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8 Facts About Food Marketers

In today’s fast-moving environment, having a great tasting product is simply not enough. For products to become successful, they need to be promoted and properly marketed. One of the most powerful indicators of whether a product will be purchased or not is the package design, a component in marketing. It creates an identity and helps consumers associate strongly with a brand. Who is responsible for designing packaging and marketing products to the masses?

Food marketers! These professionals are integral to the success of a food product.

1. Food marketers develop marketing plans for food products

Food marketers are responsible for the marketing of food products and ensuring that the product succeeds. They oversee developing, managing and implementing marketing activities and strategies for food products. Marketers develop activities by analyzing data on consumers and what groceries they purchase. Finding out how well a product sells helps determine if a marketing strategy is working.

Additionally, they develop promotional activities which might include in-store demos, online ad campaigns and giving out free samples. These activities provide information which can be used to recommend yearly improvement and strategic plans.

Food marketers also play a role in the design of a product. They lead product design, packaging, labelling, distribution and other tasks. Finally, marketers perform analysis on the marketplace, allowing them to identify potential marketing opportunities.

2. Food marketers play a large role in R&D

R&D technicians aren’t the only ones responsible for developing a food product. Marketers play a large role in development because they have more insight into the industry through the tasks in their daily job. Many times, it is the marketing team who comes up with a product concept and asks the R&D team to develop it.

For example, through research, a marketer might notice that ethnic foods are trending on the internet. To follow this trend, they request R&D to develop a new product which incorporates ethnic flavours.

Want to learn more about what it is like being in food marketing? Check our podcast with Sarah Condruk – Marketing Coordinator at Give and Go Prepared Foods

3. Food marketers work with outside companies

Most companies in the food industry are small with limited budgets. Smaller companies reduce the chance of employing workers with specialized job skills. To compensate for this, many food businesses request help from outside organizations. For example, a pasta sauce company may hire filmmakers to develop a commercial.

Alternatively, data might need to be collected for a new product launch. Building on the previous example, might be that the pasta sauce company needs to find out how much the public likes their product.   Brands need to gather knowledge to ascertain if their product is viable for the market. They could employ an outside market research company to provide samples of the product to a test group and collect information based on their opinions. This lets them know if their product is a home run or more work is needed.

4. Food marketers have varying levels of education

Traditionally, Food marketers obtain bachelor’s degrees in business or marketing management. These programs do not directly teach students how to market food. Instead, they explain general marketing techniques which can be applied to food. Courses include topics related to accounting, mathematics, marketing research and market planning.

Alternatively, there are many marketers who have college diplomas in marketing, business and advertising. These diplomas are typically two years in length and are great for individuals looking for more hands-on, experience-based learning.

Senior-level marketers in multi-level corporations generally continue their education to obtain a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). This degree provides advanced skills for careers in business and management by developing a broad understanding of business organizations. However, these programs often require the candidate to have work experience prior to entering.

It is possible to become a food marketer without a degree explicitly in business or marketing. For example, a small food company may put a food marketer in charge of managing their social media channels despite having a degree in food science. Technology’s role in marketing changes frequently, so it is hard to keep up with trained individuals in a role.

5. Food marketers work heavily with internal teams

Marketing is just one department of many within a food business. Food businesses have many departments which include quality, operations, purchasing and accounting. To be a successful organization, these departments must work together towards a shared goal. That is why it is essential that marketers work with other departments.

It is common in the food industry for purchasing, development (R&D) and marketing departments to work together when developing new products. For example, the marketing department might discover that locally sourced fruits are trending. The marketing department works with R&D to develop a product that uses locally sourced fruit. At the same time, they work with the purchasing department to source fruits that meet this marketing trend.

6. Food marketers must be comfortable with changes in technology

A marketer could tell you that in the past 20 years things have changed a lot with the advent of the internet. 20 years ago the internet was barely used and today it has become a standard in society. Where businesses used to rely on yellow pages and television advertising, now use online advertising such as social media.

Food marketers need to be comfortable knowing that today’s relevant marketing channels may not be relevant next year. Marketers always update their skills and keeping up with industry trends by reading social feeds, subscribing to trade journals, engaging in forums (e.g. Reddit) and listening to podcasts. To adapt to the ever-changing nature of technology, it is essential that marketers understand what is current and what is not.

7. Food marketers must have foresight

Senior marketers are usually tasked with creating extensive business plans which go years into future. These plans might include overhauling food packaging designs, establishing new marketing channels and the creation of new leads. A marketer that plans incorrectly costs the company lots of time and money. Having a good sense of foresight combined with market data leads a company to success.

8. Food marketers communicate, think analytically and think creatively

As with any occupation, there are certain sets of skills which will aid you better than others. For a food marketer, these skills include:

  • Communication – Marketers consistently speak with other departments through team meetings and email. However, their communication is not just limited to the office. Other examples include talking with supermarkets to negotiate product placements and consulting with other research firms. Communication is an essential skill for marketers because it’s a marketer’s job to communicate the value of their product to customers.
  • Analytical Thinking – In today’s market, data is king and those that understand how to use it dominate the market. Marketers must be capable of interpreting both written and visual data so they can incorporate it into their marketing plans.
  • Creativity – Marketers are responsible for producing effective and imaginative ad campaigns which encourage consumers to purchase their products. To stand out from the crowd, marketers must be creative in how they market their products.

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