It doesn’t matter how great a product is — if bakers don’t effectively market it to consumers, they won’t last long. 

And amid the explosion of social media, the COVID-19 pandemic, and younger generations making up a greater share of bakery shoppers, good marketing has gotten a lot trickier.

Today’s younger consumers are all about apps like Tik Tok, Twitter and YouTube, which serve as prime real estate for bakers to establish themselves. These generations are also especially socially conscious, wanting products that are ethically made and better for them and the environment.  

At the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas, Cam Suarez Bitar, director of marketing and public relations for Pak Group, will host the session Marketing Baked Goods to Generations X, Y, and Z, and Ways That the Pandemic Has Shaped the Message in the US Market on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8:30 a.m. Mr. Suarez Bitar will dive into the biggest trends and defining traits of each generation, helping bakers maximize their marketing potential. 

IBIEQA_CamSuarezBitar.jpegCam Suarez Bitar, director of marketing and public relations, Pak Group


How can bakers effectively market to generations, X, Y, and Z?

Although communicating with each generation requires a nuanced approach, generations X, Y, and Z are more involved in new media than previous generations. When considering the message itself, key factors that bakers should focus on include authenticity (both in the recipes themselves, which is where clean and short label play a key role, and the brand’s overall voice), corporate social responsibility, a product’s nutritional value, and surely price and overall quality. 

Building on the latter point, generations Y and Z are more apt to share their experiences on social media, so bakers should always keep the visual appeal of their content and baked goods in mind while not being afraid to be creative. With remote work becoming more of the norm with younger generations, on-the-go baked goods and meals-at-home are important to a bakery’s product mix. 

All in all, bakeries should begin by knowing their customers and setting a focused set of goals, then building a marketing plan that keeps all of their branding, pricing, communications and tactics following a clear strategy. During my presentation at IBIE 2022, I will share key definitions, statistics and marketing methods that make those insights work for bakeries both large and small.

How do the needs and expectations of these generations compare to older ones?

Generations Y and Z have a keener eye than previous generations for exactly who produces the products they buy and what their purchase decisions mean in a larger sense. Social responsibility, honest messaging, a deep brand value story and transparency are vital. 

Generation Y shows similar values, though they tend to be more price conscious than Generation Z (the Great Recession had a lasting effect on Generation Y). Both have shown an increased interest in better-for-you options, with clean label, organic and non-GMO being some of the product attributes they seek.

What are common mistakes companies make when marketing to these generations?

Among them is social media, as it is still one of the most misunderstood marketing tools that companies have at their disposal. It should be part of a larger marketing plan that synchronizes goals, strategies and tactics (such as social media) across a company’s channels. In terms of messaging, whether a marketing message is shared via a newsletter, magazine ad or a social media post, it should be focused on a specific audience’s needs, expectations and aspirations, rather than it only being an opportunity for the company to build itself up. Knowing the audience helps craft the message and its content, and knowing which channels an audience prefers helps establish the format and maximizes both reach and engagement. 

What are some of the best channels to reach these generations? What new channels are emerging?

With younger generations spending more time consuming social media than previous generations, channels like TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram form an important part of a marketing mix, while Facebook tends to skew a little further towards Generation X. Podcasts are also a great channel for reaching younger generations, as a significant proportion of both generations Y and Z listen to podcasts every day. 

Strategic loyalty programs, special events, limited-time offerings and promotions, and couponing appeal to generations X, Y, and Z since budgets are under pressure in today’s economy and these tactics are great ways for bakeries to show customer appreciation.

How has the pandemic affected how bakers can effectively reach these generations?

Bakers have been challenged to deliver a memorable in-store experience despite observing social distancing and overcoming staff shortages, while focusing on how to keep their businesses afloat through historically difficult times. The pandemic has changed the in-store experience for both bakers and consumers, so new media presents bakeries with an opportunity to engage their fans and customers wherever they are, and promote new experiences, such as new recipes, online sales programs and curbside solutions.