Millennials and other beef consumers can now see and hear the tantalizing sights and sounds of “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” messages without putting down their mobile devices or leaving the comfort of their keyboards and social-media circles.

That’s thanks to a Sept. 25 decision by the 20-member Beef Promotion Operating Committee to make a major shift in strategic direction for the checkoff’s promotion and marketing efforts. Beginning this month, digital marketing will lead the way in sharing beef’s message about nutrition, health and research and creating a forum for consumers to publically share and celebrate their love for beef.

In recognition of the importance of marketing via electronic devices -- such as smartphones, tablets, cell phones, computers and consoles – the committee approved the shift from an print and radio campaign to digital marketing via multi-media beef messages on email, blogs and social networks.

Research indicates that there are two types of consumers:  those who are actively seeking out information, often via Web searches or by opening an email, text message or Web feed and those who prefer to get their messages passively, by using, for example, targeted display advertising on websites and news blogs.

“Digital marketing allows us to be extremely selective about who receives our messaging, using technology called ‘geo-targeting,’” says Polly Ruhland, Beef Board CEO. “Because your every online twitch can be tracked, digital marketing experts (like checkoff contractor staff and the checkoff’s new digital marketing agency) know a great deal about you: your favorite food, clothing and widgets, your hobbies, your hometown, your family, your friends.”

Using geo-tracking, the checkoff can send marketing messages to a very tight target audience whose preferences, food likes and lifestyles fit the checkoff’s target audience. In other words, the checkoff can pinpoint exactly who it wants to reach with beef messages.

  • For instance, real-time slow cooker beef recipes can be delivered to Millennial moms, in a particular geographic region, who have purchased a crockpot online, who are actively searching for simple weeknight meals at that very moment.
  • Or, when a food blogger writes a positive piece about beef, the checkoff can increase the visibility of the story to reach a targeted older Millennial consumer within the online spaces they visit every day. “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner,” the iconic tagline of more than 20 years, will be reenergized through a new audience and new strategy – the growing and important Millennial, through comprehensive digital engagement.

“It’s a brave, new world and we are now an integral part of it,” says Ruhland. “I’ve been asked this: ‘Why Millenials, and why not Baby Boomers, a similarly sized audience?’ Several good reasons exist for focusing checkoff investments this way."

  • At the core of this plan, is the new consumer target: older millennial parents. They are part of the largest and most connected generation ever. By 2020, their spending will hit $1.4 trillion dollars a year.
  • Millennials will make beef-buying decisions for the next 40-plus years.
  • As much as it stings to think about it, the much-loved, much catered to (by consumer products) Baby Boomers soon will be a shrinking generation with decreasing influence over others.
  • Boomers don’t shout each day’s activities from the rooftops. Millennials do:  They are more likely to share their experiences widely, especially through social networks. We have to put our money where the consumers and influencers are.

The ability to geo-target means that producer and importer investments in the checkoff will be focused tightly on consumers who are most likely to move the needle on beef demand. Social and digital media provide the beef checkoff a clear and focused way to deliver beef-centric information, enabling consumers to select and prepare beef enthusiastically.

“Change is always a little intimidating, but I am inspired by the opportunities for beef in the new plan,” says Ruhland. “The explosion of social and digital media presents great opportunities for us with our powerful target market and our relatively small marketing budget.”

Source: Beef Checkoff