food and beverages

Social, Mobile Hotter Than Ever in 2011

FoursquareSocial media and mobile marketing continued to heat up in the food/beverage and restaurant categories in 2011 -- as Marketing Daily’s most-read stories in these areas amply demonstrate:

1. Location-Based Marketing To Diners To 'Explode' 

Consumers today want a moveable feast -- sometimes quite literally, as the remarkable growth of specialty and even chain-owned food trucks has shown. And in another tough year for much of the restaurant industry, location-based and social media enabled chains and independent operators to target diners in ways that can only be described as revolutionary. Starbucks, McDonald's, Chipotle and Burger King were among the biggies that leveraged Foursquare, Facebook and (in some cases) Twitter to drive folks through their doors, increase per-diner spend and engender loyalty/repeat business with rewards and offers targeted via consumers' profiles and transactions data. Not to mention the continuing explosion of mobile ordering and electronic payments…



2. A First: Pepsi Using Foursquare on Global Basis 

Speaking of location-based marketing, restaurants are far from alone in employing this hyper-targeted platform to the max. In the beverage category, Pepsi pulled off an ingenious marketing first: Using a Foursquare badge on a global basis. During the prime soda-drinking July 4th weekend, the brand previewed a fun new TV commercial -- featuring a hip polar bear and his brown-bear friend by the pool -- on its Facebook page and YouTube. The spot -- the first-ever from a major CPG brand to employ Foursquare messaging -- debuted on "America's Got Talent" the same evening. The ad encouraged fans around the world to follow Pepsi on Foursquare to “unlock summer fun” (those who checked in from specified locations like beaches and parks earned badges and entry in a sweeps). It was supported by Twitter ads, takeovers of Yahoo and other mass-reach sites, and QR codes on in-store promotions that linked fans to the campaign commercials. Marketing Daily readers were wowed by this campaign's innovation, integration and sheer logistics.

3. Dunkin' Launches K-Cups; Starbucks Soon to Follow

If there’s anything that’s hotter than single-serve coffee, it’s the rivalry among the major brands pushing to grab maximum market share in this lucrative, rapidly growing category. In August, Dunkin’ Donuts made its extremely popular coffee brand available for sale in its stores in single-serve Keurig K-Cups, for at-home enjoyment. Soon after, Starbucks, also through a deal with Keurig parent Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, launched its own single-serve packs for the brewing system in food, drug, mass, club, specialty and department stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Starbucks also has a deal with Courtesy Products, the leading provider of in-room coffee service to U.S. hotels, to make Starbucks ground coffees available in up to 500,000 luxury and premium hotel rooms across the U.S., for use in Courtesy's CV1 in-room and on-demand brewed coffee system. Now, we’re awaiting Starbucks’ next moves. Might the coffee titan create its own brewing system?

4. Brand Keys: Loyalty Now Hinges On 'Delight'

Marketing Daily brought readers an exclusive first look at the results of this year’s always much-anticipated Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, based on tracking key loyalty factors across 528 brands and 79 categories. Just one food/restaurant brand made the overall top 10: McDonald’s, at #7. The other brands that rose to the top by “delighting” consumers with innovative, life-enhancing products and services were #1 Netflix (prior to its ill-advised jacking up of subscription pricing), Apple, Walgreens, Discover, Hyundai, Mary Kay, J. Crew, Samsung and Nikon.    

5. Report: Gluten-Free Momentum Accelerating

What’s causing so many Americans to develop allergies or intolerance to gluten? No one seems to know for certain, but addressing this problem has proved a bonanza for a major CPG makers, private-label purveyors and specialty brands alike. Packaged Facts documented the trend, estimating that the gluten-free food and beverage category had experienced startling 30% sales growth in the U.S. between 2006 and 2010. Indeed, the researcher upped its previous sales projection for 2011 to $2.64 billion, from $2.3 billion. With annual compound growth projected at 14% between 2011 and 2015 (to $5.6 billion), the continuing stream of new gluten-free products should keep a lot of marketers very busy for the foreseeable future.

6. Cabot Soup Swap Mixes Events, Social Media

Cabot Creamery, a cooperative of 1,200 family dairy farmers, demonstrates that leveraging social media in sophisticated, highly effective ways need not require big budgets. Case in point: Cabot's "Community Soup Swap," which combines at-home events thrown by popular bloggers, a social media-driven recipe contest, donations to food banks, and Facebook and Twitter outreach. Cabot also employs its extensive social media and blogger networks to marshal volunteers who organize cheese-sampling events in their localities. Furthermore, it recognizes people who serve their communities via programs in partnership with national organizations and its online “Random Acts of Cheddar” initiative.

7. Millennials: Big On Cause-Marketing, Not On TV

Research of relevance to virtually all categories, including food/beverages and restaurants. A study from Barkley marketing agency, Service Management Group and The Boston Consulting Group confirmed that Millennials are more aware than Americans of other generations of cause-marketing-based ad campaigns, and more likely to be exposed to these through social media and online channels. Equally important, just 26% watch 20-plus hours of TV per week, versus 49% of the rest of the population. Among the other key findings: Millennials seek peer affirmation/advice; they crave adventure and fun; they use their mobile devices to scope out deals and products while shopping; they’re more likely to grocery shop in groups; they’re big on snacking, and they prefer casual dining.

8. McDonald's Using Foursquare in N.Y.C.

The QSR giant's first use of Foursquare in the New York metro area focused on driving awareness and sampling of its McCafé beverages. McDonald's encouraged residents of nine metro areas to celebrate their hometowns and engage in three separate rounds of friendly competition to win McCafé “parties.” The three boroughs/towns with the most Foursquare check-ins from McDonald’s locations each won a full day during which free, small McCafé drinks were distributed at a local McD’s. The concept was supported by a Twitter campaign, mobile banners, radio, out-of-home and in-store merchandising. In addition to supporting McCafé sales and boosting brand loyalty, the initiative yielded ample marketing intelligence about regional product preferences and behaviors.

9. Brand Keys: Amazon Is 2011's #1 Loyalty Leader

More insights from Brand Keys’ 2011 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index study, this time showing the top 100 Loyalty Leaders. Topping the list: Amazon, Apple (smartphone), Facebook, Samsung, Apple (computer), Zappos, Hyundai, Kindle, Patron tequila and Mary Kay.

10. Gen Y Changing Alcoholic Beverages Marketplace

Another piece resonated with readers because of the pressing need to understand Millennials’ behaviors across all product categories. Nielsen's Millennial Study found that those in this age cohort are more open to exploring new alcoholic beverage products; consume more wine and spirits than their parents did (although they still drink beer most); are more likely to equate cost with quality; and are heavily influenced by social media. The researchers stressed the impact of multicultural Gen Y’s, in particular, on the alcoholic beverages market.

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