Why do operators buy what they buy? This question is the reason we created Marlin Network Operator Vantage—a proprietary online research panel of foodservice professionals across all major commercial and non-commercial segments that delivers operator insights close to the point of commerce. It allows manufacturers to get actionable information about operator preferences around topics that matter to their business.
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“Foodservice has changed dramatically over the last decade”. It seems like an obvious statement, but to put the shifts into perspective, let’s go back to 2009 and see how many menus call out “farm-to-table” ingredients. Or ask an operator how many e-newsletters they get on a weekly basis. Try to order cases of product directly online or anyone what a “meal kit” is. Today, we’re in a new digital era of away-from-home food, driven by wellness, convenience and personalization.
The eternal question for foodservice manufacturers stands: how do I meaningfully reach the operator? Well-worn answers like print ads and DSR visits—though still relevant—are no longer the obvious answers.
Almost all foodservice manufacturers have some kind of web presence. But how do you know if yours truly meets the needs of operators? To find out what they’re looking for, our team at the Marlin Network has interviewed a diverse panel of operators and taken a look at what’s happening in the larger digital universe to compile some must-have features.
Keeping the menu fresh is one of an operator’s most important roles. And providing recipe inspiration is one of yours as a partner. By demonstrating your product’s versatility, your recipes can show time-starved operators how one ingredient can work in multiple items across the menu—benefitting operators and you—with increased sales.
Outside of our industry, it’s easy to overlook the complexity of the work we do. From finding the right segment for a new product, to understanding the appropriate medium for a brand refresh, there’s a strange array of factors to consider in the foodservice marketplace. Lucky for our clients, we’re experts in the category. Our experience has equipped us to solve any challenge and if something new comes to the forefront, we do our best work to find an optimal solution. For planners, that means improving how we measure success.
Most of the communication planning requests we get are tied to promotion of a particular brand or product, which makes sense – that’s where the sales happen. This approach, however, tends to isolate each brand plan, not allowing the company to take advantage of bigger, more integrated opportunities. For clients whose foodservice business supports a family of brands, we recommend establishing marketing initiatives at both the Division and Brand level.
You’ve heard it before … Content is King. You understand that companies are increasingly expected to publish valuable content to establish a relationship with end consumers. You can probably recollect a recent piece of content or social media post from a consumer brand you that caught your attention. Unfortunately, many B2B companies are unwilling to make the investment in content marketing, or are unsure where to begin. Here’s why investing in content marketing is important for B2B companies.