TMCnet Feature
August 05, 2020

Digital Marketing in the Food Industry

In this article, we want to look at the trends that will significantly influence marketing within this field.

1. New keywords: Health and sustainability

For a few years now, there has been a change in the keywords involved with food. In simple words, there has been a change in public sentiment. This has generally influenced brand strategy in terms of marketing and production. In general, two trends seem to be very solid and ever-growing.

For starters, there is a new focus on the aspect of environmental sustainability; it’s not a niche awareness anymore, but something that’s increasing its popularity, particularly among the younger members of the society. In this situation, it’s not only about the drink and food itself but also about the overall packaging. Lots of leading companies are members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation - the body is dedicated to eliminating plastic from their products, substituting it with bio-sustainable materials.

Furthermore, Ipso CEO Nicola Neri puts much emphasis on how companies are putting attention on the packaging, citing the enhanced awareness of consumers with regards to waste and pollution and how it is influencing the measures that companies must make.

What’s more, Health is another crucial keyword that you can’t afford to forget. There is an enhanced focus on the effect of food on our lives, wherein various topics such as fitness, slow food, food intolerances, and organic are also getting much attention. Examples still surround us. Take a look at Proper Popcorn. For a second, just think of how some brands are changing their identities, changing national regulations, trends on social media, and TV commercials themselves, spontaneously, or by the decisive push of micro-influencers and influencers.

2. Social networks are at the center

If you don’t know what “the king of social” is, it is food. To comprehend the extent of this fact, you need to check out some data. While still referring to Instagram research, one of the most intriguing topics for users of social networks is Food & Beverage. And the dimensions of this social universe are huge.

There are 3.48 billion active users on social networks worldwide, in 2019, which is an increase of 9% yearly. In fact, 3.26 billion users access social networks from their mobile devices at a 10% annual increase. Bearing this in mind, we may understand the significance of strategies being mobile-first.

Lastly, what’s the social network with the most effective growth? Instagram! It is an ecosystem-based on videos and images, the form of media that’s significantly more impressive for storytelling when it comes to the Food Industry. For storytelling on social media, User Generated Content, or UGC, it is the “holy grail,” which is “spontaneously” created by users. Generally speaking, this is precisely what encourages the most confidence in the public - they’re regarded as more authentic and sincere.

Based on research by Harvard Business Review, around 70% of users like “authentic” content (and also “informative”) to traditional marketing from brands. It’s in this situation that the significance of the so-called “influencers” comes in. Generally, the new trend involves moving more towards micro-influencers to intercept better their clearly identified and, still, “authentic” audiences.

3. SEO is vital

Search Engine Optimization, or simply SEO, is the set of practices and strategies used to optimize the positioning of a website’s organic results on various search engines. Generally, understanding SEO will be of much more significance in digital marketing when it comes to this very competitive sector, where ranking among the top Google’s (News - Alert) SERPs really matters.

For certain services and products, not appearing on Google implies almost not existing for customers. In the food sector, this is relevant for producers as well as restaurants and retail outlets. According to Finances Online, it is no coincidence that the best marketing strategy is taking care of SEO because as much as 56% of the Food Industry sites’ traffic comes from organic search.

4. Personalization and targeting

Earlier, we had started to address the centrality and significance that digital entrust to people. For brands, both small and large, it is imperative to be able to comprehend the individuals that make up their target audience: this includes who they are, their behaviors, where they live, their desires (including potential ones), and their preferences. All of this is possible with digital; this includes large audiences. But how? All thanks to data analysis, and, therefore, the dynamics of data-driven advertising.

Think about the “sentiment” analysis, which enables producers to recognize trends even before they become popular, with the huge potential for competitive advantage. Perhaps, think about the power of consumers to recommend restaurants depending on preferences, geolocation data, and previous research expressed on the most diverse channels. In addition, think about loyalty opportunities and enhance the rate of loyalty (which ultimately, of course, also improves the image and “reputation” of a brand, a delivery service, a chain of restaurants, or even a single restaurant).

In simple terms, a functional and correct analysis of Big Data results in a better understanding of your target audience, the potential audience, and the real one to influence and predict their possible behaviors. Therefore, the first step is to divide the target audience into portions, into very specific segments with consistent and aligned characteristics. However, that is not all. Personalization is the frontier, going as far as the single individual to a really tailored, interactive, and one-to-one dialog. This is exactly what companies such as MWD, which deal with personalized internet marketing, deal with.

5. Not so distant future: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Voice Technology

Looking ahead, we can see three major trends for the future. For starters, all-vocal technologies like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. For instance, McDonald’s recently declared that it had acquired a start-up dealing with voice technology for specific drive-through orders.

Virtual Reality is the second element, while Augmented Reality is the third. The application of the two technologies will be huge in all sectors: think of the unmatched possibilities of storytelling, beginning with the packaging itself (when we are talking about beverages and food), of Customer Service for restaurants and stores, and, in turn, of broadening the consumer experience itself.

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