Millennials thinking differently about seafood, marketers say

A panel of millennial fishermen and seafood professionals offered tips and secrets of marketing their products to their generation during a forum at the 2016 Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle, Washington, on Saturday, 19 November.

Millennials require “a new direction” in marketing and sales efforts, according to Becky Martello, the executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. Martello’s association recently launched a pilot project in Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A., designed to boost sockeye salmon sales among millennial consumers.

BBRSDA’s marketing effort “Tells the story of the food and they place where their food is harvested, and gives customers the perception and knowledge they are buying a quality product,” Martello said.

That effort feeds into the millennial mantra of “Trying to live a more fulfilled life,” she said.

“They’re cooking at home and they’re more excited about the products they buy and eat. They’re more involved with their food systems and looking for a more meaningful connection to their food. They’re sharing more with their family and friends," Martello said.

They’re also comfortable buying products – and food – online, she added. In order to market to them in that space, Martello said her organization has invested in “creating rich, vibrant content that’s not static – that’s always being updated,” she said.

“This generation has so many different messages coming at them from all different directions, you have to make yourself stand out. When trying to appeal to this demographic, be bold,” Martello advised.

Social media is vital in marketing to millennials, Martello said. The rest of the panel, including Claire Neaton, co-owner of Salmon Sisters, an online vendor of Alaska-related products, including seafood, agreed.

“With our generation, social media is the easiest way to tell your story. Combined with the use of videos and photos, it’s the best way to connect with (a millennial) audience and customers,” Neaton said. “It’s a great way to connect millennial customers with the people involved in the company, which is a connection they’re looking for.”

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