What is Gratitude Marketing & How Fresh Food Marketers Can Apply It

Can you think of a recent time when someone went above and beyond to show appreciation for you? As kids, we learned that saying “thank you” was the basis of good manners. As adults, we understand that real gratitude transcends primary school etiquette.

Think about the most successful relationships you have with customers, colleagues, friends, or family. At the center of the best connections, you will find respect, trust, and loyalty. And it is particularly challenging to earn and maintain loyalty without some level of reciprocal gratitude.


There is a disconnect when a company lacks gratitude for its customers (or employees) and then expects unwavering loyalty in return. Houston… we have a gratitude problem.

broken heart


A study by Kitewheel showed three-quarters of consumers believe that loyalty programs are ways for brands to show their loyalty to their consumers. Conversely, two-thirds of marketers reported they view loyalty programs as a way for the consumer to demonstrate loyalty to a brand. “Loyalty” programs that don’t include gratitude might increase transactions with discounts or coupons, but they aren’t building relationships alongside increased sales.


Cue Gratitude Marketing

While gratitude itself is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” gratitudeGratitude Marketing is harnessing your appreciation and kindness and directing it toward those you interact with as a company or brand. Gratitude is a deeply personal human expression and it can immediately create a meaningful connection with your audience. But be sure to start from a place of authenticity, otherwise, Gen Z will see right through you! It has to be done with the same genuine level of care you would show a friend.


We have previously shared our perspective on The Power of Gratitude and offered suggestions to support your personal improvement by keeping a Gratitude Journal. In this post, I want to offer some tangible thoughts around: Gratitude for Customers, Gratitude for Your Team, and Gratitude for Consumers.


Gratitude for Customers (and Supply Chain Partners)

When is the last time you told your customer or supply chain partners how grateful you are for them? Your products wouldn’t be on store shelves without them. Express gratitude freely, and deepen your partnerships.

A Milestone “Thank You!”

  • Think about special ways to mark key anniversaries in your business relationship
  • Have you hit a milestone in volume or shipped orders? That’s worth recognizing!

Handwritten notes

  • A handwritten note is a wonderful personal touch that shows you care. In today’s digital world, this option is less common and yet very meaningful.

Unique “Thank You!”

  • After a big order from a loyal customer, or a trucking company saves the day for you, how can you express your thanks? Think about sending a personal email, e-card, or unconventional gift. We love creating “Surprise and Delights” for our clients

Gratitude for your Team (and Industry Colleagues)

The true assets in your company are the people who keep the doors open and the lights on. It is important to look for ways to elevate your team members and express gratitude often. Also, don’t overlook the power of appreciating and recognizing industry colleagues.

Celebrate Often

  • At DMA we have an entire Slack Channel (#AttaGirl) dedicated to giving praise and showing appreciation for the hard work we are doing for our clients and the company. What internal communications can you utilize to show deep appreciation for your team members?
  • We also have monthly milestone celebrations to acknowledge and recognize people within our team. We celebrate everything from birthdays, work anniversaries, or personal life milestones (like purchasing a home or getting married). Celebrating the times in your team members’ lives that really matter, is an excellent way to showcase gratitude and your team members will feel it.


  • Mentors are important for overall career growth but Sponsors might be even more so. Sponsors are cheerleaders and advocates who will champion you or your company/ brand even when you aren’t present. Who can you intentionally champion within your team, organization, or the industry?
  • LinkedIn is a great place to share praise or positive messages for team members or industry colleagues. Write an endorsement on the profile pages of connections you deeply appreciate. It is guaranteed to make an impression.

Gratitude for Consumers

It is essential to express gratitude to your customers. Their commitment and loyalty will earn repeat business and may also turn them into ambassadors for your brand.

Create Actionable Thank You Pages

  • Your loyal customers took the time to fill out an e-commerce or marketing form on your website, thank them! Offer up bonus content or special links that show your appreciation.

Social Sharing

  • Consumers love your content and are sharing it regularly on social media, consider ways to show how much that means to you, at the very least send a message of thanks.

True Loyalty Programs

  • Are there VIPs showing up for your brand? Consider ways to acknowledge them. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment but quarterly or yearly recognition can keep consumers coming back for more. What could your favorite brand do to make you feel appreciated?


The beauty of infusing gratitude into your external and internal communications is that it can be done easily, affordably, and repetitively with excellent results.


That plate of pasta is delicious, but finishing it off with a squeeze of lemon and a touch of fresh basil just took this meal to a whole new level. Gratitude can create that kind of magic in your marketing. I will have some more of that… please, and thank you.