The Food Safety Testing Persona Reflects the Industry
The food safety testing market is unique. Because of the risks associated with food and the high conversion costs to switch out testing products due to investment and approvals, testing product vendors create intensely loyal customers. Taking a customer from another vendor is hard work.
The characteristics of the food safety market can be summarized in broad strokes that sometimes parallel other industrial markets. For example:
- Purchasers in this market are an audience that can be quantified, personified, addressed, and plugged into a buyer’s journey.
- Buyers’ personas are unique enough that we can differentiate and target them with messaging and content which will resonate and engage. In many cases, the food safety testing customer is a scientist.
- While the barriers to entry are rather low, the food safety testing market is mature. For the most part, contaminants which threaten food safety are known and quantified. Differentiation is based on improving existing testing methods.
The Need for Speed
Above all, food safety testing is time-sensitive. Food is typically produced in large batches, or in a continuous process. Contamination can threaten a production run of thousands of pounds of material, and cost tens of thousands of dollars in scrapped product if the contamination is caught before the product is shipped.
But if the contaminated product is shipped and in distribution, or reaches the consumer, the recall costs will run into the millions of dollars. (Understand that we are speaking of the loss directly related to the contamination event.)
There is also the loss in brand equity which can be significant, as well as the human cost if people become ill or die.
Food is tested at many steps in the process, depending on the commodity being produced. Conventional wisdom states you cannot test quality into a product, but you can test to ensure quality and safety. Because of the nature of the processing, companies must have test results as quickly as possible.
The Buyer’s Journey for Food Safety Testing Products
To create awareness, do you emphasize the problem or the solution? The goal in the awareness stage is to create the awareness of a need. Solutions exist for the detection of common contaminants. How is your solution different? Review your unique selling proposition (e.g., faster time to results, easier to use, more ergonomic, better service and support, regulatory body approvals, consumables). Don’t take anything for granted. Make sure your audience understands your value.
Given a choice of alternatives, why would a person purchase your product? Provide evidence of superiority through testimonials, test results, independent data, or a product trial. The key to the consideration phase of the journey is to provide enough information to move the buyer to a positive decision, without overloading or confusing them.
Once the buyer is at the decision point or has made the decision, expectations have to be met so the buyer is reassured that they have made the right decision. Follow up to meet expectations and ensure that the customer is nurtured to engender loyalty for consideration as a reference customer.
The Buyer Persona
Job roles typically involved in a buying decision in a centralized company include the vice president of food safety, corporate quality control, manager, and central testing lab director.
The entities involved in a buying decision in a decentralized company, where a branch or business unit has some autonomy in decision-making typically include the branch manager, quality control manager, and lab manager.
In all of these personae, there is a reluctance to adopt new technologies — especially if there is no compelling value proposition. Given that your audience will be scientists or will have a science background, the technical details supporting the value proposition are important.
Food Safety Personas
|VP Food Safety||Ensure regulatory compliance, produce safe products, minimize risk, control compliance costs.||Emphasize innovation, time to results, regulatory approvals and reference customers.|
|Corporate QC Manager||Optimize resources to ensure food safety.||Emphasize features, time to results, and value.|
|Central Testing Lab Manager||Ensure compliance to internal standards and protocols.||Emphasize features, time to results, and value.|
|Branch Manager||Ensure regulatory compliance, produce safe products, minimize risk, and control compliance costs.||Emphasize innovation, time to results, approvals, and reference customers.|
|QC Manager||Optimize resources to ensure food safety.||Emphasize approvals, time to results, and value.|
|Lab Manager||Optimize resources to ensure food safety.||Emphasize approvals, time to results, and value.|
|Lab Worker||Test production to ensure food safety.||Emphasize ease of use and time to results.|
Developing the buyer’s journey is a dynamic process. With the right content, and by using the right channels, you can create and deliver a compelling sales argument. Understanding the motivations of your buyers will help you tailor your value proposition and messaging to ensure a successful campaign.
If you need help developing your food safety digital marketing strategy, contact us for a 30-minute consultation.