Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Maria Stopnikova : working in the food industry with Lucidity London

This is a guest post from Maria Stopnikova who is currently doing a marketing placement with Lucidity London, a small, independent marketing consultancy which works with a range of national and international clients, providing research, indepth analysis, developing marketing materials and advising on strategy. Maria is studying BSc Management with Marketing (Year in Business) and has written below about her experience of working in the luxury food industry.

Working in a food industry (Marketing sector)
Apparently, many UK students, as well as any other individuals living here might have had a working experience in a food sector by the age of 16-25. Food network on campuses and in neighbouring towns is so well-developed that possibly every fourth student have worked as a Starbucks barista or food hall assistant.
But here I will give you a few short points from my YIB experience about what are the insights of being involved in a food industry as a marketer.

Some types of food are not easily sold
Let’s take a few examples of food essentials: what can be easier than selling high-volume products such as milk or bread? Would you ever forget to buy some crisps or packed juice as a consumer? Probably not. Though it’s not that simple to make people want your product when you target low-volume, high-end foods, for example mature wines, caviar, and delicious truffles. This range of products is dedicated to a specific audience, therefore, their manufacture goes through ever strict regulations and control.
During the YIB placement in RHUL, I’ve learnt about the regulations and rules of food labelling, transportation, etc. By the end of year, I am starting to understand the all-round principles of successful trading and consumer communication.  

You should learn every single thing about your product/service
How surprised I was when I’ve been told at the beginning of my placement that most consumers know very little about the products which they buy. But that appears to be true: in terms of luxurious market, up to this day even the best experts in this area argue about how many types of sturgeon (fish which is farmed to produce caviar and meat) are in the world. No less interesting question is which caviar can be deservedly called a “King of caviars”? What this means to you as a future marketing expert is that you should learn every little thing about your products, as well as what’s on your competitors’ store shelves.
I was extremely lucky to work in such a distinctive industry and learn from many different channels. Together with my great supervisor, we gained a big knowledge from the meetings, tasting events and exhibitions. Besides, the lion’s share of my experience comes from digital channels which we have been using.

You can learn as much as your consumers
Arguably, this is the best thing I found about my placement year. In a niche segment of food products, as an expert you can learn a lot from listening to the customers and understanding what they wish to know about the market. This helped me to look at the market from consumer’s view and “fill in” some blind spots in my knowledge. In other words, one of the most useful practices I’d recommend trying during your placement – is to ask yourself “what would I like to know about this product or service as a consumer?”. Personally, I found it extremely helpful.

It is vital to say that these points are just a small part of the great experience I got during the YIB placement. Hopefully, some students who consider working in an industry like that will find it interesting.

Marketing literature which Maria was involved in producing

Watch the video of Maria talking more about her placement experience and read more here: http://yearinbusiness.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/maria-stopnikovas-placement-year-at.html

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