It’s hard to believe it, but 2018 is already coming to an end — and that means it’s time to start developing your marketing plan for next year. To set your team on the right path, it’s important to outline your objectives as well as the marketing strategies (the ways you’re going to achieve your objectives) and tactics (the communication platforms in which you’ll deliver the message/call to action) you and your team need to succeed in the year ahead.
To do this well, your marketing objectives must align with your overall business objectives. Here are eight tips to help you plan your food ingredient marketing communication initiatives for 2019:
- Start early and stay informed – It’s never too early to start planning for the year ahead. Staying up to date on the latest trends and consumer insights can also help you better position your company for success in 2019.
- Evaluate your competitors – Investing time in understanding where your food ingredient company stands against competitors will give you a positive start to hit the ground running. Consider what your competition is doing and what your team can do differently in order to stand out. Check your competitors’ marketing content, websites and social media channels. Identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, adjusting your efforts as needed.
- Identify your target audience – A key part of having a strong marketing plan is identifying and understanding the needs of your target audience. You’ll want to make sure your communications align with reaching your target audience in a way that’s engaging and also drives action. Knowing where your current and potential customers are and how to reach them effectively (i.e., where they go to seek information) can help drive your business.
- Define the “win” – Set benchmarks and realistic outcomes that will help you meet your marketing objectives. A great example of this is using B2B social media. While it’s great to get retweets and mentions, you want to create content that will help drive traffic to your website. This will create a higher level of engagement and increase potential leads – as long as you’re driving viewers to a page that encourages them to act in a way that’s trackable, such as requesting a sample or contacting your team. If your company is planning an email marketing campaign, establish goals for open and click-through rates. One way to do this is by understanding the industry average and aligning with that. Clearly defining what success looks like can help keep your team focused throughout the year.
- Identify tactics – To effectively spread your brand message, you need to use several communication platforms that complement each other, give your brand visibility and allow for a variety of opportunities to engage with your target audience. Shoot for implementing a mix of paid media, public relations, B2B social media marketing, email marketing, trade show sponsorships and sales tools if your budget allows. Make sure to include campaigns around any initiatives for the year, such as new product launches or trade show events.
- Set your marketing budget and timeline – Developing a reasonable budget and timeline for executing each tactic will help your team set priorities and meet deadlines, as well as make sure you have everything you need to communicate effectively with your target audience.
- Be authentic – Make sure your communications highlight your brand’s personality. Science and technology are the DNA of most food ingredient companies, but the human element (i.e., giving your brand a personality) is what really resonates well with B2B customers.
- Get top-down support – Having support throughout your company — from the executive team to sales reps to R&D — is crucial for implementing a successful marketing plan. With their buy-in, you will be more likely to ensure brand authenticity and create real engagement. Be prepared to welcome feedback in order to identify and address challenges early on, if necessary.
Clearly, there’s a lot of work that goes into developing an effective food ingredient marketing plan. Whether tackling the job in-house or soliciting professional expertise, it’s well worth the effort. By starting early and implementing the right strategies and tactics, you will be more likely to position your food ingredient company for success in the year ahead. For more information on developing an integrated food ingredient marketing plan, please contact us.