Why You Need a Key Opinion Leader Strategy for Marketing Food Safety Testing Products

by Sep 23, 2020

The Importance of Key Opinion Leaders

Life is all about connections. As much as we automate, standardize, and process our way into insularity and isolation in the name of efficiency, business still runs on people, relationships, and networking. Business is a matter of leveraging relationships, and to that end, professional organizations have formed around common interests with engaged key opinion leaders (KOLs).

Business is a matter of leveraging relationships, and to that end, professional organizations have formed around common interests with engaged key opinion leaders (KOLs). Click To Tweet

Chances are that you’ve met these leaders at a conference or trade show. KOLs are important because they have earned credibility amongst their peers and in their industry that you can leverage for your marketing efforts.

In the food safety industry, nearly every food commodity or ingredient has a marketing organization behind it. Additionally, there is a plethora of professionals and professional  organizations promoting the various aspects of food safety, from government agencies to food science professionals to certification and validation accreditation bodies. Within these organizations dwell the KOLs.

The tables below list major professional organizations which promote food safety, organized according to commodity-based organizations, non-commodity-based organizations, government agencies, and marketing resources, including digital marketing agencies with experience in serving scientific or technical audiences.

While this list is extensive, it’s important to remember that food comes in a variety of forms, and literally every food commodity has an organization with KOLs behind it. You can also find an extra-granular list of trade organizations here.

KOL Professional Organizations

Commodity Based Organizations
ABAAmerican Beverage Associationhttps://www.ameribev.org/Beverage
AFFIAmerican Frozen Foods Institutehttps://affi.org/Frozen food
AIBAmerican Institute of Bakinghttps://www.aibinternational.com/en/Baking and certifications
ASBCAmerican Society of Brewing Chemistshttps://www.asbcnet.org/Beer
FMIFood Marketing Institutehttps://www.fmi.org/Packaged food
IBWAInternational Bottled Water Associationhttps://www.bottledwater.org/Bottled water
IDFAInternational Dairy Foods AssociationDairy
ISBTInternational Society of Beverage Technologistshttps://www.bevtech.org/Soft drinks and beverages
NAMINorth American Meat Institutehttps://www.meatinstitute.org/Meat and poultry
NCANational Confectioners Organizationhttps://candyusa.com/Candy
NCCNational Chicken Councilhttps://www.nationalchickencouncil.org
NMPFNational Milk Producers Federationhttps://www.nmpf.org/Dairy
NPANatural Products Associationhttps://www.npanational.org/Natural Products
NTFNational Turkey Federationhttps://www.eatturkey.org/Turkey
OTAOrganic Trade Associationhttps://ota.com/Organic food
PMAProduce Marketing Associationhttps://www.pma.com/Produce
PFIPet Food Institutehttps://www.petfoodinstitute.org/Pet food
SNAC InternationalSnacking, Nutrition, and Conveniencehttps://snacintl.org/Snack foods
ASTAAmerican Spice Trade Associationhttps://www.astaspice.org/Spices
UFPAUnited Fresh Produce Associationhttps://www.unitedfresh.org/Fresh produce
USPEAUS Poultry & Egg Associationhttps://www.uspoultry.org/Feathered food
Food Safety and Security Organizations
AOAC InternationalAssociation of Official Analytical Collaborationhttps://www.aoac.org/Approvals and research
BRCBritish Retail Consortiumhttp://brc.org.uk/Standards and accreditation
FAOFood & Ag Organization of the United Nationshttp://www.fao.org/home/en/Food Security
FARRPFood Allergy Research and Resource Program
https://farrp.unl.edu/Food allergen research and safety
GFSIGlobal Food Safety Initiativehttps://mygfsi.com/Standards and accreditation
IAFPInternational Association for Food Protectionhttps://www.foodprotection.org/Food safety
IFSHInstitute for Food Safety and Healthhttps://www.ifsh.iit.edu/Research
IFTInstitute of Food Technologistshttps://www.ift.org/Food science
N. America
International Life Sciences Institutehttps://www.meatinstitute.org/Nutrition and food safety science
Non-GMO ProjectNon-GMO Projecthttps://www.nongmoproject.org/Certification and verification
SQFSafe Quality Food Institutehttps://www.sqfi.com/
Standards and accreditation
Food Safety Regulatory Agencies
CFIACanadian Food Inspection Agencyhttps://www.inspection.gc.ca/Canada Food Safety Authority
EFSAEuropean Union Food Safety Authorityhttps://www.efsa.europa.eu/EU Food Safety Authority
FDA / CFSANCenter for Food Science and Applied Nutritionhttps://www.fda.gov/foodUS Food Safety
USDA / FSISFood Safety Inspection Servicehttps://www.fsis.usda.gov/US Food Safety
USDA / AMSAgricultural Marketing Servicehttps://www.ams.usda.gov/
Food Marketing
Marketing Resources
Food Divehttps://www.fooddive.com/Online
Food Safety Magazinehttps://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/Online and print
Food Safety Newshttps://www.foodsafetynews.com/Online
Food Safety & Qualityhttps://www.foodqualityandsafety.com/Online and print
Food Safety Techhttps://foodsafetytech.com/Online
Food Protection Trendshttps://www.foodprotection.org/Print
Journal of Food Protection (IFT)https://www.foodprotection.org/Print
Pet Food Industryhttps://www.petfoodindustry.com/Online
Quality Assurance & Food Safetyhttps://www.qualityassurancemag.com/Online and print
The Packerhttps://www.thepacker.com/Online
FoodLife Internationalhttp://www.foodlifeint.com/International research & consulting
Digital Marketing Agencies
Founder Tractionhttps://foundertraction.com/
The Linus Grouphttps://www.thelinusgroup.com/
Intrepid Creativehttps://intrepidcreative.com/
N.B. Cannabis is not covered here. Although it has food implications, it has its own professional ecosystem, which will be covered in a future blog.

Nice List—Now What?

Having this list of resources will save you some research time, but how can you leverage these resources and connect with the KOLs? By creating a key opinion leader strategy. Begin by defining a clear goal that encompasses what you are trying to do in your marketing efforts, irrespective of whether you are promoting yourself, your organization, or your product. Then, set your objectives and allocate a budget for your KOL campaign.

KOL Campaign Tactics

Give First

One of the best ways to build relationships is to give something first. As you allocate budget (money and time), evaluate the resources you have to contribute sponsorship and/or time to a project within the professional organization that is most influential in your food safety testing market area. Typical projects and people in organizations that allow you to rub elbows with KOLs include studies, committees or advisory boards.

Find Your Audience

While belonging to scientific professional organizations helps build relationships with KOLs, in food safety testing, the KOLs most persuasive to your audience are often found squarely in a food-related organization. For example, if the company you represent markets products with applications specific to (particularly) food commodities, reach out to the relevant commodity support organizations. Search out the KOLs and establish relationships.

Share Expertise

While these organizations are concerned with food safety and promoting their food products, they are also looking for the products and expertise which will help them solve their problems. To market to these organizations, network with the members based on your expertise as a vendor to build value-based relationships with KOLs who you can tap into later to recruit to share their expertise with your audience.

Co-Produce Valuable Content

Ultimately, the value of your KOL relationships is in the content they produce. Leverage your KOLs and the organizations they belong to for content-rich experiences such as a webinar, podcast, or white paper. Sponsoring this content creation through a professional organization important to your KOLs continues to build the relationship and allows you to rent both the credibility and the mailing list of the organization for more effective promotion.

Focus on Thought Leadership

Don’t approach these organizations with a sales pitch and expect to be welcomed with open arms. Instead, provide value beyond your products, even if you pay for and create the content. Sponsored content should be non-promotional, unbiased content that positions your brand as a thought leader.

Access members of the organization through paid promotional efforts. Many organizations allow paid advertising in their publications and websites. Before you place the ad, discuss the campaign with the key opinion leaders within the organization to find the best approach to engage.

Colleagues and Customers

Working with Food Safety professional organizations and their KOLs is rewarding and energizing. These organizations have the best and brightest professionals, and you are engaging them for the greater good—the safety and security of our food supply. Treat KOLs and the organizations that are important to them first as colleagues, then as customers, and you will build lasting relationships for yourself and your brand.

If you need help with a KOL strategy, contact us for a 30-minute consultation.

<a href="https://foundertraction.com/author/gerry/" target="_self">Gerry Broski</a>

Gerry Broski

Born in Cleveland Ohio, Gerry has a long and colorful career working in marketing, sales and product management for tech-driven companies. He’s worked with teams and managed projects and people to successfully develop new products, penetrate new markets and generate positive results. Creative, inquisitive, and an avid reader, Gerry is now focused on using his skills and experience to help others navigate the wild world of digital marketing as a member of the FounderTraction Team.

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