Part 2—Catch Up on the National Marketing Campaign, Q&A with the APC
Following up on the discussion for last month's issue of Pecan South, the American Pecan Council speaks with Chairman of the Council Mike Addams about its consumer brand American Pecans and on-going marketing efforts.
What is APC’s marketing strategy for 2019-2020?
MIKE ADAMS: As a Federal Marketing Order, the American Pecan Council was largely established to engage in marketing activities to grow consumer demand for American Pecans. Over 75 cents of each industry dollar is invested in marketing. In 2019-2020, the APC honed in on diversifying our marketing mix to get the most bang for industry’s buck. The APC charged Weber Shandwick with the task of focusing their efforts solely on public and media relations as well as amplified consumer campaigns. Healthy snacking continues to be a pillar across all messaging. As our Weber Shandwick team continues to raise the bar with the level of excellence and creativity they bring to this sphere, the APC has also been able to reinvest valuable resources elsewhere.
Repurposed dollars have enabled us to develop a more robust and diversified marketing mix. We have laid the foundation for a highly effective integrated marketing communications approach of reaching our target audience and key opinion leaders across multiple channels. We’ve accomplished this through establishing partnerships with companies such as Learfield IMG, iHeartMedia, and Eat Well Global, as well as moving some influencer marketing in-house through the utilization of the renowned platform, AspireIQ.
What are the benefits of paid social media and digital advertising?
ADAMS: American Pecans utilizes many marketing tools to engage with consumers, including paid social media—the display of sponsored content to users based on their demographic and interests. Benefits to paid social include targeted brand promotion, better access to mobile users, and real-time insights into campaign effectiveness. It allows American Pecans to target consumers where they already are online.
You likely know our primary target audience is Gen X/Y moms, as they represent the best opportunity to purchase pecans. You might not know that we further segment that audience into four personas—Weight Managers, First Rate Foodies, Techy Trackers, and Veggie-Minded—and use refined attributes and keywords to reach each group with targeted ads.
For example, a Gen X/Y mom who is interested in exercise and healthy-living technology, such as using a Fitbit, is identified as a Techy Tracker. She would be served an ad that talks about pecans to fuel you through a busy, active day. Conversely, a Veggie-Minded mom would be shown an ad that highlights the plant-based protein in pecans. This type of targeted outreach allows us to get a better bang for your industry marketing buck.
What is the American Pecan Council currently doing on the marketing and promotion front?
ADAMS: In April, Weber Shandwick encouraged consumers to celebrate National Pecan Month. Over the next six months, Weber Shandwick has campaigns lined up to message on pecans’ place in healthy living and plant-based diets. The topic is timely due to the complications with COVID-19. In addition, we will continue to engage influencers to provide content centered around the holidays and entertaining.
Our work with AspireIQ has really been taking shape. Our current Pecans at Home campaign is focused on working with seven micro lifestyle creators for content around how people can add pecans in their day right now as added energy and nutrition while being stuck at home. The goal is to speak to everyday viewers with content they can relate to given the current pandemic. This messaging includes choosing pecans as a healthy snack while watching Netflix, as pre-workout fuel, and as an addition to their kid’s lunch or snack.
Eat Well Global has been busy engaging with Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists. While we are currently planning 2020-2021 projects for the Marketing Committee’s review, you can check out some of the content that has already been produced by following our Nutritional Influencer Partners: Mary Ellen Phipps of Milk & Honey Nutrition and Chef Abbie Gellman.
We are still attending conferences, albeit virtually, including Today’s Dietitian Spring Symposium 2020 (TDSS). Due to Coronavirus, TDSS was held as a virtual event May 17 through 20, 2020. As an event sponsor, APC’s branding and messaging were placed in front of attendees. This placement included the use of a virtual expo hall sponsor video created to introduce health professionals to our brand and encourage them to sign up for the Pecan Powerhouses Network.
Our Network of Pecan Supporters in the Dietitian world is expanding with our Pecan Powerhouses Network. Our quarterly newsletter allows us to reach and nurture relationships with our network of 150 dietitians. The membership list of these impactful pecan representatives continues to grow!
What are some of the results from these activities?
ADAMS: To date, marketing activities have resulted in almost 400,000,000 digital views. Top of the awareness levels are the highest on record at 24 percent; pecans share of voice with consumers ranked second at 24 percent, ahead of all other tree nuts except for almonds, and the iHeartMedia campaign concluded with close to 200 million impressions and over 9,000 commercials.
It is of the utmost importance to us that our marketing activities are trackable and measurable. With all these marketing programs and activities in place, we measure success utilizing third-party analytics, including Digital Magnet, AspireIQ, Nielsen data, and Trendkite.
Looking forward to the 2021 Fiscal Year, we will continue to build on past successes. Now that the groundwork has been laid and results are coming in, we can make informed decisions on where to pull or further invest valuable marketing funds.