Inbound Marketing with Sunbelt Granola

Sunbelt Granola gets it. They are doing a lot of things right when it comes to Inbound Marketing. Sunbelt Granola is one of food manufacturer, McKee Foods’, brands. Whoever is charge of Marketing for McKee Foods Sunbelt Granola brand is doing a great job. I have to say, my guy Jimmy Matorin from Smartketing, and I have been talking for months about some major food manufacturers who just seem oblivious to Inbound Marketing, Mobile Marketing, and other technology-based ways to connect, and communicate with their customers. It’s refreshing to see Sunbelt Granola making Inbound Marketing work hard for their brand.

Sunbelt Granola produces whole grain, preservative free granola bars. They have identified their target audience as young, active kids and tweens. I’m assuming that part of Sunbelt Granola’s strategy is to connect with their target audience, build relationships with those folks, and ultimately sell more granola bars. In order to achieve their goals, Sunbelt Granola has launched a well thought out Inbound Marketing campaign. In this post, we’ll go through the four most critical steps that Sunbelt Granola took in order to reach, and connect with, their customers.

Identify a Target Audience

Sunbelt Granola claims that their granola bars provide customers with some quick energy. Granola bars are viewed as a quick and healthy snack. Many people enjoy granola bars, but Sunbelt Granola decided to focus on the youth market. I’m sure they’ve done a lot of market research and made the conscious decision that this market had the most potential for them. Now that they know what their customer looks like, it’s time to start the Campaign Development progress.

Partner with a Community Organization

Food Manufacturer Content MarketingSunbelt Granola decided to partner with US Youth Soccer. I’m sure they figure that many of our youth play soccer – it’s a popular sport across the entire country (unlike, say, ice hockey, which is popular only in certain subsets across the US). Partnering with a community organization like US Youth Soccer provides a number of benefits to Sunbelt Granola. With that said, it’s up to Sunbelt Granola to develop a campaign around this new partnership.

If you want to partner with a community organization or a non-profit, be sure to do your due dilligence before deciding which organization is the best possible partner for you. First, identify a number of organizations. Next, meet with decision makers from each of those organizations. Then, determine which organization best aligns with your goals, and your ideals or philanthropic philosophies. When searching for a partner, it’s also important to select an organization that aligns to your target audience. In Sunbelt Granola’s case, they chose to partner with US Youth Soccer, as the US Youth Soccer organization caters to the same audience as Sunbelt, young kids and tweens.

Develop an Inbound Marketing Campaign

As we wrote about briefly above, the goals for Sunbelt Granola are probably to connect with their target audience, build relationships with those folks, and ultimately sell more granola bars. In order to achieve those goals, Sunbelt Granola decided to use an Inbound Marketing campaign. They have also decided to partner with US Youth Soccer to tie in some Cause Marketing tactics. Sunbelt Granola determined that the best way to reach their target audience was to use their own product packaging as a vehicle for building awareness and driving action. The goal is to get youth to connect with Sunbelt Granola online, which they can easily do since Sunbelt Granola has put their website link on the box, along with mentioning that they are on Facebook & Twitter as well. Now their target audience knows just how to connect with Sunbelt Granola online.

Leverage Online Tools to Engage Your Target Audience

Food Manufacturer Content MarketingSunbelt Granola has done a masterful job at using product packaging to promote their social sites. With that said, their job is not over yet, now it’s time to engage their target audience, learn from them, build trust and relationships with them, so that eventually, those folks become brand loyalists and influencers. This ultimately leads Sunbelt Granola to their ultimate goal of selling more granola bars.

Lets dive into the Inbound Marketing campaign that Sunbelt Granola is using to achieve their organizational goals. Sunbelt Granola is marketing their granola bars to youth soccer players because they know that youth soccer players are their target audience. They have partnered with US Youth Soccer to run their Free Kicks Campaign. As part of the campaign, Sunbelt Granola knows that they have to offer youth soccer players something of value in exchange for any actions that they hope those folks will take. In the case of the Free Kicks Campaign, Sunbelt Granola is providing unique codes on the top of each box of granola bars. Customers can take that code, go to SunbeltFreeKicks.com, register, input their code, and take a free kick on the Sunbelt Granola online soccer game. Customers who score a goal, win a $25 shopping spree at Soccer.com (another strategic partner of Sunbelt Granola).

Even if customers do not win the free shopping spree, there are two other offers that customers receive when they enter their code on SunbeltFreeKicks.com. Each code that gets entered earns cash for the customer’s youth soccer club. The website has already integrated all of the soccer clubs around the country in order to make it EASY for customers to select their club. Sunbelt was able to get access to this information through their partnership with US Youth Soccer.

On top of a potential free shopping spree and earning cash for their soccer club, customers of Sunbelt Granola can win $1,000 as part of a monthly cash drawing. They can also win up to $2,500 through two semi-annual drawings. That’s a lot of cash just for entering one code. Each code customers enter is another chance to win all three offers. If I was a youth soccer player, I know I’d participate.

Once there’s a solid offer in place, it’s up to Sunbelt Granola to engage their customers when they start registering at SunbeltFreeKicks.com. Sunbelt Granola is actively adding their target audience to their email marketing list. Hopefully some of those folks also connected with Sunbelt on Facebook and Twitter as well. Sunbelt can now begin the relationship-building process with each individual customer. I’m not sure how Sunbelt is going about this process, but if they’ve set it up with as much attention to detail as they’ve done with the rest of the campaign, I’d imagine they are well on their way to building some strong customer relationships with the youth of America.

Inbound Marketing for a Small Business

Seeing Inbound Marketing campaigns like this really gets me psyched. I love it when large organizations ‘get it’. The one thing I hope to see in the future from Sunbelt Granola, and I know my man Jimmy Matorin would as well, is a mobile component. Sunbelt Granola’s target audience is one of the biggest segments of mobile users in the country. They can roll out a text campaign or even create an iPhone application from their online game. There’s so much potential with mobile, so hopefully they are in the planning phase of getting their mobile channel ready.

If you are not a large food manufacturer with the resources of Sunbelt Granola, that’s OK. Use their Inbound Marketing campaign as your guide. Find creative ways to execute your campaign within your budget. Their are a ton of free online tools out there to help you in your quest. It’s easier than ever before for small businesses to compete with the big boys. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, then you know that all it takes to run a highly successful Inbound Marketing campaign is a little creativity, a solid plan, and the right online tools. You can make it happen, just like Sunbelt Granola!

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