

Thanks to the new website design and advancements in scanning hardware, we are ready to roll out plug-and-play scanners. This fact sheet details specs, logo requirements, pricing and ordering instructions.

This scanner model incorporates two key innovations:

1) A USB connection preprogrammed to work with the multi-code entry page at Previous models requiring an additional software download + installation failed user testing.

2) We are programming the website to track scanned codes vs. keyed codes, allowing us to evaluate usage patterns for future program enhancements.

N.B: While this scanner can be used back-of-house detached from its tether, we are not yet promoting that fact nor have we enabled bulk deposits beyond the 10 found on the multi-code entry page.


Corporate Blogging, for better or worse

Companies that employ well thought out blogging strategies encourage community goodwill, marketing and sales gains according to this white paper.

However, the ease of publishing and promoting blogs also creates pitfalls - as evidenced by Inspect SYSCO, recently launched by the Service Employees International Union.