Divya Batra
Guest Article

Food companies and their online marketing binge

Our guest author lists the various stages of the funnel, where digital marketing is an effective tool for food brands - even offline ones.

The whole world is present virtually now. Whether you’re an individual or a brand, the digital world (‘di’rld’) is expansive and full of opportunities.

Let’s focus on how food companies can tap into the ‘di’rld’ and its wide range of prospects. To cite an example, 10 years ago, nobody thought about how you could order food from the convenience of your home, with features including live tracking, customisation instructions to the restaurant, seeing promo offers on a list of restaurants, etc.

That's how far the digital world has come. So, be it food service or the processed food industry, you need to be where the audience is.

Frequently, we hear marketers debate the effectiveness of online marketing, especially in the case of the food business. Here are some points that one may want to dive deeper into for engaging better with customers and prospects through online marketing.

Online marketing

Did the traditional way of presenting your restaurant's takeaway menus always work in your favour? Or, did your newly launched organic ‘poha’ billboard at the local ‘kirana’ store attract many eyeballs? How can you measure their performance as your marketing initiatives, even if they did?

Instead, suppose you posted your menu on food service aggregators (FSAs) and frequently updated it on those channels. In that case, it may save you a lot of paper costs and be available for distant foodies to explore and visit you.

Moreover, if you placed the ad of your ‘poha’ on Facebook/Instagram, you may bag the right audience and measure the same through detailed records of the campaign's performance.

Offer more with online marketing

As digital marketing costs are nominal, you can run an array of offers online to attract the eyeballs. List your freebies/discounts on new launches with limited edition collection alerts and much more at nominal costs, which may not necessarily be in the case of traditional offline marketing tools.

How many pamphlets of limited time offers on your pizzas are you willing to offer when the walk-in customers are fewer than your business through FSAs?

Increases your food product's brand awareness

Say, you want to cite your story on how you responsibly source your ingredients; the production is fool-proof with state-of-the-art production technology, followed by tamper-free packaging. In the new world, we know that it is the experience for which customers spend their money, instead of buying it to meet their basic needs.

You can use online marketing to increase your product's brand awareness by presenting the information through an attractive infographic and relevant text to engage a larger audience, better and more frequently, in real time.

Increasing sales from existing and new customers

Through online marketing, you can keep tapping new customers, while also serving existing customers, with attractive offers and running them frequently. For example, festive time is when both existing and new customers keep scrolling for offers from food brands. You can tap into both by creating a neutral post that can attract them to buy the product.

Enhancing brand awareness among consumers

Last, individual online marketing campaigns enhance your brand's visibility amongst your customer base. Keeping in touch with your customers, seeking their reviews and acting on betterment, make your brand appear more friendly, and one that showcases and embraces a customer-first approach.

However, as mentioned previously, while online marketing has benefits, you may require a healthy mix of traditional, tangible approaches. The “touch” factor never goes out of fashion. Be it the free-sample pop-up stalls or complementing your loyal patron with a new dessert that you just introduced to your menu.

These gestures go beyond what online marketing can’t match to date. But the perks certainly outweigh the traditional marketing conduct. So, you may want to go ahead with online marketing for your food business.

(Divya Batra is head of marketing at Haldiram Snacks.)

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