Launching a new product can be a real challenge for marketers.
After all, there is no product awareness to build on. There’s no historical data to rely on. In fact, there’s no real way to predict the response of your target audience. Despite all theory and market research, a product launch will always remain an educated guess.
The challenge becomes even bigger if the launch of your new product has to be the breakthrough of your brand in a new and complex market segment.
This is the challenge Van Geloven was facing: “launch the new ‘Leffe Bitterbal’ in the Belgian hospitality industry. Do that in such a way that Van Geloven will ultimately become the snack partner of the industry professional.”
An exciting challenge that we gladly accepted.
About Van Geloven and the Leffe Bitterbal
Van Geloven is one of the leading producers of snack products in the Benelux area. The snack specialist has a portfolio of twelve famous snacking brands such as Mora, Ad Van Geloven, and Kroketterij de Bourgondiër.
Van Geloven offers high-quality tasty snacks to consumers and professionals with these brands. But to strengthen its ties with the Belgian hospitality industry, the international food company wanted to launch a brand new product: The Leffe Bitterbal.
The Leffe Bitterbal is a Belgian variation of the famous Dutch Bitterbal. It’s extra large and provides a unique taste of our Belgian cuisine. The Leffe Bitterbal is inspired by the unique taste of carbonnade Flamande – a traditional beef & beer stew – with Leffe. One of our finest Belgian beers. Thanks to this specific taste and other carefully crafted product benefits, the product is ideal for industry professionals. It offers them a new, local bite they can offer as an appetizer, starter, or just as a small bite that pairs well with our Belgian beers.
The Belgian hospitality industry: one of a kind
The Belgian hospitality industry is unique in the world. We have an incredibly wide variety of businesses. This is the result of our particular Belgian gastronomy, foreign influences, and a beer culture that’s on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. All these restaurants are surrounded by a large network of producers, suppliers, and wholesalers. Both large international brands and local family businesses are competing heavily over their share of the cake. Nowadays, traditions and historical partnerships are under pressure. Legislation – another Belgian specialty – digital innovations, and new restaurant chains are complicating the market even more.
The battle for the industry’s attention and their trust is on. Now more than ever, brands need a clever and efficient marketing strategy to succeed in this unique and complex market.
A strong & strategic foundation
This particular market and the challenge of Van Geloven required a well-thought-out plan. That’s why we started the project with a series of strategic workshops to cover all the essential building blocks of a marketing strategy.
These workshops were organized in close collaboration with our foodservice marketing partner Foodproof. Foodproof’s market research and industry data, combined with Great Scott’s strategic frameworks and relevant expertise, provided us the necessary insights to make key decisions. The workshops resulted in the actual strategy including long-term ambitions & goals, buyer persona development, and Van Geloven’s brand promise in this new market.
Together with the team of Van Geloven, we made a lot of strategic decisions during these workshops. These decisions resulted in a strategic framework for our marketing efforts. We check whether or not these efforts fit the strategy to guarantee uniformity and clarity. By doing this, every step in the plan – no matter how small – will contribute to a clear story for Van Geloven and its positioning in the Belgian hospitality industry.
The key message
The Leffe Bitterbal is the perfect symbol for Belgium’s table culture.
After all, the Leffe Bitterbal is based on one of our traditional dishes and one of our most popular Belgian beers. The Leffe Bitterbal is extra large and served in large portions. It’s ideal for groups who go out for dinner or drinks. The quality ingredients and authentic shape also appeal to a professional audience. The fact that no additional investments in kitchen appliances, processes, or training are required, turn the Leffe Bitterbal into a logical solution for restaurants to increase the total revenue per guest, a major challenge for our target audience.
Launching with a big bang
Together with Van Geloven’s team, Great Scott! developed a campaign with online and offline touch-points to build a strong momentum during Horeca Expo, the most important industry event of the year.
In the run-up to Horeca Expo, we launched a series of targeted Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. These ads introduced the Leffe Bitterbal to our target audience. We didn’t talk about the Leffe Bitterbal as just another new product. We talked about it as a new and relevant solution for our audience. We called out the common challenges of our buyer personas and presented the Leffe Bitterbal as an ideal solution.
Combined with organic Facebook & Instagram posts, email marketing, and print ads in popular industry magazines, the momentum started to build. The plan was calculated to generate at least 5 opportunities to see for each member of our audience before Horeca Expo.
At Horeca Expo, our target audience could finally taste the brand new Leffe Bitterbal. The team of Van Geloven was present to start the conversation with our audience and close the first deals.
The Leffe Bitterbal campaign combined a wide variety of channels. This was crucial to tackle the lack of awareness and build momentum.
Here’s an overview of all the channels we used:
- Facebook: organic & advertising
- Instagram: organic & advertising
- Google Ads
- Lead Generation forms
- Email marketing
- Print Ad
- Trade show
- Campaign website
- Keeping the momentum going
After Horeca Expo, the show had to go on. We analyzed the best-performing channels, ads, and content. Based on our insights we created new, similar plans for smaller, local trade shows.
We believe that the key to success in foodservice marketing is the combination of generating online interest and converting leads offline. With the right messages and channel-strategy, we earned our audience’s attention and generated interest. But tastings and 1-on-1 conversations at their favorite, industry events earned their trust. A success formula that is now on repeat for Van Geloven.
Key Learnings and Results
The launch of Van Geloven’s Leffe Bitterbal was successful from the very beginning. Our strategic approach and meticulous campaign planning across different channels made Van Geloven reach its goals early in the process.
Together with Van Geloven, we successfully launched the Leffe Bitterbal in the Belgian hospitality industry. The results clearly show that we successfully reached our audience. More importantly, we succeeded to transform this reach into real product interest and eventually into sales.
Here are some key results:
- + 500.000 highly targeted online impressions of our campaign
- 186% of the website traffic KPI was reached after 6 months
- 126% of the initial sales KPI was reached after the first 90 days
“Great Scott!’s strategic guidance, and realistic approach, helped us achieve amazing results in just one quarter.”
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