I’ve always loved trilogies. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games… Back to the Future - you name it! However, there is one trilogy that I am NOT a fan of so far…
It seems we’re headed into part 3 of the COVID-19 Pandemic saga, and I really really hope this year culminates into some sort of conclusion already! Going into 2022, there are still things about our daily lives and the way people seek and consume information that have been altered as a result of the pandemic. And that means marketers have to continue to take this into account and alter their approach, too.
Over the past several months we’ve kept our antennas up and followed marketing thought leaders far and wide to identify the following marketing trends and predictions that we believe are the most important for fresh food marketers to take note of for 2022:
2022 Marketing Trends & Predictions for Fresh Food Marketers
1. Teaching, not selling, will spell success
If you think about it, good marketing has always been focused on teaching and educating audiences rather than selling to them. Who wants to be marketed to by what is essentially a used car salesman?
In the age of on-demand content, consumers are tired of seeing pushy ads and actively seek out ways to filter marketing messages out of their newsfeeds, fast-forwarding through commercials and just overall avoiding being sold to like the plague (or the ‘rona). So what’s a marketer who needs to produce results to do? Captivate your audience with insightful and educational info instead!
We recently shared that 94% of consumers say they would remain loyal to a brand that provides complete transparency. For fresh food companies, this could look like bringing your audience into your world and giving them content that teaches them about what it takes to grow or make your products. Shoppers are curious and eager to understand more about how fresh food is grown and they want to learn. Try adding more #DidYouKnow content into your plans in 2022 or make more educational videos to help shoppers see “under the hood” and make them feel included. Videos are especially beneficial here when you consider that according to Brain Rules when people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65% of the information three days later. Not bad!
2. Marketers will need to stay informed about privacy and data sharing concerns
In recent years, GDPR, CAN-SPAM and California Protection Act have led to some marketers scrambling to understand what it means to ensure their websites and digital marketing efforts are adhering to new privacy laws and standards. Most of the time, marketers just aren’t well-versed in the intricacies of how all of these things work - from the technical IT aspect to the mind-numbing legal aspects. And on top of that, consumers are becoming more aware of privacy concerns and more protective of their information online. According to a Google study in 2021, 73% of people surveyed said they seek online services that promise high data protection, like encrypted emails and privacy-protecting search engines. This is going to make it that much harder for marketers to not only gain people’s trust to share personal data but target the right audiences with relevant content in the first place.
So what should you do? Put the appropriate privacy policies in place, focus on creating transparent and valuable content (like the educational content we mentioned above) and be patient. It takes time to build trust with shoppers and even your customers. By showing them that you are going to protect their data and only use it to give them the content they want, they will be willing to connect and engage with your brand.
While marketers at the big corporations have the resources to get up to speed on these matters quickly, fresh produce marketers are often left feeling overwhelmed and unsure how this affects them. If this is something you need help with, give us a shout.
3. Get your QR codes ready, because we should get used to hybrid events
Confession: I am so over online conferences! Anyone else with me? Well here’s the deal… now that we’ve figured them out, they are always going to have a role in our world and as marketers, we need to embrace this. It’s true that there are some obvious benefits to online events - they save time and money, they can increase reach, and there really is something awesome about being able to attend a tradeshow while wearing sweatpants and slippers. But humans will always have a need and yearn to socialize in person, which is leading to a popular compromise for hybrid events that we will see a lot of in 2022.
So for us as marketers, that means leaning into new tactics and methods of showing up digitally to an event with as much power as we show up to an in-person one. Now is the time to invest in beefing up your digital collateral - do you have sell sheets, product availability charts, brochures, and other valuable information available online for buyers to access virtually? Do you have a web presence that aligns with your tradeshow presence in a way that feels cohesive when someone looks up your website while passing by your booth on the show floor? And of course, QR codes have made a serious comeback and will be all over tradeshows in 2022, bridging the gap between the in-person environment to the virtual one. Are you ready for it?
4. Shorter attention spans demand short-form content
Social media has become a mini-universe full of short and sweet videos, “reels” and bite-sized captions and images that you can scroll through quickly and move on to the next thing - which has resulted in shorter and shorter attention spans. For marketers, we have seconds to capture our audiences’ attention, so this means we have to focus on creating more powerful short-form content.
There’s good news though: Colormatics says 68% of people will happily watch a business video if it’s under a minute long! Time to turn your focus on creating short videos and small snippets that can be shared easily on Instagram stories or reels. This can be as simple as showing shoppers how to quickly prep a simple recipe like a smoothie, or fresh celery snack! Here are some recent examples we’re loving:
5. Brands will start to infiltrate Tik Tok - but not in the way you may think
Speaking of short-form content - 2022 is going to be THE year for Tik Tok.
While we don’t recommend you run off and open your own brand account on the platform, we do believe it’s time to incorporate strategic influencer partnerships to develop content for your brand - you just won’t be the one directly sharing it. Influencers have already established a presence and a following on this platform, and people will be more receptive to hearing engaging info about your brand from them than they may be to following what may feel like an “ad” account. We dove into this topic on a recent blog post, so click here to learn more!
When you consider that Tik Tok was the most downloaded app in 2021, there’s no denying that it’s time to start paying attention to ways your brand can have a presence here.
6. Produce marketers will invest “shoppable” content
This trend began to emerge heavily in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and we touched on it again in our predictions for 2021. More and more brands are seeking ways to get their products directly into the hands of shoppers in an effort to close the loop on the path to purchase through avenues like Gold Belly, Instacart or Amazon Fresh. Shoppers have gotten more comfortable with purchasing perishable products online, and as the omicron variant surges many people are again turning to grocery delivery options while they quarantine in their homes. Will you be ready to deliver your products directly to shoppers when the next peak comes around?
Here’s what we recommend if you’re looking to get started:
- Invest in a product locator. Third-party services like Destini work directly with Nielsen and IRI scan data to keep their locator info updated regularly so you don’t have to worry about the headache of trying to accomplish this manually. Many fresh food companies have begun using Destini and in addition to their product locator service, Destini offers some pretty sweet coupon services and they have stellar customer service!
- Get on Gold Belly, Instacart or Amazon Fresh and invest in an advertising strategy and email campaigns that can drive shoppers to your product listings in the areas they are available.
- If the expense of a product locator is out of your world this year, consider adding a page to your website where you list specific retailers where you know your product is often found and available.
7. The Metaverse will be a part of marketing conversations
It’s Ready Player One come to fruition - the Metaverse is real and it’s coming. What is it? Well… it’s a sort of AR world that Mark Zuckerberg is involved in and some people are excited about it, and others, not so much. While we don’t know at this early stage exactly what this will mean for marketers, we do know that it’s a topic to watch and stay tuned in to because it is likely going to profoundly change marketing as we know it. AGAIN. (Don’t become a marketer if you don’t like change, amirite?)
For food marketers, we recommend you take some time to watch how leading brands like Coca-Cola or Frito Lay are planning to connect with people in the Metaverse. Based on their approach, you have the opportunity to start visualizing a place where you can offer an immersive experience to interact with your own products. Maybe this looks like virtual field tours being open for consumers from all over the world. Maybe you can create a place where people can experiment with new cooking techniques in a stress-free way before they try it for real in their kitchens. Either way, rest assured that no matter how virtual our world becomes, people still have to eat, which means our products will always have a place in a reality where we can enjoy them to their fullest.
BONUS PREDICTION: Marketing will become all-around more challenging.
The privacy changes, the short attention spans, the constant shifts in the digital landscape, and costs to be present and reach your audience in multiple places at once… marketing is just all around getting more and more challenging! BUT it is also getting more fun, in our humble opinion! We love a good challenge, and there has never been more of a need for creative, strategic thinkers to help support fresh food brands looking to grow and expand their business. That’s what we’re here for! Let us be a part of your team in 2022 and we can overcome marketing’s challenges together… and have a hell of a fun time while doing it!