B2B Marketer Dawn Foods Leverages Insights to ‘Change the Conversation’

B2B Marketer Dawn Foods Leverages Insights to ‘Change the Conversation’

Dawn Foods is a leading sweet baked goods player that has pulled together a complete marketing and sales program based on rich consumer insights to help its customers drive sales.  As Chip Potter, Dawn’s Vice President of Marketing for US Bakery Products says:

“The goal is to make our customers’ bakery a destination for shoppers.  In some cases, this is a challenge, since ‘bakery’ is not necessarily a shopping-list item.  We work with customers to capture less-planned/impulse sales through the right product and merchandising options.” 

At Dawn, accomplishing this goal starts with a solid understanding of consumer needs and motivations.  There are three major sweet baked goods consumer segments, including Emotional Indulgers, Trendsetters, and Rational Shoppers. Dawn’s research found four major “need states” for sweet baked goods purchasers, including Craving, Connection, Convenience and Celebration.

Dawn’s sales and marketing team is changing the conversation with thought leadership and driving its messaging about “destination” and “celebration” through multiple touch-points, including tradeshows like IDDBA, customized sales presentations, white papers, email and more.  As Potter describes:

“The trade show is part of our broader strategy, and another step in the communications process. We’ve changed our signage to go with the destination and celebration message, and we also make sure to include a compelling data point or insightful headline based on proprietary research.  We think of the trade show as an integrated part of the dialog with customers, not a separate event.”

Showing Dawn Food's trade show display

In 2013, Dawn’s team is focusing on driving the “Celebration” need state, and on everyday celebrations, such as, “game-winning scores and spelling test scores or Monday morning meetings,” in addition to the traditional ‘major celebrations’ such as birthday parties.  Both print advertising and email blasts are focused on insights and knowledge, under the creative umbrella of the little celebrations that show people enjoying sweet bakery products.  Dawn also accentuates the human element and ‘fun’ inherent in little celebrations. Dawn has invested to drive top-notch sales presentations that integrate the research.  As Potter says:

 “First, we focus on the human aspect and the emotion around great-tasting food.  Our goal was to elevate the quality ‘look’ of our presentations to rival top CPG companies such as Kraft.  Second, we don’t overload the customer with charts and graphs. Instead, we focus on insights and news based on the data.” 

The presentation translates the sales potential from increasing sales, and with specific merchandising and product guidance that demonstrate the benefits of doing business with Dawn. The company’s sales force engages its customers strategically with insights and thought leadership as well as tactically with products and merchandising solutions.

B2B retail customers for Dawn include both a sweet baked goods category specific buyer (i.e., cakes, donuts, brownies, cookies) as well as an executive buyer of the perishable department. The goal is to have a strategic conversation with the customer about where the bakery is going, including the latest trends.

Dawn also recognizes that its customers are using social media and the Internet as important information sources.  Dawn offers a blog called Stirring Up Success for its distribution business customers who are independent bakery owners. The blog indeed reaches these customers and engages them: 54% of traffic is to returning visitors who spend an average of 3:16 reading content.  A recent example focuses on “Thinking Outside the (Bakery) Box” with a sweets truck.

Moving forward, Dawn is investing to better understand how these customers get and consume information. This means Dawn will continue to allocate marketing and resources to reach customers through digital approaches, building on current email, banner and blog efforts.   This commitment to learning and openness to change gives Dawn a competitive advantage, and should help its people continue to “Change the Conversation.”

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    Michal Clements

    Michal is co-author of Tuning Into Mom and an experienced consultant. Michal develops winning growth strategies and detailed go to market plans for some of the world’s outstanding organizations including McDonald’s, Gatorade, Abbott, Barilla, Tylenol, Clorox, Key Bank, Eagle Ottawa, Quaker and the Baker Demonstration School.

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