Checkoff Dollars put Digital Media Front and Center in Consumers' Beef DecisionsWed, 05 Mar 2014 06:10:38 CST
It's no surprise to anyone with eyes or ears that the digital media have taken the world by storm. Michelle Murray of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association recently spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays and made a presentation at the recent Texoma Cattlemen's Conference Murray says it is imperative beef producers embrace digital marketing to reach consumers.
"This year's challenge is all about 'Thinking Big for Beef.' And, through that, really evolving how we communicate with the consumer. And going from used to be a print and radio emphasis advertising campaign to digital and thinking about new ways to reach the target consumer through social media and through search and through video to really help encourage them to choose beef on a regular basis."
Murray says to most effectively target consumers, they have been looking at their daily lives and when they begin thinking about what to have for dinner. She says the goal of marketers is to be right there when the idea about what to serve is coalescing in the consumer's mind.
"Fifty percent of Americans don't know what they're going to have for dinner at 4:30 tonight. And half of them will say they prefer chicken because it may be easy. What we want to do is to help solve that problem with beef solutions."
She says those solutions may include stopping at a restaurant for beef stir fry, or stopping by the store to pick up any one of several prepared beef dishes or even picking up ground beef for a make at home recipe. The trick for marketers is to be in "place all those moments she is considering when to include beef in her family mealtimes and being there to answer those needs."
"The beauty of digital is that we can analyze all the data points very carefully so that we know how many consumers are going online, going to Google and searching for information around easy weeknight meals. We know what time. We know where they're asking those questions in terms of what part of the country. We know what types of questions they're asking. For instance, folks in the Midwest are asking about certain cuts that are different than those of the consumers on the East Coast. So we can send messages, uniquely, to the East Coast and the Midwest based on what they are asking for."
Murray says the digital world allows for the use of highly-effective analytics in targeting the right consumer with just the right message and also spending advertising dollars most effectively. Advertisers, more and more, are paying for advertising based on the actions of the consumers. If consumers don't click on display ads and videos, advertisers don't pay. It allows for constant feedback and fine-tuning of advertisements and approaches to the individual consumer.
Right now, she says, Facebook is a very effective medium for the beef industry to reach its target audience.
"When it comes to our target consumer, the older Millennial parent, most of their online activity happens on their smart phone. And the majority of the activity they're doing on their smart phone is through Facebook and Google Maps and Google Search. And, so, Facebook is a primary means. Our target consumer is on Facebook ten to 20 times a day looking for information. They post several times a day about their own lives. They're sharing actively. And, so, it's a natural vehicle for us to go where the consumer is."
Murray says she likens it to consumers being down one road and beef producers being down another road. The goal of marketing is to get them to meet at the intersections.
The beef industry uses the whole gamut of social media tools all the way from Pinterest, to Facebook, to Youtube to Twitter to reach consumers where they are right now. Murray says they are always looking at new ones when they come up. Currently, Snap Chat is on an uptrend and marketers are looking to capitalize.
The beef industry is not the only group to use social media and, increasingly, they are used to great affect by groups hostile to beef producers.
"The challenge that we have as a beef community is being in connection and making sure we don't respond aggressively or respond in a defensive way. Many of these consumers just want to know 'How does this decision impact my family's health. And we have good answers about all those things. It's just making sure we're coming together and not starting a food fight on social media."
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