Fresh produce marketers: raise your hand if you feel like you’re constantly scrambling to keep up with technology changes.
Okay—so we can’t see your hands, obviously, but let’s assume that if you’re still reading this, you are waving both hands frantically in the air. Because it’s the truth, right? Technology is advancing at what feels like supersonic speeds, and the modern-day marketer is exhausted trying to keep up.
Know that you’re not alone—marketers in most industries can end up feeling this way! So before you throw yourself off the proverbial hamster wheel after reading another article about the importance of AR and VR (or some other crazy-expensive and seemingly out-of-reach hot new thing—like, say, talking strawberries or something), consider the below. We’ve compiled a list of the marketing trends & predictions we believe will realistically help you get ahead to start the new year—and the new decade!
2020 Marketing Trends and Predictions
People Will Expect a More Personalized Marketing Experience
Let’s start with one of the most important marketing predications for fresh produce marketers to consider: personalization. Personalization isn’t new to the marketing scene; in fact, we wrote about it back in 2016 and 2017 in regard to your website and email marketing. As time went by, marketers increasingly adopted the personalization approach, and guess what? People LOVE IT! The benefit for marketers, of course, is that personalization allows you to build a deeper relationship with shoppers by providing them the content they want at their exact point of need.
Making your shoppers’ and customers’ lives easier is what builds loyalty for your brand, and personalization is the way to do it. But how? Artificial intelligence technology allows us to collect data and analytics that provide insight into what our audience wants (and when they want it). While part of this information comes from data analysis through various technological solutions geared toward helping marketers predict behaviors (more on this below!), it’s a great idea to begin collecting analytics and intelligence in the first place, even before you invest in marketing or analytics software.
So how do I do that?
Just ask your audience questions! By offering content that your audience is likely to want, (e.g. a recipe eBook, a sweepstakes, or a whitepaper or case study for your customers), you can ask your audience to fill out a form in exchange for that content. This form is your means of gathering tailored intel that will then allow you to deliver a more personalized experience to these folks based on what they tell you they want. Don’t have content ready to offer yet? Try Instagram polls to start learning more about your followers!
Email marketing isn’t going anywhere, but it’s going to change—a lot.
Email is an extremely effective marketing tool for nurturing relationships with shoppers and customers. (If anyone tries to tell you differently—consider it fake news!)
Data proves that email marketing isn’t going anywhere in 2020—in fact, the number of emails sent per day will continue to increase from 293.6 billion in 2019 to 306.4 in 2020 and 347.3 billion in 2023!
If that’s not sufficiently convincing, consider the study performed by OptinMonster, which shows that for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, average engagement rates are lower than 0.6%, compared to email’s average click-through rate of 3.71%. (Fun fact: on average, the fresh produce brands that work with us experience higher-than-average engagement AND click-through rates—for both email and social media!) It’s clear: in 2020, it would be wise to consider the possibility that email marketing could be one of your best tools to deliver personalization to your audiences. Once you know what they are looking for, you can deliver it up on a silver platter—addressed to them by name in an email.
So if email isn’t going away in coming years, how is it going to change?
While we read (typically) email with our eyes now, in the future, vocal assistants like Alexa will be more likely to read our emails to us: in the car, in the shower…you name it! That’s right…no matter where you run or hide, there will be no escaping email in the future!!! *evil laugh*
In all seriousness, email marketing in the future will likely transform into an entity that is less focused on images than what you see today. Why? Highly designed emails may become a rarity as more and more people have Alexa read their emails out loud to them as they multitask in other areas, which means marketers’ strategies will have to shift accordingly.
So what should I do now?
Right now, many fresh produce marketers may not yet have an automated email marketing strategy in place. In 2020, we suggest starting by laying the foundation of a strong email marketing program—one that is both personalized and automated for your audience—so that you are already in the habit of offering valuable email content.
Gamification Will Evolve Our Digital Interactions with Shoppers & Customers
In 2020 and beyond, consumers will be all about the experience. You’ve likely already seen this trend taking shape, including more and more brands and companies focusing on creating interactive experiences for their audiences through apps, games, quizzes, and loyalty programs. And gamification is proven to work. For example, Domino’s Pizza created a game called “Pizza Hero,” in which people could “design” their own pizza. As a result, Domino’s increased sales revenue by 30%.
Gamification isn’t just for consumer marketing, either. SAP, a global software company, used gamification to motivate helpful customers to use their community forums by granting them the status of “experts” in different areas. These experts were then granted access to special content, thus motivating their customers to interact more and more in order to gain this elevated status.
Just like with personalization technology, as gamification and interactive experiences becomes more commonplace, marketers using the technique effectively will stand out—and have a greater ability to foster brand loyalty.
So how do I get the technology for gamification?
There’s no sugar-coating this one: creating interactive experiences typically will involve allocating budget toward a web development resource to help you bring them to life. However, there are services available that can help cut down on expenses:
- BunchBall—Create branded activities on websites and your social networks
- Rafflecopter—Incorporate fun, interactive elements with this scalable solution for sweepstakes and giveaways
- Riddle—Build clever and creative interactive quizzes to enhance promotions
Marketing Technology Resources Will be Game-Changers for Produce Marketers
Remember when we said there are marketing technology solutions that can help predict behaviors? If you take anything else away from this post today, remember that marketing technology is an essential investment for fresh produce marketers to make in order to remain competitive in 2020 (and beyond). Some of the solutions available today will allow you to do what would otherwise require a marketing department of 20-30 marketers—and at a small fraction of the cost!
If your goals include any of the following, it’s possible with marketing technology solutions:
- Implement personalization with one tool that combines all of your marketing resources into one platform
- Create retailer-specific couponing programs that only consumers in a certain zip code can see
- Collect deep insights into shopper sentiment from millions of conversations across the web (at the click of a button)
Sounds great! Where do I get these?
Don’t worry, we got you! Check out our recent post about game-changing marketing technology to discover the 5 solutions we would recommend to any fresh produce marketer in 2020.
Bonus: Fresh Produce Marketers Will Know More About their Customers’ Customers than Even Their Customers Do
Now here’s a bold marketing predication just for you, produce marketers! Let’s face it, your customers’ marketing programs aren’t very sophisticated. It’s surprising to see how behind many retail buyers are (with a few notable exceptions) when it comes to understanding their shoppers. What we are noticing, however, is that savvy fresh produce brands are investing more in their marketing programs and coming to the table for sales conversations SUPER prepared—and using deep insights about the shoppers that love their brands (right down to where they shop and why), they are able to dazzle their customers.
If your brand is able to invest in the tools and people-muscle it takes to strategically implement the above recommendations, mark our words: you will soon find that your customers are coming to YOU for recommendations on how to engage their shoppers. And that, dear produce marketers, is priceless.