Inspire your customers
The egg industry is missing out on using the worldwide web to stimulate demand.
Inspiring material on an egg company's web site can drive people to the purchasing process, said Rene Boender of Great Opportunities, The Netherlands. He believes the industry should be inspired to greater marketing success, and should aim to inspire consumers. A routine has enabled the industry to get to the current level, but if it is to advance it needs to break this routine and outsmart the food competition by better understanding the consumer.
"Do consumers really hear you?" he asked. Boender didn't think so and was highly critical of the industry's lack of willingness to talk with its end customers.
The egg business is good, but it needs to become great. "Eggs can play a greater part in nutrition around the world than they do today," said Boender. He predicted that egg consumption would go up by 3 percent in 2008, but more importantly, the value of sales would rise faster.
He asked whether any egg businesses had uploaded material onto the web's free YouTube. This site has an immense impact, with millions of people downloading material that they find informative, particularly if it is provided in a humorous way. Additionally, YouTube viewers often pass this information on to others. "People are looking for fun," he said.
While Boender complimented the industry on its improvements in production and cost cutting, he observed, "You do a bad job when dealing with retailers and on informing consumers." He continued, "If you only care about the price, you probably are not giving your trade customers something else to care about." He questioned whether the industry inspires people to eat more eggs.
At one time the oldest man in the world lived in France. When asked to what he attributed his longevity he replied, "I drink a glass of red wine every day." The French wine industry made sure that his story was featured in newspapers throughout the world. Recently, the world's oldest woman lived in Japan and she credited her old age to eating a bowl of egg soup every day. " Have you done anything about this?" he asked.
Boender said that the egg industry is concerned about 72 negative Blogs placed on the internet by animal welfare groups. "But, how could this seriously damage the industry when there were billions of ordinary people around the world who like eggs?" The industry tries to counter the arguments, but logic alone won't do. "Give them reasons to love eggs," he said. "If you really have a good story to tell and you tell it in the right way, people will reward you with their business."
Eggs Must Go from Good to Great
The industry needs an inspirational selling point. Boender said it should inspire people to buy eggs, along with countering negative rumors. He suggests that every country should launch a campaign at the start of 2008. For two weeks they should run an advertisement in the main national daily newspapers called "True or False: all the facts about eggs" and include a website address. "You will be amazed by the number of ‘hits' you will get," he said.
Boender also recommended that companies upload films about eggs on the YouTube site. He went on to say, "The market is smarter than you think. People get a lot of information from the internet, and don't forget, the customer is in charge always. It is important that you talk with more than a few." Boender gave examples of small films that had been downloaded millions of times because people found them informative and entertaining. Word of mouth is gaining importance.
The world wants to know more. There is an information lust that has to be satisfied, he said. A current concern is the global fight against obesity but he says he has yet to see an egg brand talking about how it could help solve the problem. People want to take care of themselves, eat smaller meals and yet feel satisfied. Sellers need to stress the link between eggs and dieting, he added, "If people want to go on a diet tell them to eat eggs."
Boender said that because there is little information on egg packs, shoppers take no more than three seconds to make their purchase. "Packs carry information about size and color, but virtually nothing on added value," he said. "Does the copy on egg packaging make your mouth water?" Boender urged sellers to rethink the wording, "people want to read what you have to say."
Rethink Target Markets
Boender said that egg sellers should rethink their target markets. Perception is reality for buyers and it is important to think about how egg marketers communicate with them. Information has to be bold and bright and it must be in the customers' language to be understood.
Boender told conference attendees that it is important to be open and tell the truth. Creativity results from disciplined thinking and a thorough understanding of people's motivations. The name of the game is in relevant differentiation and value stories.
Wisdom and the activists do not go together, but emotion and the activists do, he said. "You must give people reasons for buying eggs, but don't offer more than a couple," he added. He warned not to take things too seriously, "Don't let one anti-egg blog get you down. You can become bitter or better."
New product development, and in particular the addition of added value, are the ways to higher prices. Boender said the premium story is the leader in the market. People are cash rich and time poor. "You are in the haute convenience business not the egg market," he continued. Wherever people are, they want to eat, "Make sure you are there," he added.
"You are what you publish," he went on to say. "Make sure that it is on the web and also pressagent.com. Don't become a spin-doctor about news. People want authenticity, not spin. Consumers want to participate, not be subjected to propaganda. Your web can drive people into the purchasing process with inspiring content. If you don't make contact you will never get a contract."