Saturday, April 30, 2011

Remind me again - what's your task?

Some days I truly love working for megalo-cheese-corp. In the world of packaged dairy, We hang out with Dannon, Yoplait, and Kraft. We probably move milk commodities prices - if such a thing exists. Someone out there is buying futures on cow udders. It's awesome.

Some days, I see things happening that blow my mind.

As y'all already know, I run marketing for a certain type of cheese. Cheese slices. In those awesome packages that are slowly taking down planet earth. Now, it seems like cheese slices are cheese slices. To sell more cheese slices, you do massive campaigns explaining how easily they melt, or what a healthy snack they might be. But, the truth is, that simply increases demand for cheese slices - not for YOUR cheese slices. So, you need to differentiate. The message can't be "more shrink-wrapped cheese makes life better."  It has to be "more Thong-Charm-Brand shrink-wrap cheese makes life better."  (man, that sounds gross.)

Which means, we have to know why we're better. That comes down to finding the features of our cheese that consumers value. For example, our slices might fit more neatly on our partner's sliced bread. Or our slices are actual cheese, not "modified cheese food." Or our slices wont melt in a lunchbox left in the sun until recess. It's actually hard work, in part because you have to know your own cheese pretty well, your own customers pretty well, AND the competitors cheese. That's a lot of dairy.

There are whole people in every company responsible for competitive analysis. It's many many many full time jobs.

Someone decided we needed to elevate this task. Someone should take the lead in getting into more cheese-based recipe books by explaining our benefits  - like talking to the Barefoot Contessa and Rachael Ray so that they can say "I like TC cheese best" in their recipe book next to the nacho recipe. It makes sense. So they set up a task force. The Recipe Insertion Project, or RIP. I was thrilled - RIP can really only help me. Lil' ol' me in cheese slice marketing. Now I don't have to understand the Ina Gartens and Jamie Olivers of the world - I can just say "leverage the work of RIP."

Until I got the memo. *I* get to put together all the great information for RIP - what makes our cheese better, why Iron Chefs should care, what makes their cheese worse. What's RIP gonna do?  They are going to write the form letters and press "go" on the mail merge. They will also handle all questions regarding postage to international chefs. But, of course, I'm critical path to their goal. So, Hop To It. You're late.

I really never thought clipboards could organize so brilliantly. I underestimated them.

No comments: