Reaching Bakers on Their Terms – How to Optimize the Customer Experience

Jun 6, 2018, 14:05 PM by Alexis Gilbert

Jennifer LaPaugh
Dawn Foods’ Senior Director of Global Market Research & Insights, Jennifer LaPaugh, recently had the opportunity to take part in a panel at the Michigan Marketing Summit on the topic of optimizing the customer experience. The event brings together Michigan-based brands to share fresh ideas and insights to inspire customer engagement and activate brand storytelling.

In a lively discussion with fellow marketers, Jennifer shared how Dawn is specifically focusing on connecting with one of its key audiences: Independent Artisanal Bakeries. As there are only 22,000 Independent Artisanal Bakeries in the U.S., Dawn has the unique challenge of not only finding these key customers, but also finding ways to optimize their experience with the Dawn brand.

Jennifer detailed Dawn’s commitment to understanding customers’ needs and to ensure Dawn provides them with targeted solutions to help grow their business. As part of this initiative, Dawn conducted an extensive research quest that began in 2017. Dawn conducted primary research – both quantitatively and qualitatively – among more than 1,000 bakers in North America.

Through this research, the company sought to understand how best to market and communicate to this ‘hard-to-reach’ B2B audience by looking through the lens of the Buyer Journey. The three phases of the Buyer Journey start with ‘Instigation and Exploration,’ when bakers are looking for new products, services and solutions. During the ‘Trial and Purchase’ phase, bakers are ready to try a new ingredient or service and in the final phase, ‘Routine and Advancement,’ bakers are looking to make routine purchases and create strategic partnerships.

According to Jennifer, “This research proved to be extremely pertinent to how we reach our customers here at Dawn; in particular, it helped reveal specific communication channels our bakers were using and to what frequency so we can optimize their experience.”

“This research was a game changer for us at Dawn as we uncovered bakers’ communication channel preference shifts based on their phase within the Buyer Journey. Because of this, we intentionally target those communication channels to match specific points on the Buyer Journey – whereas before we were using the same channels regardless of the journey phase.” 

Jennifer LaPaugh

This research is now helping Dawn reach our key bakery customers by interacting and engaging with them in new ways.

  • The first big change is our use of social media. Dawn has launched both Facebook and LinkedIn channels directly targeted to bakers with content and materials relevant to their needs. 
  • Since completing the research, Dawn has invested in a revamped website that’s more customer-friendly. One of the added benefits of the new site is its ability to continuously update the site with inspiration and tips & tricks to simplify our customers’ processes.
  • The EarlyRisers Online Community for Artisanal Bakers was created based on this research to enable Artisanal Bakers to have virtual word-of-mouth conversations during ‘Instigation’ Moments (when looking for new products & services)
  • Dawn uses findings from the research within our Innovation Studio – unveiled in 2017 – to communicate and build stronger partnerships with bakers during the ‘Advancement’ phase in the Buyer Journey.

In closing, Jennifer reiterated that, “Every day we put our customers at the center of everything we do. It’s through research such as this that we’re most effectively able to partner with our customers to provide them the products and insights necessary to help grow and drive their business forward.”