In marketing and sales, it’s all about getting people to remember your company, your products and your brand. It’s the core philosophy behind business development. Creating a close rapport with customers determines where a company takes and makes its future. According to the 2010 Georgia Manufacturing Survey, an ever-increasing number of food manufacturers are realizing this and valiantly attempting to execute well-defined marketing and sales programs to make immediate and lasting impressions with customers. In 2010, approximately 39 percent of manufacturers indicated that marketing and sales were a problem area as compared to 25 percent in 2005 – a 14 percent increase. (Small businesses with 10 to 49 employees were more apt to indicate marketing was a great need compared to their larger-firm counterparts.)
In the survey, nearly 35 percent of food manufacturers indicated that their marketing and sales functions where problem areas. Furthermore, the survey indicated that nearly one-third of manufacturers introduced at least one marketing innovation since 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, 27 percent of food manufacturers introduced design or packaging innovations, 19 percent introduced new sales innovations and nearly 37 percent introduced general marketing innovations.
So why are today’s food manufacturers paying closer attention to their sales and marketing efforts?
Quite simply, more of today’s food manufacturers recognize that marketing, advertising and promotions are vital components of their business plans. To stay competitive and profitable, you must determine your marketing objectives, which may result in a variety of promotional strategies. For example, your company's promotional objective might be one (or all) of the following: increase sales, increase your customer base, maximize long-term profits, stay competitive and establish a stronger market position. However, for many companies, that’s easier said than done.
The world we live in is fueled by sales. Manufacturers must sell their products to survive. Distributors must, in turn, sell the same products to the end user. The 2010 Georgia Manufacturing Survey indicated that for more than 57 percent of food manufacturers, marketing and sales is top of mind, with implementable strategies as a primary sales tool.
A good marketing and sales strategy is a balancing act between customer outreach, frequency of that outreach and timing. Elements such as package design and product brand identity recognition also play a key role. The decisions you make about these factors will determine how your efforts are weighed within the industry. Of course, targeting the audience most likely to respond to your marketing and sales techniques is essential. One thing we know from tapping the heads of consumers is that price alone is rarely the primary motivator in their purchasing decision—in many studies it ranks as low as ninth or tenth. That's true whether you're in a high, medium or low price niche. So, whether you're selling gourmet cheesecake or discount crackers, the purchasing decision is part of a complex formula. It’s tantamount to success that customers know your company and are confident about the quality of your products and services.
The smart business will develop a marketing strategy based on sound information and a realistic assessment of the competition. Successful companies understand that it's too easy to compromise on pricing and margin. Rather, establish your marketing and sales policies and constantly monitor ROI and operating costs to ensure profit, and you’ll be on your way.
Like everything else about successful marketing, your sales strategies will only be as good as the information you receive. Keep your data current streaming and your ear to the ground. Always remember there's a lot more to the art and science of marketing and sales than just dollars and cents.
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