COM0014 – Blog #3: Target Audience in B2B Foodservice

Photo by Elle Hughes from Pexels

I have proudly worked in marketing for a large foodservice distributor for close to ten years. I have enjoyed this work immensely and working with our sales team to provide solutions for our customers. As a foodservice distributor, we provide food and non-food products to restaurants, cafeterias, industrial caterers, hospitals and nursing homes. Essentially we are in the middle and work to bring a wide variety of products and services from manufacturers to operators. Foodservice operators can consist of the establishment owner, chef, food & beverage manager or anyone responsible for purchasing food products for the business.

There aren’t any distinct characteristics of a foodservice operator. Foodservice operators aren’t defined by a specific gender or ethnicity. In most cases, foodservice operators are well informed through either education or life experience and are business savvy. A typical operator could be someone new to the industry after leaving a successful career, a second generation operator taking over the business from a parent or someone that has spent their entire career in hospitality. It is a wide variety of individuals that make up the foodservice industry, marketing efforts are aimed to fulfill a need or resolve a problem/pain point that is felt by most.

What are effective ways to connect and market to foodservice operators?

  • The number one way is the feet on the street, our sales team. These individuals meet with customers to consult on products and solutions to support their operation. An operator can use their sales rep to answer questions and provide guidance on products and services.
  • Email marketing is another effective way to communicate with operators. This method along with information in our CRM tool, allows for targeted messages to be sent out based on;
    • Time of Year – holidays, seasons…
    • Product Category – such as protein, produce, seafood or non-food products…
    • Customer Segment – i.e. golf courses, caterers, pizzerias or fine dining…
    • Product Segment – i.e. plant-based, breakfast, Italian…
  • Social media is effective in showcasing products/services and how they would fulfill a need or solve a problem
  • Events, either live or virtual, connect operators to products and solutions. Live trade show events connect them directly with products and manufacturers and seeing products in action. Virtual webinars offer a quick and low cost way to demonstrate products and set up the potential for the next meeting and have been especially significant during the pandemic while in-person interactions have been minimized to maintain safety.

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