The explosion of digital marketing over the past two decades means that there are now more tools and techniques available to marketers than ever before. This represents a huge opportunity, with more routes to market, more ways to engage, and more ways to convert.
In the “always-crowded online” space, the good news is that food and drink is an extremely popular topic, said Mark Dodds, president of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Food, Drink and Agriculture Sector Interest Group. “Marketers have the initial advantage of having a receptive audience: who doesn’t like to eat and drink? Many of us actively search for content related to food and drink. And we are often very open to them when they show up in our web searches or in our social media feeds. »
However, skills, especially in digital, have mostly stagnated or declined over the past two years, Dodds revealed, after the Chartered Institute of Marketing released its latest annual report with Target Internet in 2018. C is the largest and most in-depth digital marketing in the world. benchmark for skills and will be interesting reading for food and beverage producers, suppliers, retailers and brands.
“This is true in all areas and in the food and beverage sector in particular. In a marketing landscape where change is the only constant, this should serve as a wake-up call,”explained Dodds.
“On the contrary, the pandemic has elevated the status of marketing. As everything changed – how we bought, how we worked, and how we interacted with each other – the need for digital marketing only increased. The food and beverage sector has been no exception and many companies and brands have pivoted and flourished.
But sophistication in most areas of marketing, especially at junior levels, hasn’t happened to the extent required, according to Dodds. While the report found an increase in skill levels in one area: general marketing, which increased by 7%, in almost all sectors and at all job levels, the situation was the opposite. “Interestingly, our report found that the skill levels of external agencies were generally higher than those of internal teams, and most of these companies saw revenue increases,”we have been told.
In the food and beverage industry, skill levels fell 6% in both analytics and data and content marketing, while social media fell 8%. And this improvement in general industry-wide marketing has not been replicated in food and beverage – where skill levels actually fell 19% between 2020 and 2021. The digital strategy, the online advertising, e-commerce, email marketing and SEO skills remained largely stable. The industry saw improvements in just two areas, pay-per-click and usability, by 9% and 6% respectively.
Clearly, there’s a lot of room for improvement if food and beverage producers and brands are to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by digital marketing, Dodds said. “In fact, overall, our segmentation of marketing professionals places 50% of those working in the industry at the very bottom of the report’s five quintiles.
“The need for the profession to continuously improve was evident even before the pandemic. This need is now even more pressing, and I would argue that the food and beverage industry, like many others, needs to embed a new culture of continuous learning within organizations when it comes to marketing.
“The truth is that marketers cannot sit on their current skills and progress. Marketing technology, search engines and social media platforms will continue to innovate at pace. And the use of digital channels by consumers will only increase.”
In the analog past, consumers knew what marketing was and even how it worked: it was the ads we saw on TV and read about in newspapers and magazines and maybe some direct mail that came through the door.
So more than ever, the food and beverage industry needs marketers with the right skill set to maximize those opportunities, Dodds said.
“The future winners of the food and beverage industry will be those who embrace this reality and fully invest in training and developing their marketing teams. Public perception of marketing may not change much, but it does. probably doesn’t matter. Maybe, at the end of the day, what we do in marketing is really less important than how we do it.”