Let’s face it, in an industry known for penny-profit, making a buck is getting harder and harder. In “younger” segments of commercial food service, like fast casual, unit count expansion is the #1 growth strategy employed by executives. And this works for a while. As segments mature, growth is harder to achieve. The darling fast casual segment recently dropped below its double-digit growth rates for the first time in recent history.
There’s an old adage that marketers use, “I know half of my marketing budget doesn’t work, I just don’t know which half.” That was once true. Clients had to rely on agency account directors or creative directors to translate results. Not necessarily the case anymore. In this age of analytics and big data, there are dozens of measurements to tell us what work works and what work doesn’t. But even as sophisticated as our ability to gather metrics has become, there is still no secret formula, no app or algorithm for generating ideas.
A lot of times when you meet someone new, they ask “So, what do you do?” Over the years, I’ve answered with “Food marketing,” or maybe, “I help companies sell the food that restaurants sell to you.” But when I meet someone in the food industry, someone who understands the complexities of channel marketing, someone who might be reading an article on our company website right now, I tell them about Shared Spaces.
Meredith’s food-focused marketing acumen is the result of years in account service and planning roles at foodservice, promotion and shopper marketing agencies, as well as an early career in brand management at Moët & Chandon and Terlato Wines. Her career bas been focused on building food & beverage brands from Boursin to Campbell’s Soup to Coca-Cola. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son, where she abides by Julia Child’s words, “If you are afraid of butter, use cream.”