Is marketing a cost or an investment?
While relatively similar on a balance sheet, the frame of mind and the ripple effects of each are completely different. The perspective you adopt will change the way that marketing can flex, penetrate, and engage within the retail, foodservice, and consumer spaces.
Marketing is strategy, it’s messaging, and it is vision, polished and crystallized into a sharpened spear. Marketing is the path and the way forward. It finds the point of connection in a nebulous relationship between business and consumer, and it harnesses such a sensitive conduit to make the intangible tangible. Marketers are that tip of the spear, honing an edge and fine-tuning a company’s abilities and level of execution.
One of the ways marketers build that bridge of connection, piercing the distance between the seed and the shopper, is through the value on the plate—supported by recipe development, high-quality presentation, and education. What better way to celebrate their efforts than with our 72nd edition of The Snack, the What the Fork (WTF) issue?
Within this meal creation space occupied by marketers, we see a relentless desire to solidify that connection with the consumer. Many of the greatest marketers we know have a keen sense of what today’s produce-passionate want. Backed by research, data, testimony, and experience, they create a bridge between the supplier, retailer, foodservice operator, and consumer in a way that builds loyalty, ingenuity, and value. A key component in building that bond is also creativity, in all its possibilities and complexities.
Creativity can be harnessed into a shared experience today’s shopper, meal-maker, and relationship-builder seek, and one way that marketers have been building between grower, buyer, and consumer is through this recipe development and educational space.
Maybe it’s the creative in me, or maybe it’s the amazing teachers we have around us in this industry like Mastronardi Produce®/SUNSET®, Sunkist Growers, Stemilt, Pure Flavor®, and more. Either way, I have learned that if you can create a shared experience with your target audience (be it buyers or consumers) you penetrate the micro-thin fibers of overstimulation, product and messaging saturation, and noise that can fill the B2C echo chamber—and become a part of their home, family, and traditions. Also inside this space are chefs—our ambassadors to the plate—restaurants, and foodservice operators. Those that cherish the eating experience like Denny’s, Sysco, Markon Cooperative, and more.
Marketers are our warriors. Recipes are the experience.
Recipes become a passageway for communicating the versatility, usage, history, and future of not only a product but a team of passionate people dedicated to the quality and health of the eating experience. Recipes create connections, forge memories, and locate people in time and space. They anchor us to our lives. Meals have always been an olive branch; a common thread; a source of joy, and a way of celebrating, grieving, and remembering. They are our conduits.
While calculating the metrics for a recipe’s return on investment (ROI) may be inevitably tied to the larger components of a marketing strategy, the scales of ROI feel like they must tip more toward the qualitative than quantitative.
As Gene Harris from Denny’s knows and shares in the pages of this issue, meals are a handshake. And one of the most important ones we have.
So, extend a hand, turn a bell pepper into a refuge, a home, a laugh, and a memory. Turn a produce department into a kitchen table or a restaurant table into a storied experience.
Let the tip of the spear be the way.