Insights: Global Insights

Working Backwards – Strategies for Results-Oriented Program Development

For over 30 years, BCI’s team of market development managers have helped develop programs that have increased sales around the world for our food, beverage, and agribusiness clients.

What does it take to develop a retail marketing program in Southeast Asia? How can you increase your company’s exposure in the clean label ingredient market in the United States? How effectively are you communicating your industry’s sustainability achievements to your customers?

From high quality flavor to food safety to sustainability, our clients have a lot of great stories to tell and know there are opportunities in global markets to use them to their advantage. They’ve invested in market research and strategic planning and are now ready to act on the opportunities they’ve discovered. However, it takes work to convert opportunities to actual sales. Strategic, effective marketing and promotional programs are needed to make that happen.

Whether you plan to fund your program internally or seek external grant funds, consider the following steps to get started:

Visualize Success

If you don’t know where to start, consider where you want to end up. Ask yourself, “What does success look like?” Imagine yourself presenting to an audience of stakeholders at an annual meeting and think about what you want to be able to share about the program. What results would you like to report? What constraint will you have overcome? For example, you may want to increase awareness of your brand or expand distribution of your product in a new target sector, like foodservice or food manufacturing.

When you can visualize the success of a program, you can work backwards to identify the steps needed to make your vision a reality.

PRO TIP: Always start with your organization’s vision and mission statement. These are your guiding principles from which every program should derive.

Establish a Realistic Performance Monitoring Plan

Spend time considering what you will realistically be able to achieve within the lifespan of the program and beyond. Next, establish baselines and benchmarks (or goals) to track your progress. These will become your “performance measures,” and should provide a meaningful assessment of the success of the program over time. However, be mindful of outcome versus output-based performance measures. For example, tracking how many social media posts you made is not as meaningful as the consumer engagement they generated or new purchasing behaviors they influenced.

PRO TIP: Developing a performance monitoring plan is equally as important as the measures themselves. Collecting performance measure data consistently over a period of time will provide you with an accurate assessment of the impact of your activities on your desired outcome.

Create Activities that Lead you to your Desired Results

When you know what success looks like and how you’ll measure it, you’ll have a better understanding of what it will take to make it happen. This is often referred to as the “fun part.” Whether your vision of success is to increase sales, brand awareness, or product distribution to new markets, utilize your entire team (marketing, operations, finance, and logistics) to develop creative and engaging activities that will maximize your available resources to deliver the results you’re hoping for. Some of BCI’s most impactful activities on behalf of our clients over the years have been in and outbound trade missions, retail partnerships to promote products in-store and through online platforms, and trade and consumer educational programs raising awareness of the unique benefits of U.S. agricultural products.

Account for the Time and Resources Needed to be Successful

Invest time to account for all potential costs of a program and ensure they do not exceed the program’s profit potential. Make sure to identify internal and external support needed like vendors, as well as supplies, travel, and additional staff time. If a program will span several years, account for multi-year expenditures that can fluctuate over time.

PRO TIP: Ensure performance goals are defined in the contracts with any third-party vendor. Your success depends on the completion of their work, and their performance will directly impact your success.

Execute and Celebrate

When your program launches, take the time to celebrate and acknowledge the effort it takes to start something new. Share your success along the way with key stakeholders. (Remember your performance measures will tell your story for you!) If you need to adjust along the way, it’s alright. Nothing is permanent and market circumstances change. Being flexible, responsive to feedback, and transparent (along with giving yourself some wiggle room in your budget), will ensure your program is sustainable over time.

Our team is ready to meet you where you need us. We can develop international strategic plans, conduct market research, implement marketing and promotional activities, and secure government grant funding to help pay for it. Reach out today to learn more.