by Angela Anderson

From hailing an Uber ride, ordering movie tickets or finding a new recipe, today’s consumers are turning more and more to smartphones, laptops, and tablets. To capitalize on the growing digital world, the Pork Checkoff is tapping new ways and places to promote pork’s great flavor and convenience.“We have connected with consumers through the Pork be Inspired® website for years,” said Jarrod Sutton, domestic marketing vice president for the Pork Checkoff. “But today, YouTube ads, social media, targeted emails, digital advertising and other online efforts are building a robust, meaningful marketing story to consumers and elevating pork when planning meals.”
Two of pork’s largest target demographics, millennials, and multicultural consumers, are heavily engaged online through mobile technologies. This is one of the primary reasons the Pork Checkoff’s Pork be Inspired marketing efforts have gone digital.

“One of the pluses of effectively engaging millennials and multicultural consumers is that you automatically tap into the massive trend of mobile connectivity,” said Bill Even, National Pork Board CEO. “The Pork Checkoff has increased its investments in digital marketing – from $2.25 million in 2016 to $3.5 million this year.”

With a digital marketing strategy, pork content is available 24/7. To help consumers find pork information at any time of the day, the Pork Checkoff has updated content on the Pork be Inspired website, improved online search results and purchased Google AdWords that drive consumers directly to all things pork.

Through the yearlong Taste of Now marketing campaign, the Checkoff is connecting with consumers online to ensure that they have the correct information about pork. From factual cooking temperatures to high-quality, delicious (and easy) recipes, pork consumers are instantly finding what they need.

Partnering with Retailers

The Pork Checkoff also has worked with retailers to reach multicultural consumers digitally.

“Most of our pork promotions with major retailers have a digital marketing component to ensure that we are reaching the right consumers at the right time,” said Sara Crawford, director of retail marketing and innovation for the Pork Checkoff.

“From retail website banner advertisements to co-sponsored social media posts, we work closely with retailers to ensure a strong digital marketing presence during our promotions,” Crawford said.

Sutton said that with abundant pork supplies, keeping pork top of mind with all consumers is key.

“When consumers search for pork information, we are ready and able to deliver them facts about pork and to encourage them to put more pork on the fork this year.”

Why Digital Marketing?

On a daily basis, consumers have become accustomed to finding answers at a touch of a button. The marketing world has taken note and successful brands and companies have transitioned from a traditional marketing strategy to one that combines or exclusively focuses on digital marketing.What exactly is digital marketing and why is it different from traditional marketing? Digital marketing encompasses all digital platforms, such as marketing on the internet, on mobile phones, digital display advertisements, or any other digital medium. It is data-driven, with marketing efforts changed almost instantly to reflect changes in consumer preferences or changes in marketing programs.

Digital marketing efforts also tend to be more affordable than traditional marketing methods, costing only a fraction of the cost. Traditional marketing typically includes print advertisements, such as newsletters, billboards, flyers, and newspaper print ads, TV commercials, and radio ads and promotions.

Most-Googled Pork Question

The Pork Checkoff has turned to Google to learn what consumers search most for on the internet when it comes to pork, according to Jenna Bieri, digital marketing manager for the Checkoff.“The results were eye-opening,” Bieri said. “The top question is: ‘How do you cook a pork chop?’ That provided the opportunity to market pork online by getting back to the basics.”

Based on Google insights, the Pork Checkoff created 10 short back-to-basics Make it Like This videos. The videos feature the top internet search questions and provide easy, delicious step-by-step guides. Cooking basics are included for boneless loin roast, spiral ham, pulled pork, rib roast, pork chop, tenderloin, oven-roasted ribs, honey-ginger pork tenderloin, bacon BBQ chops and oven BBQ back ribs.

The Pork Checkoff also sponsored three Buzzfeed Tasty videos earlier this year, featuring Slow Cooker Honey-Garlic Pork Sliders, Western Breakfast Enchiladas, and Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Pork Chops.

“For social media, Buzzfeed Tasty videos are the gold standard for consumer engagement,” Bieri said. “The quick video format of under a minute showcases all the ingredients while appealing to almost every consumer. For pork, it truly allows us to show our flavor and convenience to consumers.”