How Pork Board insights helped shape marketing strategy at Clemens

We made a deliberate decision in naming this weekly newsletter. It directly reflects the change in how the Pork Board leads the conversation about pork within our industry.

Since the Jan. 10 launch of the Dinner at Home in America report, we’ve been delivering weekly doses of the insights uncovered in the comprehensive research effort we undertook in 2018. We’ve explored several of the nine meal occasions that happen every night in homes across the country, we’ve provided a look at the perception challenges pork has with today’s consumers, and we’ve teased the deep dive into the Hispanic market we’ll unveil later this fall.

And soon you’ll see insights for the foodservice industry, as we’ll be releasing a new report during the National Restaurant Association Show in May.

As far as newsletter content, we’ve been heavy on the insights, but light on the action.

To be fair, that should not be much of a surprise. New products don’t just appear after a few weeks – it takes time to research, innovate, and test before anything makes its way to the dinner table. When six or seven figures have gone into product development, you want to make sure you’re making the best decisions possible.

But as our research continues to indicate, our industry is serving a much different customer (with different expectations) than we were five, 10 or 20 years ago. There’s tremendous value in being nimble, first to market, and willing to adapt.

Today, we want to highlight how an industry partner is using the insights we’re providing to inform and elevate their marketing decisions.

Enter Clemens Food Group, and the marketing strategy they launched at the 2019 Annual Meat Conference in Dallas.

Giant medallions on the floor of the Hilton Anatole in Dallas encourage 2019 Annual Meat Conference attendees to stop by booth 149. There, Clemens Food Group demonstrated how their products fit the needs of consumers who would have one of six specific meal occasions.
The family-owned company based in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, markets pork to retail outlets under two primary branded labels. Like most pork suppliers of that scale, they do their own marketing research to make sure they’re making informed decisions.

“We conducted our own ‘cooking engagement segmentation’ study, to better understand how consumers are preparing meals at home,” said Kiersten Hafer, vice president of marketing at Clemens. “That study allowed us to map a lot of our products to those consumer behaviors.”

The Dinner at Home report helped not only confirm what Clemens’ own research revealed, it also helped fill in some gaps where their own data set wasn’t as robust.

“It really provided more detail than we had,” Hafer added. “We were able to overlay Dinner at Home onto our research. In some cases, it confirmed our thinking in how we matched products with consumer needs. In other instances, it refined our thinking and helped us make different decisions.”

To showcase the Clemens product set at the 2019 Annual Meat Conference, Hafer and her team worked with their branding agency, New Jersey-based Works Design Group, and their strategy partner, Chicago-based The Food Group. The goal? Help retailers understand how they could maximize their pork potential and serve their shoppers needs, by highlighting six different meal occasions and matching them with specific products. The Clemens booth identified each of the occasions and corresponding consumer needs, and color-coded/ numbered point-of-sale materials identified the products that fit those needs.

Specific Clemens products were identified as best meeting the needs of consumers who were having one of six meal occasions. The products were matched to consumer need states using proprietary Clemens research and research from the National Pork Board’s “Dinner at Home in America” report.
“We designed a ‘Do You Know Me?’ theme to grab the attention of retailers at the show and to highlight Clemens’ deep understanding of their consumers,”said Chris Burton, art director with Works Design Group. “We opted for a personalized approach to provoke thought and to generate conversations on how Clemens and their products could resonate with consumers and thereby help retailers. We created an approachable persona for each eating occasion to help retailers see their consumers through a different lens.”

The materials changed the discussions the Clemens team had with booth visitors during the conference.

“It wasn’t the standard conversation of ‘We really like this product, you’ll really like this product, and your customers will love this product,’ that seems to proliferate a lot of booth discussions. Our interactions were focused on the customer and their needs,” said Hafer. “We could say with a great degree of certainty, ‘Here’s what your customers are looking for when they’re in your store, and here’s how our products can help you meet their needs in that moment.’ That puts us in a position of adding value to our retail partners, not just trying to sell product.”

According to Burton, the research is also guiding how Clemens thinks about its customer-facing point of sale materials as well.

“Understanding the need states of customers when they’re at the meat case is helping us think differently about how we’re engaging and talking to customers at the moment of purchase,” he said.

Yes, even prepared foods at retail meet the meal needs of busy consumers, as the Clemens booth was keen to point out at the 2019 Annual Meat Conference.

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