Onion and potato marketers are beefing up their social media presence and adding text messaging, e-mails and quick-response codes with links to appeal to the younger millennial generation and tech savvy consumers.
Greg Smith, marketing and communications manager for Glenville, Ga.-based Bland Farms, maintains a presence on social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
“We’re trying to utilize it more to reach consumers,” and to solicit feedback, Smith said.
Bland Farms bounces some of its new marketing and product ideas off followers on Facebook first he said.
Bland Farms also provides a text-to number that will reply to consumers with a link to an online video with recipe information presented on a mobile optimized site. Smith admits he would like to have more of an online presence, but said it is critical to have enough of a presence not to fall behind.
Jessica Peri, retail sales manager at Peri and Sons, Yerington, Nev., agreed keeping up with social media is time-consuming but necessary.
“We try to keep up with social media, but it is pretty challenging because it moves fast,” she said. “We’ll probably need to hire someone to keep the information out because that is where people are gravitating.”
Peri believes social media cuts across several generations, and is not just directed at the younger millennials, the generation born in the early 80s and 90s who grew up during the Internet era.
“It gets stale if there is nothing new, exciting, if they’re not learning anything, if it’s the same,” she said.
In addition to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest, Peri encourages consumers to connect by letting them vote for their charity of choice that the company will support. Consumers can also scan a quick-response code for a gift and to join the farm’s “Onion Obsession” eimail list for recipes.
Gary Ellington, sales manager at Kwik Lok, Yakima, Wash., said scanning of 2-D barcodes, such as quick-response codes, is increasingly gaining interest as a way of building customer loyalty and meeting some retailer requirements.
“They shop differently,” Ellington said of the millennial generation. “When they see these techie things, they get excited about it, and that draws their attention.”
Some 2-D barcodes can tell consumers or retailers what field their produce came from or provide links to a farm’s story, history or recipes. The 2-D barcodes are also satisfying requirements of retailers like Costco, Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart that are requiring barcodes with traceability information in conjunction with linear barcodes, he said.