We set aside 10-15% spend for content marketing: Aparna Mahesh, CMO, FreshMenu.com

One of the marketing initiatives by FreshMenu.com includes a recently launched magazine produced in partnership with DontBeContent

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Aug 7, 2017 8:02 AM

FreshMenu.com, in association with content creation agency DontBeContent, launched a magazine for its customers on July 31. The magazine which is a first-of-its-kind content marketing initiative from a food-tech start-up promises to delight customers with refreshing content about everything food - from travel and culture to recipes and health. FreshMenu.com is setting aside 10–15% of its marketing budget on content marketing led by Food For Thought - the 28-page magazine.

The magazine will be the product of an on-going partnership with DontBeContent and the team at FreshMenu is confident that the magazine will continue to be published for a while.

Aparna Mahesh, Chief Marketing Officer, FreshMenu.com, shared her thoughts on content marketing and how FreshMenu.com is leveraging the medium.

Edited excerpts:

How did the idea of launching a magazine come about?

Content has always been a focus at FreshMenu.com - we already have a blog - but a magazine just brings it all to life. At FreshMenu.com we have a new menu every day. A lot of R&D goes into developing the dishes, creating them and finally bringing them onto our menu. We wanted to share a lot of what we do behind the scenes with our customers beyond just the final product.

Content is integral to the category of food not just a good-to-have format. Content about experimenting with food, healthy food, or more in-depth topics like cooking styles or the origins of the dish uplift the entire consumer experience. We believe that consumers today are hungry to know more about food and international cuisines.

How will the magazine be different from the blog?

The blog is something we create internally. For the magazine, we have partnered with DontBeContent. We now have an entire panel of experts from DontBeContent who are curating the content specifically keeping in mind the wants and desires of the customer when it comes to content related to food.

The team at DontBeContent is already planning the second issue of the magazine that will be published in September. It will be the festive season issue.

What role will Food For Thought play in FreshMenu’s marketing story?

A lot of marketing initiatives are generally activation-centric. At FreshMenu, 80–90% of our daily sales come from existing customers. Over time, we have built such a solid customer base that we have customers who order at least one meal of the day from FreshMenu. There is nothing that I can do as a traditional marketer, which is going to appeal to them. I cannot keep inundating them with messages to buy from FreshMenu, because they have already bought our food and bought into what the brand stands for. So, we were seeking to answer the question of how to engage customers in a more meaningful and deeper manner? This initiative is aimed at strengthening our existing user-base and customer retention.

Industry leaders have been talking about the ‘Brands as Publishers’ model for marketing.

Please share your thoughts on content-driven marketing and its place in marketing.

I cannot generalise this as a strategy that will work for all categories or be applicable to all categories. There are two key points to consider when undertaking a content marketing initiative: category and the goal of the initiative. Content will play a very important role in your marketing strategy the minute your focus moves from hardcore acquisition of new customers to retention and relationship building. And so, brands will have to become publishers. When consumers have bought into a brand, they are hungry to know more and are looking for newer experiences around the area that the brand operates in. Therefore, a brand needs to start engaging with customers on a variety of topics that move away from just the pure physical offering that the brand has.

What budget have you set aside for the magazine alone? How do you plan to cover publishing and delivery costs?

We have set aside about 10–15% of our marketing spends for all content initiatives, and Food for Thought is of course the hero in our content strategy.

This will be an ad-free magazine. We do not want to dilute the experience of the magazine with advertising. We could possibly look at partnerships with brands in the same space later on, but to be honest we have not thought that far yet.

As for the logistics of delivering the copies, that will be supported by our existing food-delivery fleet.

How many copies of the magazine will you be printing for every issue?

This is our maiden run, so we have printed an initial batch of around 10,000. We are open to printing more. We will gauge the response and accordingly tweak our numbers.

How will Food For Thought reach customers?

We are doing a large print run of the magazine. A major chunk of the first 10,000 copies will reach our top customers across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. There is no subscription fee; we just want them to have this content. The digital version of the magazine will be up on our website and will be available for everyone to download and enjoy. If there are customers who want a physical copy of the magazine and are not on the mailing list, they can write to us, and request their own copy.


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