The Juice! Fresh Ideas in Food Marketing - July 2009

This month Savor - The Food Agency turns to an extremely timely topic: Holiday Marketing. Yes, calendar-wise the Holidays are still a few months away. But, marketing and sales-wise you need to act now.

The Secrets To Developing Your Food Company’s

Marketing Plan

By Seth Bender, Partner

For the same reason an architect draws up a blueprint to build a house, you need a marketing plan to show how you’ll build your brand and sales over the next year. Emails, direct mail, catalogs, ads, etc. push sales. Have them written in a plan and you’ll be able to budget accordingly and be more likely to get them out the door.

You’re not too small, too busy or too successful. Everyone needs a marketing plan. Or, at least, everyone who wants to grow their business, build their brand and perform consistent marketing outreach. When developing plans for your clients, or your own company, follow these steps:

1. Information Gathering

Before looking at the future, examine the past. Over the last year (or longer), what has been your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures? Look at this from a marketing, product and operations perspective. Meet with key members of your team and discuss. Analyze your competition and their space in the market. Talk to your customers (retailers, foodservice, end consumer, etc.) through interviews, surveys and focus groups and get their feedback. See if it matches your own. Pull this all together and…

2. Evaluate; Develop Marketing Objectives

Savor Tip: is a great free online tool for searching many sources at once for mentions of your brand on the Internet

What has worked? What hasn’t? Have we been delivering on our brand promise? What opportunities exist in the coming year? From these questions and others like them, you should be able to identify your business objectives (ex: Increase sales 5%) and marketing objectives (ex: Increase traffic to online store by 10%). Sometimes during these evaluations you might also realize that your company lacks a unified vision. If so, take a detour to develop a positioning statement (possibly also a SWOT analysis, vision statement, mission statement, etc.) that the whole team can rally behind and focus in on.

3. Brainstorm Strategies & Tactics

Brainstorm ways to achieve your objectives. For now, pretend there’s no limit to your budget and throw out strategies. Once you’ve developed the strategy, outline the tactics. Keep in mind that there can be several strategies for each objective and several tactics for each strategy.

4. More Evaluating, More Research

Savor Tip: Combine research methods for the most incisive results.

Add budget into the picture. Research the costs to undertake the ideas you’ve brainstormed. Also, predict response rates (either your own past figures or
industry standards). If you’re trying to increase web store traffic by 10%, how many people do you need to mail a postcard to with an offer? What are the costs? Is getting more eyeballs to the site and more awareness worth the expense? Here’s when you need to make those decisions and where you’ll determine the budget for the year.

5. Place it in a Calendar

Be as specific as possible here. More than just stating when an effort will launch (direct mail campaign, email newsletter, etc), determine the date you’ll start working on it and deadlines along the way. Most importantly, STICK TO THESE DATES.

Of course, the ultimate marketing plan secret?

Call Seth Bender at 847.556.7511 or email, and let’s talk about having us work with you to get your 2010 marketing plan done.

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