The use of digital media.

Digital Media and Social Networking are taking over marketing communications and it is no wonder – look around us at the array of digital technologies we are coming to use and rely on more and more in every-day life. If people are constantly updating their daily tasks to include the use of digital tools and the internet, it is only logical that businesses follow suit to where the customers are at and market their items where the customers are in the digital field. Businesses are increasingly moving more of their promotional activities and advertising online and digital technology means customers can be ‘followed’ through the use of cookies and other online tools. The use of emails, Facebook, Twitter and an array of other social and digital devices are continuously being taken advantage of to promote a message and engage an audience, but can this help with promoting gluten free brands?

There are more and more gluten free companies springing up everywhere now including and as well as the main players in the UK – Genius is just one. Warburtons are now doing a range of gluten free foods including white and brown bread, muffins and teacakes. Amy’s Gluten Free UK does a selection of ready meals including macaroni, pasta bakes and burritos. So how do these gluten free companies get the word out?

I regularly get emails from companies I have signed up to get news letters from or who I have purchased products from, letting me know every time they have a new product available. Sending emails with promotional gifts such as the email from Dietary Specials (or DS) I received last week offering me a free box of cornflakes with any online order I made, or the Genius email two days before that informing me that Starbucks now offer a gluten and dairy-free Tuna Nicoise Roll (that’s great for people who like tuna but what about those who don’t!?), is a great way to inform customers of new products and keep the up to date with the brand. Genius’s Facebook page is great at engaging the viewer – they regularly post questions to prompt answers and brand engagement, as well as posting competitions and information about stockists of their products.

So why is going digital such a big deal for all businesses, including niche markets such as ‘free from’ foods?
It is reported that the average user spends 13 hours a week online – and that’s excluding time spent on email. Imagine all the adverts one would see by spending 13 hours out of the week flicking through magazine pages and newspaper articles. Businesses are taking advantage of time spent using digital technologies and it shows – as we are literally faced with hundreds of adverts and online promotions every day – be those general cluttered messages, or specialised targeted information to niche groups of people. Capitalising on people shifting to digital and the rise of social media is the only justifiable step for businesses, to help their profitability and customers’ awareness of their presence, especially with specialist subjects such as ‘free from’ foods.

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