Today, there are more ways of connecting with operators than ever. So why is making that connection become increasingly difficult? It’s worth taking a look at what our advanced technological landscape has affected the buyer journey. While we know nurturing relationships is one of the most essential parts of a manufacturer’s job, you can’t nurture a relationship you haven’t had a chance to start. Take a look at some of the massive roadblocks in the buyer journey and some changes you can make to give yourself a better chance at connection.

1. Attention spans are shrinking.

Foodservice operators are not unique in this respect. Today, the average attention span in the U.S. has dropped to eight seconds (sub-goldfish level). We are seeing the effects of this across social media platforms, and it is influencing media buys: 

Video Length Sweet Spots 

  • Instagram 27 sec1
  • Twitter 45 sec1
  • Facebook 60 sec1
  • YouTube 2 mins1

This requires a simple adjustment in theory, a bit trickier in practice: say less. By condensing messaging in the awareness and consideration legs of the journey, you have a better chance of reaching…you stopped reading this didn’t you?

2. Shopping and buying are online activities.

This is becoming increasingly the norm:

  • 68% of B2B buyers purchase goods online2
  • 44% research products on a smartphone or tablet3
  • Only 12% of buyers want to meet in person with a sales rep4

Because of their experiences as retail consumers, operators increasingly expect these experiences to be smooth and simple. You can look at this as a roadblock, or as an opportunity. In an ideal world you connect or convert your website to a seamless ecommerce model, but we know this is no easy task. Fortunately, this is not an all-or-nothing proposition. The more steps you can take to meet an operator where they are—to develop a cohesive 360 approach—the more you can set your business apart.

Watch food industry pros talk about 
evolving with the buying journey.

3. Buyers are actively avoiding sellers.

Not in every way, but in many ways most consumers don't download manufacturer apps.Ad blocker downloads are steadily increasing year after year. You can point to dystopian cultural representations (Big Brother is a great-great granduncle at this point) or real and well-publicized mishandling of data, but distrust of unknown parties is growing—especially online.

The good news: 70% of operators want to hear from manufacturers more often.6 To bridge the gap between distrust and a real desire for connection, you have to identify something your audience needs and give it to them. For free. It’s hard, but offering something of value in exchange for info is one of the best ways in.

4. Privacy is becoming policy.

We’re already starting to see the effects of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from Europe, and the California Privacy Protection Act (CCPA) here is on track to formalize those changes in the states. Both pieces of legislation give users more control over how their data can be used. Beyond policy, Apple is developing products with user information protection as a key selling point.

These are good things. When consumers feel more comfortable, they’ll be more willing to try something new. Namely, your products.

The rapidly evolving technological landscape has not only changed the way we consume information, it has fundamentally changed us as consumers and influenced how we do business. The more you can cater to operator buyers who have little time and little patience for convoluted buying experiences, the better off you’ll be.


Buying has changed. Buckle up.



  • 1HubSpot, April 2018.
  • 2eMarketer
  • 3Accenture
  • 4CRC
  • 5ComScore MobiLens June 2017.
  • 6Marlin Network Operator Vantage Study, 2018.