Food glorious food. There’s no point in hiding that I love food and the food industry, regular readers know and if you are new to our platform you will pick it up very quickly. I’ve worked in food from many perspectives including as an employee and small business owner and there are a few things that I learnt in the process that are invaluable. Today I’m going to share marketing tips for food industry businesses in Zimbabwe based on experience and observation. Hopefully, I can help a small business or two boosts the effectiveness of their marketing. Wouldn’t mind if the advice helped a big business or two as well.
Supply chains and ingredients matter
One of the big things that I notice when looking at different food advertising from all over the world is how little we think of the importance of our supply chains and our ingredients. The world is on an organic craze and yet we produce a lot of organic food and say nothing about it. I get it, most of the local market doesn’t seem to care about it. However good marketing is built on appealing to specific groups. If your peanut butter is made without added sugar and preservatives let us know. If you use the traditional processing method make it a thing. There are customers out there who care about these things and they will be grateful for it.
Describe in full
This tip applies to all businesses but it really grinds my gear in this day and age of eCommerce that we still have to say this. Describe your products in full and give useful information. What is a rack of ribs? Is it 300 grams? 500 grams? 1kg? This makes the purchase decision very difficult. The most daring of customers will ask you but is this really necessary? Many will not, they will simply walk away and take their money elsewhere. And really when you think about it no amount of information is too much. Given that we are working towards being digital-first in many cases this is even easier because you only have to do it once.
Information and special diets
This will be my last trip to do with the information in food marketing. People have a lot to consider. Now assuming you have taken tip one and informed people about your ingredients to the extent that it is positive for you, you will have to realise that this is not enough. There are many people with dietary and other requirements. There are two ways to look at this. Firstly some people are looking to avoid particular foods and ingredients for health, medical and other reasons. Secondly, some people may be seeking particular ingredients/ nutrients or be adhering to specific diets such as gluten-free, Halaal, banting and so on. In many cases, people don’t know what to do with your food until you show and tell them what to do with it!
Involve the food with people
This tip is a big lesson from of if not the biggest food company in the world; Coca Cola. If you search your mind as far back as you can remember I want you to put all the Coca Cola adverts you can think of, the ones that really made you feel like you like the drink or somewhat happy about it as a product. What do they all have in common? They show the product being involved with people. It’s not just people with bottles of Coke around them. It’s people having fun in the presence of it. It’s people making music, connecting, finding common ground and whatever other positive experience they can display. And they are not just people, they are people like you! Pictures and videos of your food are good. Pictures and videos of people being involved with your food are great.
I’m very careful about food. I love to experiment and try new things out but I do not enjoy doing so if it is going to cost me a lot. This especially hurts when the adventure does not turn out to be enjoyable. Whether you are selling ready-made food or packaged food you may find it useful to allow prospects to sample your food. And before form an angry mob in the comments section I am not advocating for free samples. Feel free to make them pay just consider where applicable offering the same product in smaller sizes or measures. This will allow those who want to sample the product to do so with low investment and discover the brilliance of your product. It is commonplace for smaller packages to cost more per unit so don’t be afraid to charge more per unit for these samples sizes. This way if the sample reflects positively on the customer they will be encouraged to buy the full-size package and discouraged from continuing with the sample size.
And those are your solid marketing tips for food industry businesses in Zimbabwe. Do you have any others that you feel food industry businesses in Zimbabwe could benefit from?