Market to the people who already love your beef, says expert

Beef hedonists, ranching romantics, and true patriots are the biggest fans of Canadian beef

Market to the people who already love your beef, says expert
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Why would you try pursuing someone who doesn’t like you? That’s the key to romance — and to marketing beef.

“As an industry, we have been starting with the logic perspective for a very long time,” James Bradbury, Canada Beef’s brand officer, said at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference.

“We need to start coming across with this emotional message that comes across to consumers. We need to start talking to their perceptions and what their beliefs are and what their values are, rather than just our own.”

Males are the “super consumer” of Canadian beef, spending $31.62 a week on the meat (versus $22.08 for women) in stores and restaurants. These “beef hedonists” crave beef and want to be near the barbecue all the time. For them, beef represents good times and special occasions.

They’re also willing to spend more on premium beef — in fact, a higher price is viewed as proof the product is very high quality.

Overall, just over a quarter of Canadians (women make up a large portion of this segment) are beef “loyalists,” according to in-depth market research by Canada Beef.

“They spend a little less in general, but they are 28 per cent of our Canadian audience and they are very likely to promote our product to others,” said Bradbury.

Ranching romantics, about 18 per cent of those surveyed, are another group of supporters.

“They’re heavily supportive of what you do. They understand or relate to the heritage of farming,” said Bradbury.

A smaller group, about eight per cent, is the scientific supporters — mainly males who believe in safety, technology, and the nutritional quality of beef.

Another eight per cent (also mainly females aged 30 to 54) are concerned with the ethics of beef production. Members of this segment, who also view veganism and gluten-free foods favourably, tend to spend a lot of money on beef — but they want a lot of information on what they’re buying.

Four per cent of the market is concerned with the health aspects of beef and fear the product for a multitude of reasons. This demographic is made up of young women.

“There is a feeling there that they can’t understand. To change minds here, we’ll have to spend a lot of money,” he said.

The key to promoting beef is to go with the 85 per cent who already believe in the product, and have favourable perceptions of the brand.

“It’s an easier target, I would say,” said Bradbury.

About the author

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Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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